Looking Back

Sometimes I wonder how I reached the point I am at in life. I have few friends but those I have I value. I have recently shed myself of people who I once considered friends and in retrospect I question why I ever thought this. I logically understand the why, it was a step on this path to knowing that they were bad for me, and that I deserve better. I did not always deserve better. In a way its like watching my mother date an abusive man who was in her eyes good because he just did not hit her. Baby steps. Learning steps.

I think back on all of the years I struggled and just wanted any friend at all. I can see myself sitting on the swings alone, watching people. I do this often. All my memories punctuate the aspect of watching as from the age of eight through now there is the blurred shape of the world then the crisp shape of whatever is past my glasses. Even in the memories this is so, whatever I see is drawn into sharper focus that way. I remember watching people, and wondering what it was that made all of the girls come together and laugh over things I still don’t get the joke on. I sometimes think there was not really a joke but a need to pretend that they all mattered. A need to be something. Anything.

I am still socially awkward. In fact in recent years by no longer putting on the act of normalacy it may look like I am more awkward now. I no longer risk dying just to be around people, especially since dying isn’t very fun for anyone to experience or witness. I no longer tolerate people in my life who think that its just enough to close a door, as if an allergen strong enough to put me into anaphalaxis when I breathe it is really stopped by a closed door. If the door was air tight? Maybe. That person was once my best friend. If they read this they may know who they are. I am thinking too on being pushed to do things I am not ready to.

There is a way to invite someone to do something, and there is a way to demand people do things or else. The difference is dramatic. I look back on my life and while I am still very young I have seen over and over again so many people who just want to take and drain no matter the cost. Perhaps it is being disabled that makes the cost something so clear to me, but I do not think so. I think it is simply being alive. The cost can express itself in the form of that person at work who walks into a room and in five seconds you feel drained. They stay too long, they ask too much but society obligates you to not say a word, to act like its fine for people to be that way. They might be obnoxious, rude, or even too polite so that you know they are up to something. THey could also be desperately lonely. Sometimes its okay to leave people in their loneliness.

Sometimes it is okay to tell people too, that solitude is not the same as loneliness. I was asked recently what I want from travel. It is not the tourist hot spot crowded with people but the serene beauty offered by nature. It is the quiet space where few people know to go but holds more beauty than the pastiche of plastic doodads for people to buy and the obligation of what must be seen. While I do want to see the Great Wall of China, the Mona Lisa and of course the Tower of London, I also want to see a backroad in any given country but my own, to listen to the people laughing and talking, and to watch the world.

I look back and I find I am greatly relieved to have found friends when I needed to experience them, and now to lose those people who were not really friends. I am solitary but not alone. I wish I had learned to walk this way long ago. This path of quiet where I reach out to people and they reach back, instead of one of us reaching and falling again and again and being left to wonder why friendship hurts. Friendship is like love. It does not hurt, but feels quite nice.

I look back, and it leaves me looking forward too.

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1 Comment

  1. That was very well written. On the matter of people who feel like they are draining you – I have found that sometimes it feels this way because something about them triggers you. There are times when they might be a perfectly nice person who just sounds or acts too much like someone who hurt you in the past, and being around them is uncomfortable for that reason.


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