This is a chapter of a new book I’m working on. I’m writing as much as I can everyday for about an 1h and I decided to share the unedited versions here on the blog. If you’re on Twitter and you need motivation to write, I’m hosting a virtual writing session (#ShutUpAndWriteTwitter) from Monday to Friday at 10pm, London time.
Some people are quite good at maintaining friendships. Some even keep friends from their childhood or teenage years. Others, however, don’t seem to be so lucky. Instead of long lasting friendships they are more prone to have people walking in and out of their lives – people may stay over for a season, but never for more than that.
I definitely belong to the last group of people I just described. I used to think this was probably a sign that there was something wrong with me. I thought there was probably something I needed to fix in order to have long lasting friends in my life like everybody else seemed to have, because that’s what I thought reality was like. Today, when I think about it, I don’t feel the same way. I actually recall the words of a psychology professor I had during my undergraduate years. He cynically told us that the friends we were making there, at the university, wouldn’t probably last beyond our graduation. It rang true to me, I could see that coming for me… and yet I was shocked.
It seems we, humans, are quite good at idealising relationships and believing that friendships are meant to last forever. Who never wished to have a group of people gathered around a coffee table like in the so famous TV show ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S’? I know I would love to have something like that in my life, and probably you would too. I have made, however, peace with the fact that I’m the kind of person who is constantly changing and, therefore, it’s hard to keep the same people next to me as the years go by. It saddens me a little, but that has been my reality: one day I’m here, another day I might be somewhere else.
I feel grateful for all the teachers that came into my life though, and who left me with a little bit more of wisdom. I can’t deny, however, that it would be nice to have one or two people with whom I could count on throughout my entire life. It would be nice to have one or two people with more or less the same mindset to lift me up when I don’t want to get out of bed. It would be nice to have one or two people I could rely on. It would be nice.
In recent years I have worked hard on myself to overcome this ideal. I have worked hard on accepting reality as it is and on becoming the person I would like to have by my side. I have been working hard on pushing myself out of bed when there is only darkness inside my head. I have put in the effort to be my best buddy because I finally embraced the fact that I can’t control who is going to stay and who is going to leave. I have to meet such uncertainty with a certain degree of detachment and knowing that, more often than not, is never personal.
I, myself, have been a wanderer in people’s lives, if I’m totally honest here. I didn’t do a great job at explaining myself and I was rarely able to express my own needs. Instead, I waited for people to figure myself out. I waited silently for them to realise and correct their own behaviour. When they failed to do so, I chose to walk away. I chose to give up and I cut people out of my life, blaming them for everything. I took the easiest route. What a selfish and self-absorbed attitude.
Today, I try to do things differently. I try to be more responsible for myself and my relationships. No, I wouldn’t like to repair any relationship from the past, because I had very little to do with them in the first place. I would actually force myself into relating to people as they appeared in my life because I thought I had no choice. I let myself be trapped by the idea that I had to open my door to anyone who showed up at my doorstep. I thought I had to be complacent with people’s behaviour, even if that meant to be under emotional abuse. I could have, however, done better.
At that time though, I wasn’t able at all to look at myself and acknowledge my worth or my needs. I tolerated everything, because I was afraid to be left out alone. What good can it do to be together alone, anyway? After a good dose of suffering, being alone became a blessing. I gave myself a moment to reflect on what I had to change to be happier on a day to day basis. Learning to be by myself was one of those thins and it still is a lesson in progress. Among the things I changed are the fact that I no longer please or lose much time with people that are no good for me; I no longer settle for crumbs when what I crave are meaningful bonds, even if that means to spend time alone for now.