Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Every ending is a new beginning. Someone said that. I have been lower than low lately and it has really de-railed me in every aspect of my life. I read recently that therapists advise not making any life changing decisions for a year after losing a close loved one. I lost my Dad on 3/30/13 and I'm still dealing with the pain of that loss. On top of it what I predicted has come to fruition and I'm struggling to deal with it as well. My father was my link to my family. My relationship with my mother is tentative at best and downright adversarial as a rule. I don't want to get into what caused it or how it has perpetuated itself, at least not right now. Let it suffice that I have not seen anyone from my family since the day after Christmas. This is hard for me and this is not my choice. I'm grieving the loss of my father virtually by myself.
Don't get me wrong, I have friends who are great. They are empathetic and kind and not adverse to listening to me talk about him or my feelings etc. and I could not have made it through this last year without them. They cannot completely understand what it feels like to lose him like the people who knew him. He wasn't perfect by any stretch but he was a really good guy. He was a neutral space in what could sometimes feel like a battleground. He was the voice of reason in an otherwise chaotic situation. I miss him like you wouldn't believe.
On top of this I have lost a very good friend and nearly lost another. I can say beyond the shadow of a doubt that I was the cause of the near loss. I was judgemental and condescending and overly critical and we had to have a real "come to Jesus" discussion for me to realize just how very difficult I had made things for her. I'm working at that and she's working at telling me when I'm pushing the boundaries so that is working itself out nicely.
The friend I lost, well that is complicated. First it should be mentioned that this is someone I have known since we were in KINDERGARTEN! Here's what I do know. When we were friends we would spend a lot of time together. What I did not realize until we stopped talking was that the time had slowly and very surreptitiously become obligatory on both our parts. We just didn't like each other any more. Now I think an honest to goodness sit down and hash it out session could have resolved our differences and believe me I tried. I'm a talker, she is not. Over the many years I have known her I have watched her go through friends like most people go through underwear. To her they were expendable. They were great for a while and then they would do something to annoy her and they became "crazy" or "needy" or whatever. I used to joke with her that I hoped I never did anything to piss her off. Well ... it ain't a joke any more. Not only has this woman decided that we shouldn't be friends, she has taken the wind out of my sails by categorizing me as untrustworthy. This is a HUGE blow to me because I value my integrity nearly above all else. She knew where to hit me and boy did she ever.
This has been really percolating for about a year now. I knew she was harboring some resentment or another but apropo of her "no drama" policy I have not brought it up hoping that eventually she would want to talk through it or just get over it. Never in a million years did I expect to become a victim of her friends expiration date policy. Wow, what a blow. I was devastated. Actually ... I said that tongue in cheek because really I wasn't. Surprisingly I wasn't.
For a year or more I have been waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop. I have been walking on eggshells, second guessing everything I say, not confiding things in her because they seemed to annoy her, keeping the conversations superficial, trying valiantly to draw her out gently and patiently and taking a lot of absolute crap from her along the way. When she finally got the balls to cut me loose this weekend I wasn't devastated, I wasn't sad. I was angry at the tone of the email - yes folks I said email because that was how this person chose to end a lifelong relationship - but that emotion didn't even last long because her reasoning was so ... pathetic .... so far from reality as to be silly and childish and actually a little comical. So now how do I feel? I feel free. Crazy right? I should be mourning the loss of someone who I considered as close as family but I'm not. I'm free. I feel unencumbered. I feel good, really good. I had no idea how much real estate this person and this situation had taken up in my head. I am not wasting another minute worrying about what could have or should have been because I have realized that I am actually better off!
Now over the last three or four months when I realized that I was nearing my expiration date I have confided in some of my other friends. Interestingly I discovered that these friends didn't really care for my friend. They considered her to be mean spirited, inappropriate, unkind and kind of broken. I never really saw those things until now. I was blinded I think by loyalty and longevity. I kind of wish my friends would have mentioned it earlier but then on the other hand I don't know if I would have been receptive to it. They were kind enough to keep their opinions to themselves and frankly to hide some of the unkind things she had said about me over the years.
I'll give you an example of the kind of things that I overlooked. She was moving to a new home. She asked me the night before she was scheduled to move to come help her. I agreed and went to her old house to help her pack up the last of her items. With my back I told her I could sit on the floor and pack into boxes, she just needed to point me to what she wanted packed. This annoyed her and she just asked me to keep her company instead. I stayed and kept her company and even in the midst of it all at 8:00 at night the night before arranged for my friends to come at 7 the next morning to help her load and unload the truck because her friends had bailed on her at the last minute.
When I was leaving that night she asked me not to come the next morning. So my friends helped her move and I was not there. Our plan, from the moment she found out she had gotten the house was that I was going to go to the new house and coordinate from there, making sure boxes got to the right rooms etc. I was also going to cook for the movers, this is my strength, cooking. I couldn't lift or carry a lot of boxes because of my back but I can cook and that was going to be my contribution. I was responsible for purchasing the food etc. I bought hamburger, brats and dogs and stuff to make boston baked beans and potato salad etc. I had chips and bottled water. I spent a lot of money only to have it go to waste when she decided that I wasn't necessary. When my friends called me the next morning from the moving site to ask me what had happened I made excuses for her. "Well she is stressed and not thinking clearly" etc. They on the other hand harbored no delusions whatsoever, they were just pissed off at her for doing what she did. I tried to tell them not to worry I wasn't upset about it but I was, I was hurt and angry. I pretended I wasn't for her sake because that's what friends do. They're supportive.
The next day at around 2:00 when I was more than an hour away I received a call from one of my friends. My former friend had asked her to call me to come over and cook for them after all. She couldn't being herself to do it so she brow beat another person into calling me. Well obviously I was an hour away and that kind of meal takes time so I grabbed the chips and drinks I'd already bought and spent more money buying foot long sandwiches to bring over so these people who had been working their rear ends off for hours in the heat because I asked them to, could have something to eat. By the time I arrived at 3:30 most of them were gone. Ten people were now four people. I spent upwards of $100 on everything and when I went over there the following weekend the sandwiches were rotting away in her refrigerator. I have never received an apology or a thank you from her to this moment.
This is who she was. This is who she is. This is the person that I have been spending the last year worrying about and trying to take care of and handling with kid gloves. What the heck was I thinking? And that is just one story!
So now I'm happy, I'm free and I'm empowered and excited and I'm not letting worry or fear of losing someone else or whatever else take me off my path again.
So ... new beginnings. No more worry, no more excuses to eat badly. No more reason not to get on with the rest of my life. Sunday was my day of grieving, Monday was my day of anger and Tuesday was my new beginning. I ate within my ranges yesterday and last night I went to the gym. I did it. I could only walk on the treadmill for about ten minutes with one rest because of my back but I did it. I did the elliptical for four minutes, that was all I could take of that but that was because I was winded. Man I am so out of shape. Doesn't matter. I'm doing it. I packed my bag and my gym clothes are in the car. I am going back tonight and every night that I'm able and I'm going to build up some strength and stamina and my goal is to be at 5000 steps a day by the end of March. Considering that I cannot stand or walk for more than five minutes without back spasms and pain I think that's a pretty darn aggressive goal but I am going to do it. This is my commitment to myself.
I feel good ... really good ... to have a plan and a goal again. I've pulled myself out of the muck of self pity and self doubt and I've shaken off the albatross that has been hanging around my neck for a year. I have an unbelievable group of supportive friends who like me just as I am and don't require kid gloves. I am ready for this next stage of my life and I am looking it square in the face. Bring it on!