Day 31 - Friendship, Crumbs & Gatekeeping
I lost my cat, my beloved cat a couple of weeks ago and it was incredibly painful. He was fine and then he was dead. It was awful and traumatic and I was a complete mess. My kids were a mess. My female friends were there for me: supporting me, checking on me, one of them even sent me flowers at work! (Thanks Deya!) My male friends, which include one man that I used to date, had the occasion to know something bad was going on. Guy Friend #1 (No, it is not you John) knew Max was sick and rapidly declining. Despite this fact, he never once checked up on me or Max’s status. He texted me multiple times. But always about him or things that related to him. Never about me or what might be important to me.
The guy that I dated (Guy Friend #2) but now have been good friends with (like talk on the phone every day and text all day long kind of friends) acted like an idiot by lying to me a few weeks back, giving me an inkling that he was not really a very good friend. So we have had some issues in the recent past and things are strained. However, he still continues to call me to dump all of his relationship/divorce issues on me. He continues to text me things that indicate he wants my acknowledgment and praise. He did ask how I was doing and I told him that it was a really rough weekend. To that he responded “sorry, hope you have a better day.” No follow up. No phone call to see why my weekend was awful. Weeks later, he hasn’t even bothered to ask.
Ex-date guy friend #2 and I seemed to find our way through the above awkwardness until Friday night. I was in a funky place. Feeling kind of low. Tired. Wrung out. I told him this. He made some trite comment and then said, "ok, what I really want to talk to you about..." then launched himself into what he always wants to talk about...HIM! It was at that time the phone connection got disrupted and I had a moment where I thought "I can just hang up. I don't have to listen to this. I can just end this." So I did. I hung up. He called back, multiple times. I didn't answer. He texted. I did not respond. Finally, he asked me to tell him that I was ok (finally concern) so I texted back that I was ok. He began to call and text the next day. I finally told him to leave me alone. I do not want to talk to him and I will reach out to him when I am ready. This may seem like a no brainer to all of you but for me it was HUGE!
Usually all of the above would piss me off and give me more reasons to think that men are unreliable and a pain in my ass. The above interactions with men have been typical for my life. The first demonstrative as to how I allow the second to become commonplace. I allow a guy to come into my life in the beginning when he clearly indicates that he doesn’t really care and isn’t all that interested in me. This is something that I really should have noticed like four decades ago. But this is how it starts. I don’t pay attention to what happens early on. I am not saying that I would ever date Guy #1. But if I continue to allow Guy #1 to be my friend, I am allowing another person to come into my life that doesn’t really care or show any ability to show up for me.
This leads to Guy Friend #2. He was at one point Guy Friend #1 but I didn’t realize this so I allowed him to continue to be in my life until he became a daily feature in my life that gave me very little in the way of support or encouragement or anything. Guy Friend #2 is a drain...on my energy, time, kindness. He takes a lot and gives little. This is the deal that I have cut for a very long time. Not just with men, I could really extrapolate that out to women, then people in general. I have fallen down this particular rabbit hole for a very long time.
What is the deal?
Why the fuck do I allow this dynamic?
Yep, here we are again at the same fucking place. I allow men or people into my life that take a lot and give little because I, on some level, must feel worthless. Not worthy. Not good enough. Desperate to accept whatever crumbs they offer because I want them to stay in my life. I hate writing that. I hate how pathetic that makes me seem and feel. But it is true.
There ARE people in my life that show up for me, care and add value to my life. We have imperfect, real friendships that have all the hallmarks of a good relationship: times when we are close, times when we are more distant, times when we totally get each other and times when we feel a little lost. Regardless of the underlying sentiment, we are friends and we have each other's backs. We can tell each other the truth even when that is painful. We are interested in each other and there is a balance and rhythm to our friendship. Sometimes I am a taker and they the giver and other times, they take and I give. There is movement back and forth. It is dynamic, flowing and changing.
The friendships I relate in this blog have become unbalanced. The lack of balance has allowed me to kind of "shelve" these relationships and people over to the side. I allowed them to stay in my life because my ego likes being an authority on pretty much anything. I have acknowledged to myself that these relationships provide me little but have remained in them because it is too much work to exit. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have made that particular deal.
I think for a very long time I have been more concerned with quantity over quality. I have allowed myself to be used for any variety of reasons. I participated in my own subrogation because I didn't have the self esteem to leave. Ouch, that hurts to say.
But it isn't the men. They do not exist in a vacuum. I allowed them into my life. I opened wide the gates to my life and provided them with a full access pass. I am the one responsible for all of the above. I have taught them all how to treat me. It is like I get off on not needing anything but then I do actually need something and I am so bitterly disappointed when I find myself with a lot of people in my life that profess to care but are nowhere to be seen. As upset as I have been, especially at Guy #2, I am most upset with myself. I am the person that stayed quiet for months and ignored the little let downs. I am the one that allowed all of this to unfold and said nothing or didn’t even notice myself. I am the one that took the crumbs and lied to myself that it was enough.
This year I have let go of a lot: dating, friendships that no longer serve me, Lane. The letting go has provided me space for new friendships and also more time for older ones. The quality of my relationships is better. I have more time for The Tribe, my children, my parents. I have become closer to a couple of new people and enjoyed the intimacy of new friendships. I have taken the time to evaluate why I am participating in a particular relationship, which is new for me. I was always a great relationship acquire'er, not so great on a relationship evaluating.
The growth here is that I am seeing where I usually end up earlier in the friendship. I am paying attention to the little signs so that I can avoid being smacked around later. I am seeing that I do not want or need a whole bunch of friendships to maintain, instead I want fewer but more intimate relations with others. I am no longer satisfied with crumbs, I want the whole fucking cookie. If crumbs are all that are being offered, then I will just pass. I am good. Thanks for the offer. My friend Deya and I are going to write a children's book for girls that highlights this dynamic for young women so that they can avoid spending all the time we did being crumb catchers. The title? "Keep your crumbs, unless you can give the whole cookie" Well, something like that.