As bloggers, we try and paint the best picture of us. The prettiest outfits, the good friendships, the fun date-nights and cute kids. We share our triumphs and celebrate life in general, and do it all in front of the world for everyone to see. It's easy to convince the world that you're pretty and a good person when you only share the best parts of you and your days. While many people try to keep their self image and the tone of their blog more positive and upbeat all the time, I really love to share a few bits of dirty laundry if a good lesson can come of it. I like to keep it real and real life is messy. I've been wanting and needing to write this post for a while, but it's only as of late that the stars aligned, it finally felt like the time was right and I got permission.
A few years ago, I got in a fight with my very, very close friend, Nic. It was a very, VERY ugly fight and I said some incredibly stupid and hurtful things to the friend that mattered the most to me. What started the fight doesn't matter for the sake of this post and I wouldn't feel right divulging the details since they aren't 100% mine to share. I want to share what I learned, though.
Our friendship was amazing: we were so very close, similar in so many ways yet lost as individuals, and that impacted our relationship greatly. We had things that weren't perfect, though and had a lot of petty fights. The little things would drive us crazy and one of us would over-react and we'd end up with just a big loaf of bad cheese, as Dustin says. We used to fight often over stupid stuff, our communication skills still green and forming. I had just gotten better from my third/fourth bout of cancer and after spending a lot of time in the Hospital and with my family, I found myself pondering my life and why the things that had happened to to me had. The surgeries and treatments and laying in beds all day kind of put me behind in the "young-adult learning responsibility and crafting friendship skills" area, if that makes any sense to you. I might have been 25, but as far as normal, real life experience went, I was younger. I might have been five years older than Nic, but we were right on the same level as far as maturity was concerned. Perfect for each other. Now, I am one of those girls that gets along better with guys, so to find a female that I was able to really connect with and be comfortable around was wonderful! We were inseparable in almost every way and had some of the best times you can imagine. "Mac and Cheese," we used to call ourselves.
The spring after Twilight (the movie) came out, we splurged and went to the Twilight convention in San Francisco. (Hey, don't judge! You know you love Edward, too.) We Stayed at this little boutique hotel, Hotel Bijou the first night and then transferred to the Hilton (was it the Hilton? The Hyatt? It had an "H", I know that). I still remember the puffy, crazy comfortable room we stayed in, shared the bed together. Two tiny girls all sunken into the comforter of our rented room. (I still stand by that bed being the most comfortable I've ever slept on, to this day.) I remember riding the elevator up and down the hotel that the convention was being held in together, getting off and roaming the hallways in search of someone famous to invite us in. An adventure, we knew we were meant to have! I remember when we got invited back to the band's (one of the movie's actors has a band) room for the "afterparty." Eating cheese quesadillas in our hotel before we left that evening. We were so excited at the prospect of meeting that actor that we nearly peed our selves. God, that seems like so long ago! I remember how smokey (ew) the huge room was. How a crowd of unknown people filled the room, and how I completely avoided eye contact with him - the actor - (I think she and I both did!) until we had talked to every other person in that room. It's so funny looking back. He turned out to be a very nice guy who loved alcohol and never slept. A real Southern Gentleman. His bandmates and friends were awesome, too, if not a little taken back by the fact that we were there only because we met the band through the Twilight convention. I remember the pizzas they ordered for everyone and the "other kind" of cigarettes they smoked, which I declined. The half Pepsi, half beer I managed to choke down because beer tastes like crap on its own. We had such an awesome time that night. Nic had a better time, but I was a close second - my heart so happy to just be doing something exciting and new with someone that I loved . It felt so odd and amazing being around a person that I was in awe of even though now I realize that he and the others were just people like you or I. Somebody's son or daughter. After it ended, we walked the half-mile (well, Nic pushed me) back to our room, gushing with excitement and wonder from the evening that we had just experienced, and collapsed on our puffy bed at 4am smelling so entirely of cigarette smoke. We laughed on the bed and relived our evening like school girls. Our make-up smeared with midnight and dawn. We didn't even care that smelled and were dead tired - it was one of the best nights of my life and I'm pretty sure Nic felt the same way, too.
Back to our fight. It was so ugly. So terribly terrible. I had just suffered my miscarriage and all thought that is in no way an excuse, any woman who has had pregnancy hormones coursing through their veins can tell you that it makes you a bit crazy. Some small reason, something that had been building up inside me burst one day and I ended out friendship, breaking promises and hearts and tried to convince myself that it was for the best. That my new life was amazing and that I didn't need her at all. That she was bad for me and a terrible friend, which was a lie, the last part. Looking back now, I think I was projecting the immeasurable pain that my heart felt for the lost baby onto her and then taking out my heart's pain on my dear friend. I couldn't handle my grief, the pain tore holes in my soul and made me question living. I felt like I was drowning and the only solution that my mind could conjure was to "relieve some of the stress" that I was feeling, which I equated out to needing to get rid of my very best friend. After my initial blow, we both said bad things to one another, things that were just pure word vomit. Things that mature people would have kept to themselves. Oh, it was so ugly.
After our back-and-forth email fight, we didn't speak at all minus the few times when she was trying to relay a message from a mutual (then) friend who, for some reason, would no longer communicate with me. I made jabs at her on my blog in ways that only she would understand and took satisfaction in knowing that she would be checking. I just knew she would be checking. I checked her blog daily in case there was anything that I could interpret as a jab towards me. Just gross behaviour. I was basically stalking the person that I pushed away, trying to find things to fuel the fire that I had built. Twigs, branches, brush. This went on for at least a year.
I missed her though. So many times I'd catch myself going to text her and stop the second I realized what I was doing. I used to wonder if she ever did the same thing. I used to have this back and forth celebration - I'd get so happy for the good things that were going on in her life (via her blog posts), and the try to convince myself that she sucked even though my heart knew other wise. It was a major internal battle for me, daily.
I remember just crying in the shower, asking Dustin for reaffirmation on what had happened, how I had treated her. I remember loving and hating her all at the same time, which I now realize was loving her and hating myself for what I'd done to my friend ship. The feelings that I'd hurt. The promises I'd broken. The tears I knew that she'd shed because of me. But at the same time, I still felt justified in what I had done, it was for the better. Soft heart, hard heart. Soft. Hard. Soft. Hard.
I once sent her a letter I'd written at 3.a.m. in bed (on pink paper, mind you) confessing how much I loved and disliked her, how I honestly hoped she was happy and that she'd live a happy life without me, and then I went on to say some other fucked-up things, all of which I assume (now) was very confusing at the time. Word from the wise: if you write a letter at 3a.m. to someone that you're on the outs with, don't be a fool... read it the next morning before you send it, okay? Make sure your words are something that you'd normally say after a full night's sleep and a rested heart. In my 3am stupor, I'd convinced myself that I needed to seal it in an envelope and send it before reading again because I wanted it to be honest. Yeah, don't do that.
The time passed, days into months, months into years and I still missed her, but I had come to terms with what had happened. The (still) trying to convince myself that I was right and did the right thing turned into, "My reasons were right, but maybe I went about it the wrong way, but I'm still right," turned into, "Yeah, I kind of acted like an asshole, but I felt like I needed to," and was satisfied with that. She was moving on, got engaged to the man who the Best Man in our wedding and one of Dustin's childhood friends. They met through us before we had our fight. Perfect for eachother. She had people around her that appeared to support her and were good in her life. She was working on getting her degree, one of her life-long goals. She got a puppy. She was good without me and I found a tiny piece of peace in that.
And then I had Roman.
The long hours of caring for a baby forced me to really think about things (what the heck else can you do while plastered to the couch, trying not to make a sound so the baby won't wake up?). After his birth something changed inside me. The feedings and responsibility and putting someone else's needs before all of mine, it flipped this switch inside of me and turned all my self reasoning (above) into, "Wow, I miss her and feel like a fool for treating someone that I cared about so terribly." She was missing this huge event in my life, this baby that I had wanted with every cell in my body, the baby that I had talked with her about for so long. It was something that I had longed to share with her and realized that I wanted to try and make it happen. I realized that I was wrong. I may have had a few good reasons for taking a friendship-break, but they were buried under all the ugliness in my delivery and the bad things that were said. I was a mean girl. And mean to someone that I loved so deeply, none the less!
I remember when I had worked up enough courage to write her brother and ask for her number. Her brother is my sister's ex and a friend of Dustin's - such a tangly web it had all become! I sent her a text message asking if we could meet up and talk, which garnered a short response and an agreement to meet at Barnes & Noble. That visit was an interesting one. I got to the book store first, totally nervous, shaking even, and waited for her to arrive. She arrived on time, looking extremely uncomfortable with being in the same room (same town, even) as me. I remember her sitting down, eyebrows high, waiting for the dam to burst and for me to rip her a new one. I took her hand, still shaking, and started to cry. Plunk. Heavy tears. I told her how sorry I was for how I treated her and that she didn't deserve it. There were tears from both of us now. We had a terribly uncomfortable conversation, both of us unsure of what we were feeling since the visit went against everything that had been going on between us for the past few years. Like brushing your hair in one direction for a very long time and then suddenly switching directions, stroking the way, your mind not quite able to decipher the new sensation. Dizzy. Dream-like. We talked for about two hours, it was so awkward and familiar at the same time. I would grasp at any answer she gave me to any question, hoping and praying that she wouldn't snap and get up and leave, our friendship really over. We dangled like a thread holding two pieces of a sweater together. Don't pull too hard. Give enough slack. We left it with "maybe..."
Some more times passses. A few texts. Another meeting where our boys, once very good friends, talked things out. With that, we left it at "maybe..."
Friendly blog comments.
"Take it slow."
Time has a very magical way of turning "Maybe," into, "Okay." Turning "Okay," into "Let's hang out," and finally into "It feels like it used to!" Late night conversations and reminiscing without much hurt. Plans. Birthdays. Weddings. Life.
The beauty in this situation was that I was forgiven. If you've ever done anything negative to someone who was important to you and you've been fortunate enough to have been forgiven, you know how my heart feels. No matter what I was thinking, what kind of fights we used to pick with one another, the disagreements and little things that would drive us crazy, I went about it in the wrong way. It's really weird when you step back after a while and see yourself, the things you did and don't identify with that person. I would never in a million years treat anyone like that ever again.
Time was good to us. While we were apart, we grew in our personal relationships. She formed a solid foundation with her boy and I solidified mine with Dustin. Other friendships were able to blossom. We were able to focus on growing and maturing and working towards becoming the people that we wanted to be. I had a baby. She is graduating and getting married this May. I don't know why things had to go down the way that they did, although I do believe that it happened for a reason.
Last weekend, we had some friends over and we got onto the subject of God and religion and a person's life path. I shared that I feel that every person has major life events that are meant to happen, place they are meant to go, people meant to meet. Sometimes people choose to take the simple, easy path and sometimes a rougher, longer path is chosen, but the end results are still the same. Was the sacrifice of our friendship for the duration of our fight needed to take us to the next level in our romantic relationships? Did we need the time to focus on other things, to get our lives in order and grow up, separately? Would I have been able to get pregnant if we had been friends? Would I have been in her wedding? Would the moon have fallen? Would the seasons have stopped? Or would everything have happened like with us being in the same spot in every other area of our lives, minus all the heartache and tears?
Whatever the reasons for our break, only God knows. I am so thankful for the lessons that I learned and how I feel more like a grown up than I ever have. How good it feels to be forgiven. How good thinking about the future of our friendship makes me feel. How excited I am to see her get married. How awesome it feels to be right back on the road we left, walking the path together .
Life is so short, guys. If there is one thing that my sickness and life experiences have taught me, it's that. If you have anyone in your life who you've been ugly towards or who has wronged you and asked for your forgiveness, don't waste time. Don't take the long way.
Life is good, guys.
Life is good.
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