“We might not know we are seeking people who best enrich our lives, but somehow on a deep subconscious level we absolutely are. Whether the bond is temporary or permanent, whether it succeeds or fails, fate is simply a configuration of choices that combine with others to shape the relationships that surround us. We cannot choose our family, but we can choose our friends, and we sometimes, before we even meet them.”
― Simon Pegg, Nerd Do Well
Ok. This is going to be vent. Maybe it’s because deep within I feel lonely. Maybe it’s because ‘Wave X’ has made its planetary appearance, and with it has brought all kinds of solar magnetic waves scurrying about our dimension, mingling, mixing and yabba-dabba-dooing all over this dimension, and having its way with us. So, there are so many crazy interactions with our feelings, and emotions, and various changes are making themselves present in people. Some can seemingly handle this energy, some seem to want to jump out of their skins. Well. Maybe it’s just cause I’m getting older and feeling more that I have less and less time to dilly-dally with people and nonsense. I want to have quality relationships with people.
Since I’ve been ruminating on friendship, relationships and community lately, I know this is where this feeling is coming from.
I know this guy here. I would have said he’s a friend (or, was becoming one). He’s a nice guy, smart guy, a likeable (by most) guy, and even, a kind guy. He’s been very nice to me. We used to hang out, laugh, walk and talk. We were together so frequently that I think people thought we were an item. We were not. I could just see his soft-heart, and speaking astrologically, my having a moon in Cancer, am prone to feeling maternal and protective. He having a Cancer sun gives him all that room to emote and express and in my mind, gave us a way to bond. In the situation of being an expatriate, where I long for community and real friendships with like-minded others, I appreciated the potential of this connection very much.
One thing I noticed about this guy, though, was that he always said to me “I have no friends. I have no life.” I listened and ignored because it sounded like one of those things people just say, like just so much poppycock. He, at least, had me and one other person we knew who he could count as caring about him, his welfare, that he is on the planet. I can’t speak for her, but with me he could always count on me to listen, to show compassion, to care or do whatever I could to help in a situation. Still, even as I heard him make excuses for not reaching out, I figured that would change as our friendship deepened. He’d say, “My phone is not working…,” or, “OH, I pay xxx for my card and they are eating up my money. I’m not going to buy any more time…”. Stuff like that. I listened and dismissed it from my mind. After all, we all complain about the little things, sometimes. Right? It never stopped me from calling or writing him to connect and check-in.
One day I decided I would not go to a meeting that we both attended — because I was not feeling well, was low on funds, and simply not doing much in the way of the meeting topic. I sent a message saying, “Sorry I can’t be there, not feeling well, don’t have much money, not doing much else anyway.” I didn’t expect a call because as I said — he seldom made them. But over the days, to weeks, to now months I have not had even an email. Nothing to say, “How are you? Are you well?” Not one.
A mutual acquaintance saw him elsewhere recently. She told me that eventually, he sheepishly came over to her and asked of me. Said he hadn’t seen me (then), for 6 weeks. She told me that she said to him “What did you do?” He mumbled something and then mentioned “I think she’s mad because I haven’t called, but my phone mumblemumblemumble. When you see her tell her I asked about her.” Or, something like that. At first, I thought to respond to the message and then something got the better of me. Why was he passing messages to me? He had my email address (like so many others whom I had sent it to when I took a hiatus from Facebook). He had used it before. Why not now? If he was concerned about my welfare, why hadn’t he reached out to me by email? Perhaps I had overvalued our connection and I was merely an amusement. Perhaps to him, no one was really worth investing time and reach-back. Maybe he didn’t want real friends.
So…I refrained from automatically doing what I normally would have in the past, which was reaching out to connect. Remember this guy always said (to me) “I have no friends…”.
Well. For all he knew, I was sick, gone, suffering or in some other way indisposed. He would never have known except such news filtered down through the “gringo grapevine”, and maybe then, he would make an effort. I really don’t know.
I wasn’t mad. I felt hurt. He was one of the people I liked most here. As I wrote elsewhere, it’s hard to carve out a niche as an expatriate, especially when you meet a lot of un-kindred spirits. So, I appreciated our growing friendship. But this time something stopped me from automatically responding when I realized that there was no real reach-back. To me, friends reach out, reach over, reach across, reach through to see after a friend. They want to know how they are, what they are doing, share good and bad and funny news. I guess I take that for granted because I have such friendships back home. This potential one stung me a bit cause I had hopes for a new one here. So, this time I didn’t reach-back.
The thing is we are all damaged. We have all been hurt by people to some degree in our lives. Perhaps, we all shield our hearts lest we be hurt again. Through our behaviors we tell those who come near that “You’ll never get past this trusty gate”. We say silently of our hearts “Don’t worry, it’s just you and I.” Some of our wounds are old and have yet to heal. Others, fresh ones that will heal shortly. I am aware of most of my personal shortcomings. I work on them. Regularly. Continually. I still want to be the best somebody I can be. And I know that we are all in process.
I know I’ll run into this guy somewhere, sometime. This is a small town, and a smaller community of expatriates, and you circle back to people at various events, eventually. I’ll smile but I’ll be thinking about what I’ve written today because it takes some honesty, some effort, some reach-back to get to the level of real friendship. People are worth the time and effort to work through rough places, to come to understand one another more. The older we get, the less we tend to favor effort. That’s the beautiful thing about kids. They have an amazing spirit of adventure, an openness to learning, a willingness to try and fail. Gosh, we grown people need some of that. But some folk don’t have the patience, desire, or wherewithall to endeavor.
I work on the friendships I have. I choose who I want to have in my life. I gravitate to those with whom I can form deeper bonds. The way I see it, we are going to be needing each other more dearly in the days ahead. I do appreciate the ones I have back home. But they are there. I am adrift in a new land. Still, I tread on. We are independent orbs of energy spinning in our own orbits but our orbits intersect and interconnect. We were meant for each other.
Yes, people are worth the time, the energy. And I am worth it.
I know my tribe is out here somewhere. I know I will find them. If not today, then tomorrow.