On Fighting for Friendships

You know that phrase “beating a dead horse”? Yep. That’s me. I can’t help it. I’m the imperfect beater of equally imperfect dead horses. And we’ve all been there, right? We’ve all tried to salvage the lost, resurrect the deceased, raise the heaviest, the limpest of relationships for one last attempt at redemption. My question today however, is why?

Why do I do this?  Why do I pick at scabs and still expect them to heal? Why do I drive up graves expecting to find life? Why do I beat dead horses?

 

Is it just me?

As every year passes I find myself having less and less friends and sometimes it saddens me, and sometimes it empowers me. I pride myself most days on being “real” – whatever that is. Being honest, emphatic, being able to communicate…all things I feel proud about…most days.

I’m very emotional and most days feel the need to share that emotion with others. The downside that need to share and to relate, combined with having a handful of friends is that I only have one gear when interacting with them: all in.

And let’s be real…I have demands which in the age of social media perfection and egos can be a bit much for most people. My friends know I can’t be anything but real with them and in return I desire equal levels of realness. How bossy of me, I know. But I mean, come on, ya’ll know me. Look at my other posts – do you expect any different? Am I wrong for wanting real connections in a sea of superficial ones?

Being open and honest is critical for me to maintain my sanity. I can’t do drama, I can’t do passive aggressive and I definitely can’t do subtext. I don’t like being angry, I don’t like being unhappy. So I choose what I believe is the straightest, clearest path to the opposite of these things.

I understand that may be different from a lot of people’s way of functioning but it’s just how I am – and most days I’m fine with it…but some days like yesterday I hate myself for it because there are times when this state of mind brings me pain.

For most of the year I’ve been struggling to rationalize, mediate and find a balance between all these emotions and the many hurdles that life presents. So last night, in the darkness I sat alone in my room, ruminating over the tick-ticking of my ceiling fan, my ankle swinging back and forth like a pendulum in perfect time. My head was ablaze pounding, pulsating, rioting. My eyes, dry and my thoughts fractured, fragile. Dusty like the savannah near my primary school on a hot dry-season day. I, like a child wanting so desperately to play, mentally I tried to jump over each crack, to find a comfortable spot to stay. With every stride my brown skin becoming more bruised, ashy and tainted; discoloured and battered and torn with every attempt like my white sneakers, my teacher told me to keep clean – or else.

My question is why? Why do I keep jumping when I know the outcome…when I know I’ll never make it across the caverns.


See this isn’t about rehashing the past anymore, or recounting battles in an attempt to prove I’m right or better. This isn’t meant to be a manifesto or a final word in the final fight. This is something much greater.

It’s about proving my mother wrong – obviously.

See my mother is usually…mostly right. And it f@cking sucks because she knows it…and I know it. Besides telling me not to curse, she’s sprinkled a few other tid-bits of information across my path over the years, which while disguised as innocent ramblings, in reality the truth behind most of these mantras, never fails to hit me in the face like a bigass mother f@cking bucket of ice-cold water.

 

(It wouldn’t be nearly as effective without the cursing, Mom)

 

These are just some of the things she’s said that have come to make sense as I get older:

  • If you clean as you go along, you won’t have anything to worry about.
  • Whatever you think you can eat, take half of that.
  • Short pants are for inside.
  • Pack a sweater.
  • Fashion will kill you.
  • It’s only a good idea when someone else has it.

I’m sure they’re others, but I’m too infuriated by the accuracy to list them all out.

There is one however, that hasn’t come true yet. There is one that I’m still feverishly raging against.

I can see her now, sitting on the couch, listening to me go on and on. She’s munching some variety of tortilla chip with a myriad of left-overs in her plate, despite just cooking a full meal for everyone else. She doesn’t even look up. As I pause, she speaks in time to meet the silence:

 

“You don’t need friends”.

That single line is what I’ve rolled my eyes, chuckled and sighed at for my whole life. And as I sit here with a friends-list on the brink of extinction, am I to believe that there’s something else my mother is right about? Don’t get me wrong, my mother is a rock in the best of ways: unwavering, strong, steadfast. Bless her quiet sensibilities and stoic demeanor but damn…the thought of that, is too dark.

I won’t shy away from it. The only thing I haven’t told you all about is my bowel movements – what’s a bit more vulnerability for the internet to see? So I’ll say it: I need friends. I need people around me who are on my side. I also need to be there for people. I like to know that people need me, and people count on me. It’s just how my personality works.

To translate into simpler terms:

I need someone to call, just to be like, “you believe what this b!tch said!?”.

 

And I also need people who feel they can call me just to be like, “you believe what that b!tch said!?”.

 

And together we can just be like “Yasssss tell me bout it! B!tches be crazy”.

 

And we mean every word, and we laugh genuinely and we care for each other fiercely.

I talk, we know this. And when there’s no one to talk to, I type. I like to interact with people who are supportive toward me and who I can be supportive toward. I’m not ashamed of it, and I’m also not ashamed of the emotion that goes along with that. As of today I’ve lost two major friendships. I still think about each, wondering what happened, reminiscing, hurting. My heart is always on my sleeve with the people who are closest to me and regardless of how things play out, there’s not much things in life that I can just “lock off” or leave on “seen”, or whatever the kids are doing these days to avoid being emotionally invested. I can’t not be emotionally invested. Why bother?

Hence – dead horse, meet stick.

I’m not perfect. I have 30 posts that reveal that about me. It’s really no secret. And I know I should’ve just left it as is, I should’ve preserved whatever dignity I had instead of trying to fix and control and force some kind of closure. I don’t work well with unfinished business, I like things to be neat and tidy. But recently I really reached a low in trying to steady the chaos, to clear the air or whatever neatly packaged term there is for rationalizing the definitive and very clear end of what I considered to be a friendship.

For what it’s worth, my intentions were pure. All I wanted to do was prove my mother wrong – isn’t that what we all want? (I’m kidding of course)

All I wanted to do was fight for a friendship. Because I need friends, and I need people. And I’d like to hope that maybe, just maybe, the four or five that I have left, somehow continue to find it in themselves to need me too, and cherish me the way I cherish each and every one of them.

I’m nothing without the horses – I mean the people around me. I love you all.

P.S. This is what happens when I write past my bedtime. Thanks for reading.

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