Friday, January 21, 2011

Unforgiveness for the Unforgiven

I lost some friends the other day. It didn't feel very good. I was plagued all night about how I handled things. I am starting to realize the curse of social networking. You think you are staying in contact with friends, but really, everyone is held at arms length.

After debating very hard on an issue that is contentious, but in my opinion, very cut and dry, I couldn't handle the cold, calloused and ugly responses I was getting. So, I couldn't continue a friendship as it was. I made sure though, to tell her I thought it was for the best for the time being, that space would be healing and hoped in time we could start over. She was unhappy, and mean spirited about it all.

The other friend, was someone I admired for her amazing mothering abilities. We didn't have a close relationship as we aren't close geographically, but whenever possible, when I was in her town I tried to get together with her. We had great conversations and our kids got along. I was eager to hear about how she kept things running so well, and she has this great sense of humor. It wasn't always that way, which made it even more important to me. I wish I had been the friend she expected. I'm aware I've always had a tough time with friendships. Especially with women. I moved around so much as a kid, I never was anywhere long enough to make deep connections. So, the friendships that seemed to work and last, were the ones where we could pick up where we left off, though considerable time without contact had occurred. I was never aware that this wasn't desirable. Oh, but there was much more wrong with me than I realized.

I was blindsided when responding to another friend's discussion. Kind of a cool thing was happening in a town I used to live in. A reality show! I am skeptical of those, because it seems the goal of most, is to get as much drama going as possible. That's where the ratings are. So, I warned, tongue in cheek, that they didn't want friends, but drama and that it would be interesting to see the outcome. The response from this mommy friend of mine took me aback. She proudly said that my opinion was why she deleted me a long time ago on a whim. All this time, I had just thought, as was her way, she had deleted her account (which she had done before) or was just not on because she was busy. It became even more upsetting with a message that detailed how she decided: "I asked myself if I would invite this person into my home. The answer was no." I had just been in her home not long ago.

I had tried to be a good house guest helping clear the table, helping get some breakfast for her littlest, never having an inkling I was no longer welcome after that. She accused me of using her, but at the time, I didn't have anywhere to go, needed formula for my baby and my other child was sick. I would have gone to a hotel, but was told at the counter, to wait two hours for the next flight and that there was nothing more they could do for me. She said she had heard otherwise, but I don't know what she meant by that, but it was as I said it happened. I asked for help, and thought it was given freely. I was wrong. I was just relieved for a friend after a scary flight that ended in an emergency landing full of smoke. I guess I was shook up, tired, and ill prepared to not be going home. I handled it poorly, and didn't express myself well. I kind of have trouble with that, when I am stressed out. But I was no less grateful. Still, my presence was not wanted and it was distressing to find out.

She didn't like how negative I was about her hometown. To be fair, a town that never really accepted me. I had tried for years to feel part of the tight nit community. I had some really bad experiences that tainted how I felt about it, and I guess she was right, I was bitter, but hadn't meant to be insulting. I had a couple friends that I cherished for their openness and acceptance, but not many in the 13 years I had lived there. She said, I had also said something inappropriate, that I admit was wrong of me to say. I guess I am kind of a social idiot in that regard. I want to be accepted, to make people laugh. I wish I had my dad's wit and sense of humor, but I really don't. So, sometimes I say something I think others will find funny, and it isn't. I wish I could take it back. I asked for forgiveness.... the answer was, "It's not my way." I was then made aware, that I had a warped impression of friendships, most likely due to wounds inflicted socially. So, I am damaged. Beyond salvage. I couldn't sleep last night. I questioned my ability to be a good friend.

I've been working slowly towards being a better person for a couple weeks. Trying to get to church more often, reading the bible. I recognized I had drawn inward and became pretty snarky about a lot of things. It wasn't always that way. When my family moved to the small island town, I was outgoing, bubbly and happy. I guess I didn't handle the stress of rejection, and humiliation too well. I was a cop's kid. So automatically, many didn't like me without giving me a chance. My outgoing nature was met with snide indifference by a few. I made a few friends outside my class, but after being pushed around for my dad busting a party, and having my locker, and belongings trashed, it was hard to feel accepted. I offered what I could to be part of the gang, but it wasn't meant to be. When I met my husband, I had ended an abusive relationship, and while skiddish, he was different. He made me feel pretty. He looked at me, and not through me. Some of his family didn't like me, still don't, but even though that hurt, he made me feel like no one else mattered.

Searching for my Purpose
I struggled to do everything right, for the approval of a few, and failed. Over and over. As a mother I felt like a failure when breast feeding didn't come easily, and wasn't supported. When another of my children came down with type I diabetes, I felt like I was responsible. A doctor there assured me I was. I grieved. When we moved, it was with the hope that I could start over and make friends without the stigma of my past tainting their view of me. But moving to a new place as an adult is hard. It's hard to put yourself out there and make friends. Everyone is busy, everyone so far apart in their own lives. I tried to stay connected in small ways. I'll give of myself as much as I can. Can I get you a coffee? Cut your hair so you can save money? Sure, drop off your kids so you can shop! It's just not enough I guess. The mistakes of our past are never really forgiven. People smile to your face, and hate you in secret, or hushed huddles. I am flawed. I can be obnoxious, usually when I am nervous, or feel inadequate when in the presence of people who seems so much better than me. I don't really like me. Never really have. I try too hard to be what I think others want me to be, but fall short. Paranoia sets in after a while and I wonder how many more don't really like me, but are too polite to say.

I've been working at it though. I now have goals for each day up on a board. Things that I hope will help me be a better person. I pray for guidance more now. There was a while where I actually didn't trust God. I am trying to again. I guess the conclusion I have drawn, is for those out there, who struggle to make friends and feel alone, before it's too late, make friends with Jesus. He'll make you into the a person who attracts others. That's the only way to  be successful. When you try to conform to what you think others want, or follow the leading of others, you will fail. Be slow to speak. Sometimes, the emptiness of silence can be uncomfortable. Or even the loud boisterous chatter of others. It can lead you to say things you will later regret. I regret much. I am sorry for so many things. I try to never repeat my mistakes and hope that I haven't fallen too far for

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