I’m a “boots and all” kind of girl. If I’m your friend, workmate, lover, mum, advocate, I’m in it till I bleed. I give my whole heart and will continue to take hit after hit. All whilst being remarkably low maintenance myself. A bit like a cactus, I will weather the most harsh conditions and merely need a drip of water to continue to grow.
Unfortunately it is often not until well after other people have become aware that I’m not being appreciated that I notice, but I keep soldiering on. It’s not a martyrdom complex, it’s the only way I know how to be true.
I know it’s a vulnerability of mine. It has caused me some real heartache and even endangered my life. But it’s how I roll.
So, I’ve been friends with this woman for more than half my life. I’ve known this woman since high school. Since our early teens. I am ‘aunty’ to her kids, privy to many of her family secrets and she is privy to mine. We are essentially family despite our differences.
I’ve been there through thick and thin, standing quietly in the wings, ready, just in case she needs me, but totally happy to let her run her race as she sees fit. Over the years we have been inexplicably linked, no matter how thick or thin the thread, the overlapping of lives, photos and memories.
We have different upbringings, different childhoods. That didn’t change our friendship. Many of my friends are from different walks of life, but that is part of their beauty………
It has become obvious, even to me, that the friendship started to decline a long time ago but I hadn’t realized. I was refusing to admit ‘time of death.’ In a way I still am. I thought it was another of her phases that she goes through, where I am not needed, not the current flavour. This phase has lasted longer though and shows no signs of abating. Even when I have bluntly asked for friendship to be returned, riskily putting my cards on the table, it was not forthcoming.
I have SOOOO much invested and am so entangled, that I hate to admit that it is dying.
I’m aware of the saying “Friends for reason, friends for a season, friends for a lifetime.” I just figure that all my relationships have the potential to be long-term. Until they aren’t.
I miss the friendship. I don’t like the expectations she has of me, and I do not understand how the relationship is meant to work or where I stand. I miss the woman she was when she was my friend. When she loved me for who I am, with no judgement. She is a strong, inspiring woman. Her laugh is brilliant and her sarcastic humor is insightful but never cruel.
I had known for some time that her priorities had changed. That she was no longer as loyal to me as I thought. That other people were more important than not just me, but principles, beliefs and commonalities that we had shared.
She is still happy to receive the benefits of my friendship, but no longer fulfilling her end of the bargain for me.
I hate confrontation. I will avoid at almost any personal cost. So there’s no showdown. No angry recriminations. And no closure.
No, instead I analyze what I did, did I do enough? Did I do too much? Was it me, was it her, should I have done this differently, or that? Standard over analysis. Then a random text will occur and I weigh every word she writes and weigh every different way I can reply.
It’s exhausting. I know she is no longer a good friend, yet I have loved her and her family for years. I will decide to give her another chance and then she’ll fail to ring or let me down in another way and then I’m sick to my stomach again.
Her daughters are important to me and I still love them. I still love her to be honest, but feel like I’m being sucked dry.
And is the space that she is occupying in my life taking up room for someone else?
Or will she change again and be willing to be an active part of my life again? I sincerely wish it were so.
It’s hard to hang on but very hard to let go too. Because what if she changes her mind, what if I am wrong and I haven’t tried hard enough, what if…….?
More importantly, I love her, and always will.
And I miss her. There will be a candle burning in the window for her, even as I move into another room.
Just in case.