Friday, March 16, 2012

growing pains

I have never had to end a friendship before. Friendships have slipped away, dissolved, or gone underground. Slack and tension have been adjusted and readjusted. In my adult life--perhaps all my life--I have not had to choose to end a friendship.

I have now done so. I did not do it well or gracefully. I don't feel pleased with myself. Though I could have done it differently, I still think it having done so was the right thing to do.

I wish now that I had invited more honesty and that I had been more honest myself. I wish I had thought about why I wanted (did I want?) that friendship. I wish I had been able to better express my own growing pains. I wish it were easier to hear someone say "I value our our friendship" and I wish it were easier to ask for patience and for support.

In general, I am feeling more capable these days. More resilient. I know myself to love and need solitude and I also now know I am not afraid of it. I have been learning that I do in fact have more than a few good friends. And there are acquaintances/casual friends I admire very very much. I am learning that I don't have to spill my guts to everyone in order to be their friend; I am also learning that I can have different friends who fill different roles. I am learning, it seems, lessons I should have learned years ago and didn't. And I am learning that, for the most part, I don't have to spend time with people with whom I can't express my best and growing self. I don't need to make a friendship "work"--either it is a friendship (and therefore works) or it is not and I don't have to try to force anything.

Perhaps I have been making strides, then, in self-care and self-love. Perhaps something about the idea that even at my worst, I am lovable and worthy is sinking in somewhere. I am not worthy *because* I can stifle my needs and thoughts and feelings and therefore make a friendship work. And I am not unworthy when I try and fail to express my thoughts and feelings well. I am already worthy and already allowed to be a friend and have a friend. I am not perfect, and perhaps I am not even very good. But there are still, somehow, people who love me. Even better--there are people who are happy to love me. Even though I am nowhere close to perfection. That is such a lovely thought--a thought I can sink into--and it is a thought I want to hold on to. And I think that, for now at least, to hold on to this thought, I need to let go of habits of relating built around the belief that I, just as I am, am insufficient.

It is hard to resist the temptation to be very angry and disappointed with myself for having let go of this friendship in such a graceless way. So I'll distract myself with work, writing, and by spending time with the friends whose care I increasingly desire.

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