Hey everyone! How are all of you?
I sincerely hope that as we see this year come to a close, each of you is in a healthy, happy, and prosperous position to welcome 2019 with open arms. But if by chance you aren’t looking forward to the new year, stay tuned for my New Year’s posts. I just may have a few pointers to help you start 2019 off right.
If you were here for my post before last (thank you so much to those who were), then you already know that I wasn’t particularly looking forward to Christmas. In a surprising turn of events, I found some leftover holiday spirit. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a payload, but more like the residue of everyone else’s cheer that I merely pilfered. I’m totally fine with that though.
Watching my parents (and my cats) enjoy their day and gifts made me extremely happy. It wasn’t a saccharin happiness either—I was genuinely thrilled that I had been able to help make this Christmas as memorable as it was. We opened presents together, cooked together, laughed together, and even played games together. It was merry, it was heartwarming, and it was everything a sappy Hallmark holiday card is made out of.
I wish I could experience that kind of peace everyday.
BUT since I can’t and everything is back to being lame, grey, and most dismal (just kidding), we may as well move along to the point of today’s post.
Actually, I’ve decided to end the year with a 2018 recap mini-series detailing the three main themes that dominated my year. I’ve always liked taking up a pen and notebook at the end of each year in order to scribble down my analyses and thoughts, so this year I thought, “Why not share it on the blog?”
One of my goals for 2019 is to be more active on here, for one, but not just active for the sake of spewing a bunch of words at you. I want to develop a better connection with you guys and get to know some of you if I can. While I really wish to help whoever I can by sharing my life story, I also want to encourage everyone who takes the time to read it to share theirs as well. That being said, this may be as good a time as any to sit down with all of you and let you get to know me a bit better.
I have a sneaking suspicion that 2019 is about to be positively wild, so let’s jump into the nuts and bolts of 2018, so that the craziness that ensues makes a little more sense.
Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are…
If I had to guess—and this is completely a rough estimate, so please don’t hold me responsible for the accuracy of the following statistics—I would say that I spent…90-95% of 2018 by myself. Never before have I spent so much time alone and so very little time socializing with others. With the exception of my family and outside of text messages and emails, I could probably count the people I actually spoke to on two or three hands.
Indeed, 2018 was a year marked by astounding isolation.
At heart, I am an extremely talkative person, both verbally and in regards to written word. If presented with the opportunity, I could talk for hours on end about the intricate and delicate manner in which paint dries or whether the sky is more of a powder blue opposed to a topaz blue. There has simply never been a time when I was at a loss for words or lacking someone to shoot the breeze with—until this year.
When I tell you it seems as though some invisible force was manipulating things and preventing me from forging new relationships with people, I couldn’t be more serious.
Trust me, I tried meeting new people. The last thing I ever planned to do was move to a new state and spend the entire year at home alone because I didn’t know a single living, breathing soul. From the time I moved out here, I diligently worked to step outside of my comfort zone in an effort to network a bit and possibly meet likeminded individuals. Pfft! What an utter disaster that was!
Let me be perfectly honest here though: my lifestyle is not conducive to meeting new people.
I work from home, and the work I do is largely solitary in nature. My day to day needs like groceries, banking, etc. are primarily taken care of thanks to the blessing of modern technology (aka the Internet—especially Amazon Prime). I’ve been trying to save as much money as possible for school, so I’ve refrained from going out and wasting gas driving to establishments that may (nope—will) tempt me to spend that money.
And since I now reside in a place that magically (and not in a fun, Harry Potter kind of a way) turns into the bowels of hell from June until early-October, you can forget about me stepping foot near a door or window, let alone actually going outside for anything that isn’t going to lower my core body temperature! I say that, but now that the sun has stopped its sadistic rampage of hellish heat, I now find myself muttering something or another about how “cold” it is outside when I pop out to dump the trash.
So in the spirit of acknowledging that I am an Amazon Prime addicted summer wuss who has zero chance of meeting anyone in IRL (unless it is one of my many 90 year old neighbors), I took to my beloved Internet to see if I could join the masses and make new friends…online.
Despite having never been particularly fond of social media or any of the popular Internet-based means of meeting others, I decided it was time to actually give things a go. From poking around on dating apps and forums to posting quirky social media comments, I consistently looked for new and unusual ways (well, unusual for me) to meet new people. Nothing worked.
Though I met a handful of people, it was always terribly short lived; there was never that “click”.
I don’t know. Maybe my mind isn’t “like” too many other people’s because it was impossible to strike up anything meaningful. I mean, there never even appeared to be the potential to make a new acquaintance, much less an actual friend!
This should have been my first indication that 2018 was launching a serious assault on my social life, but I persisted.
Let’s just go ahead and come to the conclusion that the whole online friend finding thing was a pitiful bust. Not a total shocker considering people “like me” probably have enough sense to stay far, far away from all of the nonsense I was willing to try out.
I mean, sure. They probably dabble in it out of curiosity as I did, but they probably roll their eyes at the lack of compatible individuals and delete whatever account they’ve made within a day or two—also as I did.
So based on this logic, the best social contacts for me are probably hunched over their computers somewhere, pecking out how frustratingly wonderful and blissfully fear-inducing 2018 was for them.
I’m screwed, aren’t I?
Wait–don’t answer that.
Friends Don’t Let Friends Do Drugs…Or Be Bad Friends. But Mostly Drugs.
I started 2018 with two friends. I’m going to enter 2019 with none.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I started off the year with (1) whole friend that I truthfully wasn’t too sure about and (1) “half” friend that I knew was about to receive her pink slip. 😂
Sure, I can make a joke of it and laugh now, but to be perfectly honest, it isn’t funny. Not at all.
I’ve previously spoken about my former best friend and that whole unfortunate mess, so no one is interested in rehashing old news. But when it comes to the girl I had thought was a real friend, I’m not even sure where to start. Perhaps I should start from the end.
In a prior (and now deleted) post, I made the spontaneous choice to voice my long-held frustrations about our friendship in a messy, rainbow colored scrawl. Despite the fact that she doesn’t know this blog even exists and will consequently never read what I wrote, it felt surprisingly good to vent.
Though it’s never been my desire or style to rant on the Internet (especially about other people), there was something inside of me that simply couldn’t remain silent anymore. I was tired.
Tired of wishing my friends were actually friendly.
Tired of brushing off and making excuses for bad behavior.
Tired of stifling my hurt feelings in the name of stroking their pompous ones.
Tired of trying to downplay or downright ignore my achievements or good news for fear that I’d sound even half as much of a braggart as they so often did.
Tired of pretending that they weren’t constantly trying to one-up me.
That last statement… that’s the one that has hurt me the most. Though I have heard about girls/women being competitive with their friends or running around with “frenemies”, the entire concept has always been foreign to me.
To me, any friend I have ever had has been just that—a friend. Confidants, hang out buddies, partners in crime… my honorary sisters. Never, ever, ever in my life have I looked at one of my friends and been envious of their success. Never have I secretly jumped with glee when they’ve fallen flat on their face. Never have I rubbed my victories in their noses or routinely “blurted” out how much I make. That is simply NOT my M.O.
But yet, I was friends with two women who apparently do operate that way—over and over again.
I won’t go into the nitty gritty specifics, but 2018 was a heartbreaking year for my existing friendships. I had to make decisions about them that I truthfully did not want to make, but had long suspected I would eventually have to.
spent wasted way too much time feeling guilty about the way I was being made to feel. It was hard to believe that my concerns were actually valid, so I continually tried to convince myself that a real friend would never treat another friend the way that they were—that I wouldn’t be friends with anyone who would. But eventually, I had to simply face the reality of things.
Friendship is not a one way street. Both parties have to invest time and energy. Both parties have to exhibit care and concern. Both parties have to give a damn. So even though I felt uncomfortable admitting that my “friends” were constantly making me feel like a piece of garbage, one person is all it takes.
So what if I was the only person who felt disrespected and torn down? The friendship was automatically null and void the first moment it happened. I did not need to remain in an exchange that did more damage than good. No one should.
It could no longer matter how long I’d known them, how sad I was to end the friendship, how they’d take it, or how it might look to others when I’d now have to disclose that I have zero friends. But if you don’t take responsibility for how you allow other people to treat you, then no one else will. So on Christmas Day, I walked.
I have felt featherlight ever since.
Do you want to hear something really funny though? After all of the time I spent wondering how and when to end my failing friendships for fear of how they’d react, when it came time for me to finally cut the cord, neither of them reacted any way at all. We simply stopped texting each other.
Part of me is so surprised by this because if I were in their shoes, I would have immediately tried to find out why I hadn’t heard from them.
But then it’s like… of course I would do that. I value my relationships and would want to know what I’d done wrong so I could fix it. One can only assume that they didn’t ask what’s wrong because they knew full well what they were doing all along…
Sitting where I am right now, it is interesting to experience the complete peace that I have regarding the loss of these two long-term friends. I’d always thought that it would it feel much, much worse than it actually does. However, there is such great freedom in knowing that everyone in your corner is actually on your team and not simply showing up to cheer when its convenient or advantageous for them.
When it comes to these particular friendships, 2018 really spoke to me about the person I’ve become over the last few years.
The very best way for me to sum up this lesson is to refer to that age old saying, “It’s not you, it’s me.” I’m not even saying that to be snarky, either. I’m serious.
I have changed a lot (and for the better) since these girls first met me. In fact, I’ve changed a lot in the last two years alone. It is often hard for me to recognize myself, so I can only imagine what anyone else may be thinking these days.
For awhile, I kept squinting my eyes at these girls thinking, “What is wrong with you guys? I don’t even recognize you. Where is my friend? What have you done with her?”
I kept thinking that someone was playing a trick on me, that these were really bad body doubles who were getting their roles completely wrong. I was having great difficulty believing that time had changed them into such bad friends, but yet, I couldn’t recognize them anymore… at all.
What I ended up realizing is that the problem didn’t lie with them and never had. In fact, I had been totally wrong all along; I was the one who had changed. They, however, were exactly the same as they had always been. But that was exactly the issue.
These were the kinds of friends I’d had for almost twenty years. And out of all the friends I’ve ever had, these were the two that had stood the test of time. They weren’t just my friends—they were my best friends. One of them was literally family to me for the vast majority of our teens and early adult years.
I always took up for these girls and would have done anything to preserve my loyalty to them because I “got” them and they “got” me. Even though neither of them knew each other, we were all one and the same. But the only reason I never noticed then what I so clearly notice now, is that I had once been the exact same way. It was only once I wasn’t that everything came into focus.
Thank God for 20/20 vision, y’all.
© C.M. 2018 All Rights Reserved
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