How can anyone who claims to love me and wish me well break my heart? I’m not the kind of friend who rejects. I believe in the good in people, I do what I can to support my friends, forgive them their faults, believe in them when they don’t even believe in their self, stand with them while they face their obstacles, and listen to them on the phone during their states of distress. I’ve been there from the beginning, been there when at their worst and best, endured their temper, hugged them even when they stank, kissed their dirty cheeks, even cleaned their faces and bodies when they’ve been sick. I have lied next to them while they couldn’t sleep, wept with them when they were hurt, and wished I could be there where ever they are when they have suffered all lone far away from me, leaving me feeling helpless and distressed over them. I’ve sacrificed my own health and comfort to make sure my friends are well, and I do not ask for anything in return, only that we remain friends, stay in touch, somehow…
But then there are times when I am the one who is in distress. I have my terrible moments of overwhelming emotion, and it is during these times when I ask for support I find out who are my true friends, or at least those who are truly the strong and helpful. As a rule, I do not turn to my friends for psychiatric support. I’ve dealt with my fair share of mental illness long enough to know not to lean too much on the shoulders of those who are not emotionally equipped to handle someone struggling with a traumatic episode they barely have a grip on, but what about moral support? What about sending soothing messages of hope? When I am in need of hope, I’m not asking my friends to fix my situation, and I’m certainly not begging them for their complete, immediate attention. Yet if they were in my shoes, I would drop everything, get on the phone, or the internet and start communicating to make sure they know I’m on their side.
I know what it is like to rough it alone. What it’s like to be attacked, have my life almost taken from me, and lie alone in the hospital without a visit from friend or family, and be treated better by strangers than any friend or family during the worst times of my life. Surviving traumas like that made me strong, and made me passionate about never letting it happen to my friends. Screw that. To anyone I come across. I have a huge heart. I see someone, human or animal, suffering anywhere and I get involved. It may not always be wise, and a few times I have been taken advantage of, but I care very much and I never let anyone play with my heart.
I like to think that my friends are just as strong. Some of them very much are and I am proud to have made such very powerful, heroic friends, yet no matter how much some of them aspire to, they don’t live up to the virtues of friendship that we all should put into practice. It makes me wonder if some people really know what it is to be a friend.
It confuses me whenever a friend decides to no longer be friends with me, does not matter what the reason, and they always end the relationship with a situational inappropriate oxymoronic statement like “best wishes” and “I really love you” and “I’m doing this because I worry over you” or “I have to do this not because you’re a loyal friend, but because you need help”, all of which are excuses sugar-coated to make the friend doing the rejecting feel better. No one who really wants you to get help will abandon you in your moments of need. I’m not stupid. I know what they are really saying. It makes the heart-break feel all the more cruel. It should tempt me into hating the people who foolishly say these things, who may even truly believe they are being sincere, but I surprise myself at how not angry I am at them.
I believe sometimes people like to believe in the worse possible state of health when it comes to viewing me, especially when I have a diagnosis of an emotional disorder, one that flares up during a stressful circumstance, but not just any stressful one. The danger of being open about my condition is people tend to panic over it, they worry about triggering you into a bad emotional state, but it’s not you that they are afraid of, it’s the illness, they really don’t know what it is like to live with it, they’ve only read about it, or maybe they remember something they have gone through with you and that memory has built up over the years. I don’t know how these things start, yet I’ve dealt with them before, and some people don’t see me for me, they just start seeing the illness and paint any emotional reaction from me as part of my being unhealthy.
One of the friends who just broke away from me knew ahead of time that a friend of mine was going to suddenly dump me. Anticipating my resulting breakdown, she was quick to write her “I have to cut you off because I need only healthy relationships in my life” and “I’m doing this for your own good” letter. I was not surprised. It has happened to me before and I was prepared for such a reaction. Some friends only want to be around when you are feeling well. They can’t take the stress of watching you go through something bad. Shame on them? Perhaps. I just think it’s unnecessary.
Unlike other kinds of illness, a mental illness you never heal from, it’s a condition you have to regulate. People fear the loss of control of their mind, just as much as they fear something like demonic possession, and they have no idea if your possible loss of control will lead to harm. People have rejected me out of fearing I will do things I have no history of, they don’t trust me when I tell them the extent of my crazy and think I’m hiding something scary, and when I do share I’m accused of using my disability as a crutch, especially whenever I really do have an episode and someone swears I have ignored them intentionally.
My heartache is that, no matter what good I try to do, and no matter how hard I love, when I get overwhelmed it seems to threaten any good I’ve done for my friends. A great relationship can be ruined in seconds after my friend witnesses me go through a meltdown. Or it can cement our relationship forever, as long as they realize I’m not asking them to be my nurse!
Yet I’m torn as to what to do. I have a lot of love and there is much I have wanted to do with my life. I have held myself back from doing things I love for fear of being discredited due to my illness and being ridiculed, especially when my insight and lifestyle is controversal. Living as a Solitary Witch has not always been satisfying for me. I have the passion of a priestess. I want to extend my friendship to the entire human community. I want to write about what I know and experience.
Yet how can I help anyone when people view me as an unhealthy over emotional monster?
And why am I singled out? Am I that horrible? Have I really been the kind of person who is worthy of such rejection? Do I need to be institutionalized? (I found out I don’t have to be, thank the Gods) I tried to find out, reached out to my doctors, got the help I needed, and the friends who gave me the moral support I needed assured me I’m the same good ol Valentina I’ve always been for them, so what gives? Are, then, some people I love just defective at receiving the love I give? Why do they want to believe I’m not worth their time?
When something does not make sense, I obsess over why it happened. When I cannot find the reason, I weep over the senselessness of it. The senselessness of it is an ignoble violence as real as a bullet hitting the body of an innocent bystander.
And for some people to say, right after you’ve been hit with a broken heart, “your pain will pass” is like them patting your bleeding heart with a restaurant napkin as if it were merely a paper cut. For you, it’s a dire emergency, for someone else, it’s all about “you’ll get over it soon” and the saying of it is their way to encourage it to happen faster so we can all get back to fair weather talk and sharing cute kitteh photos again.
I’m not saying I have an over abundance of fair weather friends, I just have some friends who want fair weather between us all the time, and they would rather I keep my darker emotions to myself. However, even though it takes a lot of trust, and trust takes more involvement, I would rather my friends open up to me and share with me what is going on, dark or not, so when the time comes they can know to come to me if they need support. So I am an open book. I expose myself. You can always tell what page my picture is on. You can read my Facebook or Twitter and look-see and go, “Okay. So that is how Val looks and feels like today” as if it’s my own weather channel.
But… I’m now realizing that it’s not wise to do that anymore. My friends are getting scared off. I’m sharing too much emotional crap. My policy of being so open is influencing them to think I’m all kinds of unhealthy. I suppose writing down my every intimate, twisted, bizarre thought is alarming, albeit I don’t have an exterior monologue like that!
It is time for me to edit and update what I write to truly reflect only who I am on the outside.
Do you want me to be like that? To breeze through your lives like I’m made of perfume and smoke and smiles and small talk lounging at some neon-lit bar… Because that’s what I liken a lot of social media to, like sitting at those seedy meeting places that can sometimes bore me to death, where people never have anything intelligent to say, only sometimes, but it’s all about meeting people to hook up with in the end anyway. Not interested here.
I only came here to dance.
But it’s impossible sometimes to dance alone. Especially when someone has suddenly stolen the music out from under you. “I’m doing this for your own good,” a voice over pipes in, “I’m taking your favorite song away. I know you loved it a lot, yet I’m pulling the plug. I don’t care how much you loved it. Was it the song or the dance that made you smile everyday anyway? Well, it doesn’t matter to me, I don’t care, you can always find another song, and I only wish you well…”
People destroy things they do not understand have so much value to someone else. They do not even understand what is really being valued. Assumption is the mother of all mistakes.
A friend of mine, someone I consider my personal hero, assumed I am obsessed with him, so he broke his friendship with me thinking that it was the best thing to do for my mental health. He blamed it on his lack of time to give and that he only wished me well. But he failed to really ask me what it was I wanted or even what it was I valued about him. His information about me is askew, much of it likely based on a past when I had a crush on him, and he has yet to give himself the real opportunity to know me as I am now. I’ve been a loyal, supportive friend, been there through many of his ups and downs, and he has hurt me more than he has done good for me by breaking away.
But I live for love. My policy is to pour love over anyone and anything that hurts me unnecessarily. It’ll only hurt me more to feed it with anger. However, I am sad. I have a right to grieve over a senseless loss of a friendship. Yet I am not sad that he’s hurt me. I’m sad for him. He has chosen to reject one of his most faithful friends. And I’m sad that he thinks that I care for him in an unhealthy way.
His sudden break from me was a sword shard to my heart, and I screamed and screamed, and my screaming face and shaking body must have been one frightening sight. Imagine if I was in the middle of the street with a real stab wound, freaking everyone out who saw me, my blood squirting out all over the place, me creating a huge mess, people running away screaming at the sight, my neighbors helplessly looking on and frantically calling 911. If that were the case, I would have immediate help. A wound like that gives no doubt for help, but since it’s emotional, it can be seen as a cry for attention, or some would see it as an emotional manipulation on my part to get my friend to come back. But what good would that do?
I would not want to cast a love spell to bring back any of my ex-lovers. Why? Because to do so would be forcing someone against their will to be with me. Do you know what happens when you force someone to be with you? You do not convince them to love you. They will resent you for manipulating them to act against what they desired. When someone gives up their desires to please you, it’s an emotional imprisonment, and not something I would want to do to someone I care about. I want someone to be my friend or lover out of joy, not out of obligation and resentment.
So, if somehow I did or said something to make it seem like I was holding emotional power over a friend, and they break away from me thinking I am manipulating them, there is something going on I do not know about, something I really do need to fix. How can I help? What can I do? But when I’m not given the tools to smooth the way between friends, I cannot do anything but wait for it all to be over, suffer the pain, and treat myself with love, praying all the while that somehow time will be on my side.
I do not like living knowing that anyone does not want to be my friend because they think I have mistreated them. I am not a creature of malice.
The kind of attention I give my friends is the kind of attention I think is awesome, yet some people may think it’s weird. I have read about friendships in literature, especially heroic epics where friends really go to the deep ends for each other, and the friendships that took place in literary history where writers shared beautiful correspondences… I had hoped to encourage that kind of relationship with the friend who lost me because our rapport was always spot on when it came to discussions on magic and heroism.
My hurt is a hollow kind of hurt, a hole in my heart. I can walk, eat, breathe, do what I can to live, but for a long while I anticipate doing things all half-assed. I was separated from him for seven years before. I once thought that I had to break away from him because he had moved away to another city, had a wife, a temple, and therefore didn’t have any room in his life for me anymore. I thought saying good-bye would make my mental health better, yet I made my life worse.
Missing that friendship felt like, at least to me, always missing a part of myself, like blurring out a big chunk of my memory that I really could not successfully shut out, yet the constant practice of attempting to shut it out kept my body tense and produced migraines. He was never someone that I had wanted to strap onto me with some force to make it fit against me against his will, but even now, with him pulled away, he was this nice, warm blanket of a friendship that made me feel confident, like no matter where he is in the world, knowing he’s out there and still my buddy, we’re friends taking on the world together.
And that when we meet again, we’d share the worlds we’ve ruled, have a party, and clink goblets with the Gods. *sigh*
Instead of that vision, I’m left in mourning, mourning-knowing that I won’t have that friendship. And that I’ve waited, looked forward to meeting him again, supported and cheered him on from a distance for so long for nothing. The thought of him not wanting my friendship tries to kill me, but I won’t let it. It wants me to get bitter, but I resist that with all my might.
I only love, and love, and love some more, and stubbornly call everyone who rejects me the same way all a bunch of fools. Oh, and if people do not like how I am choosing to get over this by writing about it here, in this way, they can eat it!
This is my story. My heart. Me.