Bad blood – Breaking up with a best friend 

Losing a best friend is like going through a a breakup. Your heart hurts, you feel like you still have things to say and most of all you miss their presence. Your incessant texting must come to a halt and you can no longer lean on them in your hardest of times or celebrate your successes. Things happen; the carousel of life never stops turning and it certainly does not do to dwell on the past.

 We all have our moments of pride, but when that moment continues to blind us, we begin to lose touch with the reality of the situation. Friendship, relationships and most of our life’s interactions are based on compromise. A give and take. Now I’m not saying to compromise your entire belief system for someone else, but instead acknowledge another persons feelings and don’t minimize them in the shadow of your own emotions.  Sometimes friendships run their course, such is life. I’ve had friendships end in the past, however this one is unsettling. You can’t invalidate another persons feelings and I would never dream of doing such, but what happens when that friend you never thought would hurt you invalidates you as a friend. It leaves you to wonder, did they even consider how their actions would make another person feel? When they speak their peace and get everything off of their chest in an attempt to release their own demons, they in turn leave other people’s emotions as collateral damage. I like to give the benefit of the doubt and hope that this was not the intention. However, I can’t escape the reality of the situation; that is, me being on the receiving end of an emotional tirade which hurt and shook me to the core. In my specific situation it’s not fair. 

Friends are a part of your support system, your sounding board and will always have your best interest at heart. A true friend will give you honest opinions whether it’s what you want to hear or not. We must try our hardest to understand that it is not an attack and there is no mal intent.  Yet, these highly charged opinions are so understandbly entangled with emotions that sometimes our deliveries become muddled in the process.  We become defensive of our respective opinions and try to self preserve.  Usually, when tempers cool there is a reconvening and both parties can agree to disagree or meet in the middle.  Though on some rare occasions the damage is irreparable and without warning you lose your best friend.  

It’s been countless weeks since Cecilia and I have spoken. She’s moved on and I wish her all the best. I hate to be so final, but how am I supposed to behave when you suggest to get lunch and it never comes to fruition or when she moves out of the state for a new job and doesnt bother to tell you. Perhaps she thinks it’ll be random or awkward to reach out now but I would never view it as such. Maybe time will heal all wounds or maybe our paths were meant to spilt.  For now the Amelia & Cecilia chapter of my life is over. It has to be for my own well being. If and when Cecilia reads this I hope she understands that closing our chapter of friendship is not on me. I’m not refusing to forgive you, I’m just deeply saddened that you didn’t fight harder to be my friend.  Miranda always fought fought Carrie. 

So in many ways losing a best friend is like breaking up with a significant other.  Sometimes you can’t have the satisfaction of closure and sometimes it blind sides you like an 18 wheeler.  We can’t erase the countless laughs, cries and innumerable milestones shared and I would never dream of it. Quite frankly I miss it dearly. But what was it is said before, not to dwell on the past?  Closure starts there. 

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There’s a Thousand You’s, There’s Only One of Me

As I stand outside of his bathroom listening to the symphony of hurls melodiously floating out to my ears, I have to stop and think if this is all part of some cruel joke.  Please tell me I’m being punked. But alas it’s just another laughable chapter in my love life.  Let me start from the beginning. The saga of said love life is a short and sad tale of barely memorable drunken hookups that result in instant regret.  I soberly pine after crushes, terrified that admitting my feelings will only result in rejection. Thus at the ripe age of 23 I have had very little romantic involvement, in fact until recently I have done the unthinkable and guarded my so-called “purity.”  In 2015, where the hookup culture is at its height, I’d liken myself to the 40-year old virgin, the last of the Mohicans and certainly the last of all my friends.

My lack of sexual experience seamlessly transitions to the presentation of my most recent romantic affliction, George Bush. Let’s clarify, I’m not referring to the former president or my qualms with his political views. George is the nickname of a former co-worker (clearly my weakness) who proved to be an utterly confusing love interest.  We have been hot and mostly cold for the better part of a year. It began like any other friendship texting here and there, a sharing of mutual interests and hang outs at his apartment. He was a gentleman and I truly enjoyed talking to him. He understood the post college slump and feelings of being lost.  Hell, he is 32 and still figuring out what he wants to be when he grows up. Despite his own life confusion, I deemed him my life coach and was happy to finally have camaraderie in the work place. I began to tell my family and friends of these new “friend” developments and they thought me naive. I assured them what I firmly believed to be a blossoming mentorship.  As time progressed he was texting me morning to night. I resisted the urge to acknowledge my developing feelings, yet they refused to leave me alone.  I began to expect his texts and enjoyed talking until I fell asleep; his company was effortless. 

I started to question if this was a courtship of the 21st century?  Lucky for me, it was far from it.  I began to find it odd that he never invited me out in public. Our hangouts were limited to the confines of his apartment. Was he trying to hide me away like Quasimodo in the bell tower?  I began to timidly question things and he started to pull away. I felt him fading and I was desperate to hold on. His texts became more infrequent and there were no longer invitations to go to his apartment. I would text him with some sad hope that he had any interest in responding. He didn’t and that was made loud and clear with his consistent one word responses. So I stopped begging to hang out and tried to lose interest. One big problem, we worked together. I had to interact with him on a daily basis and pretend that nothing was going on.  No one at work knew, our friendship was a big secret that would remain hidden from everyone.  I felt isolated and my one confidant at work was quickly becoming a stranger.  He was now cold and mechanic, nothing like the warm and friendly guy I had come to know. He was shutting me out and I had to be reminded of that daily.  But, as time does it heals all wounds. I had come to terms with only having a casual work relationship until one fateful night. 

Cue me being wasted at my high school reunion and making some unsavory choices in an alleyway. Like a beacon of light amidst the craziness of that night I received an unexpected text from George, it was the trigger for the next chapter in our relationship. In the weeks that followed he started casually texting me and began asking for the dreaded “nudie” pics.  Well specifically pictures of my bum, he refused to say butt or even ass so a bum picture it was. I put up a good fight, but his acceptance was my weakness and I caved.  We agreed to take whatever we were to a physical level.  We laboriously picked a day and I provided the beer and condoms (a picture perfect hookup if you ask me, but definitely not the most ladylike).  Nerves cannot begin to describe how I felt. I was about to lose my virginity to a guy I allowed to walk in and out of my life at his leisure, a guy who had hurt me and I knew had the potential to do it again. I tried to protect myself and said we would be friends with benefits, I put up a wall to separate my feelings from sex.  I wanted this and he would know nothing about my virginity. 

Well after two performance issues (on his end) I was disenchanted with the sex aspect, still I  couldn’t help wanting him to want me. I swear, that cheap trick song could be the theme of this whole year long interaction.  I was persistent in asking him to hang out and was one drunken text away from begging on my knees. I became that annoying girl, but I refused to reach the level of pathetic or despondent. So I stopped bothering him.  If he didn’t want hand delivered sex, I’d stop offering. I finally quit the job where we worked, no longer having to endure the back and forth game being played.  Just when I had all but written him off I received a text; “want to come over and hang out?”  Of course I did!  This was my chance, my long awaited opportunity to tell him the emotional turmoil he had put me through.  Sex was my ruse and I had my arsenal of words; I was prepared for war. I made a promise to stay strong but when faced with the situation I wasn’t certain that I could pull through.  As anticipated things did not go according to plan. I got to his apartment, we engaged in forced conversation and then the expectation of sex reared its ugly head. I tried to hold strong but was weak. Mid-hookup something miraculous happened, it occurred to me that we had no chemistry. I was trying my hardest but it was like making out with someone who didn’t have lips. Had I been so blinded that I ignored such lackluster performances? To make matters worse we had our third performance issue. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, he was flaccid inside of me. I decided to save the little dignity that was left and quit before he injured himself. In that moment I felt assured, we were not meant to be.  I was snarky and asked if he had performance issues in the past or had ever considered taking Viagra.  I didn’t care, he deserved it. I told him we can’t hookup anymore because feelings, specifically mine, got in the way.  Just as I built up the courage to spew my very girly feelings, he looked at me and said “I think I’m going to be sick.”  Perfect.  Just what I wanted to hear. He excused himself to the bathroom and I waited, paralyzed in his living room. I texted Cecilia and she told me to bail but something was pulling me to stay. So I waited. 

He emerged from the bathroom a man with a very bruised ego, in which I took great satisfaction. I refused to let this road block get in the way of my mission, I continued from where I had left off.  I told him everything from my feelings for him to how he took my virginity.  He was shocked, yet receptive.  He apologized for the part he played in leading me on and we ended with a mutual agreement to never try hooking up again. I told him I wanted to be friends and I missed talking to him. He agreed, extending an offer in some distant future to grab a drink and  re-establish our friendship.

 The dreamer in me wants to believe he’ll call on a Friday night so we can have a scotch and talk about music, but the more practical side knows it probably won’t happen. On to (much) bigger and better things, right?  I gave him a part of me and for that he will always have a place in my heart. I’ll still go into the deli every now and again and I’ll have the special treat of ordering meat from the man who took my virginity; the irony of our situation will always remain comical.  We’ll exchange witty banter and bitch about management, never addressing our dirty little secret but forever feeling its presence. I declare the George chapter in my life finally closed.  I have learned a lot about myself from this experience and in all honesty wouldn’t change the outcome. I need to find myself and so does he. We simply are not destined to do it together. So cheers to the first notch in my relationship belt, here’s to many more heartbreaks but even more true loves.  

Consent: Not actually that complicated

rockstar dinosaur pirate princess

http://kaffysmaffy.tumblr.com/post/780535517 http://kaffysmaffy.tumblr.com/post/780535517

A short one today as my life is currently very complicated and conspiring against my preference to spend all of my days working out what to blog. But do you know what isn’t complicated?

Consent.

It’s been much discussed recently; what with college campuses bringing in Affirmative Consent rules, and with the film of the book that managed to make lack of consent look sexy raking it in at the box office. You may not know this, but in the UK we more or less have something similar to ‘affirmative consent’ already. It’s how Ched Evans was convicted while his co-defendant was not – and is along the lines of whether the defendant had a reasonable belief that the alleged victim consented. From the court documents it appears that while the jury felt that it was reasonable to believe that the victim had consented to intercourse with the co-defendant, it…

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my assailant added me on Facebook

There’s a shadow side to social media. For every funny memory that TimeHop helps us remember and every quote immortalized on our wall-to-wall, there’s the painful memory of a lost love or awkward haircut. Its all too easy to post hateful words or embarrassing photos. When we live in a world  of instant gratification and apps that photoshop 15lbs off our photos, its hard to know what is real. Its so easy to relive the past, to look back at an emotionally driven or drunken status, tweet or Instagram picture and cringe… or laugh.

Sometimes, though,  its more dramatic than all that, sometimes it is the face of the of man that raped you that shows up on your page.

I’m still processing–deciding how I feel–figuring out if I feel. For so long I haven’t let myself feel. I haven’t let myself be anything other than angry, irritated, tired and happy. I just don’t allow myself to be sad or hurt or vulnerable. I guess I associate those emotions with not having control or, rather, being needy. Being needy means I’m not self sustaining, not able to handle myself, not having control over myself.

I don’t ask for help, I don’t like feeling like I can’t do something and I don’t like relying on other people. For as long as I can remember I’ve had an incredible need to be independent. I’m almost certain that it is a  product of my circumstances, not anything inherent. My mother was emotional, she cried about everything, all the time. When someone died or when she crashed the car, she’d be sent into this emotional crater and we’d all have to help her crawl her way out. There wasn’t any room for me to have emotion or to break down or for me to grieve because I had to start picking up the pieces.

The other piece of it–the more important piece–is that I was raped as a child. Even as I type these words I question it. I have always referred to it as an “assault,” always tried to explain away the other kid’s actions and tried to make sense of what happened.

In my eyes, his actions can be easily explained away: he was abused himself, he was curious, his sister told him to do it, he didn’t really know what he was doing. That all may be true but that never left any energy to focus on ME and MY healing. I didn’t take the blame on myself but I did feel disgusting. I was ashamed and didn’t want God to see me. I can remember pulling the covers over my head so he couldn’t see. Up until very recently I didn’t think about what happened, except in flashbacks and nightmares. It was easier to think that what happened wasn’t rape or to say “assault” because it doesn’t seem so bad, it made me less of a victim, less weak. What I’m realizing is that there is something powerful in talking about it. Its like it and he has no power over me anymore, I can write my own story: one where I’m a survivor and thriving, not a victim.

It wasn’t until many years after he hurt me that I realized that I resented my mother because she put me in the situation. It was her friend’s son that did it to me, her friend’s house it happened at, the friend’s house that she brought me to each week.  My need for independence and self-reliance comes from a place of feeling like my mother failed me and realizing I couldn’t trust a single person–not even my mom. I know now that that isn’t fair. I know she didn’t know and would have done anything to protect me and to stop it but, as a little kid, you start to shut down. I felt like I had to protect myself, to take care of myself and that only I know what was best for me. That, coupled with my mom’s tendency for dramatic outbursts and crying fits, left very little room for me to be emotional. It started a nearly two-decade long fight between me and my mom, one I didn’t even know we were having. I fought her on everything and never listened to authority. I had trust issues and difficulty connecting with people.

This assault changed me, took my innocence and my childhood. Its effects are ever present. I don’t know if I will actually ever be whole again. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully trust another person or completely let my guard down. That’s really fucking sad. Its really a sad thing to live my life waiting to get fucked over or refusing to ask for or accept help. Its sad to keep pieces of myself hidden and to not know how to emotionally rely on someone else.

As if sexual assault wasn’t traumatizing enough, as if I didn’t spend years reliving the feeling of him inside me every time I closed my eyes or hiding my body every time he’d show up, he had to go and add me on Facebook. He had to let me know that he’s still here and that he remembers me. He had to make me see his face and his name and his smile. He had to help me remember all the things I’ve worked so hard to forget and to overcome.

Your Presence is a Present

When I was young and still impressionable I had a strong belief in the power of karma; the force created by a person’s actions that causes good or bad things to happen to that person (thank you merrim-webster dictionary).  I always held myself to that ancient Buddhist sentiment in my daily interactions, but as I got older and life seemed to jade me with each passing year the karmic standard I upheld slipped away until it became only a distant memory.  To be honest, it wasn’t until I sat down to write this post that my old feelings concerning karma resurfaced.  

Since graduating from college approximately 9 months ago (insert panic attack) I’ve had a difficult time adjusting to “the real world.”  Now let me clarify, I still live at home with both my parents and work at the university that I graduated from, so in reality the notion of the real world is only a technicality at the moment.  And as one can guess the feelings of inadequacy are surmounting.  Recently a fellow colleague unknowingly offered me some valuable life advice, she said “just because you’re comfortable doesn’t mean you’re happy.”  These words really resonated deep within my soul and I had to question, am I actually happy?  In short yes, I discovered that overall I am a very blessed person who should consider myself extremely lucky to have all that I do.  However, I unearthed that the deeper issue was not my situation but my fear of change, a direct cause of my current state. I am stuck in a place that is not providing optimal happiness but, for all intents and purposes, has comfortability.  I have always battled with an inability to welcome change with open arms, instead I would rather keep it at arms length, able to see its potential without ever feeling any of its uncertainties.  I know that I am competent enough to pursue so many different avenues and yet I’m stuck in the same “comfortable” routine day in and day out.  Friends, family and strangers a like persistently placate these feelings by saying “you’re only 22 you have so much time to figure things out,” while that is true I’m also aware that, more often than not, people discount the precious value of youth.  Before I know it my twenties will be a distant memory and I’ll be 35 living a banal suburban life.  I don’t want that.  I don’t want suffer the pain of not knowing what it is to live for me.

I have come to the realization that my presence is a present (props to Kanye West’s lyrics for inspiring this post, not kidding) and I, nor any of you, should ever forget this precious sentiment.  Upon understanding that the power is in MY hands to determine MY future I have acted accordingly.  I recently started a new diet and gym routine that, if nothing else, makes me feel more alive.  Additionally, I acted uncharacteristically and laid everything on the line with a friendship, which is going in a positive direction.  In the coming months I will apply to take a month long TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) program in Paris and start fulfilling what I hope will be a fruitful career.  Change is taking root in the smallest aspects of my life, yet it is proving to have a pivotal impact.  Thus, my karmic beliefs of the past are resurfacing at an opportune time.  If you emit happiness and positivity into the universe (or at least in your day to day life) you will receive it back ten-fold.  Just give it a try, what’s the worst that can happen?  

Guest Lectures

While Amelia and I have had our fair share of teachable moments, we certainly haven’t done it all so, we decided to bring our friends in for a guest lecture here and there so ya’ll can have the benefit of learning from their less than classy moments.

This lecture (and probably a few future lectures) comes from our friend Laura. I feel obligated to preface this lecture with some personal stories about her because, from our vantage point, she’s much more than what you’ll get from her story. Laura is absolutely impossible to put in a box or label or define. Just when I think I understand her, she does something crazy and I just have to start all over again. She is inclusive and caring and genuine and someone I’m lucky to have in my life. She’ll call me out on my shit and be my biggest champion when I’m down. She is unapologetically exactly who she is and does what she wants to do. She takes responsibility for her actions and would do anything for her friends. I love and admire this girl and have learned so much about being comfortable my own skin.

All of that being said, Laura is also one of the craziest bitches I know, read on to find out more:

Guest lecture what’s upppppppppp

Alright so. I have done some absolutely ridiculous shit from the time I turned 18 my freshman year of college and I still haven’t slowed down in my post grad life at 22 with a full time job. I can tell you stories about how I danced in a fountain during Hurricane Irene in rain boots and a bikini, how I’ve jumped around on bars in just my bra and gotten free bottles, how I have hooked up with so many strangers it is probably some kind of record, or how I couldn’t be bothered to stop walking home one night so I just throw up as I walked. The list goes on and on. The main thing I can really take away from all of it is: 1. I reallyy need to stop mixing vodka and tequila (nobody ever wins those nights), 2. my pants really need to stay on the whole night, and 3. the only person I really have to give a fuck about judging me is my own damn self. I have definitely questioned several of my decisions these past few years but that has never stopped me from being anyone but me. Some nights I’m going to put on a slutty cop outfit and fuck some guy in my friend’s guest room. Other nights I’m going to spend several hours at two in the morning driving my friends back to their homes on Long Island because I want to make sure they get home safe and who the fuck charges $50 for a cab anyway? If I asked what you loved most in this world and after you listed your family, friends, significant others, pets, jobs, hobbies and on and on…how long would it take until you said yourself? Your well being and your happiness needs to come first because how the fuck are you going to provide for others when you aren’t providing for yourself. Bottom line is, I learned a long time ago that if you waste your time changing who you are for other people, you are going to forget who you were in the first place. I’m fucking awesome and so are you other fucking person who are reading this. You are the number one baddest bitch in your life and that is an honor. Never compromise who you are because why be anyone else when you can be yourself?

It’s My Party I Can Cry if I Want To

Much to my dismay it’s not always your party and you CANNOT cry if you want to.  I have had numerous bouts of drunken cries that range from a few delicate, streaming tears to full blown sobs, complete with running nose and gasping breaths (really quite attractive).  Now do not get me wrong, crying is a natural reaction to one’s emotions and healthy from time to time.  However, the act becomes rather unhealthy when it occurs week in and week out at your local bar.  You quickly adopt the nickname Weepy (Snow White’s long lost 8th dwarf) and your friends proceed with caution as they watch you down drink after drink.  There is nothing cute or fun, in fact, about being that needy girl whose friends constantly have to console them.  At the end of the night the mood is ruined, you are keeping everyone up and worst of all you’re preventing your friends from grabbing that slice of pizza covered in ranch they’ve been craving all night.  My (not so) inner struggle with a drunken cry or twenty stemmed from a multitude of sources; there was the “I’ll be alone forever” cry, the “I’m graduating” cry that often turned into “the life crisis” cry.  These serve as only a couple of instances that are all tucked neatly in my memory as persistent reminders of past mistakes decisions.  Regardless of how much alcohol was consumed I cannot forget nor escape the painful embarrassment I had the power of bringing on myself.  The most pivotal lesson I learned may be the importance of addressing your emotions as they arise and that burying them in the recesses of your mind is only a temporary fix.  They accumulate, becoming a ticking time bomb just waiting for the opportune moment to explode.  As one could predict this bomb is likely to reach zero at the end of a long night at the bar, where thoughts are all muddled together and subsequently half articulated.  The road to becoming a classier you can be likened to a 12 step program.  First, you must admit that you want to make a change and further these ideas with the appropriate actions.  The classier you will recognize when you are sad and make an active decision not to drink, instead addressing soberly what is on your mind.  Your friends are your greatest support system and often times best at consoling or giving advice, just as long as you do it over coffee not 5 gin and tonics (as you master these tricks you can move up to one or two adult beverages).  If you take anything away from this rant, let it be that a drunken cry every once in a blue moon can be a cathartic experience but DO NOT make it a habit.  As the saying goes, old habits die hard.