On Friendships

I know it’s hard to tell reading this blog lately (that sentence fragment was written in sarcasm), but when you decide it’s time to set some boundaries in a relationship that is not good for you, it’s easy to obsess over that relationship and the things that prompted the need for boundaries. Especially if you have rejection sensitivity dysphoria to make certain things feel catastrophic, or possibly undiagnosed ADHD that can cause you to be hyper-focused on something.

THIS IS WHY I HAVE WRITTEN A MILLION WORDS ABOUT BOUNDARIES LATELY.

But yesterday I finally had some success shifting my mindset and my energy.

I came home from walking my Mom’s dog and there was this beautiful hand-decorated package on the table and it turns out, a book club friend had been using quarantine time to do crafts and collect small gifts and she made goodie boxes for all of us.

I just tried to search my archives to see if I’ve ever told the story of my book club and it seems I’ve referenced it in brief but let me tell you about it in full here.

In 2010, as I started getting out of the grief fog from losing my Dad, I tried to put myself out “there” more to make friends as I had to come to grips with how I had let my social anxieties deprive me of friendship since I had moved to Huntsville in 2001.

So, in August of that year, when I ran into a parent of one of E’s friends at Barnes and Noble, I accepted her offer to join her book club that was meeting for coffee in the store. Turns out they had all met for coffee because they were all there to buy Mockingjay the day it came out, which was EXACTLY why I was there as well.

They had chosen Mockingjay to read that month and invited me to join their gathering to discuss it. I was SO VERY NERVOUS that I actually made E come with me. Partly because it was meeting at his friend’s house and partly because he had also read the book. It was a great gathering and I was able to do the next few by myself like a big girl.

We have been meeting once a month since. Sometimes we slack off a bit in the summer when it’s hard to work around vacations. But we have traditions…we have one specific house we ALWAYS meet at for Halloween because that friend just KNOWS HOW TO DO HALLOWEEN. It’s spectacular every year. We always do a dirty Santa at Christmas and it’s just a lovely experience. We all share similar politics and core values but we hail from many different walks of life and are many different ages. I love them all dearly. A few have moved away in the last 10 years but we still keep in touch and they’re still always in my heart when we gather. This group of women has been my salvation through so many things over the last 10 years, I just can’t describe it.

All of this and we have REALLY great book discussions. I always hear jokes about book clubs that never actually talk about the book…but we do! Seriously! Great discussions and great books! (Most of the time.) But then…once we feel like the book talk has faded, we talk about life and struggles and family and politics and they fill my cup every time.

But we haven’t met since February.

Last month the member with a giant driveway set up a social distanced gathering where she set up everyone their own chair AND table spread out in a circle and we tried our best to shout and catch up in the darkness. It was FANTASTIC.

But that’s the only time we’ve met. Zoom calls and such stress me out so no effort to do one of those panned out. We are going to try to do another outdoor gathering with blankets soon, because we miss each other so much.

So…fast forward to yesterday when I got this goodie box. Inside was tons of little crafted items, all individually wrapped with the care of stamps and washi tape. Earrings and headbands and magnets and so many wonderful little treasures filled with love and I just started sobbing.

My family thought I had lost my damn mind.

I just kept crying, “I am so lucky. I miss my friends so much.” It was just like the weight of the pandemic came crashing down on me and I was thinking about how much I miss gathering with my friends in every group and how I am truly surrounded by so many wonderful women in my life and they recharge me all of the time and I miss them all so very much.

So, how did this sobfest/breakdown help me with my obsession over shitty relationships?

Well…I just realized that I should not be wasting one more beats of my heart or breaths of my soul on someone who doesn’t fill my cup. So, now when that relationship and it’s deterioration pops into my head…what do I do?

I think about my book club friends who have held my heart for 10 years. I think about my running friends who still want to be friends with me even when I’ve stopped running. I think about my childhood friends who will drive an hour to meet me for a walk. I think about the family that does fill my cup like my brother and his wife in kids who humor me by letting me talk about Harry Potter over Facetime.

I am just surrounded by so much love and friendship in so many forms and I refuse to waste time thinking about relationships that have were toxic because they emptied my cup time and time again and never refilled it.

Here’s to giving energy to the people who deserve it.

2 thoughts on “On Friendships”

  1. Wow, talk about “Be open and the teacher will appear”!! I SO needed to hear this right now! You have me totally crying. I’ve been torn up for two full days about a relationship that lets me down time and time again. You are absolutely right! Why waste one more beat of my heart on that? Concentrate instead on the warm, caring people in my life! Thank you so much for this post, and here’s to hoping we can gather with our CHOSEN family again soon!

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