As bitchy and prickly as the last post sounded, I had a thought this morning (on the treadmill, where all deeps thoughts are currently birthed). Notwithstanding the pain and hurt that inevitably comes from close female friendships, I have been tremendously lucky. Yes, I have been burned and hurt and betrayed by people I would have laid down in traffic for, but even those relationships added a lot of value in my life and taught me a lot about myself and friendship.
When I stop and think about it, I have probably been more defined or influenced by my platonic friendships than my romantic ones. The latter are more difficult to end, at least for me, because they involve both platonic feelings and the heady feelings of romantic love. You lose both when you end those relationships. With few exceptions, every past romantic lover of mine was also a best friend at the time. However, I am still kind of focused on the platonic friendships.
Part of this came to nest in my brain because an old friend from Saudi found me on facebook, which I initially signed up for at the request of another old Saudi friend. I now use it almost exclusively for Scrabulous, which is a great sporadic distraction during the day. As an aside, for those of us who grew up overseas, then dispersed to the far corners of the world, these types of networking sites are kind of magical. When I left Saudi, I used to write and receive letters every week, detailing the updates in our respective lives and professing our dedications to the friendship. Eventually, these correspondences tapered off and we "lost" your former friends. This was particularly difficult for us Saudi folks, as we had an almost Survivor-type existence there, although only the government or Aramco could vote anyone off the island. We were all stuck in this camp, forced to resolve whatever personal disputes came between us. We all have this strange but wonderful shared history that transcends almost anything.
The girl that found me was my best friend in....shit...I think it was 3-5th grades. Her name is Ivy and she and I were as different as you could get. She was Filipina and (shit, my memory might be wrong here) adopted. She was an only child and what I immediately think of when I remember her was that she had her own room with her OWN PHONE LINE AND TELEVISION. As one of four kids, that was positively foreign to me and I envied it. Another thing I remember was that Ivy was completely OCD (by today's standards). She would wipe down the phone after she or I used it, all of her clothes were hung in her closet at one inch intervals, and she could not abide any form of disorder. Mostly, however, what comes to mind with Ivy was Michael Jackson's Thriller. She was really into MJ and we must have watched that video (in her room, on her personal television) a million times.
I don't think I was that great to Ivy, all told. Ivy was kind of reclusive and I am gregarious, and unless I am rewriting history, I think she was one of my first friends when I moved there. I eventually made friends who were more social, and my relationship with Ivy fell by the wayside. She and I were both competitive academically, so we had that, but I don't think I really honored our relationship back then.
She is absolutely gorgeous now, as she was then, and is enjoying a very successful career in Dubai. Her second email to me was "K, we need an attorney with Arabic skills! Send me your resume!"
But what motivated this post was the friends that I have wronged, at least in my mind. Ivy was sort of one of them. There are more.
Carrie F: Okay, you were kind of a disaster, but your house was the first place I ever watched porn. We lived together in the smallest town in Saudi and, consequently, it was easy for you to get on my nerves. I often regarded you as an annoying gnat and that was shitty.
Kathy VW: When I broke up with Todd, whom I knew you dearly crushed on, I never expected that you would go after him immediately. I know I told you to go for it, but I am sorry that I instead superficially wooed him back. If it is any consolation, I ran into him during college and he was a terrible, terrible lay. Seriously tragic. It was so bad that I didn't actually sleep with him.
Kristi B: When I first moved back to the States, you were my first friend. I loved hanging out with you, but all of your friends were stoners that I couldn't relate to. Still, it was so difficult, being the new girl, and I hate that you probably regard me as that girl whom you befriended, only to get dumped by when she found the cool kids. You have every right to have that perception, but truth be told, I wanted you to join my circle of friends and ditch the stoners. Still, I know how it looks and I deserve any derision you want to throw my way.
Sarah: I can't even remember your last name and we lived together for a year. We had a few key things in common, but should never have been roommates. I paid six months of double rent, just to avoid living with you and what I believed to be such a negative presence. I had fallen in love and walking through the door each night was the biggest buzz kill on the planet. I was elated. You weren't. You also hated Christmas and bitched about my Christmas tree and music. Heathen.
Hilarie: you are the subject of another post. How I love thee. I wronged you a little later, but you remain the gold standard in terms of enduring friendships. Every person on the planet should have a relationship like we have.
Girl Whose Name I Cannot Remember: I know I said I would live with you, but as we were painting my prospective bedroom, I realized you were more than a little nuts and possessive. You were also one of my first friends when I moved back to Washington, so I am recognizing a pattern of mine. If it is any consolation, it would have ended badly had I moved in.
Kelly M: I should have given you a 24 hour grace period in which to tell your boyfriend, my best friend at the time, that you were having unprotected sex, despite thinking yourself cured of herpes. Once you started fretting about being pregnant, I recognized the situation and was too disgusted at the time to balance the friendships. Even though we weren't terribly close, it was nevertheless a betrayal, and I am still ashamed of it.
Christa: I just suck. You were a great friend and I passively let our friendship die once you moved out of the city and had a kid. I suck righteously and purposefully and miss you almost every day. I am scared to call you, but know that you won't be an ass when I finally muster up the courage.
Shit, I am le tired and have a few more to contemplate. I need to remember this post the next time I want to bitch about friendships gone wrong.