It’s a question a lot of us pose to ourselves throughout the years. How do we move on when the wound is so deep you can’t tell where it begins and where it ends? It’s a question I haven’t found a concrete answer to yet, but i think I’ve finally started to.
I don’t believe in horoscopes, though I’m guilty of finding them fun to read. I’m sure I could find something I identify with in every sign. But there is one thing about my sign, the Scorpio, that I’ve always particularly identified with. From nearly every description I’ve ever read, Scorpios are supposedly people that keep a few close friends and are fiercely loyal to them, until trust is broken. Then it’s just pain, and they can’t handle it very well, and it can be almost impossible to regain their trust.
There’s been a few times in my life that I’ve identified with this, but none quite as much as a situation that has happened over the last couple of years. I won’t go into the details, but let’s just leave it at, I felt/feel very betrayed.
One thing I’ve learned from the experience is that most people are not very sympathetic to a betrayal that isn’t someone cheating in a romantic relationship. In a nutshell, I’ve learned that to most people, every other relationship pales to the importance that is romantic relationships. I get it, to some degree – you might begin a family with this person, and it can be exciting and make you feel wanted. But on the other hand, you might not start a family with this person. You’re going to need those other people to help dust you off. Even if it doesn’t fail, I believe that, just like there are times a significant other is the person you need to comfort you, there will be times when what you need is a true friend.
Anyway, I even went to a counselor for this situation. I want this pain gone. But even sitting in the florescent-lit room, the stark difference between my values and other peoples’ was right before my eyes when my counselor grew frustrated with me and my inability to get past it and said, “It’s not like she slept with your boyfriend.”
Now, maybe it’s because I went so long without a boyfriend, but I would classify friendship, close friendship anyway, as another type of love, just as I would familial love. As you can guess from what I wrote above, I’ve never really liked how devalued friendship is in popular culture, or the fact that radio songs are all about romantic love and very little about friendship. Even the songs that appear to be about friendship, often aren’t very good at driving home their point…
I didn’t realize this song was meant to be taken so literally…Also, is she trying to support her friends or seduce them?
I learned again that I think differently from perhaps the “ideal” of normal relationships when she implied that friends shouldn’t be that involved in each other’s lives. My counselor mentioned a time when her friend was getting married to someone she thought was completely and utterly wrong for her friend, but she didn’t say anything. To her, that was what good friends do. For me, when I thought another friend of mine was getting married way too soon, I told her. It wasn’t easy for me to be confrontational, and I fretted over every word in my message to her. I didn’t want to hurt her, and I didn’t want her to end up unhappy. But thankfully we were close enough that she knew I wasn’t doing it out of spite but out of concern. She thanked me for my concern and said that she had thought about it a lot and was going to go through with it. I said okay, and then congratulated her and supported her.
Maybe that’s the big difference here – if my counselor thought by telling her friend that she was worried about her that she’d be a bad friend, or that she’d lose her friend, maybe their idea of friendship is a more shallow one? One where you dance around under actual umbrellas, go out drinking together, and go home. Not one where you drive half an hour on bad roads and face your fear of driving to comfort your friend who just had a bad break up and doesn’t want to be alone.
Honestly sometimes I wish it was as “simple” as cheating – then I could throw the relationships out the window, and be done with the whole thing. But these people are too integral to my life, and especially where I’m at now, I just can’t get away. There isn’t a day that I don’t think about it, or someone else doesn’t mention them. Some days it’s easy to brush off and get voluntary ADD, finding something shiny to pay attention to. Other days (or months) I have such a hard time getting out of bed.
It’s affected my ability to trust others too. I didn’t even realize I was doing it, but my roommate mentioned that she felt like I would have been more open if I was living with someone else, that I would have shared more of myself if I was living with a different friend. I was sort of taken aback, because as my roommate, at that time she was the one I was sharing more of myself with than anyone, except maybe my boyfriend. Most of the time I was gone anywhere, she was the only one who knew, and I talked to her more often than anyone.
I realized that maybe she was right, at least partly. I honestly don’t think I would have opened up any more with any other friend. But I think she was right in that I wasn’t trusting her as much as I should have. I tried to change, but I don’t know how well I succeeded. Then summer came, school and our lease ended, and she too moved across the country not too long after. Thinking about the moment when she told me that, I realize again that not much has changed. I’ve reached out to some of my other friends and told them what I’ve been going through. Sometimes I’ve probably even been too honest. But then I back away, I fade away and say every thing’s alright, I’m managing. Sometimes it’s true, sometimes it’s not, but either way it’s what I say. I’ve been distancing myself.
I guess I feel toxic. I’m scared to bring my friends down with me, or that relying on them too heavily will make them tired of me. Maybe subconsciously I’m a little afraid that trust will be broken again. I think I’m scared to be vulnerable again.
Of course, I have heard so many times how I should be over this by now, or that it’s time I move on. But this always made me think in my cynical way, so, was January 1st the day it was supposed to stop hurting? Or August 5th? Summer solstice? Because guess what, it hasn’t.
They’re right though, whether it’s morally right or not, or in agreement with my own ideals, for socially accepted norms it’s well past time I ‘got over it.’ But I can’t, no matter how much I will myself or how much I distract myself, it’s there, like the Red Knight in The Fisher King.
(Another thing people often imply is that it shouldn’t matter since I have the comfort of a boyfriend………)
That’s why lately what I’ve been thinking is that it’s not time I need, or needed. I’ve got time by the bucket loads, and I’ve spent a lot of it wallowing. I know most of you have probably felt betrayal or extreme hurt at one time or another. I don’t know if you’ve been in an environment where you literally cannot run from it, and it’s in your face almost every day. But if you have, or if you can imagine it, you’ll understand that it makes moving past it so hard.
I’ll never fully be able to get rid of the pain, probably. And the reminders will never stop, not with Facebook and so, so many mutual friends and relatives.
But maybe, just maybe, there is a way to heal. I think what I need is not time. If I stayed where I am, I’m beginning to think ten years from now I’ll still feel the same. What I need most is distance, and accomplishment.
I need to go somewhere far enough that I can meet new people and build a new life with new places and new memories. Of course, after living here so long, there are lots of relationships and memories I don’t want to gain distance from too.
But there are too many ghosts where I am. Considering it’s been so long and the pain hasn’t faded, I doubt I will ever care for those ghosts less than I do now, or I did then, as much as I wish I could forget. I think I put too much of my self-worth in my relationships with those that hurt me. But I need to realize that there are others that I can care for more, and that want me to feel better. Sometimes it’s easy for me to forget that. It’s one thing to say it, or even to know in my head. But it’s been really hard for me to feel.
It of course doesn’t help that there have been other unrelated painful situations since then, or that everyone is leaving or going off on their own adventures, as is natural at my age. My roommate moved across the country, another one of my best friends is living across the state but soon to be across the country, and another one of my best friends that just left to go across the country without a proper goodbye. A close relative of mine is off in another country. It should be added that none of us (including doubly so myself) are very good at keeping in contact, even though we care about each other.
So, I think I need to build that sense of support up in a new place, where I can meet people in person again, where it’s not so easy for me to hide.
I have lost something I thought I would never lose, something that maybe I valued too highly. What I need to focus on is what I can gain in the future.
I need to finish something, I need to have an achievement that I can hold in my heart and say to myself that I am worth something.
That those relationships or the loss of them does not define who I am.
I’m not at a great place financially, so it’s going to be really difficult. I mean, really difficult. So if you feel so inclined, pray (or hope, cross your fingers, hop on one foot while chanting in Latin, or whatever ritual you do when you wish for something) that I find a job that pays enough for me to stand up straight.
Hopefully in the next few months I can finally walk in the rain with my own handmade umbrella, instead of letting the rain pour down and drench me.
P.S. Despite knowing that I’m dating a Japanese person, that counselor also said that intercultural relationships were a ‘ great fear of hers’ in regards to another couple. I know she didn’t mean it that way, but…obviously there are more than a few areas we were incompatible.
P.P.S. My high school counselor also told me that I “wasn’t cut out for college.” I haven’t had the best of luck in the counselor department.
P.P.P.S. Go watch The Fisher King. It’s brilliant.