Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Maintaining Friendships in a Busy World

small things.

Yes, I am back on what is apparently one of my favourite topics to dwell on - friendship. I believe I have written before on the difficulty of maintaining friendships when you are sick all the time (I am leaning towards not calling it 'chronic illness' anymore, because I want to believe that I will get better eventually, and be able to do more. More on that another time) and that topic is something that stays with me often.
I don't always dwell on it, but I have days where things are really hard, and I think about reaching out, only to push that back down because of course 'my friends have their own problems to deal with' and 'they're probably too busy anyway'. In the case of right now, that's very true. Many of my friends are studying, so assignments are taking the lead in all areas, and I don't want to be the friend that goes PAY ATTENTION TO ME when I can clearly see that they are all going through their own stuff. (It's not nice to be that person.)

And I have gotten to wondering about whether friendships need to be changed or altered somehow in the light of this busy world. I am selfishly able to observe other people's lives and form my own opinions, and I am increasingly coming back to 'everyone seems to be too busy to even have friendships, let alone maintain them these days'. 

Yesterday, I found myself in a very dark mood for much of the day. And I fell into old patterns of not really telling people what was happening, because it might be bothersome, and just messaging them and trying to get a response. I felt attention-seeking and kind of gross. 

And then, this morning, I read an email from Lissa Rankin (find her here) about pretending to be perfect, and she mentioned something she had posted on her facebook:I grow tired of people who are so invested in their image that they pretend to live perfect lives, which only leads others to compare themselves and judge themselves as not perfect enough by comparison. Why can't we all just admit that we're perfectly imperfect- and that our imperfections and scars make us beautiful and unique and relatable? Just in case I've pulled the wool over your eyes, I am FAR from perfect. I'm in marriage counseling. I have hairs on my chin and stretch marks on my butt. I battle my own ego. I can be bossy and demanding. I have to tame my ambition to avoid being a workaholic. So please don't put me on a pedestal, and please don't put yourself on one either, since it only distances you from those who would connect more if only they knew that you were as beautifully flawed as they are. Tell us one thing about you that keeps you off the pedestal- one perfectly imperfect way thing that makes you real!
And I realised that that was what I was seeking. I keep bumping up against these barriers with many of my friends - not just theirs, but my own - where we are trying to maintain that we are going just fine thank-you-very-much and it's just so damn hard to get past those usual responses of 'I'm doing fine!' and 'we will have to catch up sometime' with no actual time in mind. And it's making me depressed.
I don't blame my friends for this. I think, in many ways, my getting sick and staying sick is really difficult for them to deal with. They don't know if I want pity or sympathy or words on encouragement to keep going. And my goodness if I don't change my mind with each situation, too! By being sick, I am showing them that not everything is perfect with me, and I give myself permission to tell them that a lot of the time, but I continue to fear that they judge me for being that way. Maybe not consciously, but I fear it.

So, here goes. I am going through a big state of change right now. I don't know what I am going to become, but I know that something huge is about to hit me. I get anxious quite easily, and some days I get really really angry about my situation. I am seriously tired of waking up with stomach pain, of fearing that my body is going to turn against me, of fearing that all the links in my support network will fail and I will have to force myself into a job I hate and can't really do because I need to support myself financially. I feel stunted in my growth a lot of the time, and I am fucking frustrated that I can't reach out without hitting walls.
I want to be a very kind and gentle person, but I curse, and I still sometimes laugh at snap judgements that I make about people. I didn't really like the way I look for years, particularly in high school, and I always thought I was 'average' in every way - and that was the worst thing ever.
I am tired of flakiness in people, and I am sick of relationships of all kinds that end without any closure (this has happened to me way too many times to count). And I don't talk about these things to many people because I don't want to become one of those people that complain about everything and can't seem to move on. Because, goddammit, I AM moving on. I am moving through my emotions and physical symptoms each and every day, and I get sad sometimes that I have to do it alone.
I am overemotional, stubborn, anxious, and afraid of my own body. But I am beautifully flawed.
What is one imperfect way that makes you real?
Love to all who read.

4 comments:

  1. A beautiful blog post Bethwyn. I really smiled to hear that you no longer refer to it as a chronic illness. I think the choice of language makes a huge difference to the world.

    What an inspiring writer Lissa Rankin is! I think I'll follow her on facebook.
    Also, of lesser importance, your font style changed after you copied and pasted Lissa's status message.

    I just want to say that even if people are busy, it doesn't mean they don't have time for you. There are plenty of people who aren't busy who don't make time for you. Your friends, when you need them, will often be there. They can disappoint us sometimes, but they pull through a lot, too. It's always worth reaching out, really and truly, and trying to connect with them (in person where possible).

    I found it really hard to post a comment on Lissa's facebook about my own imperfections. I was highly conscious that I was making a public declaration of some characteristic of myself that I was ashamed of. It's easy to say something like "I'm often selfish but working to care more about others" because in the end, you're still a good guy for trying. But it's hard, really hard, to say "I cut people out of my life because I don't like the way I feel when I'm with them", or something equally revolting about myself. I think this openness with parts of myself that I find repulsive is something I'm going to have to work on.

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    1. I think sometimes I still slip up and call it that, just because it's something people can understand.

      I know... I was just too tired to try and fix it. I had a go, but it wanted to stay that way so I let it :P

      I actually really support the idea of distancing yourself from people that make you feel icky. Friendships go through ups and downs, yes, but if someone consistently makes you feel bad about yourself, I don't understand why you would torture yourself by continuing to spend time with them. Ultimately it can't be beneficial for either of you.

      Thanks for commenting, love <3

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  2. Oh ohh, I relate to this post very much, all I can do is empathise. Can't wait to see you this month ♥ It's been too long *hug*

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    1. I'm glad it makes sense and that others can relate to it!
      Looking forward to seeing you too, lovely :) >cuddles<

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