Friends forever

Years ago I believed that if I remained friends with an individual for five years, we’d be friends forever.

That’s not exactly true…yes five years is a long time to keep a friendship going. However, both parties have to actively work to keep the relationship afloat.

I’ve moved a few times in my adult life and I’m the first to admit that it’s hard work to maintain friendships. Thankfully, I’ve maintained some relationships in my adult life. Although it has been work.

Like me, my friends are adults. They are employees, spouses, parents, and we all live in different areas of the country. Life gets busy and making time to check in on friends is a lot. We manage to keep in touch with each other.

I’m also inactive on the major social media networks which has become a primary way of keeping in contact with individuals. I believe that true friendships reach beyond the world of Facebook. Removing myself from Facebook and Twitter approximately 5 years ago, quickly showed how some of my friendships were faux/ships of pseudo/relationships! They didn’t outlast my participation in social media networks.

I also was invited to less baby showers, birthday parties, and weddings when I deactivated my major social network pages! – this was welcomed news because I was always mailing gifts or sending my mom on a mission to find a gift for the recipient.

Today, I think that it takes much more than five years of knowing one another to be friends for life. It takes commitment and communication.

Let’s talk about today…

I’m in the land of the living; however, most of my residence today is in the I Am Chronically Unwell camp! That’s no problem!

Well it’s a bit of a problem…let me explain.

I’m what most people would consider invisibly unwell. Meaning that there’s not many external markers that give away my membership in the club of chronically unwell and/or sick individuals.

There’s millions of individuals who have invisible illnesses so that’s not the problem.

The problem is that at times my acting skills are so good that even I forget that chronic ailments take up residence in my body. Yes, acting skills! Day in and day out I purposely put on my best face and I muster up all the strength I can to downplay my membership to the chronically unwell club.

Through the years I’ve worked hard to not allow my ailments to define me. We’re not going to get into how psychological, physical, and emotional damaging this mindset can be when it has limited impact on the true state of illness.

I won’t say that this acting is a bad thing, neither will I declare it a good thing…I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. I’ll just say the acting is what I do on a daily basis. Acting as if I am free of any ailments despite the fact that my body is riddled with ailments became my way of life decades ago. So much so that presently acting well is simply a habit now.

Sigh. So when I have days like today when my illnesses outweigh my acting skills and I must pause…I struggle.

I struggle because I’ve spent so much time pretending to be well that I forget how to tend to my illnesses.

I struggle because no one is used to me saying no or being unable to participate in whatever activity they want me to.

I struggle because on those days (today) I’m forced to look at myself and see the illnesses that I fight so hard to ignore.

I struggle because the illnesses impact my entire being.

You’d think I’d only experienced days like today once every three years, the way it seems to knock me down. You would think that there’s no warning signals and that I’m always caught by surprise based on my reaction to days like today.

None of that is true.

I frequently experienced days like today. There’s generally always warning signs and I even take steps to prepare for the life interruptions. Yet, I’ll never get used to the toll days like today take on me.

Days like today will be familiar, yet foreign.

Who likes to fall (in love)?

I’ve read that it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. That sounds like something someone makes up while they are trying to recover from a breakup or worse, unrequited love.

I’ve loved a time or two. I’ve lost a time or two; in regards to love. I’ve even had the pleasure of experiencing unrequited love. For those reasons I’m not sure it’s better to have loved.

In many ways, I think I could’ve been ok without every experiencing love like that. But then again, I could just be recovering from a breakup or unrequited love!

I don’t know what I think about love, at this phase in my life. I do know that I employ too many fantastical ideas about love and relationships.

I do know that I stick with a person well past the expiration date. I do this in all of my relationships, romantic, familial, and platonic.

Please don’t tell me that familial relationships do not expire! I’m not suggesting that we will quit being family but I am suggesting that the dynamics change. Familiar relationships take work to maintain just like all other relationships.

Love, romantic love, is something I vowed to never do! I was uninterested of putting my heart out there and exposing my emotions. I was adamantly against ever falling in love.

Some people have said that the thing you’re most against is the thing that you will run into or at least find yourself doing. Well! I didn’t listen to that sage advice.

I looked up one day and realized I was in love with an amazing individual. Yes, he was and is and likely always will be amazing. I did not want to fall in love with him and I questioned the validity of my love for a long time.

I bet you’re wondering why I don’t believe that it’s better to have loved since I still still speak highly of the one I loved?

Well although my life improved drastically with his presence, I don’t know that I’d want to experience the vulnerabilities associated with falling in love all over again.

I don’t know if it was necessary.

If I seem confused, I’m not; however, I am still struggling with the vulnerability associated with falling in love.

I’ll never speak badly about this man, it’s really not about him. It’s about me and the complexities of my emotions.

You won’t catch me truthfully singing that I feel like falling in love

Plans. Pain! Plans?

It was Sunday, which meant it was time for me to mentally plan and prepare for the week. It would likely be more sensible for me to plan on Saturdays; however my Saturdays are booked and so I plan my week on the first day of the week…

At times those plans are very loose; those are the times when I actually plan to stream programming, read a novel, or watch random videos and listen to music.

This Sunday my plans were not very flexible as far as the tasks I’d intended to accomplish. I planned a set amount of hours that I’d spend on the tasks in order to follow my plan for the week.

Well…here’s the problem – when I planned my tasks for the week I failed to plan for pain. Oddly I failed to even consider the possibility of pain.

Not considering the possibility of pain is odd because I actively live with chronic illness and pain. Well I guess I wanted to think positive and plan my week without the presence of pain.

I am in pain most days of the week, multiple hours in a day; however, when I planned my week on Sunday…I didn’t consider the possibility of pain.

At times I believe that the faith talks dissuade me from practicing self care. In many ways faith talks or willpower talks fault the person going through something and rarely addresses any core problems. When faith talks and willpower talks occupy my mind I believe I am able to not consider the pain I experience on a regular basis.

Somehow That pain pauses until my weekly tasks are complete or at least that was my frame of mind Sunday when I made plans.

Surprise, I know it’s not even going to shock you, pain was not only present while I attempted to complete my scheduled tasks, pain sidetracked me to the point that I was unable to stick to my scheduled events.

I’m not new to chronic pain or illness. I’ve dealt with these things in various forms with varying levels of success most of my life…so it’s amazing that I’m astonished that pain made my plans questionable.

Whether I’ll be able to complete the scheduled tasks this week as planned is a question that will remain unanswered for a few days.

Pain has interrupted my sleep cycle, lack of sleep impacts my comprehension levels which are already lowered as a result of the pain…all of this makes it difficult to complete my tasks I scheduled for the week.

Ok so at this moment I’m accepting the possibility of being unable to complete the planned tasks this week and like many people living with chronic illness and pain. I adjust and do what I can, while thinking to myself “why did I forget to make room for pain?”

What do you do when pain makes your plans questionable?

Yesterday

The first thing that comes to mind when I consider the word yesterday, is Boyz II Men’s cover of The Beatles’ song Yesterday.

One of the most vivid memories I have of that song was at one of my relative’s celebration of life or what’s more commonly known as a funeral. The song was covered by someone at the service, I recall thinking that the song the individual sung could not be the Boyz II Men song that I use to pretend I hate a fight with my fictive husband!!!

Pause — I won’t reveal how young I was at the time but let’s just say that I was not even dating, let alone married!!!

Oh and I loved to pretend to fight with my fictive significant other because that meant I could be single again. Lol! Even then I was eager to not be attached to anyone or anything that would potentially hinder me receiving an education.

Hey! I didn’t realize that I could be in a relationship or even married and still get my education. Those things felt like they did not belong together.

Anyways, back to yesterday…this post is not about the song or the beautiful rendition of it at my relative’s service…no! It’s really about yesterday.

Here’s another thing – yesterday is not referring to any particular timeframe other than before the time of writing this. You know some people want you to be specific! Like I’m writing this post about an event that occurred at 1400 hours June 5 2010!!! Lol

I may be a bit goofy…stay with me I’ll make a point and if I don’t you’ll at least enjoy my silliness.

Yesterday, I thought I had everything figured out. I knew what I wanted in life; but most importantly I knew who I was.

Like the song says, “it’s hard to say goodbye to yesterday” but I have to say so long, farewell to you my friend, goodbye for now, until we meet again — Yes I just referenced Out of the Box from Playhouse Disney.

I had to say goodbye to yesterday’s image I’d created of myself and all the things I thought I had figured out because today I realized I’m still learning.

I’m changing everyday I’m becoming who I am…that sounds weird but I believe that I will never arrive as long as there’s breath in my body. I don’t mean that in a bad sense but just that I am unaware of what the future holds and how events will shape me so although yesterday I had it all figured out…there’s a great chance that that configuration doesn’t work for today.

I am always becoming who I am. Yesterday I thought I understood who I was going to be today…but today I realized that I’m still learning.

I’m Walking Away

Walking away from everything and everyone sounds so effortless and effective…it may be. I’ll never know.

So much of my identity is tied into things and people that walking away from all of it seems like an awful lot of work. I’m not interested in recreating me.

I refuse to walk away from everything and everyone

However I am placing everyone and everything in an appropriate position in my life.

I’ve noticed that I’ve given too much to some and too little to others. I’ve used some things too much and other things not enough so balance is what I strive for.

Balance in my relationships with people and relations with things.

At times it feels like walking away from everything and everyone is exactly what I should to remedy my situation. But rarely is the seemingly easy, easy.

Transitions, transitions, transitions

I’ve written a lot about transitioning from grad student to PhD and the job search. Many of my trials and triumphs I expected to have…others not so much.

The changes in relationships are something that I was totally unprepared for. I’d read the literature that suggests that the first generation graduates like myself had unique relationship issues.

It’s too painful to write about really. I never expected my relationships to change in anyway once I got my degree.

Some people think I behave like I’m better than them while my behavior hasn’t changed. The knowledge that I have degrees has and the attention I receive has changed.

I’m proud of myself and although I don’t share my accomplishments widely I am proud of them. I refuse to downplay my accomplishments to make others feel better. Yet I also only mention them when I’m asked about it.

I’ve never thought I was better than anyone, however, if someone believes I am better than them…who am I to dispute it?

I have no control over another person’s reactions to me. I take responsibility for my actions and I realize that my matter of fact way of speaking may easily offend others.

I’ve always been that way. Im very analytic and at times it may very well seem that I’m speaking an unknown language. At times I will think through something aloud while speaking with someone and I’m certain to them it sounds like gibberish

I see people as my equals and I speak to everyone the same. I speak to a 3 month old baby using the same direct speak I use with an adult.

I’ve speculated that I could possibly be somewhere on the autism spectrum – but I always conclude that if I am I’ve learned how to cope throughout the years.

Plus my quirks have not gotten in my way. Perhaps it’s not the degrees, accomplishments, or attention that created the changes in my relationships.

Perhaps it’s the direct exposure to me on a day to day basis. I believe that when an individual is around you, you witness their quirks in a way that you may not usually notice.

I’m generally reserved and I enjoy solitude. I don’t like to converse with multiple people at a time – not because I’m stuck up, but because I have total hearing loss in one of my ears.

I’m upset now because I try to present myself as a kind individual who really just loves to help. To know that there’s at least one person who thinks I belittle them, is troubling.

I’ll think about the accusations for awhile and I’ll survey my behavior when I’m interacting with others. If there is anything I can do to address this alleged behavior, I will.

Even with that, I know that I don’t think of myself as superior. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in my life and I’m thankful to everyone who helped me along the way.

I imagine this is just another part of my transition….but no one told me that my relationships would change.