The Break Up

11 Oct

I do believe I broke up with a friend tonight.

Let me preface this by saying I don’t do friends well. I really never have. Maybe it’s a touch of something wrong with my brain, maybe I’ve just got a short where my heart should be, maybe I really am a fucking cunt. I don’t quite know. All I know is that those hallmark-esqe loving relationships some women seem to have? I never have them.

I don’t much care too either.

I mean, there’s the occasional wonder about what the big deal is, and what I might be missing, but it all just seems like a lot of fucking work. Hurt feelings. Careful balancing of time for them versus time for other people. Lying-lying about how good that dress looks, if that purse is worth the 500.00 or if the recent boyfriend is good looking.

Sweet hell, it tires me out just thinking about it.

I don’t as a rule make friends with women, because I will inevitably disappoint them. I don’t remember birthdays. I cancel plans. I answer honestly if asked what I think of those shoes. I am an asshole.

But, in a moment of weakness, I made a friend last year. A friend I would hang out with fairly frequently, who was there for me and who I was there for, all that good stuff I suppose. I kept my mouth shut as I watched her basically chase her boyfriend away with neediness. I pushed myself to go out with her and her friends, despite my inability to socialize with anyone 25 or younger. I dealt with the weirdness.

But then, I fell in love.

I’m not good at balancing people. I’m not good at splitting my focus. I never have been-ask my oldest friend and she’ll roll her eyes and nod and bitch about how I’m just never consistent and she won’t hear from me for months.

I get…distracted.

And frankly, I’ve been fucking happy, feel like I’ve finally found a partner who meets me on equal ground, instead of me on theirs or them on mine. And I’m enamored and sparkly and fluttery and all those wonderful things, while at the same time stressed out about my mortgage and what to do with custody and figuring out what I truly truly want in my life. While working full time, and trying to have a little time for me.

I don’t have the fucking time or headspace to listen to someone without any responsibilities complain that they hate their life, while they do nothing to improve their life or lot. I don’t have the fucking time to explain, for the zillonth time that I don’t return calls cause I hate the phone, and that most of the time, it’s on silent and in another room and I don’t freaking even know someone called.

I don’t have the time to pretend anymore, because life has come to a roaring head, and most of all, I don’t have the time to pretend that I can’t tell that she hopes my relationship fails, and is jealous and bitter or…SOMETHING about the entire thing.

I don’t have it in me to have a friend who can’t understand the following is all so very true:

Your best friend falls in love
and her brain turns to water.
You can watch her lips move,
making the customary sounds,
but you can see they’re merely
words, flimsy as bubbles rising
from some golden sea where she
swims sleek and exotic as a mermaid.

It’s always like that.
You stop for lunch in a crowded
restaurant and the waitress floats
toward you. You can tell she doesn’t care
whether you have the baked or french-fried
and you wonder if your voice comes
in bubbles too.

It’s not women either. Or love
for that matter. The old man
across from you on the bus holds
a young child on his knee; he is singing
to her and his voice is a small boy
turning somersaults in the green
country of his blood.
It’s only when the driver calls his stop
that he emerges into this puzzle
of brick and tiny hedges. Only then
you notice his shaking hands, his need
of the child to guide him home.

All over the city
you move in your own seasons
through the seasons of others: old women faces
clawed by weather you can’t feel
clack dry tongues at passersby
while adolescente seethe
in their glassy atmospheres of anger.

In parks, the children
are alien life-forms, rooted
in the galaxies they’re grown through
to get here. Their games weave
the interface and their laughter
tickles that part of your brain where smells
are hidden and the nuzzling textures of things.

It’s a wonder that anything gets done
at all: a mechanic flails
at the muffler of your car
through whatever storm he’s trapped inside
and the mailman stares at numbers
from the haze of a distant summer.

Yet somehow letters arrive and buses
remember their routes. Banks balance.
Mangoes ripen on the supermarket shelves.
Everyone manages. You gulp the thin air
of this planet as if it were the only
one you knew. Even the earth you’re
standing on seems solid enough.
It’s always the chance word, unthinking
gesture that unlocks the face before you.
Reveals intricate countries
deep within the eyes. The hidden
lives, like sudden miracles,
that breathe there.

(Common Magic-Bronwen Wallace)

***

Emails were exchanged, and as usual, I am the asshole. Because I don’t try. Because I’m “basically dumping her for a guy”-because, I don’t know. Because I have said “this is who I am, and is who I have always been. Maybe I changed for a little bit, but I can only pretend for so long. This is me.”

I can accept that I’m an asshole. But then, I don’t get bloody excited when people in my life get distracted and fall off the earth for a little while either.

Someday, I question my vagina I really do.

20 Responses to “The Break Up”

  1. hodgepodgeandstrawberries October 11, 2010 at 8:03 pm #

    Ah. This is hard. I have been accused in the past of ‘dumping’ my friends when in the heated flush of a new relationship. But then again I’m not super-good at knowing how to nurture relationships with some people.

    My life is so busy that I prefer the kinds of friends who don’t need to be constantly in contact, constantly reassured. I like the kinds of friends who I can pick up with after a few weeks of benign neglect and feel like we just spoke the day before.

    You’ve been uncomfortable with the level of need from this woman before. This was probably coming. It doesn’t make it easier, but it may have been inevitable.

    • thordora October 16, 2010 at 12:01 am #

      Yeah. I’ve felt myself distancing from her all summer. Generally that works and is less painful.

  2. netter October 11, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    I’ve never been good at maintaining friendships. I’ve had few break-ups, but usually we just drift apart.
    I’m good at the short, intense, early parts of a friendship, not so good at the maintaining part.

    It used to bother me that I don’t have many friends, but then I think about the maintenance of friendships and I’m not sure what I’m missing.

    As I get older, I better understand my great uncles who were basically hermits. They had each other, the farm they grew up on, and neighbors and my grandmother when they needed them.

    If you feel you have what you need, don’t you?

    • thordora October 16, 2010 at 12:02 am #

      That’s what soooo many people don’t get-that I REALLY don’t give a rats ass if I have people around. Aside from the odd conversation, coffee every few weeks, I’m not terribly social. I don’t need friends.

      But, deviates from the perceived norm, must be broken, right?

  3. Jennifer October 11, 2010 at 8:24 pm #

    I’m a lot like you in that regard. I don’t honestly have time for a lot of needy female friends. My friends have families and businesses or alternate hobbies and we are not the “BFFs” that you see on TV or read about. We meet for coffee once per week (if we can), but all our lives are busy. The BFFs of highschool are long gone. My husband is my BFF and he is my #1, then my kids, the business falls in there somewhere and some me time, then, if I’m really really lucky, I can hang out with a friend. More likely get to have a phone chat with them.

    It sounds as if you are extracting yourself from an emeshed relationship because your needs have changed. If she cannot deal with that, then she is the one with the problem. Not you.

    My oldest friend, can say the EXACT same thing about me, as yours can say about you. We have gone years between communication. Even now, she lives 20 minutes away, and we rarely connect. I’ve known her since 1988 and still consider her a good friend.

    I think you’re more normal than you think. You’ve spent so much time and energy thinking you were nuts, letting other people convince you that you were nuts, that I think you need to start convincing yourself that maybe you just attract the nuts. Remember our convo over the summer about the “common theme” that a certain person was experiencing? Same thing. It’s NOT you.

    I know nuts, I grew up with it…I run the other way when I see it. You’re normal so stick that in your pipe and smoke it. :P

    Jen

  4. Bad Mummy October 11, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    I totally get this. I suspect we would get along.

    • thordora October 16, 2010 at 12:03 am #

      Stupid don’t live here. Hmph.

  5. Leanne October 11, 2010 at 9:42 pm #

    I always feel like a guy in my friendships: either I’m “in” a relationship with a fried (or not) or I’m casual and flit in and out as my mood and need strikes. And I can’t be “in” two relationships at once, so my intensely close friendships stopped happening when my husband and I first met and because intensely close friends (who liked to kiss! Haha!).

    I never remember to call people. I’m too insanely busy. And I get shy talking to husbands. Like they may be jealous of my having a discreet relationship with their wife. I would absolutely rather stick a spike in my eye than sit around with anyone under 30 who doesn’t have kids. It’s all I can do to keep myself afloat; I just haven’t got one more iota of energy to the care and feeding of extra-marital friendships.

    I’ve only ever “broken up” with one woman. It was more of a professional thing, though. But, the idea that hanging out with another woman could possibly result in that much drama just makes me want to hide in the house and never leave.

  6. thordora October 11, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

    Oh guys I’m NOT a fucking freak?!? Really? Cause Leanne, that’s TOTALLY me.I just cannot find the energy. And I’m sure it seems shitty but I just do NOT have it in me.

    I feel so much better y’all. Thank you. :D

    • Jennifer October 12, 2010 at 7:19 am #

      Either that or we’re all the same kind of freak and just don’t pander to the BFF fake holywoodish relationships that we “should” be having. I’ve met girls like that and I want to stab myself in the eye.

      • IfByYes October 15, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

        I think everyone defines friendship differently. To me, as to many women, friendship is about give and take, similar to a romantic relationship – you make compromises, listen when you don’t agree, make plans even when you’re tired and so on, and expect them to do the same back. My friendships are relationships that I work to maintain and are as important to me as my relationship with my husband, even though I would obviously choose my husband over my friends if it came down to that (thankfully, it doesn’t).

        I love Facebook because it makes it a lot easier for me to maintain friendships without too much effort. A “like” here, a comment there, and I have stayed in touch and provided feedback on a friend’s life, without even having to put my pants on.

        However, just as every romantic relationship is different, every friendship is different. Just because this is how “most” people do things doesn’t mean that’s how EVERYONE has to do things.

        It’s like the difference between monogamy and polygamy. If someone doesn’t want a traditional, monogamous relationship, fine. As long as they make that clear to their lovers that this is who they are and what they want.

        If you don’t fall in for the hollywood BFF stuff, that doesn’t make you guys freaks or bad people. But it is something that should be made clear and communicated to women who might expect it of you.

        That way no one gets hurt.

        • thordora October 15, 2010 at 11:58 pm #

          That’s the thing. I thought I had made it plenty clear how I was with “friendships”-but I suppose I hadn’t. If a friendship starts to feel like a relationship, then it’s no longer worthwhile. Sustaining a relationship for me takes a LOT of effort-which is why if I’m involved, I generally only have peripheral friendships that don’t require much upkeep. I know this about myself. I cannot split my focus, I cannot branch that part of my brain in multiple directions.

          People also change, and sometimes, we don’t want to take people with us. There’s an aspect of that to all of it as well that I likely didn’t handle all that wonderfully. But then, I’ve never had to basically dump a friend before. (nor for the record, have I had adult friends ever basically freak out on me. Disconcerting.)

  7. Marcy October 11, 2010 at 11:36 pm #

    Yeah, definitely normal. I still yearn for a BFF friend, but I think more and more I realize how unlikely and possibly unhealthy it would be to have one — what I essentially want is my own personal fairy cheerleader, the expression of my own inner self, and no person can be that for me.

    I still wish I had one or two local friends that I really really connected with — the once a week talk / get together kind. But mostly I’m content with the friendships I have — the really close ones with rare contact because of geographical distance, the local ones with occasional contact because of busy mom-ness, and so on — at least until a rash of facebook statuses and pictures show how many of my friends are doing fun things with one another and not with me, and then I get in the pit for a little while and then I get out again.

  8. Marcy October 11, 2010 at 11:39 pm #

    I should add that I’m usually the needier one — the high maintenance one in need of reassurance, the one who, when there’s a long silence, thinks it might be a message that the other person is done politely tolerating me and that I should leave them alone so they don’t have to tell me so more directly. I’m working on it — I really am; I understand that insecurity is not any nicer to be with than arrogance is.

    I also smell need / cling from a great distance and run like hell when I smell it.

    I like to matter — but not too much, and not too little.

  9. Deer Baby October 12, 2010 at 10:23 am #

    If she can’t see how you’re all fluttery and sparkly and feel glad for you, then seriously, she has the problem. To have seen you go from the darkest to where you are now is wonderful (even though I know you are still dealing with a lot of leftover shit). Perhaps she never really knew you.

    • thordora October 16, 2010 at 12:00 am #

      THIS. THIS is what has bugged me for the past while. I’ve had friends fall in love, with people, or projects, and it’s all good. I’ll be around when they hit the new normal. I’m happy for them-might miss them, but they’re happy, so I’m happy.

      It’s a rather horrid feeling to think that someone just wants you to wallow with them.

  10. bipolarlawyercook October 12, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    Oh, I’ve been on both ends of this– you’re not freaky at all. And lately, I’ve been more on your side of the equation than not, trying to decide what effort it’s worth to expend on friendships that just aren’t worth it if people aren’t going to give back in a way that in the end means something when it takes so fucking much to even get out of the house. You’ve got to pick your battles, and it’s not like you haven’t thought about it either, yanno?

    I feel bad being unreliable even when I know it’s my crazy and need to give myself a little slack in addition to it just being life, but– well– life happens. And I need to live it. Whether or not some people are along for the ride. And I’ve made new friends to make up for lost old ones– I’ve been lucky so far.

  11. Catherine Mackie October 13, 2010 at 11:11 am #

    I have always been the worst friend in the world. It always seems to me that I cannot keep up with my friends’ needs… When I was younger my ‘distance’ in friendships didn’t bother me. However, and here’s the rub, now that I’m fifty-something I find that I am gravitating toward making contact with all those old friends. I don’t know if it’s ‘cos my mom died recently and, even though we were not very close, it has made me realise that there were some people in my life who were very special to me at one time and I let the friendship die. So now I’ve picked up with some of those old friends and it is as though we last each other yesterday. No grudges, just pure joy that the prodigal friend has resurfaced. That, I think, is true friendship. But maybe it says more about them than about me???

  12. Kokopuff October 18, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    I found your blog through the Dooce community and someone had posted this as a different take on friendship…so all the Doocey (I pronounce that “Douchey” in my head) people remarked how cold and selfish you were so I had to come take a look.

    I totally get this. I have very few female friends…and prefer to keep it that way. The drama gets old quickly. I have enough drama at work and with my kids…I’m not interested–in the slightest–in someone else’s.

    You sound like someone I’d like to be friends with…

    • thordora October 18, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

      Good lord. Douchy is right. I’m a horrible mother and person who can’t have “normal” relationships because I grew out of a person, don’t do “girl” (note that I said GIRL) relationships well and don’t particularly care to?

      Ouchies.

      Of course, a couple of those women seem to be the type I’m trying to stay away from-the “it ALL needs to be about ME” type. I tried to stay in moderate contact, emails, FB, etc, but it just wasn’t enough. If a friendship is dictated from one end, it’s not one I’d like to have.

      But man…I’m a bad mother because I don’t desire to play this little game with women? I’m just…WOW. It strikes me that some women seem to think they need to be thought of, continuously, and if they aren’t, it’s a failure of everyone else around them. Perhaps, it says something about them?

      I dunno. Am I cold and selfish because I know myself enough to know who and what am I?

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