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Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

Another way to live

In and other uncomfortable topics, Friendship, home, Lawyer Problems, Uncategorized on May 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm

Some of my readers may know that I have three blogs: one for personal stuff, one for business/professional stuff, and one for makeup stuff.

That actually does not make sense.

At one point in my life, I was doing these three things separately and trying to juggle all of these different aspects of my life: my personal struggles, my growing knowledge of the legal entrepreneurism, and my love for color.

But, I’m all one person. All of those aspects are pieces of one thing. So, I’m combining my blogs into one blog. It’s foolish to believe that my clients, my colleagues, my family, and my friends, and absolute strangers won’t somehow find out about my other pieces–particularly in this uber-linked-to-each-other’s-faces era.

My life is chaotic, and I’m done attempting to make it look otherwise.

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Loss of Friendship

In Depression and Mental Health, Friendship on August 27, 2014 at 2:23 am

It has been a constant theme in my life: the closing of friendships. Platonic, romantic, close, arms length–friends come and go to varying degrees. The closing happens because of a move, because of a difference of opinion, because of an argument, because of a misunderstanding, because of life changes. Sometimes, the closing is partial. Other times, the closing is complete and final as the slam of a door.

But, I have not gotten used to it. Ever. This last time that it happened–just so very recently–I forced myself to stop and reflect. As a child, I was told not to reflect on closed friendships. I was told to employ a “their loss” attitude and move on. I don’t have the Move On gene.

Being that it’s so fresh, I have no idea how complete or partial this closing might be. But, a closing it must be because my friend felt that I was (am) untrustworthy and said so. I was angry in a blazing-cursing-streak-better-hand-me-a-drink sort of way. I broke out in hives (I do that when I get really angry). I was/am, however, so extremely hurt. Having hurt and anger so close to the surface of me is a vulnerable feeling.

More than anything, I was angry at myself. While I would not hesitate to forgive my friend; I will probably never forgive myself. With each occurrence like this, I lose a little of my ability to trust myself when it comes to interactions with others. I lose a little of my ability to let other people in–not that I had a huge store of that ability to begin with. I scourge myself for trusting that person, for allowing any of the real me to show through. I forbid myself from talking to others for days. I take a small step back from everyone in my life. There is no one who is safe; not even myself.

It’s ridiculous to admit–but, very true–that I believe that I am the main cause of these situations. I believe to the point of knowing that my own huge anxieties and the shadow of depression that lingers around me together cause these closings. With a sureness that brings hives to my skin, I feel that my neediness, my presence, my sadness, my flaws are destructive. So, I take a small step back from everyone in my life. There is no one who is safe; not even myself.

Over the course of time, the losses have been staggering. Each time, I lose so much more than one friend.

Reunion: A sense of something past

In Choosing to see the wonderful #CTSTW, Depression and Mental Health, Encouragement, Friendship, Happiness, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on April 29, 2014 at 3:14 am

This past weekend was my 10 year reunion for Agnes Scott College. I was very excited, and it was a great weekend. A great many of the women with whom I attended school came, and it was something not quite nostalgic. There was a sense of something new: the chance to form adult friendships with women who are smart, accomplished, articulate. The chance to form mature friendships that I could not have formed as a young 20 something.

But, then, there was also a sense of something past for me. I did have good times in college, but (overall) it was not a happy time in my life. I have written before of how I dealt (back then) with deep depression that made me feel disconnected from other people. Strangely, though, I was brought into very close contact with people without whom I would have been unable to graduate on time and move beyond my stint in the behavior disorder ward. The administration of Agnes Scott and many of my friends made around me a protective circle of love, prayer, compassion, and faith. I’m forever grateful.

But, momentarily, I was flooded with questions like: why didn’t I…? Why couldn’t I…..? Shouldn’t I have….?

Is there a way to step, for a moment, back into that time and pick up the things that I missed? Or, can I at least figure out why I didn’t do this or that? I concluded, that for me, there is not a way to step back into that time. The things that I missed, the connections that I did not make cannot be redone or remade to be as if it had been ten years ago. For me, the best thing was to be grateful for the past, to be grateful for those who loved me in the past, to be grateful that I have a chance to connect with the women as they are now rather than lament that I missed the chance to connect with who they were.

This past weekend was a practice in living the now. And, I realize that I need to allow myself a healthy amount of grief over the very young and scared woman who was me. Until now, I mostly ignored her and the past. But, there is no need for shame, embarassment, and denial. After all, she eventually became me. But, grieving over her is not at all the same thing as resurrecting her. I cannot make her time happier, but I can work to make my time now happier. I cannot reach back across 10 years and make her experience peace; but, I can be at peace with who I am now.

And, oddly what so worried and saddened me 10 years ago was the thought that I would never feel happy or at peace. Some things do fall away into the past. Moving beyond those crippling thoughts and being the woman I am now among other women of the now made me happy–perhaps not exactly nostalgic–and glad to be with them.

Distance and Engagement

In Choosing to see the wonderful #CTSTW, Depression and Mental Health, Encouragement, Friendship, Law School Problems, Love and Romance, R[evol]ution, Uncategorized on April 21, 2014 at 2:42 am

On April 2, 2014, my boyfriend went down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes. He and I were by ourselves at this moment, and we went to celebrate by ourselves. In the coming days, we were quiet and savored the newness of the thing largely alone. Despite what movies and novels would have you believe, I didn’t have friends who I immediately called to gush over the news. Many of the women who I might have called for that reason have distanced themselves from me and I from them–perhaps due partially to this man.

But, it’s not a new distance among us. The drift had begun before he and I took real notice of each other and it quickened as soon as two weeks after he and I started dating in the summer of 2011. We met in law school, probably very early during my first fall semester since we both rode MARTA then. We were each involved in our own lives and really didn’t overlap each other. I was certainly swallowed up in the emotional and intellectual tides of first-year law school. At the end of the Spring semester, though, I called him to apologize for not coming to his graduation party. From there, we talked and saw each other regularly.

After about two weeks, we had our first real date and I met two of his friends and he and I went to watch movies at his friends’ home. It was all so deliciously normal that I began to feel guilty…..as if I was dragging this man into all of my friend-losing, engagement-breaking, prozac-taking drama. The criticisms of others had long before become the rain that watered my soul. Also, I have very little sophistication when I comes to relationships. Later that evening when he and I were alone I started to cry and all of THAT came tumbling out in (what I can safely assume was) a rather jumbled tale.

It was a little embarrassing at the time, so I can’t truly say that I remember it clearly as the significance did not dawn on me until later. What I remember most is how gentle and kind his eyes looked once he realized that I was serious and in some distress. There wasn’t really any pity and absolutely no shock in his voice or face. In those moments, he was quiet and listened. He said to me then what he continues to say to me now: that we all have our scars, weaknesses, and troubles. That mine were not worse than those of anyone else.

In the coming days, I watched for a sign that he thought I was different, crazy, soiled. But, that sign never came and it has not come. I did not recognize that I was in love and even if I had, I would have found it hard to explain it to my women friends. What I did know was that I felt comfortable, peaceful, at ease, and unsuspicious with this man–and those were things I experienced rarely then. Even though I communicate(d) in short, pointed, expressive, honest bursts punctuated with silence and he is more comfortable with conversation and words, he made (and makes) me feel an equal. I did not have the words to explain that to them–and did not (for whatever reason) search for the words to explain it.

I was, honestly, a little selfish in absolutely basking and camping in these experiences and not being particularly open with my friends about how I felt. The feeling of acceptance was such a God-send and I had no desire for anyone to remind me of the doubts I was slowly putting to death at the time. Maybe I was wrong to hoard that positivity. But, it was beautiful. And, it was mine. And, I had a chance to forge a healthy relationship with a balanced and open-minded person.

I took that chance, and I have not regretted it.

Assassinating cynicism

In Choosing to see the wonderful #CTSTW, Encouragement, Friendship, Happiness, Thoughts on Christianity on January 21, 2014 at 3:28 am

I hate cynicism. It’s snide and snarky only as a veneer to hopelessness and unkindness. But, I really like Conan O’Brien.

So, I’m a hypocrite because I have been feeling very cynical lately. The hypocrisy has nothing to do with Conan.

I rarely “talk” (that is, in person with audible words) about church or Christianity. I rarely talk to people with whom I used to go to church. I rarely enter a church building. It didn’t hit me until recently that when I talk church, or go to church, or associate myself with anything that brings up church….cynicism takes over and I become someone very unlike who I actually am. I become mysterious, closed, cowardly, inarticulate, distrustful, and angry.

I’m not that person.

Have you seen Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop? It’s literally quite an interesting documentary. I remember Conan when he first started with Late Night. To this day, he is as he was then: funny, sharp, sarcastic. Then, he got fired or he quit. Let’s meet in the middle and say he quired. He gave a lovely farewell speech. Apparently, he also hates cynicism. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/22/conan-obriens-heartfelt-f_n_433954.html

Watching him work through the anger and the disappointment of leaving the Tonight Show was overwhelming because at every turn, I could literally feel him beating back the cynicism in a triumphant process full of hard work and trying moments. He spent time mulling, then he put together a comedy tour, hit the road, rocked Bonaroo, and played guitar with Jack White.

I don’t play guitar. But, recently, I have seen or heard from several of the teenagers I used to work with in teen ministry. It’s been so refreshing. For so long, I questioned my purpose for having been there. I questioned whether or not we did any good. I questioned whether or not I had been helpful. I questioned whether or not church as it is has a legitimate and meaningful place in the lives of today’s teens and young adults. Notice I said church–that weekly religious gathering. I had questions, but not a lot of answers.

Getting hugs and e-mails and text messages from these people has not really given me the answers. I have realized, however, that the questions I am asking are not that important. I cannot allow the sadness and pain of the present dim the truth of what happened in the past. Allowing the present to color the past inevitably leads to cynicism about the future. I worked with some great adults and teens to try to provide a safe, healthy, loving environment for teens to come and learn about Jesus. We laughed and cried and laughed and preached and laughed and prayed and laughed and travelled and laughed and fussed. We laughed a lot because we enjoyed being together and we found joy in talking about Jesus and in loving each other.

Thanks to Conan, I know that just because I left doesn’t mean that I have to harbor bitterness. Just because I felt pushed out of that church doesn’t mean that I can’t find a place in another church. It’s pointless to rehash the past. It’s done. The hurts are there. The wounds are there. Healing is process that looks to the future.

#UMWFG: Friend dumped redux

In and other uncomfortable topics, Friendship, Happiness, Love and Romance, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant..., Using my words for good #UMFWG on November 3, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I’ve written before about being friend dumped, but at the time I was studying for the Georgia bar exam and life was an emotional roller coaster.

I found out that I passed the bar several days ago. So, I decided to revisit those feelings. Not surprisingly, things look different now that I am in an emotionally different place. I still hurt from those losses, but I also see that I have done the same thing to other people for both good and bad reasons (from my point of view). That realization has helped to move to a place of forgiveness toward both myself and others.

In my victim-mindset, I had all questions and no answers as to why anyone would do such a thing. But, now that I am in a more triumphant mindset, I am able to supply some of my own answers–and maybe answers for others, too.

1.  I THOUGHT WE WERE CLOSE.

There are areas and zones of black when it comes to answering any questions about human relationships. But, often times we WERE close. We shared physical and emotional space. Sometimes, however, perhaps *I* thought I was closer to the other person than I actually was. Perhaps *I* wanted to be closer to the other person than I actually could be. Nonetheless, we still shared some degree of connection.

I should NOT allow the disappearance of the friendship/relationship to diminish the closeness and connection that genuinely did exist.

2. WHY DID YOU LEAVE?

Sometimes, I left because the leaving was in my best interest. Maybe I felt emotionally dominated or suppressed by the other person. Maybe I felt recurring but unpredictable tides in the relationship that I just couldn’t decipher. Maybe I was trying to make some changes in my life that I didn’t want to force that other person to become a part of. Maybe I was changing and that other person blatantly did not want to be a part of that. Maybe I was just too immature to handle the weight of that relationship.

Sometimes, I left because the leaving was in the other person’s best interest. I do freely admit that I did not do altruistic abandonment very often. But, the times that I did, it was because I knew (felt) that other person wanted something from me that I couldn’t give and I knew (felt) that other person would not accept that fact that I couldn’t; that I was emotionally unable to deliver.

Sometimes, life pulls people apart. Maybe I was courageous enough to fight life’s gravity, maybe I decided to just be pulled away. But, I still harbor gratefulness, thankfulness, and fond thoughts for those people that life pulled away.

3. WHY DIDN’T YOU OFFER SOME SORT OF EXPLANATION?

No explanation is good enough, anyway. Truly. Besides, sometimes “explanations” turn into blame games. And, that would just leave everyone feeling terrible. Of course, that’s a cowardly response. There was a way for me to explain what was going on with ME without involving YOU. Also, in situations where I was wrong and continued to be wrong and knew that I would stay wrong for a while: it’s so much easier to just tiptoe out of the backdoor in my socks. HOW could I look another person in the eye and admit: “So, yeah. I had underhanded motives. Still have them. Will continue to have them. Sorry for not being sorry about that.”

4. DO YOU EVEN CARE THAT I AM STILL HURTING?

Maybe. Maybe not. For some people that I friend dumped, I do feel bad that I changed the locks, didn’t let them know, and now refuse to answer the door. I know those people didn’t deserve it, but I’m just too cowardly to reopen the subject. A couple of times, I have reopened the subject (but, years later). I felt awkward at first to bring up something from so long ago; I thought it would seem as if I had been ruminating for all this time (true); I thought maybe that other person would not remember what I was talking about; I thought they would curse me out. It WAS awkward. S/he DID remember. S/he was, surprisingly, mild and mature in response.

But, it doesn’t get easier to reopen to past friend dump.

Sometimes, though: I don’t care. Sometimes (in a most UN-WWJD way), I feel like I screwed him/her because s/he screwed me first.

5. I KNOW YOU ARE VAGUEBOOKING/SUBTWEETING ABOUT ME.

SUCH a 21st century problem. Yeah, guilty as charged. I did. Totally. Sometimes, I vaguebooked/subtweeted from the victim’s mindset. Sometimes, I did so from the dumper’s mindset. But, yeah. I totally did it. Like, totes.

6. COULD WE REBUILD A FRIENDSHIP?

Ummmmm (from both the dumper’s and dumpee’s mindset)…..probably NOT, but maybe. I’ve never really tried it. Is there a way to rebuild a friendship after a such a rift? In my experience, no. By the time both of us are ready to mend the rift, we’ve both grown and changed–perhaps into an appreciably different person.

Friend Dumped & How I Cheer Myself Up

In Bar Prep Problems, Friendship, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on June 27, 2013 at 2:48 pm

This one is long, and I’m sorry about that. But, it’s a shout out to all my fellow ex-friends. Warning: profanity can and does occur.

Tonight, I feel lonely and a little isolated. The worst part was that I had no one to reach out to. It’s like that at two o’clock in the morning. People, for some odd reason, want to sleep. Often, I’m told, this is because they have jobs to go to. What’s up with that? At any rate, I realize now that one of the major reasons that I am feeling lonely and isolated and overwhelmed is studying for the bar.

But, I came to this realization after an hour of crying. Relax, relax. I’m cool now.

You see the first thing I did–or mistake I made (depending on how you look at it)–was to think about times in my life during which I had people around me who I could call at unsophisticated hours. And, then I pulled the Go to Jail card of sadness: why is it that I do not have anyone I can call now?

Rather than calmly explain to myself: “Hey, freaking jerk. It’s one o’clock in the morning. People have lives…jobs…^%*^ to do tomorrow.” I went there–directly there. I did not pass go. I did not collect two hundred dollars (because if I had collected two hundred dollars, I assure you I would have succored my sorrows in the therapy of Amazon).

Then, it really started. How did I lose friends? What are the reasons? I consider that I am 31 years old, living at home with my parents, slightly overweight, and not technically a lawyer at all. I don’t have kids. I have never owned a new car. I am in debt to your favorite uncle and mine (Sam). My passport has one stamp in it. I don’t have a church home. I have about 30 days to wade through a lot of information for the bar.

Jumanji cookies. Who in the Mordor would want to be friends with such a loser? [Insert adequate description of the woe-is-me-Edith-Crawley melt down moment here]. I mean, I did all types of stuff that would never make me feel better.

Presently, however, I am watching The Wedding Singer. Why? How?

Because I realized that in my bar prep-addled mind that I am actually missing have a circle of close female friends. This has nothing to do with me being 31 (even with a rat pack of compadres, I’d still be 31). This has nothing to do with me having little experience abroad (even though I am sure I would make a TON of friends abroad in Eat, Pray, Love style). This has nothing to do with me owning a new car (although, the bff of my dreams might be a car sales woman). This has nothing to do with me being child-less (although, I am sure that having to support another human being would be just what I need during my current meltdown).

I was mourning being an ex-friend. I know that sounds weird. But, I have had friendships with other women that were severed in the fashion of a break up.  And, it hurts like a break up. Apparently, I should have dealt with those situations they way I deal with a break up. Therefore, I present a rant for your consideration. Was I completely innocent in the situations? No. Definitely not. If, however, you are thinking about breaking up with a friend: here is some food for thought.

You know, what? I realize that I didn’t deserve to be friend-dumped. That is a truly shitty way to end a friendship. We end romantic relationships that way because, for those who practice and believe in monogamy, we intend to have another romantic relationship and need to start afresh. But, last time I checked: one can have as many friends as one wants.

I mean, yeah. I’m dramatic. I’m emotional. I have a crippling temper. I have a *slight* potty mouth issue. I’m annoyingly liberal and annoyingly Christian at the same time. I’m a pack rat. I’m pretty sarcastic, too. And, that can be hard to deal with in a friendship. But, I’m also funny as hell. And, I’m always down for an adventure. I also like to listen. You know those days when you wake up and wish you could have a makeover? Hunty, I never met that moment and failed to deliver. Hallelooooo!

In short, there is nothing wrong with me.

Obviously, it’s now the next morning. And, what’s left is me being angry. Angry that not one of them truly knows the amount of emotional turmoil I went through and how much I still care and how very much I blamed myself and how much my ability to make and keep and enjoy friends has been affected.

Here’s the thing: when one breaks off a romantic relationship, there are generally those moments. Those arguments. That ending statement that lets one know that the relationship is ending and, sometimes, even why. Not so much with the friend break-ups I’ve experienced. There is no way to reduce the issue down to something between me and that person. Then, there are the subsequent friend losses after the friend break-up. Mutual friends have to choose. Usually, I make the choice pretty easy. I withdraw. I shut down. My attitude can be very much like a huge middle finger.

HUGE.

Did I mention my temper? My temper is awesome. I can go from first world problems meme girl to General Patton in an hour or less. I can drill sergeant myself back up onto my feet and get ready for hours of bar prep. Remember that scene in Forrest Gump?

What’s your sole purpose in life?

To do whatever is best for me, drill sergeant?

What an outstanding answer! You must have a scooby-dooed IQ of a 160! Now, get about your day.

Why don’t I give up?

In Encouragement, Friendship, R[evol]ution on June 21, 2013 at 5:07 am

Especially when it comes to reaching out to others, I often feel discouraged. When it comes to forming and maintaining relationships, I sometimes feel that I am in a black hole. So, why not give up? Why not retire to my own Walden? Why not just shut down?

Some days, I think it would be better to do so.

Then.

Then, I think about the fact that there is probably another person who feels the same way that I do at this very moment. I think about all the people who are in the world and lonely and in need of someone to reach out to them. I think about the days when I was really down and someone–a friend, an acquaintance, a relative, a stranger–did something kind for me and connected with me. I think about that most of all.

Then.

Then, I decide to pay it forward.

Pushing Back Against Anger

In Encouragement, Friendship, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on June 11, 2013 at 4:16 am

Anger will come like a flood through the weakest section of the retaining wall that protects your life. Something will happen that needles that weak spot and next thing you know: the anger, the tears, the self-doubt, the pity are all rushing through covering and obscuring the fertile and green places in your life.

But, maybe that’s just me.

So, maybe I’m talking about me. I have a weak place: my personal relationships. My friendships have for years been a source of stress. To be honest completely honest in a highly public forum (yikessssss), one of the reasons that I was deemed to be a good candidate for group therapy was my lack of long, close friendships that lasted through the various transition phases of my life. To translate that out of head shrink (c’mon…I kid, I kid) speak: I reach a milestone in life, and my ability to hold onto friendships takes a nose dive.

In this age of social media, everything needles the weak place for a person who sucks at keeping friends. People are talking to each other everywhere. All the signs point to most people moving through life with a circle surrounding them. There are tweets, status updates, instagrams, and four square check-ins that seem to underscore my weak place.

My point is this: most people (I’m thinking all people, but I hate making blanket statements) have a weakness. Maybe you have one. Maybe, like me, you get angry when that weak place is poked. Today was THAT DAY for me. And, usually, days like today turn into a 3-day funk involving me beating up on myself. But, this time I am choosing to push back against that anger and hurt.

First of all, I am going to consider that there may be a purpose for my weakness. In fact, I do believe that there must be a purpose for my weakness. Whatever the reason, when I drift away from people I am forced to do some reflection and enter a period of quiet. I often get back in touch with the direction that I am meant to go in. While I have lost many great friendships, I am sure that I have also been better off for losing contact with some people. Also, my own loneliness has made me particularly sensitive to loneliness and sadness in others. This means I’m a huge sap, but I also get the blessing of knowing how to reach out to others.

Next, I am not going to focus on the thought that there must be something wrong with me. There need not be anything wrong with me. Hard things happen in the course of life. I’m not the only one with this issue. This step is going to be difficult. Traditional logic will tell me that I must be the common denominator and that I must be doing something wrong. Be that as it may, but focusing on that will not fix it. Focusing on that is doing nothing more than encouraging me to give up on me.

Finally, I am going to promise myself that, no matter what tomorrow feels like, I am going to face it and remain true to myself. I am not going to lie to myself about how I feel. I am not going to allow myself to have a free pass to feel sorry for myself all day. I am going to love me and take care of me tomorrow. Bit by bit, I am going to shore up that weak place. Ironically, I know that’s work I must do alone.

The beauty of rejection

In Encouragement, Friendship, Love and Romance, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on May 25, 2013 at 4:51 am

The title is meant to be inspiring. Positive. A definite sunny side statement.

But, the reality of facing rejection and–even worse–remembering and reliving it is like looking at the sky from the bottom of a pit. There is darkness and depth all around and you know that there is something better and beautiful at the surface.

I battle the memories and reality of rejection from time to time. I used to be consumed and paralyzed by rejection. I felt that all of my important relationships ended in rejection. In the end, I came to feel that why try? Why extend myself? Why allow others to extend themselves to me? I hated rejecting others as much as I hated rejection of myself. But, once I stopped extending myself….I became Me-Lite. Less of who I am. Less of who I am meant to be.

Therapy and counseling are hard work. I had to face the reasons for the rejection–and they were many and varied. Timing wasn’t right; relationship was abusive or manipulative; relationship wasn’t about who I am or who the other is, but rather what we hoped the other to be; relationship was co-dependent; divergent growth; the season was simply over. But, it turns out that none of these are reasons for me to back away from being me.

But, mostly I worked on focusing on the people who loved me and the people and things that I love. My parents, who made it their business to see to it that I made it through law school. My boyfriend, who made it his business to work with me and grow with me. My family–both blood and bond–who make it their business to laugh and cry with me. They deserve to know the real me, particularly because they show that they will love me because of and, sometimes, in spite of who I am.