To continue the success theme – success is deciding at midnight to meet your friend at a restaurant half an hour away within the hour, sitting there eating things you know aren’t the best for you (how better to break a diet than to do so with your best friend who is also breaking one) and talking the night away. Success is also having a different friend randomly refer to you by an absurd nickname and realizing how solid the friendship is – because if it wasn’t such a nickname never would have been uttered.
Now down to the actual purpose of the post: Friendship. It’s weird sometimes.
I have a few friends that I’m close to. One of my friends who I love just left for med school a couple weeks ago. A few nights before he left we spent what would be our last few hours together before he started the next chapter of his life. I was worried that I was going to bawl my eyes out because he’s now hours away from me and I can’t just call him and say, “Hey, do you wanna meet in the philosophy lounge and hang out?” We used to do that in the past. And we would usually exchange massages. It was a beautiful friendship. Instead we wound up watching “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” – it’s kind of our thing. We also participated in intelligent discourse because we’re nerds and that’s what we do. We see a post about something happening in society and go, “Huh – I want to be better educated to form an opinion on this matter,” research, and discuss. I still almost cried at the end of the night, but we had tons of fun. Now he’s gone, though, and I’ll be sitting here pining over my Buttercup and recounting amusing anecdotes when they’re relevant (like that one time we tried to watch Honey BooBoo and just couldn’t because it was far too painful after seeing a friend mention that he’s watching it with “his boo”).
I also have this one friend that everyone assumes I’m dating. Completely seriously: We had half of the committee we were working with on Relay For Life convinced that we were dating and had been for a long time. When we said, “Uh no… He’s gay. But if he were straight, it’s a possibility I suppose,” people didn’t believe us. I wish I were lying. We were honestly accused of lying about his sexuality when we set the record straight; it was hilarious. I’m going to be at a loss when he figures his life out and leaves me behind. Right now we do absurd things like decide at midnight that we need to go to Eat n Park, meet up, and then enjoy food that’s terrible for us while being bad people and talking too much. It’s fantastic. We have intelligent conversations, we have deep and meaningful conversations, I have serious talks with him about my health sometimes, and we discuss our love lives (or my lack of one). Tonight we discussed how if we can’t get my palpitations under control and they continue to do this thing they did on Monday where my body is vibrating because of how hard my heart is pounding that I should just join the circus. We have my career path all planned out. It’s totally sound, I promise. We hang out with a friend that I used to have a crush on sometimes too. The friend is pretty fantastic. He’s the one that called me earlier today looking for my pseudo-fiance (by the way did I mention that the gay friend I’m not dating and I are moving to Canada and getting married?), and threw out a ridiculous nickname. I worry sometimes that the straight friend’s girlfriend is going to get jealous about the time we spend together, and how it’s almost date-like at times, but to my knowledge I haven’t made her hate me yet. This friend is a sweetheart, we talk about his music and school, and he offered me a place to stay during my trips to the Cleveland Clinic while he’s at school. I’m not entirely sure how I’ll handle him being in Cleveland instead of readily accessible in a few weeks. I guess I’ll just have to spend time with him while I’m at the clinic!
Aside from these close friends I DO have friends, I promise. It’s just that it’s a lot harder to let them in. We dance together, we go out to eat together, I even crashed the couch of one of the girls last weekend. But they’re the kind of friends that you thoroughly expect to see regularly (because, well, dance nights 1-2 times weekly), and you don’t keep in touch with for random conversation as much. They’re sweet, though. I forgot that last night was a dance night and one of them sent me a text (presumably on behalf of everyone) to make sure that I was okay. These friendships are known as ones I’ve formed after getting sick. I worry all the time that I’m going to annoy them, or I won’t be as interesting or well-liked because the only thing really taking place in my life right now is an attempt to manage my health. I’m also decently younger than most of them. And by decently younger I mean three of them are 27 and 28. The friendships feel slightly shallow in comparison to other friendships sometimes, but then something happens where I get an absolutely absurd text or I get a text checking on me and I relax. The friendships just haven’t had as long to stew as others.
I get anxious about friends, though. I worry that I’ll talk too much, especially about my health or family drama. I worry that when I’m so boring and don’t have much going on in my life people will get sick of me. And I try to laugh about everything because I worry that if I were to allow myself to get sucked into the darkness of freaking out about everything, and allow people to see it, that they would just leave me behind. The other night I even found this awesome article that I thought explained POTS well (the doctor who wrote it seriously talks about how people take standing for granted and POTS patients don’t have that privilege anymore) and I wanted to share it because I hoped that maybe my Facebook friends would read it and start to “get it.” I was terrified that no one would actually read it, or if they read it they would be thinking, “Wow, everything is about POTS, blahblahblah other negative things” because I’m socially anxious and awkward and worry. No one has been critical toward me directly, but no one has commented going, “Oh wow, I get what you’re going through now” either. I mean, I did post it in the middle of the night so there’s definitely a chance that people just never saw it, but I still worry that with the lack of reaction everyone is actually just blowing me off.
Friendships feel precarious sometimes, you worry about being a burden or a downer, you keep yourself at a slight distance just in case. You can’t just isolate yourself though – there’s no way to get through life with no friends. Reach out, attempt to allow your silly sassy self out, and have fun. You can’t survive this life without some silliness, and it’s so much more fun when you share that with others.