I've always tended to believe that one can be friends with those whose values differ from their own; I've always enjoyed hearing various perspectives in regards to specific belief systems or morals. But looking back on these last couple of years, I've realized that there are certain fundamental values that have to be mutual in order for a relationship to flourish; one of the most important, if not sacred values to me is communication. That (or lack of it, is perhaps a better choice) was exemplified with the roller-coaster involving someone that I held close to my heart.
Our relationship (and yes, I am calling it that because I invested six years of my life in this person, and for three of them I could confidently state that he was my best friend). had begun to weaken during the summer before I turned seventeen. When he came back home and the dust seemed to settle, I stopped worrying because we always found a way to become close again. Little did I know that it wouldn't be as easy as it was before.
Verbal conversation was sporadic; we would talk on Facebook or text for a couple of weeks and a time, and then it would stop. This pattern would continue starting from the end of my junior year of high school and into the first semester of this year.
When I started school at Iowa, things became increasingly difficult. We would always make these plans to see each other and catch up whenever I was visiting at home, but they never came to fruition. I'd like to think that it was just our daily lives (or at least his) getting in the way. The truth is, I don't know.
I just remember the way I used to pace around the floor, phone in hand, waiting to hear what was going on. Normally I would end up waiting most of the day, and even into the nighttime. Somehow I always wound up like a deflated balloon; anticipating finally being able to see him again and talk like we used to, only to hear silence on the other end.
I did my best to be understanding of his hectic schedule. After all, who was I to make any demands when I was only in town for a month or two at the most? There were times where I tried to talk to him about it, but it seemed like he never understood. At one point, I was afraid that he would perceive it as me not accepting him for who he was; if you didn't, he would cut you out of his life (and that's putting it mildly). So despite the doubts and distrust that lingered, I acted like it wasn't that big of a deal.
The hardest part (and perhaps the last straw, although we still talked afterward) was when he didn't make it up to visit me for a weekend last year. I had all these activities planned, but the one thing I was looking forward to was finally being able to share something with him that gave me indescribable joy. In the three years that he was actively a part of me life, I was always complaining or unhappy about something. We weren't kids anymore, but adults. It was the one place where I didn't have to get defensive about why I had always tried to give him the benefit of the doubt.
And when that didn't happen, I was devastated. I cried for most of the weekend, at least whenever I was alone. I went downtown and tried to hide the fact that I was so damn frustrated on the inside. I began to question whether or not he cared about me at all.
But time went on, and things only got worse; not with him, but my insecurities and fears quickly rose. A guy that I had had a little crush on (we were in one of the same classes together first semester and had been talking online) invited me out multiple nights, only to not show up at all and block me on Facebook and Twitter afterward. When my roommate and I moved in together, her having a serious boyfriend put a gigantic barrier between us because he was around all the time. There were other little things as well, but overall, I just wanted to know why the hell these people couldn't just talk to me.
As I've learned in my therapy sessions, it's not always that simple, and sometimes people don't always care enough to want to be honest. However, I have learned that It's necessary for me to be open with my friends and family, and that I have a right to at least ask for it. It doesn't mean that I'll get it, but I can try.
But it's not just about letting me know what is going on in a situation. It is going to take time and it may not happen right away, but I don't want one-sided relationships in my life anymore. I've always felt like I've always been the one crying on somebody's shoulder, as opposed to being the shoulder to cry on every once in a while. I want to give as equally as I take. I wanted to be wanted. I want somebody to need me.
Yet, there are things that I need to work on as well. As difficult as it is, I am working toward being less sensitive about it; I only tell my friends how I feel about open communication when the opportunity allows me to. I'm learning to be patient and not set my expectations too high.
I have also seen the benefits of genuine honesty; both with the people in my life and on this blog as well. It has lifted a gigantic weight off my shoulders and brought me closer to so many people. It has been a rocky road to get to this place, but I feel blessed by it.
And as for my friend? Well, I am not angry with him, nor do I hate him. I simply don't see the point in putting negative energy into a situation that is out of my control. If he wants to be in my life again, he knows where to find me. I think a lot of it has to do with the both of us being in different points in our lives; almost on opposite ends of the spectrum. For now, I am choosing to thank God for the time that we had together and nothing more.
I do not write this in longing or waiting, but in authenticity. I want those that read this to understand where those particular insecurities fed from, and where it has led me today.
Never hesitate to stand for what you value; it may free you from things you've felt chained down by for so many years, and allow you to experience a sense of worth that only you can give yourself.