My best friend broke up with me today. I want to tell you the story, because I want you to know how I feel, but I don’t want to make her sound like a terrible person, because she’s not. She is a beautiful, kind, sweet, funny, goofy, sexy woman, a good friend and a loving and conscientious mother. She had the baby a few months ago and is now suffering a rather bad bout of post partum depression. Unfortunately she is using it as an excuse to revive some old and self-destructive patterns of behaviour.
I need to pause here and just say how irritating it is when you are typing and there is a major lag time between the time you press the key and the time the letters appear on the screen. It has been seriously hindering my flow of thoughts. Just needed to complain about that for a second.
On Friday night the aforementioned friend pulled some shit, putting several other people, including myself, in very awkward positions, having to run some major interference in order to keep her from destroying this beautiful life she has created for herself, her husband and their new baby. The life, I might add, she has always wanted. Let me just say this here. If she was pulling this shit and it was so crazy and out of character and shocking, I could totally buy the post partum excuse and would be coddling her to her very heart’s content. But the shit has been going on for years and years, and now she has a convenient little reason for it. The girl is going to bring it all crashing down around her ears and it is heartbreaking to watch. So I don’t want to watch it, and I don’t want to tell her it’s okay when it is not okay.
So I told her the truth yesterday. That I was angry and that I think she’s on a very bad path. At first she was grateful that I told her the truth, because I’m the only one of her friends that will, but then I guess she slept on it and woke up with a fresh batch of self righteous anger and fear, because the vicious emails came flying at me today. She is incredibly adept at lashing out when she has experienced something hurtful. So today I got to hear about every mistake I’ve made in our thirteen year friendship. I was hoping not to have the conversation over email, purposely had avoided it the day before, but when I got such an attack, well, I responded. I laid it out very clearly, and I’m certain that it came out sounding quite harsh. I always want to communicate my thoughts and feelings as clearly as I can, and I know that I can only do that if I stay calm and level headed. As soon as my temper enters into it I am capable of quite nasty things. I’m sure she felt I was being nasty, but I was careful to address only the current situation, and not respond to all of the cruel things she said to me.
For Chrisssakes, nobody knows better than I do the mistakes I have made in my life, and the flaws I carry with me. And any time she wants to address things about me that bother her, I am ready to listen. I’m not saying I always want to hear the truth, quite the opposite. Wait. What I mean is, I always WANT to hear the truth, but right when I’m hearing it I don’t always want to hear it, if you get my drift. I get mad and defensive, too, but I take it with me and think about it and am grateful that people care enough to tell it to me straight. I want to fix what’s wrong with me, though I suspect even a lifetime of effort will still leave me with unwanted traits. Having said that, you gotta talk about one thing at a time, and just because I’ve made mistakes doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to notice when someone else is fucking up.
We have, me and her, long been on this pendulum in our friendship, where I swing madly from hero to villain in her mind, and little in between.
Sufficed to say, her response to my response was LOONY TUNES. She tore me a new asshole for DARING to speak to her in such a manner, and what the hell do I know about post pardom [sic], (I nearly wrote a vitriolic email back to her telling her I may not know how it feels to have post partum but at least I know how to spell it, but I didn’t. But I am secretly vindictively happy to have said it here. Because I am actually quite hurt and sad and a tiny bit of lashing out is hard to avoid), and how dare I call her out on anything because she is a MOTHER now and can do whatever she wants. Then she ordered me out of her life.
So I sat with that, and I thought to myself that I was willing to risk the fallout if I thought maybe it would serve her in the end. And I thought, one day she will want this back, and I will be here. And I thought, I won’t write her in response to this, because it will be too tempting to be cruel, and I could cut so deeply. Instead I called a mutual good friend of ours and asked him to please call her and be sweet and kind to her, because I thought she was probably hurting very badly and might need him. I told him to let her say whatever she wanted about me and I didn’t mind. Then I called her husband and said I was sorry to leave him with the fallout, but that maybe when he got home from work he could be extra tender with her and that I wanted him to know that everything I said came from a place of love and concern. He’s a straight shooter and a good man, and I wanted him to know I was pulling for her in the end.
I went about my day, knowing that I was probably going to start feeling sad about it at some point, but actually feeling pretty calm.
Then came the next email. Remember, I didn’t respond to the one before. This one said she had forgotten to say a few things and while the BABY was sleeping she just had a minute, before the BABY woke up and she had to tend to the BABY again. (I may be feeling a bit bitter about the use of the BABY to raise her above everyone, like she’s the first one to ever have a BABY and to ever feel scared and unprepared and lonely and questioning of her decision). In this email the things she forgot to say were that I had never been there for her in our thirteen year friendship and it has always been all about me and she is tired of straining for my approval and she is lonely for me and too angry and sad to want to repair and salvage it. The idea that I haven’t been there for her in the last thirteen years is ludicrous, and I’m sure she knows is.
What is happening there is that I haven’t been there for her much in the last three months, admittedly, which I think I wrote about a couple of times in earlier entries. But the BABY is not my baby, and I have had quite a year my own self without having to take responsibility for her life, too. I’m actually still a bit confused about my feelings about all of that. Trying to figure out what is my job, my obligation, what isn’t. Did I desert her in her hour of need? Maybe. But did I do it glibly, and sit in my hammock, filing my nails drinking margaritas and laughing at her? No. I fell into a dark and troubling depression, and got busy up to my ass and had little energy left over to do what I felt was being asked of me. I hope that in the future we are friends again and we can figure that one out together.
Anyway, I thought that would be the last of it, but then I guess her husband came home from work and mentioned I had called, so tonight I got an all capital letters email, and I want to quote it verbatim, “DON"T EVER CALL [MY HUSBAND} AGAIN AND TRY TO OFFER YOUR "LOVE" TO ME THROUGH HIM! YOU MANIPULATIVE BITCH STAY OUT OF MY LIFE!!”
Before I even got this one I was starting to feel my heart splintering. I don’t want to be without her, but I can’t support the self destruction, and I can’t have relationships I can’t be truthful in. I have spent a long time trying to say things to her as tenderly as possible, and when it gets hard I get an incredible amount of viciousness thrown my way. It’s a bit untenable. Let’s clarify one thing. I wasn’t offering my love to her through him, I was asking him to be loving to her because I knew she would need it, and to apologize to him for the wake I was leaving for him to negotiate. Name-calling is just so unnecessary.
Thank you for listening to this, and for not asking for more details about what exactly the bad behaviour is, because I don’t think that part is necessary here. But it makes me feel better to get it out, and to get a couple of possibly inappropriate jabs in, you know, so my inner child is satisfied….but mostly I was just lying here, trying to sleep, and I felt this chasm in my core, widening, pushing all my insides towards the outsides, making it hard to breathe and making me feel unsure and anxious and lonely, and I needed someone, but it’s late, so in lieu of someone, I choose this, and it helps.
Two more things, completely unrelated to this thing. I am being clearly ignored by a boy, a lover who has been in my life in that capacity for a year and some, and who is moving away while I am in Toronto, a boy who just last week spoke so tenderly and sweetly to me, and drew me a bath and then got in with me, and then told me I was beautiful and made me laugh…a boy who I know has felt strongly for me. He is not returning emails and phone calls and it is beginning to chafe. I am annoyed with myself for not being cool enough to be ignoring him, too, but I would rather we could have some sweet time together before we part. It bothers me and it bothers me that it bothers me.
That is the first of the last two things. The last of the last two things is that my friend Lee walked me all the way home tonight after a very fun evening of improv comedy and team scrabble. He had already walked from Commercial Drive to Main and 8th tonight, then walked me from Main and 8th all the way to my house near Venables and Victoria, a good hour, I think, THEN he had to walk all the way back to his house, back near Main street. That Lee, he is a sweet man. We had a very good talk and I have decided to keep him. Lee is my new friend.
I hope everyone makes a new friend.