Friday, February 6, 2009

Friendship and Wisdom Teeth?

So it happened again this past week, friendship came to the forefront of my mind while I was also thinking about that fact that I was having all four of my wisdom teeth pulled, and then it occurred to me. The pain that we endure with a tooth extraction is equal to the pain we can endure with a friendship that is unhealthy for us. My wisdom teeth were a problem to my health, they triggered headaches, were dangerously close to my sinuses, and took away needed space in my mouth. I was terrified to have them removed, I thought about how much it would hurt, the recovery time needed to get over the surgery, but ultimately short term pain would be a long term gain. My mouth still hurts, I am still getting over the surgery, but I get better every day, and soon I won’t even feel the pain at all. Imagine, my wisdom teeth were with me my whole life, they grew and matured, and soon they became a problem, unhealthy for me, and I had to give them up, and move on.

I had this female friend from the time that I was little, we were only acquaintances growing up, but we got to know each other, and when we got to high school we became very good friends. We were quite inseparable, and after high school we vowed to stay in touch, and we did. We would talk every other day if not every day, and we would see each other three or four times a week. Then we both started to change, and we grew, but when we did we grew in different directions. She wanted a family, and I wanted a career and I wanted to have fun with my friends. Before I knew it, she was going out with a guy that I didn’t know and didn‘t meet, but I did know that he hurt her in the past. She grew closer to him and the closer she grew to him, the further she grew away from me and her other friends; the manipulations of her mother did not help the situation as her mother also aided in pushing further from her friends and closer to a guy that she thought she knew but she didn’t.

Soon I was having conversations with her voicemail, and I was lucky if I saw her or spoke with her once a month, and then three or four months past without us talking or seeing each other. It wasn’t that I hadn’t tried because I made efforts to talk to her. Then I had to find out from someone else that she was getting married and having a baby. The thing that upset me the most was that she couldn’t tell my herself, that she didn’t trust me to let me into this new life that she was living before my very eyes. It was like I was on the outside looking in, and I didn’t think friendship was supposed to be that way. Her mother verbally attacked me without even knowing what had happened; the truth was that I had always tried to protect and look out for her daughter who was also my best friend. I tried to teach her to strong and independent minded, a woman who could stand on her own two feet and make her own choices, and live for herself and not for what other wanted her to live for.

Apparently my strength of character is in a way what killed my friendship with her, I think she was bothered by the fact that I was unwilling to be submissive to a man. Thinking back, I know that was true because when she was going to introduce me to this man who ended up causing her so much pain, I told her of how I wanted to ask him questions, find out about who he really was, what his goals were in life, and who he wanted to be. She was offended by that, she thought that I was trying to scare him away from her and a relationship when all I was really trying to do was to be a good friend. I wanted her to know that I cared about her so much that I could ask the tough questions that she couldn’t. When her mother confronted me, she told me that I never should have said those things, and that her daughter was upset with me for that reason, and I couldn’t understand why, but nevertheless I was sorry that I had hurt her or offended her. I told her that I was sorry almost three years ago, that if she took what I said wrong, I was sorry for that. She said we would keep in touch, but we didn’t, and that was almost three years ago.

About two weeks ago, my sister saw her at a restaurant, and she approached my sister, and told her that she wanted to talk to me, and would she give me her number. She told my sister that she was sorry that we had a falling out, but did we really? I texted her to break the ice because talking seemed too forward. I don’t know why she wanted to talk to me, and I don’t know why she agreed to meet with me a week ago. The meeting seemed wasted to me; she acted the same, nothing changed about her. I shared with her, opened up to her, filled her in on my life experiences in the past few years because I wanted her to trust me, and secretly, I wanted to trust her too. But it wasn’t to be, and I regretted telling her everything that I did because she didn’t share anything with me about her life. But then again, maybe it was just proof to her that I had nothing to hide. I felt like she was holding a grudge against me for something that happened almost three years ago, something that I had already apologized for. I could have questioned her on so many things, but I didn’t. I went into the night with an open mind, and initially I came out of it disappointed. It’s not that I expected an apology because maybe she doesn’t think she did anything wrong, but she knows that I was hurt as a friend, and she could have apologized for that. She could have put aside her pride, just like I did, and put herself on the line for me just as I had done for her time and time again in our friendship, that night included.

After I got over the initial disappointment, I called someone who has become one of my best friends, she has taught me a lot about friendship and what it means. Friendship is about communication, being open even if it hurts sometimes. It’s about sharing, thoughts, ideas, experiences, and parts of our lives with one another. She has shared things with me that she hasn’t shared with anyone else and I have done the same with her. Friendship is also about staying by your friend’s side even when things are tough, loving them not just for their good qualities but embracing their flaws. It’s about helping them to constantly improve themselves and evolve and become a better person, providing them with strength and self esteem when they have none and teaching them to make their own for when you are not there.

It hurt a lot to have to give up my old friend, but I think I have recognized that we have grown too far apart, and we don’t see eye to eye on what friendship is. I won’t get new teeth in place of my wisdom teeth, but I do have other friends to replace the hurt of losing one. Maybe all this happened for a reason, maybe we aren’t meant to be friends because what she sees and values as friendship are not the things that I hold close to my heart. I know that I am going to be okay because I feel more confident in who I am every day. I can part with the things that hurt me because I know that they are unhealthy for me and better things or people can come along, and hopefully these friends are the forever kind.

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