Friends, family, and feelings

When I started writing this post yesterday it was a recounting of a friendship that is no more. It opened with details about how we became friends, some things we had done together, and then moved into my slowly dawning realization that the friendship was over. For whatever reasons, my former friend ended our relationship this year by ghosting me.

The loss of this friendship has been in my mind a lot lately for various reasons. I feel sad about it, and even shed some tears on Christmas Day. But I had to stop writing to get to an appointment, and when I returned home I had other things to do. Instead of writing, I thought more about the situation as I did my chores, and I’m glad I did.

Because as I reflected more on what I was feeling, I realized my sadness was about more than just losing one friend: it was about feeling rejected and unloved by other people, in general.

It was about how my mother never wants to spend more than two minutes on the phone with me.

It was about not being able to reach my father on the phone so I could wish him Merry Christmas.

It was about realizing that the attractive bartender that I had met a few weeks ago wasn’t interested in me, just being flirty because that was his way of relating.

It was about feeling unattractive and unlovable with my wonky eye and overweight body.

It was about feeling unwanted and unappreciated in my current work group.

It was about dealing with the slow decline of my beloved dog’s health and the fear that I would be losing her — my one constant companion who showers me with unconditional love — soon.

I’m glad that I didn’t finish the first version of this post and that I was able to figure out what was really going on in my head. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to the point where I don’t feel unlovable, but I try to remind myself that isn’t a sweeping generalization.

After all, I was welcomed to a warm and festive family dinner and gathering on Christmas Day with a former neighbor and friend. Last night I attended the annual Boxing Day party thrown by another former neighbor and friend. And tonight I will be visiting with yet another friend and enjoying a delicious meal in her home.

There are people who like me and value me, and I just need to focus on them and not dwell on loss and pain. I’m working on it, and that’s a good thing.

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6 thoughts on “Friends, family, and feelings

  1. I highly believe in the fake it until you make it motto.

    My life improved immensely when I did 2 things. When I stopped engaging family members that were a source of stress and drama. Second, I pretended to be confident and worked things in the background until I finally got to the point when I became so.

    There are things in your life that you can control and those that you cannot. When I was in college I realized most of my peers had done so much more than I had and had such rich life experiences. (Their families had money, so they did sports, traveled, etc). I wanted to become more worldly so I learned new sports and travelled once I had the means to. I eventually caught up and surpassed most of them in terms of adventures I Went on. That helped my confidence a ton. That I could do whatever I set my mind to do. The two goals I had were: learn one new thing a year and get my passport stamped at least once a year with a new place. They were simple and achievable goals but Think of how much stuff that is in 10 years. In a decade I went from being no one to someone interesting with life experience and stories to tell and viola, confidence emerged. This can also be applied to work stuff too in terms of skill building etc.

    If you want more meaningful relationships, then be there for someone who needs it. Host a get together instead of waiting to get invited to one. Organize things to do. Even social people can be lazy and it’s nice to spread the planning burden around. We are the hang out place in our little corner of the world and have been for over 20 years. (I used to be the last one to get picked in gym class.) Social life Change is possible but it didn’t happen until I figured out that it won’t magically come to you. It has to come from within. You figure out what you’d like to do more of and plan those things. Keep inviting people until they start showing up. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Not every thing will be a winning idea or good timing, so don’t get discouraged and don’t do things you think others would like. (Another big life experience). Do what you like, otherwise it is a chore and it will be harder to find like minded people to do stuff with. Having meaningful relationships does take effort but it’s worthwhile.

    Your values may not lie in travel. It may be something as something as simple as book club, gardening, knitting group or a hiking club. Today my goals are different than they were 20 years ago and that’s also ok.

    That being said, I am also struggling with my weight and that gets me down as well. It is both the easiest and hardest thing in the world. Eat less….but why can’t I? Especially since I was once thin, even underweight, so I theoretically know how to do it. It will come but for whatever reason, it is the thing that is the easiest to throw to the back burner for me because I like to eat and get comfort from it.

    Okay. This response is a post in itself. Just wanted to say, I’ve been there…in this exact place, and there is a path to feeling whole. It may not be the same path I took but it’s there and you are ready to start taking some steps on it. It is great that you are doing so much soul searching. You will find answers there. No matter what your stage in life, we should be always growing and evolving. Even if you can’t physically do what you once could, there are other areas to expand and explore. Good luck.

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  2. This post was really thought provoking for me. My response sounded a little preachy but when I thought back to why I wanted to change, it was because my mom defined herself by her suffering. She still talks about how my dad threatened to kill her and I was like, Ma, that was over 30 years ago and he’s been dead for almost as long. LET IT GO. But then I realized, this is part of her persona. The tough lady that has survived countless unspeakable evils. (Let’s add nazis to the list shall we). Even though my childhood was seriously messed up, I didn’t want to be defining myself as a victim but as something else. I am not saying change we should can who we are…just be more of who we want to be. I still tell stories of my dysfunctional life when asked but only to let it go, not as a badge of honor. It will be interesting to know what you discover.

    Ps. Don’t forget your blogging friends. We care too.

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  3. So many hugs. I know it’s hard to show from so far away and on limited fuel but I like you and value you! I can empathize with those feelings too. It IS tough to find and nurture good relationships as we get older and it never ever helps with our families fail to love us. First Gen American has a lot of great thoughts to cherry pick from and I’m going to try a couple of them myself.

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  4. All, I am so thankful for these comments! I do realize I have online and blogging friends who are a great support, and I’ve actually done really well building new friendships here in my new hometown. I was hoping to get across the sentiment that it’s hard to escape feelings that are deeply rooted in one’s past. (Perhaps, FGA, that’s why your mom still talks about her trauma. My mom always did the same, and talked about how horribly she was treated by her stepfather.) Anyway, I’m continuously making the effort to push past those feelings. At least now I can see them for what they are before they spin out of control. That’s progress.

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    • Catching yourself before you spiral – that is HUGE!

      I nearly had a bit of a $$$ meltdown last weekend but I caught myself before it went too far and you know what, I was super proud. It sounds like a little thing but it really, really isn’t.

      Deeply rooted in the past – this is where my scarcity mindset comes from. Also my insecurity about being liked by others, by not being thought of as ‘weird’, about my looks (my way of coping with this one in the past has been reminding myself that many of my male friends used to have a crush on me in our teens, which is…. not the healthiest way of dealing, I know, and it did used to make me question our friendship once I found this out after the fact but we’re now so far past all of that).

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