Thursday, November 17, 2005

Can Over-Analyzation Lead To Brain Tumors? Because My Head Hurts.

The thing is, I'm really not that good about letting people back in. Once you're out, you stay out.

This is probably why my cats are Indoor Cats. I fear the diseases, the broken glass and the crack-ho kitties that roam the neighborhood. More importantly, what if the crack-ho kitties were a bad influence on my precious felines? What if my kitties come back home and they don't love me as much as they did, having seen the big wide world with cool trees to climb and birds to chase? What if they come back and love me just the same but I can't bring myself to look at them after they've cavorted with crack-ho kitties and chased poor defenseless birds? The scenarios are ENDLESS. And so I keep them inside, safe from attack birds and syphilis-infested kitty-cat hookers.

So weigh your options carefully. Once you go out, you might have to stay out.

Prompting clarification of my stay-out policy was an email in my inbox this morning, one from a friend that I had effectively written off. Phone number? Deleted. Email address? Erased. She had made a decision to stay out and at the time, I can't say I was even upset. Relieved, actually.

Because friendships are a lot like music. You've got the Milli Vanilli's of the world: very intense, but full of fallacy and short-lived. The New Kids on The Bock friends: Also very intense, slightly longer lived and something you can look back on a few years down the road with a twinge of amusement (though the years in between fascination and amusement are spent denying the fact that you ever really liked them). The Blue Oyster Cult friends: you really only like one or two of their songs and pull them out on long car trips or during tequila-induced table top dances. The Three Doors Down friends: Ones you really, really liked and hoped would develop into True Greatness but came just shy of the mark. And finally, The Cure friends: They integrate seamlessly into every facet of daily life, be it table top dances, road trips, midnight trips for ice cream or sorrow-drowning glass-clinking alcohol-induced pity parties.

And the worst part? Sometimes you have no idea if you've got a Milli Vanilli friend or a Cure friend.

So the email this morning was a mild surprise, to say the least. I haven't responded, not really knowing what to say. She initiated a reconciliation of sorts and I'm not entirely sure I want to participate. There was a reason things happened as they did. I hadn't really liked the person she'd grown into and she may very well say the same about me. I hated the fact that I had to remind myself to call her each week. But not everything was bad about the friendship; I felt comfortable with her presence the majority of the time. I appreciate people with whom I can just sit, no pressure to make idle conversation or chit chat. And there was the advantage of shared history- nothing comes close to being able to reminisce that time when that guy did that thing.

But as time wore on, I became more cognizant of one very simple fact: If I had met her today, I wouldn't be friends with her. She was so ingrained in my circle of friends, however, that deciding to NOT be friends with her wasn't really an option. I didn't hate her and I didn't dislike her. But I did dislike some of her actions. I found them hypocritical and contradictory to everything she preached to me, to friends and to teenagers with whom she worked. And every time I asked myself that question - would I be friends with her if I met her on the street - the answer was no. I wouldn't be able to get past the preachy and judgmental exterior and into the true heart, the good heart, the one that pulled us into friendship in the first place.

And now, two hours after first reading her email, I still don't know what to do. To not respond would be unnecessarily cruel to a person I once considered not only a good person but a good friend. And I still think she's a good person-- just maybe a good person who hasn't managed to reconcile what she WANTS to be with what SHE IS. And what SHE IS is strong-willed, quick-witted, loving and compassionate. These things don't necessarily have to interfere with the life she's chosen and yet somehow they do.

And before you think I was the wronged party in all of this, rest assured I am just as guilty of letting the friendship die as anyone. I changed, just like we all do, and no one can ever guarantee that their changes are going to mesh with those around us. And I deliberately goaded her, trying to force her to realize that the part of herself I thought she was trying to hide was nothing, absolutely NOTHING, of which to be ashamed. But I had no right to do that. I thought I was acting with her best interests in mind and all I really did was embarrass her. I felt like she had to squash the real me when I was around her other friends for fear of me offending them and their delicate sensibilities. I could tell my very presence made her tense when we were around certain people and after a time I began to exploit that. Again, I had no right to do things that way. I should have tried to talk to her first but I was terrified of how that would turn out. Afraid it would escalate into something I couldn't control, putting us exactly where we ended up anyway.

So what now? I don't want the fact that we've had months to cool off, wearing down the edges of our dislike and anger to fool us into thinking it's time to hug and be friends. I do miss her, in a strange way. I miss the friends we were before that indefinable moment blew in and we became obligations. And though I'm no longer annoyed at her behavior and she's indicated she's "no longer mad, only sad", I'm scared my thoughts have turned more to apathy than sadness.

And what I'm truly afraid of is seeing her again and feeling nothing more than that. Just apathy. Indifference. And having to force a smile and a hug for the sake of public observance. What if she's still the person whose actions I'd come to dislike? What if I'm still the person whose actions she'd come to dislike?

What if to infinity.


Carl from L.A. said...

Here are some things that I've learned growing up:

1. Friends ain't families. They come and go. People grow apart - nothing stays constant. We all have to move on.

2. Even the best and the most intense friendship may not withstand the test of time. Even you may decide to ditch The Cure one day.

3. If there are good memories -cherish them, otherwise unless "fate" brings you back together and a new friendship develops, let it go.

Don't stress yourself out trying to figure out whether the horse is still dead.

Crack-ho kitties...roflmao...

meghansdiscontent said...

You know what I think on this. I still haven't called said Friend back from last weekend.

I think we have the right to write her off. . . particularly since it's been on our minds for years now that perhaps our friendship was dead a long time ago but we maintained it because of the past.

sqg said...

my god girl! Now my head hurts!?! -lol

Answer: point her to your blog and let her read your post. That should take care of your indecisiveness. :)

meghansdiscontent said...

Uh . . .so yea, now that I read her actual email to you . . screw the bitch.

Can't BELIEVE she badmouthed me "not calling back" . . psycho HOE didn't leave a call back number!!! What the hell was I supposed to do? Dial every bitch in North Carolina, West Virginia, BFE, where the hell ever God told her to move????

trueborn said...

I happen to really like your analogy. It fits very well, I'd just add one more to the group, the Sinatra's. The people who will go to war with you no matter what you did. If you're wrong, they want to be wrong with you. They have been around like Frank and been so good like Frank for so long that you tend to look past their associations with the mob. You love them and celebrate these friends for what they are not what they are not. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of Sinatra's out there. So here's to the Sinatra's of the world may everyone fond one to spice up their ho hum existences!

Nicole Fetter said...

What if she actually changed

Oswald Croll said...

Most friends are a factor of stages of life. As the stages change, so do the friends. Some friends, close friends, stick around for better or worse.... but we don't expect marriages to last for ever, why should friendships?

That is all the thought I would put into it......

birdie said...

that's the thing-- it kind of bugs me that i even have to go through this process. we outgrew each other. oh well. we moved on. but why try and resurect it? why cant' we just leave it alone? it doesn't matter if she changed, though i'll be happy for her if she SHE feels happy or content or whatever-- but i'll be doing it from far away. i ended up being more concerned with how i was going to make her feel in my return email-- which wasn't going to be as happy-go-lucky-let's-make-light-of-all-that's-happened. i don't want to actually HURT her and i didn't know how to tell her that.
and os, you're right. friends come in stages, some stick through stages, some don't.

Ang said...

GREAT analogy!!! It's true, some of the most intense friendships just fade out! Don't forget about the Foo Fighter friends. You met them through someone else, and thougth they were alright, but nothing special. Years later they are still around and someone you enjoy listening to.

ummm carl...careful what you say about the cure! Some people will NEVER decide to ditch the cure.

Carl from L.A. said...

I should know better than to f*** with The Cure.

Joey said...

I've tried to resurrect an old friendship - it didn't happen. We grew apart we changed... and we both ended up being ok with that.

Let sleeping dogs lie...

mango said...

I'm not sure what you should do in this situation - only you know the facts so only you can decide.

What I do want to say though, is that my three best friends are all people who there is NO WAY I would be friends with now if we met. My God, one has fake boobs and works in a glamour job, one is a radical feminist and the other is a total fashionista... but despite our very different lifestyles, I love those three people possibly more than anyone in the world - it's our differences and shared histories that make my relationship with each of them strong. And they all bring very diverse perspectives into my life, which I cherish.