“Every loss ain’t a loss.” I don’t remember who said that to me or where I’ve heard it before, but it’s taken me quite a while to digest and ultimately accept for a few reasons.
A few years ago, I got a message from a friend, asking me to give her a call when I had a chance. I obliged, although, the message had me on a bit of an alert. I mean, why wouldn’t she just call me? Plus, the wording of the message was a little—I don’t know—I just had a strange, uneasy feeling.
This was someone I had known from high school. A few months after graduation, she came to visit me after I had my son. He was a few months old at the time. I don’t remember all the details, but I remember asking my parents if she could stay with us for a while until things died down at her house. My father had the final say, and ultimately gave the nod. I can’t recall how long she stayed or even when she left, but I do remember (now) how distant she eventually became before she moved out.
We didn’t keep close contact over the years, but that never struck me as odd because that was just how it was with us. I held her in high regard, nonetheless. She was one of my dearest, long-time friends. One time for sisterhood, right? Not so fast.
My reality-check was on the other end of the phone.
Backtrack to the phone call. I called and immediately, she goes in saying how she doesn’t consider me a friend—how she doesn’t really know me—along with some other things that had me baffled at the time. I didn’t know where any of this was coming from. I hadn’t spoken to her in quite a while, which wasn’t unusual for us. The last time we spoke was also the last time we hung out and we had a blast. At least, I thought we had a good time. I was wrong, apparently. Color me lost, confused and dumbfounded.
She ran down a list of the things that she felt made me a bad friend and insisted that she didn’t really know me. That call was strange. She was a bit riled up, as if she had this conversation/argument with me in her head prior to making the call—which I get, but shit still was fucking weird.
She mentioned not knowing how I was to my “other friends”. Up until that point, I hadn’t thought about all the times I’d reached out to her and how one-sided our contact was. I was taken off-guard to say the least, but I listened. She told me that she’d been harboring all of this for more than a decade. Hello? You could’ve bought me for a dollar. How many times had we been in each other’s company in over a decade? All of this was news to me. How could I have missed that I had been neglecting my friend all this time? Was I really that self-involved? I didn’t rule any of that out. I mean, I know I don’t walk on water. I’m big on consideration, but certainly, there are times when I miss the mark.
By this time, I’m choked up, full of tears. This is my friend. I want to make this right and straighten out any confusion. And then, I started thinking. So, now, I have a few questions of my own. I’m still trying to understand where all this is coming from. My wheels are churning, and quite frankly, a lot of this doesn’t sound like some me type shit. I’m still upset, though.
I asked her to tell me how often she bothered to call or invite me anywhere. I wanted to know if she realized that whenever we’d hung out, it was because I’d been the one to extend the invite. She responded with excuses for just about everything I asked, which was nearly all the things she was accusing me of. By the end of the call, I thought we had it resolved. I apologized for offending or hurting her as that was never my intention. She thanked me for the talk. She sounded a lot better by the end of the call than when it started—and so it went. When we got off the line, I thought it was a done deal, but I couldn’t let it go. I was still weepy, and my nerves were worked. Why the fuck am I so emotional over this? It just wasn’t adding up—and things must make sense to me. Must.
Some of my life’s experiences have given me the kind of self-awareness that causes me to conduct self-inventory quite regularly. I check-in with me a LOT. When I’m unable to settle on a resolution on my own, I go to my support system, particularly, the people that call me on my bullshit when need be. Some of which are constantly telling me that I need to cut myself some slack sometimes. I’m still working towards mastering that skill.
I racked my brain while driving to pick up my daughter from school. Once my daughter was in the car, she told me about her day, which was our daily routine. When she asked how my day went, I broke it down—and by that, I mean, I cried a river. My daughter got me together with the good pep talk. She runs down how I let this person project their negativity on me and a few other things that in retrospect were true, but I hadn’t arrived at accepting just yet. I sucked it up for a short while, but I was still processing. Later that evening, I went over the conversation again in my head—and was in tears all over again. Mad at myself because I couldn’t just shake it. But, why?
It took a few days for me to come up out my feelings and put on my logic. I ended up reviewing a lot of the interactions that we’d had over the years and concluded that our friendship was indeed lopsided, but the deficit wasn’t all on me.
I started thinking about some of the major events in my life that had taken place that this person had no knowledge of. At the time, I was coming out of a toxic relationship with an ex. That relationship developed right when my father had to have emergency surgery. There was a 50/50 chance of him surviving the procedure, which he did, but was in a coma for three weeks post-op. I thought about all the things I managed over the years, while my friend was harboring these feelings about me. While it hurt to admit that we obviously weren’t the friends I thought we were, I realized—I placed more value on our friendship than I should have. This wasn’t friendship. This was just someone that I knew for a long period of time, but I didn’t really know her at all. How can one really know someone that isn’t transparent? There’s no way to build a relationship with anyone sans transparency. All these memories were flooding back now. There wasn’t a lot of sharing coming from her end. How did I miss that? It never once struck me as odd that she didn’t talk much. I am a talker. I talk to the people I trust. I started to realize that whenever I would check-in with her, she didn’t have much to add most times. There were other times that she would just be quiet. I thought that was just her way. Wrong again.
Prior to all this new (to me) information, I attended a memorial service for one of her siblings. In my mind, I was showing my support for her as well as her family. Friendship shit, right?
My hurt feelings turned to anger. The nerve! The audacity of someone who has been elusive for more than a decade, to tell me how much of a friend I haven’t been. I had my answer at that point. I don’t need this shit. What was I losing? I was letting go of the idea of friendship and connection. I felt stupid for apologizing and not realizing any of this sooner. One of the most hurtful things was admitting to myself that I had been had. I got over that eventually. It was mostly ego and I had to dead that.
After accepting what was, I started also giving thanks for what was. For every severed tie, I gave thanks for genuine connection. I gave thanks for even the losses turned lessons. That’s a win. I was shedding and making space. Things and people and situations that no longer served my highest purpose were leaving. Some of it felt too soon and I didn’t always feel ready, but it was time and I had no choice but to accept it. Admittedly, I mourned a few losses before I surrendered to gratitude. This wasn’t a loss. I had more to gain. New energies, frequencies, fresh creativity, genuine connections, love personified, and just some next level interactions were waiting on the other side of my most challenging lessons.
That’s a win.