Ah, a photo post. Had to happen sooner or later. Last week I took a family trip to the beach & had a great time simply doing nothing. It was wonderful. Now, I live five minutes away from the beach so it’s not the sand or water that’s a big deal, it was the time we spent together. We’re all on completely different schedules so it’s rare that we get to be together like this. & now I’ll shut up with the family lovefest & share some pics. Oh and no, everyone who went is not pictured. In fact only 2 people are really pictured, and then my legs. Whatev they’re my snapshots.
There comes a point where you just want to say, Fuck this all and fuck you too, asshole! I am at that point. No, I think I am beyond that point.
I’ve had mostly turbulent friendships through my entire life. Things have always been complicated with me. I lost a lot of my early friends when my family moved, and then I decided that I liked reading and writing better than most people anyway so I didn’t work too hard on building relationships until junior high. Then I went to 3 schools within 3 years, sucked at keeping in touch (this was before we all had cell phones, email, and all that stuff, y’all. Pagers were just starting to be cool but no one thought teenagers needed them in the real world) and lost a lot of friends. My world literally turned upside down in 9th grade and the last thing on my mind was friends so I slipped away from a lot of those friendships, too. As I graduated I made other friends and I’ve kept largely the same group of people in my life for the past 12 years.
But every once in a while, some of those friends would drop off the face of the earth. Individually, not in a group. Sometimes we’d have a fight but more often than not, there’d be nothing said. They’d just walk away and then after a few months or even a year or two they’d come back. Not want to talk about whatever made them disappear. And I’d just accept it and let them back in my life without question. It never dawned on me that these weren’t healthy friendships.
I thought that the problem was me. Like overall in my relationships. I became convinced that I was what was wrong. All of my choices were wrong, every action was wrong, etc. So I changed me. I changed almost everything about me. I took every complaint ever filed against myself by another human and I set out to change it! Instead of being inconsiderate I was almost too considerate, careful not to tread on any toes. I remembered everything and asked follow up questions and stayed on top of people’s events and what they were filling their lives with. I opened up, I shared things, I made no snap decisions. I didn’t listen to my gut, I asked questions and I let people tell me how wrong I was. I listened to a man whom I wouldn’t let dress a doll tell me how to dress because I didn’t want to start a fight and he was a friend and was simply telling me the truth and that I looked like shit always because he knew fashion and I just wasn’t being fashionable. I inquired about jobs that I don’t care about and never will, I held back when I was treated like shit and just said hey, don’t sweat it girl things will work out, I made myself available at any day/time that people wanted me to be. I took career advice from people who aren’t in my field and whose career paths are certainly not what I’d ever want to follow. I let people think that suddenly, I needed them. I needed help. I needed direction and I needed input and I needed whatever they had to offer. I cut out two people that I thought were purely toxic and added nothing supportive to my life whatsoever. I asked for specifics to work on and I got that feedback! And I made sure to never use certain words around people and wear certain clothes around others and do whatever I could do to make them happy with me.
And where did it get me?
For about six months, it got me some friends. Those friends came with lies. A lot of lies. Not told by me– I am compulsively honest. But I sat quietly and listened to people rewrite the past (that I had been present for so yes, I do know that you didn’t jet-set around the world with a band at any point in your damn life and I know that you never weighted 90lbs and I know that she treated you like dogshit) and I listened to them lie (‘Oh, I’m at work.. just ignore the fact that you can hear my mom behind me.’) and I ate it all up like a good little girl. I sat quietly and took the criticism and listened to everything that was wrong with me from the style of jeans that I wear to the blogging server that I use and I said nothing. I said that I was changing, was working on things, would be better. I calmly explained that “I’m sorry you took that the wrong way” was not an actual apology but rather telling me that I did something wrong and it was met with “psychology doesn’t apply to me, you’re reading too far into things” and more insults. Constant insults. Never a “I didn’t explain that well, let me rephrase” or anyone taking ownership for ANYTHING but always “You didn’t hear me properly” “You weren’t listening” “You did this and that when I said that and this and that’s why you ended up on fire in a ditch!”
And now, for a bit of time, I’ve had radio silence. After all of that.. nothing. They’ve just dropped off the face of the earth again. I can’t explain it. I did everything they said they wanted and I got the same result that I got when I was simply me! To go along with my new growth, I have reached out a few of them but I’ve gotten nothing back. And I stressed over it, and felt like dog shit over it and wondered what I did that was so wrong this time around. Why did these people abandon me all of a sudden, after months of literally daily contact? Then I stopped stressing and decided to just wait for them and be supportive because maybe they were busy and it was nothing personal. You can’t take everything personal, right? That was one of the things that I was working on. And then.. I watched Kevin Smith. And holy fuck did I realize something.
I had just made one of the biggest mistakes of my life.
I went about all of this the complete wrong way.
Did I want to change my life, and change parts of myself? Absofuckinglutely. There were so, so, SO many things that I wanted to change and I did change them and I love that I changed them. I am so much more relaxed and have a clearer picture of what I want in life and just feel better all around. Learning not to take everything personal was huge and something I’m still struggling with. Being more flexible, letting small things go.. those were great. I needed those. But did I need to compromise every aspect of myself to learn a bit of patience and understanding? HELL NO. Letting someone have say over everything that I did, all pieces and parts of me, letting me get lost in some sort of quest to build the perfect relationships was just ridiculous.
I really want to say that the past 6 months have been a complete waste but then I think, no, they haven’t been. See, I’ve always been this kind of ‘tough as nails’ chick who came packaged complete with 3 miles of concrete walls around myself so that no one could ever get in and hurt me, and I’ve really protected anything that I let get within those walls with every ounce of my being regardless of how healthy it’s been for me. I’ve let the fungi in, if you will. And I’ve finally realized that while I am not void of faults, the problem in my pool of friends is not that I’m wearing a neon yellow hippopotamus ring around my waist, it’s that the people in the pool would rather watch me drown as it deflates than offer a spot on their raft.
Kevin Smith does these Q&A sessions and in his most recent one he talked about how there are so many people in life who are “why” folks. The ones who you will tell something to and they’ll say “Why would you wanna do that?” and not in a healthy, curious yet supportive way but in the “No one else is doing that why the hell would you do it?” mean, insulting way. And that you need to surround yourself with the “why not” brand of humans. The ones who will shrug and say, “have at it!” “go for it!” “If anyone can do it, its you!” when you tell them something. Essentially- supportive people who are actually on your side and encourage you. I stopped in my tracks and realized that while a few of the fungi may be supportive of some of my career goals, they weren’t supportive of anything else and fucking hell- you need to support it all. All of this glorious mess of a person that I am.
If I do something wrong I fully expect you to tell me. If I hurt your feelings, if I’m lacking enthusiasm when you need it, if I literally fuck up the math when we split the dinner bill- TELL ME. I can handle it. I am far from perfect and I am ready and willing to learn especially if you are worth it. But understand that this does not give you the right to be rude, the right to put down something that I am trying to accomplish, or the right to walk all over me. You must support me, as a whole, functioning, capable, sometimes foolish, sometimes insecure, often spirited, certainly messy, and always curious mistake-maker. I’m a person too. I have goals and dreams and feelings and people that actually do love me and treat me right. And I don’t need any more people who fall outside of that around me.
And people who blatantly ignore multiple attempts to reach out to someone definitely fall outside of that. I don’t need a book on what’s going on, just a simple “Hey I’ve got some shit going on, I’ll get back to you when it dies down.” TOTALLY UNDERSTANDABLE. I’m here if you need me, you know how to find me. Simple. As. That. And I’ll be totally okay with what you’re going through and respect your space. But I haven’t gotten an ounce of that. Just pure silence. And yes, I do see you updating your social media guys. Trying oh so hard not to take it personally but really? At what point am I allowed to take things personally? I think this is the point. You may disagree and say that I’m being too needy but y’know what? If I have to understand that some people need to talk at 10pm every night, those people can understand that if you’re going to want to not talk for a long period of time, give me a heads up that it’s just something you’re going through. I will totally back off and wait guys. Well, not the current guys because they’re fungi but still.
I never thought I’d say this with sincerity- not to discredit the guy because obviously I think he’s pretty awesome but- Thank You, Kevin Smith. Thank you for reminding me that being treated like shit does not equal a good friendship, thank you for reminding me that what I want and need and feel and like and loathe matters, and thank you for reminding me that I don’t ever have to do what I don’t want to do. Sometimes we fall off the path and learn some shit the hard way. I’d say that’s what the last 6 months have been for me.
Just take these chances, we’ll make it somehow & take these chances to turn it around… -Paramore; When It Rains
I’ve come to realize that I am my own worst enemy. A long standing believer in the whole “life is what you make of it” theory, I have spoken to many friends about changing things for themselves, how they are the thing that holds them back, how none of the reasons (excuses) they were giving me made any sense and they should just, leap. Meanwhile I have sat in the same, safe spot for nearly 30 years, making small moves and slight shake ups just to convince myself that I’m alive and I can change things, but by no means taking the steps necessary to follow my dreams or better myself.
When I first realized all of the above, I enrolled myself in college. It had been quite some time since I’d been in school so although it may not sound like much, this was in fact a huge move for me. I realized what I love to do, I pushed myself in all new ways & experienced things I never thought I’d get to. But I also held back. I didn’t apply for scholarships, I didn’t enter contests, I didn’t show my work or put my name out in the world. Either I was afraid of rejection (unlikely) or I was just too comfortable where I was (dingding!). The future is kind of a scary thing, folks!
I experienced some major changes in my life over the past few months and I thought that I was to a point where I faced things head on, didn’t hold back, knew where I wanted to be and was working to get there.
Until I very intentionally didn’t enter my work in not one, but two possible shows this past week. I knew the deadlines, I shot photos specifically for them, I planned to submit them, and then I just.. didn’t. Shrugged & said, oh well! as the deadline ticked past.
I really, really want to kick my own ass for this. I thought being so self-destructive was behind me but I’m just as bad as ever, stopping myself from moving up, up & away at every turn.
They- the all-knowing beings in charge of the universe- say that realizing these things about yourself is half of the battle. Now I just need to make an effort, make better choices, take these chances that I have, and force myself to stop the sabotage. It’s time.