Surreal Saturday – Friendship

Again, there’s nothing surreal here except my state of mind.  I’ve been mulling the past few hours how my friends never fail to amaze me.

My family was too dysfunctional to be examples of healthy relationships.  They were too consumed by their own issues to consider any effects on me.   I grew up with a sense that love was conditional; if I put a foot wrong, it would be withheld. Dissenting opinion wasn’t acceptable.  I felt mostly inconsequential, when I wasn’t literally and figuratively preventing them from going off the deep end.  When I left that environment, I didn’t leave these examples behind, so I attracted more of the same people because that’s all I knew.  You can imagine how those relationships turned out.  You can also imagine it all left me chronically depressed.

Naturally I assumed there it was all my fault to be treated to poorly.  I recall sobbing to my first therapist for the umpteenth time, “what’s wrong with me?”  Finally her professional mask dropped and she leaned forward, clearly angry.  “There’s nothing wrong with you.  You need better friends!”   Of course, needing to pay out $75 a hour then for therapy didn’t convince me that I was poster girl for mental health.  It took a long a time to separate me as a person from the disorder.  Then I worried how people accept me and my depression.  How do keep friends with this?

Some of the therapy must have sunk in because I did find a different kind of friend.  My worries are not an issue for two best friends I’ve known since 1996.  Over the years, they’ve seen me sad, reclusive, grumpy, and simply not functioning.  They’ve listened to my silences.  For the last eight months, they’ve been quietly supportive through this latest struggle.  They descended on my place this past weekend from out of state.  For my birthday they expensively stocked my refrigerator with home cooked meals, sorted through my piles of clutter, ran errands, got me out of the house, talked to me, and listened.  I see evidence of what real love and caring means every time I open the fridge, eat the candy, walk down the neat hall, look into the clean closet, open my checkbook, and I’m in awe.  Once I asked why they bothered all these years.  “We like the not-depressed Judi much, it’s worth it, ” they said.  I was so stunned, I didn’t know what to say.  They chattered about what we will do during the summer when I’m hopefully okay, as if I were back after a hiatus.

I just finished a call with another friend.  He and his wife called to take my pulse, as it were.  He’d already phoned earlier in the week to wish me a happy birthday, but wanted to double check I would be able to attend Easter dinner with them.  He’d bought my favorite wine; they wanted me to come.  He chatted as if there has been only short pause in socializing, instead of months.  I didn’t have to search for my place in their lives again; our friendship was still there, waiting for me to return.

I’m amazed by online friends who have sent me supportive private emails and humored me on blog,  in chat, on Twitter and Facebook, gently nudging, letting know they care.  I laughed when Sally Field gushed “you like me, you really like me!” but I understand the shock and surprise at feeling validated.

After all these years, I still haven’t gotten used to this yet.  Part of me is still that child fearing rejection while wanted to be accepted.  Maybe it’s good I’m amazed by my friends every single time.  Then I won’t fail to be appreciative or take any of them for granted.

The following songs have been floating through my head.  I think they say it all.

 

That’s What Friends Are For – Dionne Warwick & Friends HQ

Middle 80’s Classic Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder Great Song Vid

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11 thoughts on “Surreal Saturday – Friendship

  1. I’m glad somebody likes you cuz I don’t know how I feel. After we discuss things last night, this is what you post!!!!! Unbelievable Ms. judiang. Unbelievable. Well, now you see how good of a friend I am.

    • *hangs head*

      I know!  Not a snark or pot stirrer in sight.  But I was so full of the warm and fuzzies that I couldn’t help myself.  Maybe next week, okay???

      You think this will hurt my street cred?

  2. Happy Easter with your friends, Judian! Have a good and enjoyable time and best wishes from a friend waiting for you as well ;o)

  3. A beautiful sharing of yourself with us, Dear Judiang.
    Thank you for your friendship to me.  You see, I’m the grateful one to you.
    Cheers!   Grati  ;->

  4. Jazzy’s right, we all love you! That being said, I’m so glad you have people in your real life who show you what it means to be loved unconditionally. Perhaps your depression can be a blessing, in that it shows you who will stick around through the ups and downs. I hope you have a wonderful Easter Dinner with your friends family!

     

  5. My sweet Judiang-

    You and I are so much alike- still wondering why we aren’t enough or too much at the same time.  We wonder why the people who are supposed to love us cannot and those who shouldn’t are able to do it so very well.

    I had that same moment on my therapist’s couch- what is wrong with me? Why do I keep getting hurt when I love others but get nothing in return? She said much the same thing- that I needed to surround myself with those who were capable of loving me instead of those who could not until I became what and who THEY thought I should be.  I thought I had done that, but found out this past weekend I was mistaken in a most painful way.

    Today though, I can say that I am so grateful to have people like you in my life- those who teach me it is ok to be me, those who teach me that I am more than enough and more than worthy of being loved just because I am- not because of what I have done or not accomplished.  And I am so grateful that you have taught me that friends make the best kind of family.

    Much love to you today and always!
    Tina

  6. Dear Judiang,

    I am so glad you have such good friends in your life.  You deserve to have good friends.  It makes me angry to think how mistreated you must have been in your past!

    It sounds like I am missing some good times in your chat room. I will have to visit more often!  Thanks for your song offerings. Those are two that I really love to sing – alLOT!  I love them both but the Carol King song was one of the first I ever learned by heart.

    I hope you are having a lovely Easter weekend! 🙂

  7. Something you may not think about: the way you make people into your friends. You spoke to me kindly at a really confusing time and what you said made sense, and you have always been there, even when you’ve been struggling. I know we’re really “only” cyberfriends, but I would want to be friends with you, I think, under any circumstances. Don’t underestimate yourself.

  8. Best wishes.  Finding real friends is difficult, but what a joy when you find a good one.   Most of my true friends are long distance, so I have acquaintances locally, but I hope that some of the acquaintances will upgrade.  Again, best wishes.  I enjoy your blog.

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