Tuesday, September 22, 2015

We've Got to Hold On to What We've Got

Reading old blog posts has the dual effect A) of making me nostalgic for a period of my life when I had the time, drive, and emotional energy to regularly express my feelings in a way that was actively reaching out to the people around me, and B) making me realize how discouragingly similar my problems now are to my problems of yesteryear. It seems that nothing is changing, except for my youthful willingness to fight for change.

Or, I guess, that's not true. I am fighting for change: the last post about my goals for my thirty-first year is a testament to that. I'm just not fighting in the same ways that I used to.

But I regret that. I regret that writing, and reaching out to people, and this blog aren't a bigger part of my plan. They aren't NOT a part of my plan, as you may recall: Writing twenty-five blog posts is one of the goals, as is writing fifteen letters to people from my life. It's all about getting back in touch with language, and expression, and letting the people I care about know something about where I am in the world now.

But, come on. Though twenty-five posts in one year's time will be far more than most previous years (with the exception of the last, being that I made a goal one month out of posting every day), it would have been nothing to me for the first eight or so years of this blog's existence.

I envy that girl. She was so driven, so raw, and she somehow really saw the benefit of writing every single day about whatever self-interested garbage came through her head. It's this youthfully indulgent attitude, the kind we look down on as adults. But there was, I don't know, just something about her, about the process.

I can't say that writing every day actually made me happier: read the posts, and you'll see that that's not true. I suffered from the same breed of misery then as I do today, though my more practiced voice made my self-pitying rhetoric more bearable and, somehow, even charismatic. I was not happier, and, with the exception of having hours more to write every day and years more left to live, my circumstances were not better. There are some shockingly horrible feelings spelled out on those pages, some events that left very real scars on my psyche.

But I made it through.

That, I think, it was I envy about her: I know she's going to make it. I can't say the same about me.

Clicking randomly through the archives, I land on this post: aftermath of a conversation that a suicidal former me had with a sympathetic former friend.

I typed that sentence that way for the meter of it, but I find it uncomfortable. It's mostly true: Elorza and I rarely speak anymore. We're friends in the way that many of me and my old confidantes are: Facebook friends. It's such a concise way to explain what I mean, but I cringe just thinking about it as a definition.

In my heart of hearts, I believe that Elorza and I would still be there for each other, that the heyday of our friendship was so strong and so long-lasting that it's reached a kind of immortality. I used to say that there were some friends that I was so close to that our friendship could go into a kind of hibernation, with us not talking for months on end, but that it could wake up just as easily, and things would be as strong as they were.

But in my mind of minds, I understand that this isn't really the case anymore. This hibernation has lasted too long, and too many things have changed. Do I believe that he would be there for me if my circumstances got so that I really needed him, even after all these years? Yes. But I also know that I'd have to spend days, or hours, or weeks explaining everything that had happened to me before he could offer meaningful help.

I would say that it's this way with a lot of people, but...there weren't a lot of people who meant as much to me as Elorza. There weren't a lot of friendships that were that embedded in so many of the days that made up so much of my life.

Five, it seems like there were. Go back to the beginning of this blog, and you'll find five. The Fab Five.

(Or, uhm, don't actually go back. Having recently read the first entry which mentioned The Fab Five in any detail, I realize that it was smug teen-aged crap obsessed with honesty at the expense of everything else. The point of the post was to "make examples" of my best friends by pulling no punches in pointing out their flaws to the thousands hundreds dozens of readers that would come. I appreciate, in a distant, academic way that that post truly set the tone for the years of honest writing that would help me to navigate the rocky shores of my late teens and early adulthood. Still, it's cringe-worthy in it's naive self-satisfaction, and none of the five deserved my laying them out like that without their input or consent.)

The Fab Five consisted of Elorza, Emily, Andrew L., Jeremey, and Jeff.

Taking stock of my relationships with all of them over the years, it's...it's really not as bad as it could be. These must have been quality friendships, as the survival rate of some kind of relationship is uncharacteristically high for me.

And they were. Of the Five, the only one that really doesn't belong on the "best friends of all time" list is Andrew, who-- not to belittle the importance of our relationship-- more or less made the cut because he was my boyfriend at the time. Even so, in the past year or so, I've been making some attempts to re-establish a friendship with him, and though I can't say that it yet surpasses the "Facebook" prefix, we've had some pleasant conversations. He is, above all, a character, and while I can see where the endless show amusing pretense that he uses in lieu of deeper emotional connection could-- and, in fact, did once-- get old, I do still enjoy him.

My relationship with Jeremey is not unlike my relationship with Elorza, with the notable difference that, geographically, it's easier to occasionally actually see him. His mother, whom he visits on holidays, lives mere minutes from where I live now, and so we've made a point of getting together a couple of times a year. He attended my recent wedding reception and was really a very big highlight for me in an otherwise stressful and overwhelming event: in fact, he sensed my stress and offered this genuine, adult concern that made me feel better, in that moment and, ultimately, about our friendship.

In fact, it was partially his maturity and concern that day that lead me to the surprising realization that, of all the people who have been in my life for anywhere near as long as Jeremey has, he is the only one who seems to have grown in a meaningful and indisputably positive way. Everyone else, it seems, has done some variation on stagnating or going backwards, or improving their lives in certain ways while regressing in others. But Jeremey...he seems to have just...grown up.

Emily is now my closest friend, a possible tie with Zack, who I had not yet met at the time of the writing. Still, having been married to Zack for so long and still, in some capacity, thinking of him as more or less the love of my life (As opposed to the stronger, stabler partnership I experience with my current husband), I have trouble thinking of him as a "friend." So, that leaves Emily.

I don't think that it's a coincidence that the sole female of the bunch is the one who has proven best able to navigate the complications of the kinds of relationships I tend to foster. All of my close friendships have some degree of both familial and romantic feelings, either at some point or as an ongoing theme. For many, this has proven far too confusing to deal with. Emily, on the other hand, seems to understand that complexity in love does not tarnish it's value. One must put up boundaries and try to live by them, but these boundaries shift, and change, and crossing them does not make for a disaster that's any more bad than it is good.

I don't know if that makes sense, as the more I write, the more oddly, unintentionally poetic I get. But Emily and I are good, and we have been for a long time, with little interruption.

Still, a friendship such as this one can survive an interruption. Mine and Emily's did, a few years back. And one hopes that mine and Jeff's will survive the one we're currently experiencing.

Things are not good between us now. I don't know to what extent "things" between us still are, at all.

I won't go into it now: another day, perhaps. All I can say is, I still love him. That much won't change.

I'm fighting for change, and I'm fighting for things to stay the same. If that girl, who wrote all that came before this can make it, so can I.

To borrow a habit from her, I'll end the post on a corny song quote:

"You live for the fight when that's all that you've got."
-Bon Jovi, Livin' on a Prayer

On with it.