Monday, May 31, 2010

My friendships might be like my relationships, but they are still an entity all their own

They say that life imitates art, or that art imitates life, but I don't give two shakes of a tail what they say. I'm here to say that I'm starting to notice my friendships mirror my romantic relationships.

I was going to sit and take notes about this subject, and then write on it, but then I remembered--I don't like taking notes. I'm the kind of person who will take well-intentioned notes on something, start writing about it, and then never finish. I'm best when I take quick notes in my head, and then get to writing.

So, yes, my friendships mirror my romantic relationships. And that's not good. Because I want to overhaul both those troubling aspects of my life.*

That being said, I'm quick with emotions. What can I say? I don't believe in beating around the bush. I feel like I have established certain quota that can quickly gain you access into my circle--like whether you watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special every year or not--so such strident criteria eliminate the need to wait agonizing days, weeks, or months to figure out whether you're good to go, whether we're in a relationship or a friendship. Some people call it picky; I call it knowing what you like and more importantly, what you don't like.

For instance, I'm pretty damn sure that a man who goes around referring to women as bitches or men who don't meet his standards as faggots is somebody I'm not going to be attracted to.** That being said, the same goes for a girl who spends all her time dogging out other women, talking about how ugly they are and how she looks so much better, or a girl who goes about complaining that all men are dogs and she's so over men. As far as I'm concerned, as friends, we don't have shit to talk about.**

Anyhow, I'm getting beside myself. Okay, so I'm the one who doesn't believe in beating around the bush. So, I'm quick with it. When I like you, I make up my mind pretty quickly. The only problem with this, though, is that when you don't take time to deliberate, the chances of your being wrong increase. (Yeah yeah yeah, they say follow your heart and shit, but my heart has been wrong before, so blind allegiance to an entity that can't see isn't really my idea of smarts, but I digress.)

Hence, I fall into the "honeymoon period" with people pretty quickly. Friends and lovers alike. With friends, we become bosom buddies faster than I can change my hairstyle, and suddenly we're sharing all types of thoughts, joys, letdowns, maybe even secrets. Because I'm so joyful to be bosom buddies with someone again, I forget all previous encounters, all previous hesitation about being that close to a friend again--I figuratively lose my damn mind and attach myself to this friend, wondering if we're BFF... should I give them the BFF label? Should we get matching bracelets to proclaim undying devotion?

Same thing with relationships. All of a sudden, I'm in like, and I'm hanging on your every word, thinking you're the smartest thing since Bill Nye the Science Guy, and I'm telling these same honeymoon period friends about my (unrecognized) honeymoon period guy. Because I'm so excited to be all in like with a guy again, I forget all prior hesitation with the opposite sex, I forget about what made me into a cynic realistic romantic in the first place. I figuratively lose my damn mind and attach myself to this person, wondering if we're meant to be together... what will we do for our anniversary? Do I love him?

I know, I know. That shit is ugly. It's so ugly I couldn't bear to continue the thought. But, the truth is often ugly.

But, when you fall into a honeymoon period so fast, the end of the honeymoon period is inevitably fast approaching. Because at some point, that person on the other end of my fantasy does something to shock me out of the honeymoon I was so relishing.*** Whether it's a guy I'm "talking" to (don't even get me started on that phrase) cussing me out for questioning his character and intentions, or a friend ceasing to invite me out, all at once, I realize that the indelible line**** John Mayer so infamously introduced me to, has been crossed, I just crossed it by myself, my feelings aren't going to be the same, and that friend/lover isn't the person I thought they were.

Now, that's not to say that this isn't a good thing. Usually in my relationships, this has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. All the foolishness of me mind-lounging in the sand, hand-holding a fantasy ends, and I usually get to know the real person I was failing to see. In one instance in particular, I ended up liking the real person much, much better than the person I initially fell in quick like with. That relationship/friendship thing has weathered the test of time not too shabbily so far.

But with friends, the rule becomes the exception.

I will leave you with this anecdote.

Though I've dealt with my share of relationship woes, my heart seems to have recovered from those much better than my friendship ones. (Surprise surprise to me.) When I was younger, I had a best friend, and I had another good friend. I still, to this day, haven't figured out exactly what comprises a best friend, but back in the day, the one girl came first, so I called her my best friend. Well, my best friend used to tease inform me occasionally about various things. (It couldn't have been teasing because it didn't make me feel good, and it came off sounding like affirmative statements rather than jokes.) I was informed by her that I a). was going to Hell because I wasn't saved, and b). that I wasn't that Black because I couldn't dance. Being the extremely sensitive child that I was, I never countered her on her assumptions. No, I didn't know what being saved was (another topic for another day), and no, I didn't think I was going to Hell, but I never said anything. No, I couldn't roll my ass in the hot and humid fashion so unfortunately considered an integral part of the "Black experience,"***** but it wasn't because I couldn't, literally, but because I was shy, and didn't like dancing, and to this day, usually only like all eyes on me if I've been drinking. But, I never said anything. I sucked it all in, and didn't say anything. And even today, my reflections on those things that were said to me cloud my vision of our childhood friendship, and the type of friendship we would have today, though we are no longer super close.

My other friend was bi-racial, and she didn't know that I thought she was so pretty because of this. Her light skin and "different" hair (though, looking back, her hair was just as kinky as mine), not to mention her smarts and apparent confidence in herself made her someone I idolized. She used to call me, apparently, in an affectionate manner, "big cherry nose," because my nose was "big." Looking back, my nose wasn't that damn big, and I've since gotten over my problems with my nose and thinking it was huge, but for the time, it hurt my feelings greatly. Somehow, my African-American nose (and how my friend saw it) represented how I felt about myself. Everything was all off, everything was all wrong, I was different, and not in the right way. But, I don't think I said anything.

My friends at the time didn't mean any harm by what they said. They were sweet girls, and they still are great, funny people. They had the confidence of childhood--I have since worked with children, and learned that the majority of them are fearless. They are curious little beings, and they point out everything, meaning no harm. They just like to point out their observations. Working with them has helped me learn this, and has helped me to understand that the childhood confidence my friends had was something I lacked. So while they were pointing out things that were obvious to them, I took them personally, feeling like I was being attacked; being dragged underwater by the current of my low self-esteem.

But, even now, I hold grudges easily against friends once I've been snapped out of the honeymoon period. On the surface, I easily gel with friends, but apparently, my friendship heart is much harder to break into than I thought. Once that line has been crossed with a friend, even if I've crossed it alone, things are usually never the same. Not in a good way, either.



*--yes, they are both troubling parts of my life. No, I'm not talking about everyone I know, so if you're reading, please don't assume I'm talking about you. Though, I could be, but don't be alarmed.
**--no, we're not taking into account the fact that sometimes you like people despite their presumed faults. Use your suspension of disbelief and pretend that it's impossible to do so, for the sake of this reading. (Yes, I've been attracted to men like that and I've had girl friends like that also. So, it's possible, I know.)
***--sure, I do shit too, but it's usually the other person who does something to shock me out of the honeymoon, because I didn't realize I was honeymooning in Cabo by myself, while the other person has been pacing it slow, never letting go of other friends, contacts, etc.
****--"My Stupid Mouth" by John Mayer. I used to know this song by heart, because it was the story of my life.
*****--unfortunate only because certain Black folks use this as a method to determine your Blackness, kind of along the lines of "if you pronounce your words correctly, you aren't Black, and you talk like you White."

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