One of the blogs I follow, Simmog at Inside The Life of S, recently wrote a post on the definition of friendship. I commented, she replied and I wrote one of my über long responses, (anyone who has gotten comments from me has gotten one of these! 😛 ) and our conversation motivated me to compose this post. Thanks, Simmog. You prove that inspiration is all around me if I just keep my eyes and mind open.
What is friendship? The answer to this question is as varied and unique as each one of us. At it’s base, I think we would all agree that friendship requires trust and commonalities. But there are so many different types of friendship that it is hard to pin down a concrete definition.
No matter, the denoted definition isn’t really the crucial thing here. It is my connotative view of friendship that I would like to address. I view friendship as a kind of safe haven. Spending time with friends makes you feel better about yourself, your life and the world in general. It is through friendship that you gain a sense of belonging outside of the family sphere.
When I was younger my dad was in the air force and we moved every two years until I was eleven. Because we moved so often I never had the opportunity to make and foster deep friendships. I have always been rather guarded and have never made friends as easily as my bigger sister, S.A. She has made a best friend in every place we have lived. My mom, who wanted the best for me, tried to push me to make a best friend, saying things like, “Try to make a new friend today!” as I was leaving for class or “Well, I don’t know what you want me to do about it, you are the one that can’t seem to make good friends,” when I was upset that S.A. got to have a sleepover but none of my friends could come. It made me feel like there was something wrong with me. Interestingly, I never had a problem playing by myself when I was a kid. I have always enjoyed some measure of solitude, but when my mom started pointing out that I spent a lot of time alone I started to feel like it was shameful to want to be by yourself. I hated coming home from school because my mom would always ask, “Did you make any new friends today?” and I, invariably, would respond with, “No.”
When I started school in the town we settled in I was in grade five and most girls already had their best friends. They had been going to school together since kindergarten and there were already rather rigid cliques operating on the school yard and in the classroom. I remember trying to figure out how I could be friends with one of these groups, or where I would belong. This went on for years without really finding a niche for myself.
That is not to say I didn’t have friends, I did. But I never had a best friend. There is no one from high school that I still talk to regularly, let alone anyone from elementary school! There is no one who has seen me blossom into a teenager, let alone the adult I have become. I don’t have a friend that I can count on no matter what and I certainly don’t have one that would come over and eat ice cream just because I am upset.
While I have always had problems fostering close friendships, it is worse now than it has been in the past. At this juncture I only have on friend I maintain semi-regular contact with. Since the beginning of this injury I have slowly been isolating myself more and more. There are all the reasons I have previously discussed in this post, but it is also more than that. I see my decline reflected in the faces of those I was closest to and their pity makes me come undone.
So, how do my fickle friendships translate into my restless relationship? Well… I think because I have not found a significant friendship, I cling to my relationships with an iron fist. I have a history of feeling not good enough and believing my friends were my friends because of what I could give them, not who I am. This mistrust translates into my relationships by making me feel like no matter what he says, he could love me more. Or, perhaps more accurately, I have been betrayed by both friends and lovers and this has led me to believe that I will never have a relationship where betrayal isn’t an option in the end. I feel unworthy of deep love, as I don’t love myself. I feel like if I can’t even love myself, who else can?
There is a lot of guilt associated with my current relationship because, not only do I feel like I can’t be loved completely when I am healthy, I feel like I have placed a heavy burden on C.’s shoulders by dragging him through my injury. I know that I haven’t ‘dragged’ him anywhere really, in fact if any one has been dragged, it is me down into this pit of financial insecurity created by him not taking responsibility for himself. I deserve more than this, and if I can only hold onto this conviction maybe I can learn to love myself.
On another note, the weather here has been amazing! Over 20°C (70°F) for the last four days! So I am hoping to get out walking with my camera so I can take some photos of the blooming spring again. Stay tuned for some amateur photography! 😛
xoxo – S.