Just a few minutes ago, I was in my shower and thinking. I do some of my best thinking in the shower. I was thinking about various relationships that have somewhat recently [within the past few years], disintegrated. This has happened for one reason or another. I was mainly thinking about a couple of friendships in particular that have dissolved. I used to be very good friends with these two girls. We were like the three amigos. I was in both of their weddings, even. To make a long story short, I've been dealing with depression for the better part of 20 years. Even though I no longer suffer from it (not like I did anyway, although I do have what I call "flare ups."), 20ish years of depression has really taken its toll on me. My immune system is shot, and I get sick a LOT. I also keep whatever sickness I have a lot longer than most people would. I'll have a cold for a month instead of a few days. I get migraines, and have since I was about 9 or 10 years old. I get absolutely exhausted from things like get-togethers, busy schedules, even having many things to do in one day. I have trouble sleeping, and I have developed some not-so-great coping skills to deal with all this: mainly eating, but also a bit of reclusivity. I so often just find things better, easier, more comfortable when I can be at home, in my own house, with my own family. I know they love me and accept me and appreciate me just the way I am. I feel safe and accepted and comfortable here, so this is my favorite place to be. I don't go out very often, although I am not a hermit by any means. I still do fun things and live my life, don't get me wrong. I just mean that I'm not one of those people who always has to be going 100 mph and "doing something" 24-7 or they go stir-crazy. I'm content to just be still.
So anyway, back to these two friends. They were aware of all of the above, although I am not sure how deep their understanding actually went. I never made a big deal about my limitations, but they did force me to cancel plans at times, and this was a real sore spot for these girls. It was what inevitably severed our friendship for good. Additionally, I turned down invitations to parties and get-togethers because they always proved to be so exhausting for me and with all those problems I already have, I really didn't think staying up late, getting drunk, sleeping somewhere uncomfortable was a wise decision. Also, a huge difference between me and these girls is that I am a mother and they are not. They are not mothers because they have zero desire to have children. That is fine -- it is their life, and their choice, but I wanted different things. I did want to have a family and I did want to be a mom...so that's what I did. AND MY FAMILY COMES FIRST. They always have, they always will. My child, and her needs, are more important than any other human being on this Earth. Period. The End.
The last straw for them (and for me, honestly) was a Girl's Night In party a couple of years ago. I was not planning to spend the night because my husband and I had been working weekends for six months straight and had not had an entire weekend together as a family in that time. I said I'd love to come and hang out, have dinner, enjoy a drink, then go home around 10 or 11pm. I wanted to wake up in my own bed with my own husband, and enjoy a nice Sunday morning with my family. I went over to my friend's house, helped her clean and set up, and she and visited for a good long while before one of "those girls" arrived. The first arrived, and we all sat on the porch talking and sipping a sangria. Suddenly, I started to get those floating, sparkly auras that I get when a migraine is coming on. I excused myself, went and took some medicine, sat in quiet room for a few minutes, but it just kept coming and coming. I knew I had to go home and go to bed. Those migraines are the single most excruciating pain I have ever been in in my entire life -- and I had a 36 hour drug-free labor and delivery!! I know what PAIN is! I would rather go through childbirth than have another migraine ever again. They honestly, literally, make me break out in a cold sweat...I know what is coming and it absolutely petrifies me. It's like a big, drunken abusive boyfriend stumbling around on the porch in the middle of the night. I actually panic because I know what's about to happen.
So, I said I needed to get going, because of the migraine. I knew if I didn't get out of there right then, I wouldn't be able to make the 45 minute drive home. Honestly, I probably should not have even driven myself, but I intrinsically knew what the outcome was going to be and I didn't want to have to come back to fetch my car the next day or so. I left, and later on the other girl (and some others) arrived at the party to find out I had left. I went home, had my migraine, and spent the next several hours worrying about what this was going to do to my relationships with these two girls.
The next day, one of them posted ON FACEBOOK, about how pissed off she was, how I needed to just let her know if I wanted to hang out with her or not, she was tired of looking for me in the crowd and not seeing me, tired of broken promises, etc. I tried calling her several times but she was ignoring my calls. I sent her a few messages on Facebook, knowing she would at least see them, and her response was to ignore my private messages but then answer them on her page. She said things like, "I've heard all this before, same old song and dance, just changing the time and place, etc." It was so mean and hurtful. I didn't know what to do, so I just blocked her. A few weeks later, the other girl sent me a text message asking how I was. I said I was good, and that I was surprised to hear from her. I told her I was afraid she had been pissed at me, too. She replied, "Well, it's not so much being mad, but hurt. It just feels like hanging out is dead last on your list." I tried to explain my health issues...which is tricky, because in a way I don't always feel like they are valid (it's not like I have this big disease that I'm going through treatment for), but I know they ARE valid concerns and issues. I also just said that on that particular day, I had a migraine. I mean, what the heck did they want me to do? Stay there, writhing in pain, crying, throwing up, begging someone to take me to the hospital? If I have to be that miserable, I at least want to be in my own bed and with people who know how to take care of me...people who want to take care of me. Her response to that was, "It just feels like rejection." So having health problems, a migraine, etc, whatever, and choosing to deal with them feels like rejection to her. I responded by explaining that I have these health problems, which I'm trying my best to deal with. If that means I have to break plans, then so be it. If someone has a "problem" with that, that is an insecurity on their part, and that I would NOT be held responsible for that.
That was the last time I ever communicated with her.
Earlier, when I was in the shower, I was actually thinking about maybe sending those two girls a message. I was considering extending an olive branch. I hate it when there is bad blood between me and someone else, I really do. But then I felt this other part of me just say no. I know in my heart that they would never really understand. Even though I would always prefer to repair a damaged relationship, I have some rules that people need to follow before being my friend, and before I can be theirs. First of all, my child comes first. She always has, always will, and that's it. You will always, always, ALWAYS take a backseat to my child and to my family. They come before everything and everyone else. You will always be second place to them, so deal with it or move on. Secondly, my health and well-being is IMPORTANT. I will do whatever I am able to do to maintain my optimum health and well-being. (I am better at this some times than other times, but I try). Those are my only two rules. If you cannot accept those two rules (the first one in particular!), then I have no room for you in my life. If you can accept those rules, I will be the very best friend you could imagine. I am a GREAT friend. I just have a really hard time finding people who can accept those rules.
Although losing friendships and other relationships can be agonizing, sometimes a beauty can rise out of an awful situation. I have learned how intrinsically important my family is to me, and I to them. I am in a place now where I feel comfortable and justified by saying, "this is/is not good for me" and knowing where to go from there. I know what I need in a friend and what I don't...and I have discovered that I will not settle for anything less than what my family and I deserve. I like that about myself. I like that I won't allow myself to be a doormat. I like that I can acknowledge (and actively work on) needing to do more for myself. I'm more sure of myself than I've ever been, and I don't think that would have happened without certain situations having taken place. So although I still find the lost of certain friendships/relationships painful to think about, I am actually glad that it happened...because now I know who my real friends are. Now I know who I am.....and I know that there is no better gift in the world.