That’s What Friends Are For

18 months ago, my life was so much different. I had a slew of what I considered to be good friends. I was knitting in a different group every day and considered myself somewhat popular. Then I made the mistake of becoming close to the wrong person and when the schism inevitably happened, just like in any divorce, friends took sides. I. Lost. Almost. Everyone.

It was HARD to cope with the sudden changes. I went into a major depressive episode and returned to therapy. Oddly enough, a miracle occurred and I gained a new perspective on my need for people to like me. For the first time, I truly was able to say, “Fuck it,” and concentrated on spending time with the people who actually do care about me rather than chasing after the ones who don’t.

Every once in a while, I come across an FB post that is evidence of my non-importance to those I called friends and I admit that it does sting for a moment or two. But then I remember the real people who matter and it’s like aloe on a burn.

There is one person that I particularly miss, though. J.S. was someone who soothed my troubled soul, whom I thought loved unconditionally, whom I loved unconditionally. Even when we didn’t see each other as much as I’d have liked, she would randomly text that she was thinking about me. Then she stopped responding to my texts. I was ghosted. It hurt because I loved her.

Months later I received a single text that she wasn’t upset with me, but that she was dealing with stuff and didn’t feel up to socializing. I accepted that because I’ve been there. I never heard from her again. But today I saw a selfie with her hanging out with someone I don’t like, to put it mildly. That’s cool; I never begrudge someone else’s choice in friends. However, I can’t help but think that I was easily replaced by someone she considers to be better in whatever way. My heart broke a little to know that it’s not that she doesn’t want to hang out, it’s that she doesn’t want to hang out with ME.

So today, I am sad. Heartbroken, even. I miss her. And that is OK.

After grieving for a bit, I will go back to being excited that my best friend is moving all the way from Connecticut back to Texas. She will be within easy driving distance. Leigh is more than a friend, she is the closest thing I have to a sister. She is the other half of my heart. While losing a friend can be devastating and leave me feeling unwanted and “less than,” I think of Leigh, who swore she’d never move back to the same state as her mother and sister, saying, “I need to be near you more than I need to be away from my family.”

me and leigh

Leigh and Me

I am loved. I am wanted. I am enough.

 

 

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Mrs. Pinocci’s Guitar

Ever since I wrote the fantasy post on Monday, I’ve been in an oddly discontented mood; restless, distracted, disconnected, and completely disinterested in physical contact. While it seems to have finally passed, I had to wonder at why this mood reared up in the first place.

After my breakthroughs with the unfillable void, the unattainable person, and how the unattainable person cannot fill the unfillable void, I’ve felt an internal peace that I’ve never had before. All that energy and thought that I constantly put forth to try to attain the unattainable has been freed to think about and do other things. Of course, now I have to find other things to fill my time and this week I was mostly successful at that.

I spent time with friends all week long. Tuesday I met Rob for coffee and knitting. Wednesday, I went to the yarn shop for a trunk show and knitted for a while with Laura and Wendy. Thursday, I met Laura for coffee and knitting in the morning, then Cyndi for dinner and more knitting. Friday, I met up with Rob again for dinner. I missed spending time with my friends, as my major depressive episode kept me trapped in the house for months, so I’m happy to be back to “normal.” When I spend time with my knitting friends, I am inspired to knit myself. It soothes my anxiety and eases my depression. Being with them is a good thing.

So this pervasive feeling of disconnected discontent didn’t make any sense. My husband is as wonderful as always, my children are doing well, my pain level is under control since I’m swimming again; yet there it hung, a cloud of gray coloring even the best of times.

I believe that is exactly what’s wrong, though. My life is extremely level, no up and down roller coaster ride of emotional drama. My psyche just doesn’t know what to do with itself, so it’s attempting to manufacture drama where there is none. The difference is that now I am aware of it. I know there is nothing wrong, and I realize that this is purely a figment of my imagination.

Living a drama-free life is unfamiliar. Having boundaries is equally unfamiliar. Taking care of myself is awkward and takes a conscious effort. I’ve bought makeup for the first time in forever, I spend time thinking about my clothes, I attempt to look put together when I leave my house.

Being on this side of things makes me realize how and why poverty and trauma affect people’s ability to be successful. If I had all this free time and thought when I was in college, I likely would have done better, learned more, went further. I am frustrated at all the effort wasted on things and people that just don’t matter. I literally spent years pining for relationships that were never going to work; I look at my life now and know that I am so much better off without those people I thought I couldn’t live without.

I’ve also spent years longing to play the guitar. I played in high school and was decent, although never fantastic. I could accompany my singing and that was about it, but it satisfied my musically creative side. I can’t play the guitar anymore, though. My fibromyalgia severely affects my fingertips, making them ultra sensitive. Pressing down on a thin wire with the tip of my finger is impossibly painful.

Last night, I realized that Matt’s piano is just sitting in the playhouse, collecting dust. I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the piano. I mean, I do read music since I played the violin for nine years and was in choir for most of my primary and secondary education. Knitting has helped me learn to coordinate my left and right hand to do different things at the same time. Piano keys are smooth and a digital piano requires little pressure to make the keys go down. If I put forth even a fraction of the effort and time that I have been wasting on things that don’t matter, I could master the basics in a few months.

I fell asleep listening to music and dreaming of playing some of my favorite songs. On Monday I’m going to the local sheet music store to buy whatever “Piano for Dummies” type book they recommend. I am going to focus all this excess….emotion…into something tangible that matters to me. Something that will create rather than destroy, which is exactly what manufactured drama does. It destroys marriages, friendships, and can even affect employment. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to build something that will last.

Today, the feeling of discontent appears to have lifted. I’ve got something to look forward to that will expand my mind and challenge me in a different way. I spent most of my adult life thinking I was too old to learn the piano, as everyone I knew who played had done so for decades. But in the back of my mind, I could always hear Cheryl Wheeler talk about Mrs. Pinocci picking up the guitar at age 57 and how she’d now been playing for twenty years.

Better late than never, I guess.

That’s What Friends Are For

I know it’s been a while, but with all the anti-feminist crap going on in the world, I’ve been too livid to write anything. Today is really the first day that I’ve been able to really organize my thoughts without being spitting mad. I’m still angry, but I’m not sputtering quite as much.

This blog post isn’t really meant to be a political statement (seriously, if it were, you’d have stopped reading by now, I’m sure!). This entire blog is about finding the happiness in crappy day to day situations, and that’s what this post is all about.

In the last two weeks, I’ve been unfriended, I’ve unfriended others, and I have been publicly vociferous. This is such a polarizing issue, but what has been awesome is that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the friends who have come out as on our side. Considering the people that I’ve unfriended are generally not important to me, while the ones who surprise me ARE important to me, it makes me feel somewhat relieved about my friend choices.

I’ve also become friends with some really amazing people, both male and female. One thing that I’ve happily discovered is there ARE a few other liberal women in Texas, and they KNIT! While I usually hesitate to make generalizations, my limited personal experience is that the people I know who only crochet seem to be less intellectual than the people I know who knit. Perhaps that’s just a southern thing? I don’t know.

Last Sunday, our regular group was quite loud and angry while we knitted at a local Panera in a very Republican neighborhood. We were thrown dirty looks by little old white women, but as our militant quasi-leader said, “Life’s tough for everybody. Get over it.” She’s from the hippie generation, so she’s already fought this battle once before. That evening, I sent her a message on Ravelry asking if she’d be my roommate at next year’s fiber retreat and she said yes. I’m super excited to have a friend who not only knits, but has a doctorate and is a feminist.

For most of my life, I’ve felt really alone, especially in my adult life. While my husband and kids are fabulous and wonderful, and my daughter truly is one of my best friends, it’s not the same. It’s hard for a liberal woman in Texas to make friends, especially friends with similar interests. It’s been the main reason I’ve wanted to move to the northeast, where friendship comes easily. Suddenly, I find myself surrounded by like-minded women and it is glorious! It is definitely making my time in Texas more pleasant and way less depressing.

While Saudi America goes to shit and the Constitution dissolves before our very eyes and the Supreme Court ignores decades upon decades of precedent, logic, and reason, I’ve found the good. More importantly, I’ve found hope. I think that is what friends are meant to give us: hope. The feeling that we are not alone in this dark universe.

So screw Hobby Lobby. We are women, we are crafters, and we shop…but we don’t shop at Hobby Lobby. Even more than all that, we freakin’ VOTE. And there are more of us than I ever imagined.

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