For the eyes. For the heart. For the ears. For the feet. For the soul.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Best friends need not apply.

Wikipedia defines a best friend as: someone (singular) with whom one shares the strongest possible kind of friendship. Yesterday I blogged about my heart being cold to abandonment and change. I dug deep into my soul and had a sleepless night trying to put myself in my old shoes, as well as other's shoes who are currently going through heartache. After all, how can you sympathize, nevermind empathize with someone if you can't yourself be in that moment.

Growing up, I always had many friends. My cousins all had sisters but they also had friends. My friends had siblings but there was always room for me. Spending time this weekend with a young boy who is an only child was interesting to me. You could see his imagination working overtime. Michael and I are both only children and I think that lends to our creativity. You had to be creative as a child to keep yourself entertained. My mom always wishes she had more children but I think there is something unique to an only child and I wouldn't have it any other way.

For me, the lack of a sibling placed more emphasis on friendships. It's odd because I am not someone who likes relationships to be labelled. Michael will often refer to me as his wife and although I am of course proud of the title, I feel like the label somehow brands me as his ownership and property. I didn't like it when someone would formally ask me to be their girlfriend. I used to cringe and roll my eyes at the corniness of it all. Friendships are different though. Although I find it odd at our age to introduce someone as "my best friend", there is a certain term of endearment about it.

Being a wanderer, I have always made friends easily but usually lost touch with people in my many moves and career changes. A lovely lady told me at my first wedding I shot that I have a natural gift of making people feel welcome and that people are drawn to me. I find that flattering yet ironic since I push people away when I feel they are getting too close.

I have often found myself in the middle of a friendship threesome. There was G&K&J with whom I was best friends with individually through elementary, highschool and university years. Moving to Toronto created a different path in life and I drifted from them. There was A&A who were great, but longtime best friends. There was C&C and then C&S who got close and welcomed me into the group, but being an all or nothing type of person, I never felt I could get to the level of friendship a 25 year long relationship could. There was J and all her sisters who referred to me as daughter number five, but blood is always thicker than water. There were my highschool friends A&H with whom I still keep in touch, but not having children keeps me out of the loop. There was S and her three sisters who once told me that she remembers a specific moment at her sisters wedding where all four of them were in the washroom, one on the toilet, one in the shower and two getting ready in front of the mirror, and she vowed that she would never need girlfriends since her sisters were everything to her.

Enter J.....

Josie and I met on my first day at a Pension company in Markham. I instantly noticed she had big front teeth like I did and a hearty laugh. We hit it off instantly and were inseparable for 8 years. We went to concerts together, nightclubs, cottages, went shopping, did nothing and everything together. We had deep conversations about our past, spirituality and our dreams...all without any type of judgement. We talked for hours at work, on the phone and I spent many weekends with her and her husband Eugene. They were parents in the city as well as friends. People found it odd that there was a difference in age. In hindsight, I think she offered stability to me and I offered a youthful and vibrant perspective. Our friendship was unbreakable. We never once had a fight. I knew how it felt to have a third party come out with us and want to be part of what we had and in our heads we both knew that there were no new joiners welcome. She got me, accepted me and loved me as I was. We experienced many many laughs and tears together. Something changed in her relationship with her husband, and something changed when I met Michael. I suppose she felt as if I no longer needed her as much, and I felt she was drifting as I quit my job. I refused to accept the fact that our friendship was transient and that just because I no longer worked with her, it could come to an end or become different but that in fact is exactly what happened. Sometimes, through no fault of one particular person, things change and fall apart.

She was to be my maid of honour in my Mexican wedding and once I became engaged, I never heard another word from her, other than an "I'm sorry" text message 2 weeks before I was to get married. She left her husband and left her friend behind to start a new life. She cleaned out her home and the only thing left behind was a framed photo I had given to her which read "Sisters". I have dug deep, admitting my flaws and acknowledged them however my many emails, phone calls, letters and visits have been met with nothing return. Silence is sometimes so deafening and absolutely gut wrenching.

There is something so heartbreaking about the loss of a friend. It leaves you feeling ashamed at the failed relationship when mutual friends inquire. It's not the same as an asshole ex-boyfriend which the two friends could berate together. When I see struggle between two friends, it breaks my heart because I have been there. Sometimes you wonder if it's reparable because what usually happens is the secrets and trust you have put into the relationship, usually come back in your face when it all goes sour.

I have many friends both male and female. I have a great friend in my husband and my mother. Of course I have the loyal friendship of my pets. I'm not saying I'm unapproachable or don't want to hang out with you. I'm always open to new relationships, friendships and experiences....but....if you want to be my best friend, you need not apply. I've already been down that road, I don't want to replace her and I don't want to ever feel that hurt that I still feel when looking at photos or digging deep in my memory banks like I did last night.

Two weeks before my wedding I asked Michael if I should invite Josie to our wedding, despite her absence over the previous year during the most important time in my life and he shook his head at my constant self-inflicting punishment and need to want to see people in their best light. Some things never change.

Do not keep on with a mockery of friendship after the substance is gone - but part, while you can part friends. Bury the carcass of friendship: it is not worth embalming. ~William Hazlitt


Suzanna said...

I am the only girl in my family, and I feel a lot like you do about friendships. I always put so much effort into the relationships I had only to be left behind or forgotten- and then I started to push people away to protect myself from that. Then I found a friend who 'got me' and I understood her. We were like sisters in my mind, but things changed and now we barely talk. It is very painful to think back on the history you have together and what your relationship has become. I'm so blessed to have a wonderful mom and boyfriend, and similar to you- I am ok with that. :)

Lisa Lumax said...

ah yes the loss of a dear friends love and companionship I can so relate to - i had a dear friend that felt more like family , then life changed and hurt submerged .... but i would encourage you to be vulnerable so you can blossom new closeness to people in your future. Never know - you might meet a new best friend or atleast meet another creative and glorious creation of God. Love your heart! xo love cuz Lisa

vanessa b said...

vanessa b says this " all i could see when i read this was how well you put things in writing..... when we hung out the night you met tom, and we sealed the deal with you photographing our wedding, all i remember was how you had tears in your eyes when you saw how tom and i were, you are a true soul and one that can touch the heart of others bella! thank you for writing something so powerful because it is what i have gone through with my friends who had married before me that i had since highschool, but i can say this, be you, and don't push away anyone, true friends do come along the way and the ones you end up picking after the hurt is gone can end up staying...... sometimes you have to let them fly away, but if they come back, they were always yours.... i don't have a sister.... but i do have love in my life..... and you can say this and be free, and no your not alone!" well said bella..... talk soon.