Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Good-bye to all my friends

Good-bye to all my friends. And truthfully, they weren’t my friends to begin with, and I think it’s time to just sort of simplify things.

When I was young, I had maybe one or two very close friends. That seemed to be all I needed. Then something happened, and more and more people entered my life. It was fun (most of the time.) For the most part they were fun to have around; it’s nice to be in the center of things, be invited to parties, but many times I sensed there was something missing, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. It centered around intimacy, the real deep sharing that friends, I thought, did. Like when we were kids, and your best friend knew your deepest secrets, and still liked you for it. That incredible level of trust that you had with a person, knowing that he would always be there. That was always missing. I thought at times I had found it, but I was wrong. So wrong…

I think I make a pretty good friend, in the true sense of the word. But it’s time to stop being a doormat. It’s time to stop letting people walk all over me in the name of friendship.

Sue has said that Americans misuse the word, friend, and that it throws many non-Americans. We use the word friend where other nationalities might say acquaintance. How sweet and naive, huh? In this day of MTV and reality TV, where the vilest, most base people are glorified, I’m looking for some reincarnation of Mayberry RFD. But that’s the way I am. I’m dumb and I'm naive and I’m a hick and I’m “a little bit country.” So what? I like who I am.

I heard a person say he or she was my friend, and I’d think they were talking in the true meaning of the word. I’ve been burned more than a few times on that. It’s taken me a long time to figure this out, because I never wanted to be harsh or hard or hurtful to someone. Rejection is a horrible feeling and I didn’t want to inflict it on anyone.

I watch my daughters and their friends. They are true friends to one another. That's the teen years. As we get older, most of us lose the idealism and dreams of our teens. But I think that we are our most lucid when we're that age. We can still see the world clearly, and we can see who and what we want to be. I know I did. I’ve strayed so far from who I was when I was 18, and when I really try to get centered I go back to that time, to my hopes and dreams when I was that age, and things seem to feel better then.

I think growing up, as it is called, is highly overrated. What's called growing up is really growing hard.

When one of my daughters' friends gets hurt, they're there for one another. They have understanding, and more importantly, empathy. They really feel for one another in the truest way. Adults shut off the feeling, because of the years of feeling eventually wears on them. They're cowards, and run from the pain, even though pain isn't always what they feel. They’d rather shut out the good because of the bad; they, as it is said, throw out the baby with the bathwater.

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