Friends are a funny thing. I’ve been thinking a lot about my friends of late; who they are, how long I’ve known them, the things we share, laugh about, talk about. Most of my life I have truly tried to do the best by my friends and part of that is about being kind, honest and open. For me, the anchor point to a friendship is being able to communicate and understand each other, without judgment.
There are so many email chain letters going around about friendship that it does my head in. I don’t need to be tugged into the feeling of friendship by looking at pictures of puppies or two friends sitting on the end of a pier together. There are also a multitude of websites that will talk about friendship quotes, being a friend and sharing friendship stories. For me, and it comes back to a basis for how I live my life, friendship is about your intention to care for and love another person.
Nearly three years ago I decided to pack up my two very small children and leave a marriage which was soul destroying and destructive. It was one of the hardest things I have had to do mainly because I was making a decision on behalf of two small children which would take them away from situation where the family was at least physically united. It was a difficult time for me and has taken me a long time to feel back in my skin and satisfied that my life is again back on track.
The time was very emotional, often leaving me in a black hole of feeling where it was safer to not feel anything; I can do this by entrenching myself in doing things, most of which I am glad to say turned out productive. The sense of relief from leaving was immense. I knew that I would one day gain that sense of true self and today I am glad to say that is how I feel. But the journey was a rollercoaster and, looking back on it, one of the main things that stands out is that I didn’t really talk about it with my friends. And that period has set a precedent.
My marriage was a continuous drama. I hated that part the most. Nothing was ever settled. Nothing was ever easy. There was a battle for control and defensive language filled the room of our house. Walking away meant for me I could seek some peace in my life. Going back out into the world as a single parent, I didn’t want to talk about what happened or what I thought would happen next.
Interestingly in that time, because I didn’t talk about what was going on in my life, many of my friends didn’t ask. I was glad for this. Those who did I responded around the edges of their question but quickly moved onto the other topics which made me laugh or caused my brain to think. The distraction was lovely. Through that time I also learned that you could just keep going and no necessarily talk about any of drama or the shit in one’s life. You could just continue. But the bigger lesson is that sometimes not to talk about such a big element of your world means you just don’t talk at all. When last year took a different turn for me, again I didn’t talk about any of it. And now I just don’t talk to some of my dearest friends.
The thing I’ve accepted during this time is that it is ok to move on from your friends. Life changes, as do people, and so do the notions of what binds your friendships together. Looking back over the last 12 months there are friendships that have gone to the wayside and will never be retrieved but not just because I haven’t been talking about my life but because of other elements which cause things to simply drift in another direction. But I have realised there are some friendships which I need to try and revive. And that is the work I am doing now.
How successful I’ll be, I’m not sure, but sometimes you have to let things be taken by the wind. You can’t control the lives of others who may want to move on but sometimes a call, a meal shared, an honest exchange is all it takes to raise the sail to a further lifetime of wonderful shared moments.
And for some of the supposed other friends, well, I was happy they fucked off.