And there is something in the craving for being loved we will never understand.
Light and dark won’t collapse
They will just remain unknown
As my body filters the air
I slowly forget
I begin again
As the sun touches my skin
The warm keeps me away
Hugging me tight
Far away from the dark
-The Shadow in the Light
I used to get madder when I’d stop talking to her,
but it’s happened so many times that I’m a little desensitized,
and she’s become any other person, where the loss of words is conditioned silence,
and we fill it with other people or just solitude.
I’ve been mulling over a thought, and I know it’s one I’ve likely touched on in the past, but one that I would like to expand on. While lying on my blue mat, red-faced, and pushing through my new Pilates work out, it popped into my head again, and since it’s clearly not going away…I figured writing it out would help.
For many years of my life, in many different types of relationships and phases of life, I always felt like I was the one doing the most. When I was a young girl, I’d be the one getting on my bicycle, riding to my friends house to see if they were home so we could play at the park. I’d ride around multiple houses, on all different days of the week. I didn’t realize how much effort I’d been putting into those relationships until I reached a point of depression in fifth grade. Suddenly, I rarely saw my friends. For many years I blamed myself. I thought it was because I wasn’t in school anymore, but when I thought about it, I realized that we never shared any classes anyways. We met outside of school, so why would we have stopped being friends because of that? I was well aware of the fact that the firing of their favorite assistant principal, which had to do with me, upset them…but I didn’t understand. Why did they never hop on their bikes to ring my doorbell? Call my house phone? Send me an AIM message to see if I was okay, or if I wanted to hang out over the weekend?
When I look back now, I realize that towards the end of those friendships, I was the filler friend. I was the one they hung out with when their first choice wasn’t around. And in middle school, when they all ceremoniously dumped me out of their group for not being normal, for not attending sleepovers, for being on medication for my anxiety and PTSD, my mom told me something:
You aren’t a doll for someone to take down from shelf to play with for a little while, only for them to put you back up and forget about you.
And I realized I was better off. I truly believe that to this day, I was and am. No matter how lonely it could be. It was more lonely to have them around once every three months and feel like I was an outsider, or be ignored completely while they all spent their weekends together, than to actually be alone.
It’s been 12-13 years since I’ve had anybody to call a true friend.
Atleast, nobody to call a friend that I didn’t eventually develope romantic feelings for. Does that count? You can decide.
For a few years, I didn’t have to worry about putting that kind of effort into any kind of relationship. Until met somebody at the age of 14, almost 15. I’ve written enough stories about him, but I want to focus on the topic at hand, and not that. I was so busy chasing this person, falling head over heels…that I didn’t even realize I was the one doing it all. This wasn’t a constant. The best way I can describe it, is like being breadcrumbed. I was asked briefly about my days, to a surface level point where I felt fulfilled, but constantly asked personal questions to the point where my brain had it all mixed up. As if I wasn’t the catalyst to 90% of our conversations.
I was constantly initiating our conversations, the first one to ask how they were, the first one to wish a happy holiday, the first to reach out when I saw a mysterious social media post that made it sound as if they were bored, upset, lonely, or feeling helpless. I would always make the effort to reply to their messages whenever I had a moment, while more than half of my efforts were left to gather dust. I was the one texting, calling, and emptying my cup to fill another’s in hopes of bringing them happiness. And while I won’t discredit this person for the way they helped me grow as a person, or the emotional support they provided me in certain times…it was rare that this person ever let me spill the beans on my hard day before they had to unpack theirs, taking over most of the conversation. I don’t regret this. I don’t regret being the sounding board for someone who needed it, for providing support when they felt lonely.
But damn, would it have been nice for someone to ask me how MY life was. For someone to want to put in as much, or more, effort as I put into them.
I decided six years ago that I no longer was going to put more effort into people than they did for me. If you don’t call, I won’t. If I text and you don’t respond, then I won’t initiate. If I spend more time driving to see you, but you don’t me, that is no longer. I will give back what is given to me when it comes to relationships. Nothing more, and nothing less. I will lower my expectations of people outside of those closest to me, because the disappointment was and is never worth it. Why should I bend over backwards for someone who would hardly glance in my direction?
This leads me to today.
As a person who has been in a long-term committed relationship with someone, a wife who works, tries their best to be involved with family to the best of MY ability, deals with day to day struggles, juggles having enough personal time versus how important my work is…I can understand what being busy is. I understand what having no time means. Most importantly, I know that you can spare ten minutes out of one week to ask someone how they are and how things are in their life if you actually care. If you can spend your Saturday driving up to a weekend event, you have the choice to instead take that time, and spend it with someone you care about. That someone who always would make that trip for you, or always start that conversation with you
I’m a put up or shut up kind of gal. I’m also very intolerant to certain behaviors, so call me jaded…but.
There is no room in my life for people who don’t give to me what I give to them. And yes, I will include family in that, because I’ve been there before and I could write the book on it. It shouldn’t matter who they are, you should never feel obligated to do it all for someone who wouldn’t give even half of that back to you, especially if you’ve voiced those feelings. If you are out there, someone by some chance who feels that way, ask yourself a few questions.
Are you doing it because they’re your “best friend”? When was the last time they reached out to you to see how you were?
Are you doing it because it’s your family? Just because you are blood-related, doesn’t mean you should excuse their behavior. That’s being an enabler.
Are you doing it because you feel like you have to? You don’t. It’s a choice you make everyday. It’s a behavior you have learned, and can unlearn.
And finally, if you did this to them, would you do something to change it?
Take a week, take even two… or three. Don’t fall into the role you’ve casted yourself in, or the one people expect of you. Don’t make that drive. Don’t send that first text. Don’t make that first call.
See what happens. I did. And in that time I realized that it wasn’t worth it. I was over being “fine” with it. I was over getting over it. I was over doing it all. I was over vocalizing to people that I felt that way, and being completely invalidated or told I was overrreacting. I was over making cryptic facebook statuses to get their attention.
I was done. And I wasn’t even mad about it. I sure as hell was disappointed, but I wasn’t mad, because I learned.
I think I’ve been a better person for it. When those people fade into the background, as hard and painful as it is, nothing compares to the feeling of knowing the people in your inner circle are 101% there for you, and you them. That they will go the distance, no questions asked. That they put in as much effort as you do into that relationship, and you can feel it. When you finally realize that you are putting energy into the right people, that helpless feeling and the need to wish for others to do the same goes away, because you don’t need that, or them.
You matter. You are worth it. Your feelings are valid.
*I may add more to this later, but if anybody who sees this can relate to this…give it a shot.
My son really wants homemade Halloween decorations this year. Here’s my first attempt.
Tuyong Niyog Masarap Daw Ilaga At Gawing Ulam At Miryenda Gawin Nga Nati…
that “anime face” snapchat filter is fun
Words cannot describe how much your death hurts. I got to spend 5 days a week, twice a day, for over 4 years with you. I got to stay over for weeks, just me and you snuggled on the couch watching movies. Spending time with you was always the highlight of my day. You were so much more than just the dog I walked. You felt like you were mine in so many ways. You were a friend to me, who I confused in and poured my heart out to and in return you’d give kisses and think you were a lap dog for cuddles. The unconditional love from a dog is like nothing else. And you were so special. I know everyone thinks their dog is special, but you were. You were a puppy until the very end. You could have lived forever and it somehow still would not have been long enough. I’m not religious but I find myself hoping that there is a heaven because I want you to be there. And I want to get to see you again one day. Thank you for the once in a lifetime friendship. Meet you at the rainbow bridge my girl 🌈
I truly hope when we die, we are sent to a new world. A world of our dreams. Existing, playing, and laughing forever.