The old saying of “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” may well ring true for a lot of people, but I prefer to shorten it to “keep your friends close”, or, better yet, just “keep your friends”. Over the course of the last year, whilst dealing with the whole marriage break-up “thing” (it’s moved down a notch from being a “drama” or “nightmare” to just a plain old “thing”) I have never felt more sure of the friendships I have. It was one of the things that kept me together when all I felt like doing was falling apart. And I did feel like falling apart – oh Lord did I ever! I felt like hunting down a Medusa, getting her to look at me so I would turn to stone, and then crumbling into a million dusty pieces. I felt like there was not enough glue or safety pins in the world to keep me in one piece. But I didn’t fall apart (well, maybe a little bit – I think that’s allowed and probably healthy) and I didn’t crumble, though there was a fair amount of near-crumbling, lots of ugly tears (the snotty, don’t-look-at-me kind) and a fair bit of self indulgent wallowing. I mean, you’ve read this blog, you know what I am talking about. I still have the odd moment of over-dramatic despair and sadness.
And then it goes away.
And you know why it goes away? Because I am loved and liked and coddled and supported and listened to and cherished and comforted and taken under wings and looked after by special people in my life. I am so very blessed in that I have so many people around me that care about me. From my bosses to my Mum, from my school-friends to my work-mates, I am so lucky to have wonderful, nurturing, supportive people around me. I’ve never felt really alone, even when I was at my lowest point. There was always that little voice in the back of my head that kept saying “You are loved and you will be alright”. And that voice has gotten stronger over the years as I realise that I can can make it on my own and I can manage and survive and do what needs to be done by myself, because I am never really by myself. And I am so grateful for that. I’m as grateful for the looking-after-me friends as I am the kick-me-up-the-bum friends who tell me to get my act together and stop moping around. I admit maybe the latter kind of friend is sometimes less welcome that the former, but they all, in their own way, keep me together and make me a better person.
I admit I am not a sociable person. I could easily be a hermit who only surfaces, blinking and grumpy, into the light every now and then to stock up on groceries and make sure the world is still turning. I could do that so easily. But then I would miss out on being part of my friends and families’ lives. And I would hate that. Over the last year or two I have been guilty of having my head up my own arse (for want of a better, more polite expression) and have perhaps been a little bit less attentive and supportive of people I care about. Truthfully, because I was hurting so much myself and couldn’t see past my own problems and dramas and couldn’t bear to add another layer of unhappiness. But as I am coming through the fog of emotional upheaval, it is time to start being there again for everyone else and get back to being a good friend or family member to the people I care about. In some ways, to be honest, that is a little bit daunting. I’ve been able to hide away in my own problems, use them as a shield to keep other “stuff” away. I know people kept things from me, wanting to protect me in my “fragile” state and not wanting to burden me with anything else that I would have to deal with. But it is time to put on the proverbial big girl’s panties now and hitch my wagon back on life’s little road train (God, where am I getting these sayings from???) and deal with stuff, whether it be my problem or someone else’s.
Because I want to keep my friends close. And my enemies? Well, I am lucky enough to say I don’t have many of those, and don’t intend on collecting any more if I can help it. Life’s too short and time too precious.
I spent some time today with my lovely friend CW who has been a tremendous support to me over the last few years – through my illness and work worries and, more recently, the dreaded marital strife. She is an amazing person, and someone with whom I feel comfortable discussing life and some of the more esoteric subjects like karma, one’s purpose and place in the world and whether or not cake is a suitable food to have for breakfast. I have cried in front of her (well, let’s face it, I have cried in front of pretty much everyone – that’s just a given) and poured my heart out and told her my fears and worries. I don’t know if she knows that she is very important to me, even though we don’t see each other very often or if she is aware that she is a calming presence in my life and someone I admire and look up to. Because I know, with her, I can be me. I don’t have to pretend to be anyone or anything else. She understands me, or, at least, doesn’t judge me. And that is such a blessing.
So to her, I say, with much love and gratitude, Thank you.
Hope you are all sharing your weekend with friends and family or planning to do so soon. Life is short and time goes by so quickly. Remember to spend that time with people you love and people who make the world, your world, a better place to be yourself in.