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Friends and Relationships

We all know the story.  You and your best beer drinking (or wine drinking) buddy are inseparable.  Every weekend it’s you two chilling and talking.  During the week you keep each other posted about weekend plans or take a moment to bitch about the daily grind.  Then the inevitable happens.  Some hot piece of ass comes walking in and ruins it! JUST RUINS IT! Of course it’s not the hot piece of ass’s fault, at least not solely.  Your friend invites them in and your perfect duo is suddenly becoming a trio. At least that’s how it looks to begin with.  

Soon though they start spending time as a duo and you are left sitting alone, crying in your beer, and feeling like that lonely pathetic person who sits in the corner of the bar looking like they are on the verge of tears.  You start to understand and feel like you are the forever alone meme.  All those pictures and posts make sense.  Are you happy for your friend? Outwardly, yes you are.  In the deep dark corners of your soul though, you have cursed the new duo.   How could your bff do this to you? Why are you left all alone?

You suddenly start feeling the harsh pain of abandonment.  You do what you think is best in this situation, you bite your tongue and watch as your friend slips off into a new life without you.  You don’t do anything to try to remain in the person’s life you let them walk away.  When they reach out, you make excuses or ignore their calls.  You think you are doing the best thing by hiding behind your wall.  

I’m currently in the new duo of this story.  Except in this situation I feel like forever alone.  Yes I am very happy in my relationship, but I need to have my separate friends.  Unfortunately for me, my friends have put up their brick walls and will not talk to me.  As if they need to protect themselves from the feeling of abandonment by abandoning me.  What the hell is up with that? I like having the people who keep my head out of the clouds and my feet on the ground.  The people who can tell me “Hey! Remember that dream, the one he doesn’t know about yet because you haven’t told him?  You need to keep chasing that dream bitch!”  So here are some tips on how to not be a dick, if you are the one in the new duo or the forever alone friend.

First, you must not forget the people who have been in your life for a long time.  You don’t know if this relationship will last forever and it’s not smart to burn bridges by not speaking to any of your friends.  Especially the people who have seen you through thick and thin.  The ones who were not afraid to tell you what you needed to hear instead of what you wanted to hear.  These people will be a constant support system, they may not always support every aspect of your relationship but they will support you.  They will always be Team You.

Second, keep your head about you! Do not brag to all your friends about how wonderful it’s going and how the new shiny person is so perfect.  It’s not that your friends don’t want to hear that things are going well, but after the millionth “We are so perfect for each other” comment is made, they are wanting to slap the shit out of you.

Third, understand that just because your friend found a new shiny person and is making some changes it doesn’t mean you are one of those changes.  They may be busy with starting this new relationship, but as long as people keep trying your friendship will still be important.  They are learning new things and having all those wonderful beginning conversations again.  You are not being replaced in their life, just someone new is entering it.

Forth, just because your best bud is having difficulty managing their time between you, the new shiny person, and any other daily responsibilities does not mean they are writing you off.  Eventually the excitement goes away and when it does you two will pick right back up where you have left off.  That is the awesome thing about friendships.  We may not always be available but when we are needed for each other we are there.  Even if we just need that person to talk to.

Fifth, try to make an effort to get to know the new shiny person.  Chances are if your friend really likes them, they are someone you will get along with also.  While we are on the subject do not play games or talk shit about the new shiny person because you are jealous.  Trust me you are not going to miss much in this period of time.

Sixth, if you are opposite sex friends do not automatically assume that the new shiny person will have a problem with you.  Also, do not assume that if the new shiny person does have a problem with it that you will be pushed to the curb.  Trust that your friend is not going to ditch you for the new shiny person because of said person’s insecurities.  If they do, well that tells you what type of friendship you have.  For the new duo person, do NOT drop your opposite sex friends because of the new shiny person.  That’s just not classy.  If your new shiny person has an issue with your opposite sex friends, that is a problem they have to deal with.  While you can help them cope with their problem by being reassuring, it is really shitty to drop someone like that.

The things to remember here is even if there is an absence from each other, when you two do start talking again your conversations will be better than ever.  Your advice may be seeked out.  You will have more productive conversations.  They will be more interested in your life and what you are doing.  You will have awesome catch-up conversations.  If they are indeed your friend, when you need them they will be there.  Finally, every phone call will be answered or returned, because you are important.

Dam

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The roaring static sound of rushing water as it fell over the top of the dam and crashed into the rocks below.  If someone was talking next to you, you couldn’t hear a word they said.  The sound of the water drowned out everything, including the voice in your own head. The vibration of that sound pulsed against your chest.  The chaos of the water and the way it slammed against the rocks at the bottom of the dam before starting it’s journey down the river was a stark difference from what it was like before the dam.  A layer of white ice covered the top of the river.  Leafs the color of fall preserved in color and frozen in the ice.  Under that calm layer of ice the water was driving towards the dam.

I couldn’t help but relate it to my current situation.  The peacefulness of the frozen river, the steady fall over the top of the dam, then the chaos when it hits the bottom.  This is the change that I’m going through.  Peaceful at first about my decision but breaking free from the ice, no longer frozen in place.  Then the fall, the moment that my stomach flips because of the decision.  The realization of life as I know it turning and falling as I fall over the edge.  The rocks at the bottom causing chaos and forcing me in every direction, slamming me against more rocks.  Final dips and falls until finally I calm again.  Rushing still but calming slowly as I flow over rocks instead of crashing against them.  

It was worth every moment and worth any emotional turmoil faced.  The fall and crash created an electric spark darting through my veins.  That spark ignited passions and dreams in me that I had forgotten or gave up on long ago.  While I know I will reach my destination I am no longer rushing.  Instead I am peacefully flowing down the river enjoying the view.

Picture: Taken and edited by me The Gorge Dam in Cuyahoga River, Cuyahoga Falls, OH

 

Coffee Time

My boyfriend likes to talk to me in the morning, he’s one of those morning people.  It’s not that I don’t want to talk to him, we have some of the best conversations.  My brain has a hard time processing everything he says before that first cup of coffee. It feels like I’m being spoken to in a foreign language, I know some of the words but I can’t quite figure out exactly what’s being said. I’ve wondered if this is a habit that can be broken, but more importantly, do I want to break it?

It is possible that my morning habits are a learned response.  Growing up I learned quickly that if you ask my mother anything before she had that first cup of coffee and a cigarette, the answer was automatically a no. The distinct and low growl that would escape her even when a cheerful “Morning!” was given can still be heard in my head.  In this moment I have realized that I have turned into my mother.  Where most people would think this is a bad thing, I actually smile.  That, however, is another post in itself and I’m sure I will get to it eventually.  After twenty some odd years of living with this type of morning ritual and adopting it as my own, is it something I want to break?  The answer is no.  

I like not being a morning person.  Having that twenty minutes of coffee time to organize my thoughts and create a checklist for the days activities is overall extremely helpful.  When I don’t have that coffee time I spend the day with anxiety because I feel as though I’m overwhelmed. This could mean the morning grumpiness is a defense mechanism used to secure that twenty minutes of uninterrupted coffee time.  Selfish yes, but it leads to a more productive day in the end.

A word of advice to my anti-morning friends.  Please explain to those who have to deal with you in the morning that you are not a morning person.  Make sure that explanation is at the top of your list to new people in your life who may have to experience your morning wrath at some point.  It’ll save a lot of time and headache when the significant other or roommate understands your need for “Coffee Time.”

Stars Align

When I was about nine years old my parents and I moved to Houston, Texas.  I don’t have many fond memories of our short three months living there, but one stands out.  On one of the days my dad actually had off, we went as a family to the Houston Space Center.  I was so fascinated by NASA and outer space the whole trip was a whirlwind.  One moment was slowed down though.  In front of a mirror was an astronaut’s helmet.  I reached out and touched it in amazement, slowly lifting the heavy helmet to put the monstrous thing over my head.  My small shoulders held the weight of it as I balanced it with my hands and looked at myself in the mirror.  

Years later I found a picture of this moment.  My father and my mother were standing next to each other behind me, their arms around each other watching my expression in the mirror.  With a disposable camera my father took a picture without even looking through it.  He caught my expression and their own expressions in the mirror. Wonder and excitement were plastered across my face.  The look on my parents faces could only be described as a parents look.  It’s that look parents get when their children are experiencing something for the first time.  To this day it is one of my favorite family photos.

As children most of us have a fascination with the universe.  These brilliant lights that shine in the night.  The face in the moon and the stages in which it moves.  These other planets, what they were like and maybe one day science could make it possible to live on them.  Of course as a child my favorite planet not including the earth, was Pluto which was still considered a planet at the time.  

While in the suburbs of Chicago, the only stars seen were the most brilliant of them.  If you wanted to actually see the stars you had to drive far away from the city and suburbs.  The other night as I smoked my final cigarette of the day I happened to look up.  There before me were constellations I haven’t seen in what seems to be years.  Here in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio the city lights do not drown out the light of the stars.

In that moment, I felt like that child twenty years ago.  I was suddenly fascinated with space again leaning on the railing of the balcony looking up and picking out constellations.  I tried to spot twinkling of satellites and planets.  Reaching into my brain to recall what could be seen during this time of year.  Memories flooded my brain of certain points in my life when I spent hours watching the sky.  I would be laying on the hood of a car watching meteors.  Laying in the back of a pickup truck pointing out constellations. Sometimes sitting in a yard dreaming of what other life forms were out there.

There is a comfort in the stars, letting me know that I am not alone.  In this vast universe and on this planet alone somewhere someone else will look at the stars at the same time I do.  They may be a young child filled with the same wonder I was, or they may be old and contemplating their life.  Maybe they are just like me, taking a brief moment to connect with their youth.  Searching for that same wonder and amazement they felt so many years before.  For a moment, finding appreciation for the little things.

The Giant Leap

My sudden decision to move to the lovely state of Ohio may have come as a shock to a lot of my family and friends.  I had always talked about moving somewhere warm.  Florida, Texas, or California were among the top choices.  Ohio was a bit out of the blue.  The decision to move here had a lot of personal reasons, that many didn’t know about.  As I’m sure you can tell by now I’m a fairly private person, especially when it comes to current decisions.  So why am I talking about it now? Because I know my feelings about it.

I had spent my entire life in the suburbs of Chicago.  With the exception of the 3 month period as a child living in Houston, TX which doesn’t count.  When I was 18 I could never imagine leaving such an awesome city as Chicago, by the time I was 22 I was bored with it.  At 29 I couldn’t take it any more.  The only time I enjoyed the beautiful city was when a friend would visit and I suddenly became a tourist in my own town.  The area found a way every day to annoy me, or I let it annoy me.  Either way it was getting the best of me.

Professionally I was going nowhere fast, granted that doesn’t happen too often these days anyways. There was no room for advancement. Every day of the week had it’s same schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my job and the people I worked with.  I, however, felt stuck in a huge rut with no rope or ladder for escape.  I can handle that when my personal life has different activities, but it didn’t.  I had great friends, but as winter in chicagoland always proves I end up hibernating.  I don’t get out often, and when I do it’s to the local bars.  This past winter in Chiberia really prevented that, as most of the winter it was too dangerous to be outside. Winter made it very clear that I needed a change of pace and new sights to see.

In December I started talking to this wonderful man.  We became fast friends.  We talked often about anything and everything.  Our conversations soon became daily, usually on my drive home from work.  These conversations included the past, the present, our likes and dislikes.  We talked about our dreams and what we each hoped to achieve in the future.  There were many a night I sat in my car for an extra half hour before heading into the house because the conversation was just that awesome.

When February showed it’s ugly, cold face, it became apparent I was going to have to make a decision on if I was going to stay in Chicagoland or move on.  This was my opportunity to take that leap.  Around mid February I took an extended weekend trip to Ohio. While most would at this point expect “I fell in love with the area,” I was not that way.  It scared the crap out of me and I freaked out.  The thoughts that went through my brain would have been the same if it were any state.  How could I leave my family, my friends, everything I had ever known for the unknown?  Here I was about to make this huge decision.  I needed a little more time.

I talked to friends and family, they of course were all more than willing to give their opinions.  Some were supportive of the move, others were not.  I was happy to get their opinions, though when it boiled down to the actual decision, it was all mine.  While some would say my freakout would reveal true feelings, others would say I was just scared.  Either one could have been true.

I took the leap, because I knew what was waiting for me in Chicago.  I knew the next step, the next day, and the next year.  I didn’t want any of that anymore.  I wanted a new  beginning, I wanted a new start, I wanted to see what could be offered to me in Ohio.  

I’m happy with my decision.  I have peace and quiet.  I have new sights and experiences.  Did I move for someone?  Yes I did.  I moved for myself.  He’s great but if there is one thing people have shown me, it’s that you never know when they’ll disappear from your life entirely.  So while he may have sparked my interest in moving to Ohio, this move was for me. In the end, that is all that matters.

To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.
Arundhati Roy (via sorakeem)

(Source: infinitives)

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