Yesterday, I scratched my scar by accident. Turns out, it hasn't fully healed. I winced in pain at the realization and then looked dumbfounded that nearly two months after being cut open, a piece of me was still that tender. The scar is misleading. It tells you that you've healed but that's not always the case. Sometimes the wound is right under the skin, waiting for the perfect opportunity to remind you that you have a long way to go before the pain is over.
That's how it is with certain people, people I was fortunate enough to call friends once upon a time. Because of group chats, access to their lives via social media and mutual friends, it's hard to differentiate between a wound and a friend. I convinced myself that we should be cordial or we can resume some kind of relationship, even if it is a watered down version of the previous one, but the minute they touch the sensitive area, I remember vividly how deep they cut me.
I remember the complications on the table, I remember waking up disoriented, I remember the isolation, the overwhelming feeling of being optional to those who claim you are a priority. I remember suffering in silence. I remember that being mysterious has been my gift and my curse. It intrigues people and it also lets them lie. We all know, whoever tells the story first, gets all the believers. But I never get to tell the story. I am never comfortable with reshaping their identity with the truth. I'm sometimes so in love with the memory of them, that I dare not admit that's all it is; a memory I keep breathing life into. It's such a delicate balance to let people see their true colors in due time or to defend yourself and scream that the jig is up. But even when you expose someone, you expose yourself.
When you tell the world what a monster someone's been to you, you have to admit that you tolerated the torture. And I've condemned myself far too long to the ideology that pain is private.
I want you to understand that the phrase 'true friend' is nothing but a misleading scar. You convince yourself that when you fall apart, they weren't a 'true friend' to begin with. That's something you tell yourself to expedite the healing. A friendship is like a cough and a cough is like love. You cannot hide any of those things. They cannot be stifled. The exact quote comes from Anne Sexton;"As it has been said: Love and a cough cannot be concealed. Even a small cough. Even a small love."
I believe that we know when each of these things are happening and I also believe that deep down, we know when they are not. We are keen to the moment a friendship begins to unravel but it is hard to admit that you feel like you've wasted your time. It's hard to come to terms with the face that the human repository for your secrets is about to spread them like wildfire and you are'nt surprised in the least bit. It sucks when you've watched your friend treat other people like shit and when it happens to you, you KNOW that it is simply your turn.
Personally, we use the word friend too loosely. We throw such strong words behind such temporary commitments to only discover that denial always catches up, at the most inconvenient time. There's always been this never ending conversation about how I deal with conflict and who I am in conflict with. As a writer in the age of social media, it comes with the territory. If I do not post Happy Birthday messages, we aren't friends anymore. If I don't like their pictures, we aren't friends anymore. The truth is, we weren't friends for months, maybe years before that and maybe I was too busy grieving to write an update. But now that the fog has been lifted and time reveals all things - I have never lost a friend in my life. When you learn that someone disrespects your relationship and is only transparent about that as a self defense mechanism, that's not your friend. When they spend all their energy clearly communicating how they feel about you to everybody else but you, that's not your friend. When you wake up from the anesthesia and they're not there, that's not your friend. When they compare their mistakes to the footstools God has placed in your life to elevate you, that's not your friend. When they only talk about who you were two years ago, it's because they don't know who you are now, and that's not your friend. I've lost many things and people to unforeseen circumstances but never in my life have I lost a friend.
Walking away from the burial ground of dead relationships has done one thing - it has reminded me that I am still alive. I heard somewhere that everyone you lose is not a loss. That is the truth. xoxo