Now I bet you’re thinking “But Ali, I didn’t think you were dating anyone.” And you would be correct. So I was a bit blindsided today when a long-time friend called me and told me that she was having a hard time with the direction she felt her life was going in. She mentioned that friends were moving away, friends were getting married, and friends were having babies. She fell into an introspective mindset where she came to the decision that she needed to spend more time with God – learning more about Him, reading the Bible, thinking about Him… Dedicating all of her free time to her faith.
She said that she didn’t want to find herself resenting the people she surrounded herself with for their life choices and also for the history that she shared with them. She felt guilty and shameless of some of the decisions of her past, and associated the friends from that time period with that guilt and shame. She didn’t want to be alone and friendless – so she decided to break ties with her friends.
First off, I know that some of my readers are going to be angry for me. Truthfully? I don’t want you to be mad at her. Honestly, what kind of person would I be if I didn’t accept that she needed to be alone?
Her: “I just wanted to let you know that I’m going to need some time away from you.”
Me: “… NO!”
See? That wouldn’t work. I’m not the type of person that will force someone to be my friend. I think that everyone is welcome to their opinions, and I can love them even if they DO have differing values/opinions/structure than me. In fact, I have found that some of my most stimulating conversations have been with an articulate friend who has a differing opinion.
Am I hurt? Yes. There really is no way around that. It would do both of us (and our decade-long friendship) disservice to lie about feeling a little hollow. She has been a part of my life during a lot of hard times – and I certainly hope that is a reciprocal feeling. We have had our differences in the past, but we had always been able to talk about things… at least I thought we did. There were certain topics that I shied away from because I typically do that with everyone. (I don’t talk about politics or religion.)
Am I worried? Absolutely. I am so terrified that she is going to experience an upset so jarring and painful and she won’t think she can call me. I worry that she won’t find someone to confide in, be it a therapist or another friend she makes that she considers less morally ambiguous than I am.
PLEASE NOTE – I fully acknowledge that my morals are skewed. Whether I am completely bankrupt is a matter of debate, but she did admit that we don’t share some of her core values. I believe that we were both guilty of being judgmental. It was rarely spoken, but it was there. It always is with everyone, and if someone says that they don’t judge, they are a friggin liar. They DO judge, they just don’t comment.
I guess when I was hoping for some sort of artistic inspiration for writing, this phone call wasn’t something that I was expecting. I’ve also been incredibly self-involved as of late. I haven’t posted much because… I’ve just been meh. I still keep waiting for the panic attacks to happen, but I haven’t had one since I left my previous employer.
That being said, I have been crying on and off for the majority of the day. I have so many things here that remind me of her. Pictures, toys, gifts, things that bring back memories. I just looked to my right and in five seconds I was able to locate ten things that made me think of her. I remember trips we took together. The friends we made together. The parties, the bonfires, swimming, fighting, arguing, singing, laughing, confiding. The support, the tears, the patience, the changes, the various stages in our friendship.
Do I regret any of it? Not for one moment.
So, as much as this is a goodbye… This is also a thank you.
Thank you for caring about me when I couldn’t be bothered to care about myself.
I love you, and if I never hear from you again… Please know that I wish you nothing but happiness.
Speaking of happiness, I posted on Facebook earlier today a request for people to share videos that never failed to make them laugh (because I really needed it).
Here’s a playlist of all of the suggestions.