Sunday, February 9, 2014

Friendship perspective...

Yesterday, as Bill and I were driving to his old friend's house, I was talking about a woman who was my "best" friend for many years.  That's what we called each other.  In fact, she used the term before I did.  There was a time when we probably could be considered best friends because we spent a lot of time together.  In all honesty, though, we didn't have that much in common.  As time went on, our interests spiraled into different directions.

Still, for some reason, we held on to the friendship, even though we weren't all that close.  Eventually, it got to the point at which we almost never talked to each other, except to share big news or gossip.  I began to write about it and, looking back on it, I wonder if maybe she didn't read parts of my blog.  She didn't tell me her latest big news, that's for sure.  I wonder if she didn't tell me as a way of punishing me for noticing that she didn't talk to me otherwise.  If she wanted to stay friendly with me, that was an odd way to go about it.  Or maybe that was her way of getting me to dump her so she could blame me.

Anyway, a truism was really driven home for me yesterday in that I "know" people online that have been much better friends to me than this real life friend was.  There are people I have never met in person who seem to care more about me and what I'm doing than this person I met when we were eight years old.  The reverse is also true.  I know more about these people and care more about them, too.  When you think about it, it's kind of mind blowing.  There was a time when I started to feel like a commodity… like she was collecting a quantity of friends and wanted me to be part of her numbers, but didn't actually care that much about me as an individual.  If I'm honest, I got to a point at which I felt the same way about her.

Another shocking truism that has been driven home to me is that I don't miss this person much.  For years, I called and wrote to her.  She rarely reciprocated.  I was sure I would miss her if she left my life.  But I don't.  I think about her sometimes, but it's mainly with dismay.  I'm sorry I spent that much time and energy on a dead end relationship.  I realize now that she brought out things in me that I don't like.  When I was communicating with her, I often felt jealous, spiteful, and competitive to a fault.  One time, I even played Bejeweled Blitz for a couple of hours, determined to beat her score.  Because whenever we played games, she usually beat me.  She had better grades, better SAT scores, and dated more often than I did.  I got the sense that when I married before she did, she resented it.  I finally realized after one too many chats when I felt belittled and angry that for some reason, she brought out the worst in me.  There was a time when I could swallow those feelings but today, I can't tolerate them.

In other news…

Today is my dad's 81st birthday.  I sent him a card.  He's pretty demented now, but my mom says he likes getting cards.  So I oblige him that, though I get Bill to pick out the cards.  My parents like his taste in greeting cards better than they like mine.  The cards I choose are usually too ribald for their tastes.  Of course, when I do pick out the cards, they can tell.

My dad is another person who has caused me a lot of angst.  He's my father and I love him, but we have always had a very complicated relationship.  We fought a lot and I still have a lot of lingering pain from those days when I felt like I wasn't the daughter he wanted.  I could not be the daughter he wanted, nor could I be a son… which I really always wondered if he wanted in my place.  I wasn't a pretty, petite, southern belle who didn't talk back to him.  None of his daughters have been like that, though.

My dad doesn't seem to like threatening women.  But his mother, my mother, my sisters and I are not what you'd call the meek type.  My mom is reserved and probably let him get away with a lot of shit in the early days.  She married him at 19 and, I'm sure, was a lot different back then.  She was pretty, petite, and classy.  She developed into a woman who doesn't tolerate a lot of bullshit.  None of her daughters tolerate it, either.

Eh… maybe I'll blog later on a lighter topic.


  1. i find it amusing when one or both parents don't like who their kids are, especially while they're still kids. At that point you're pretty much a combination of nature and nurture. other life experiences and personal choice come into play later to help mold you, but as children and teens, we're who our DNA and parenting practices made us.

    I doubt I'm exactly who my parents would have chosen for me to be, either. My dad got his med student out of the deal (actually Matthew made it into med school, too, but his performance there, while he'll make it through, may be a little less than stellar) and my mom got her musician, but I'm more stuboorn than either one would want me to be.

    1. I can't imagine that you don't make your parents very proud, Alexis. But it's hard to see that when you're the focus of all their attention and criticisms. I think many parents see their kids as extensions of themselves instead of individuals in their own right. So they have expectations and desires that they can mold their kids into someone they can be proud of. But, as you say, as you get older, you start to evolve.

      I'm sure my parents are proud of me on some level, though they wish I weren't an overeducated housewife. And they probably wish I were a size four, like my sisters are. Actually, I doubt my dad really cares much about me now, given his mental status. My mom is probably too busy worrying about him and getting them through the day to think too much about what her daughters are doing. Now that they don't live in the town I grew up in, what I do matters a lot less. If I were to bring this up to my mom, she'd probably dismiss my impressions as silly. She was never one for having these kinds of discussions. To this day, I get really pissed when people dismiss my thoughts or impressions as if they don't matter or I'm completely wrong. I don't handle being belittled very well.

      I did do a lot of things right. I may have had a raucous sense of humor and been way too outspoken for their tastes, but I never did anything truly embarrassing. I didn't have any really serious problems that cramped their style. I even finished college in four years, which is more than two of my sisters can say. I ended up with a husband they love and we function well. And say what you want about my lack of a defined career, I do have some talents and intellect that I use to some extent. I got them from my parents. In the grand scheme of things, they should be proud of who I am. Of course, it's hard for me to see that, too.

      Sorry about the self-centered comment. What I really mean to say is that from what I've seen, you are a remarkable young lady. Your parents have the right to be very proud of you and your brother.


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