Thursday, December 1, 2011

A mushy note on friends (Thank YOU Percocet)!

The following was written on November 18th, my third day recovering at my mother’s, having developed a relationship with laziness (recovery) and rest (freedom of commitment). After re-reading, I can immediately tell my voice is different here than in other posts. I'm more open about my love for others, more vulnerable and eager to share my feelings. Yep! It was definitely the Percocet. Nonetheless, I will share my true post. Enjoy!

I can’t help but sit here on my old bed in my old room and reflect, just a little. It’s been 8 years since I moved out on my own, and am amazed at all that has happened since I left. For the last few days, due to recovery, I have been forced  (lol) to completely do nothing, and feel at ease. No anxiety, no stress, no insane “HOLY FUCK I have to do a MILLION and ONE things within the next five minutes” body surge. Just sitting here, with a feeling of relief. Not only relief from my back, but relief in my chest, my stomach, relief in my head.

Surgery is over. Do I have things to do? Of course. Will I always have things to do? Possibly so. And that is great. A perpetual To-do list means I am living a life . I do not have to do it all within an insane time frame that leads to sabotage and  the well known, “I suck because I can’t mutl-task during my sleep” thought process. I have opportunity and a will to try everything and anything. I’m very very blessed.

However, it’s nice to not have anything to do but watch TV, brush my teeth, and chew the food.

As I sit here and enjoy this break from the zaniness of life, I've been really thinking about the last three years, and how much life I have lived. Yep, my life completely altered three years ago, for the better (more on that later), and each year has been an amazing adventure, with some painful choices having to be made.

My first year, an 8-year relationship had to die to ensure my survival. The second year, I had to break out of a shell of protection that was stalling my goals. And finally, within the last year, I had to break-up with a BUTT load of people that were no longer viable and positive friends. Three examples of loss that, while completely painful and scary, challenging and heartbreaking, emotional and draining, had to happen for the betterment of Claudia. Kind of like losing weight (Full-circle, how lovely to see you!).

Within the last year, I’ve encountered some painful realizations when it comes to friendships. Friendships with many people that were draining, one-sided, and hurtful. To me, the word friendship is a positive term. A word that I could easily see living on a pretty fluffy cloud as it floats around a blue sky, an image belonging in an Eric Carle book. This year, though, the word seemed to reside within the pits of a port-a-potty alongside a marathon route.

I essentially broke up with a good amount of people, either by growing a pair and telling them it’s over, or, my favorite method of facing conflict, passive aggressively pretending you don’t exist. Not the healthiest method (or the most mature) but one that sort of helped me weed out the invaders of my happy place.

Please don’t get me wrong. I adore those that have a place in my life, and I have a high tolerance for inconsideration. One of the many residual characteristics of not feeling completely worthy to have unconditional love from others. However, as I’ve gotten older, and with life experience, I managed to morph the reason why to something positive. I have a high tolerance for people’s crap because I have the patience of a velicorapter. Now, who doesn’t love a patient veliocorapter?

This blog just made a wrong turn.

Anywho, while I have a high tolerance for those I love, this year, I just saw many people cross a line. It could have been that the these guys were two-stepping along this line for years, but this was the first time I acknowledged said line's existence, and the first time I realized I deserved way better than being a punching bag, second-hand therapist, or my favorite, flake-friend magnet.

I recognize the gift that I have (or a mannerism inherited by my momma, who raised me right): my ability to listen. I humbly can say that I am a great listener and know how to lift others up and motivate. It is such a pleasure and, quite frankly, an honor, when others come to me for solace, for guidance, and trust me with their insides.

However, there’s a difference between being a part of a functioning friendship and being used. The latter was a hard reality for me to face. 

I'll give you guys a minute.

The day it became very clear was a beautiful toasty September morning. I had a big run that day, the Tunnel to Towers run. I had been wanted to do this run for so long, and to finally do it made something inside of me soar. Something we low-self esteemers like to call “Self-worth,” which for many of us, is quite a myth. But, the second I crossed that finish line, I felt the juices of accomplishment merge with the endorphins zooming through my veins, a feeling that brewed all the way to my inner belly. It was amazing. It was a goal fulfilled.

And a final straw.

My dear friend, Kay, was there to greet me at the finish line! And she made this gal smile!

However, though, all the other friends I invited were nowhere to be found. A select few had great reasons not to be there, whether they were away, not living in tri-state area or ill. Shoot, I’m not an unreasonable brat who has to get her way (well, not usually). So I understood that. But a good amount of people just did not show or admitted to not wanting to come. I was flabbergasted. And completely hurt. And I let this realization overshadow and sucker punch the amazing accomplishment that I had just experienced. I ran a 5k in honor of someone heroic, being greeted by thousands at the finish line, thousands of uniform men and women supporting me, all of us, THE RUNNERS! And all I could do was sulk.

The latter part was completely my fault, that I let others ruin this for me. And that’s when I realized, it was time to clean house. And clean (and scrub) I did.

After Kay took me for pancakes and coffee, I embraced my goal and kept on moving, leaving behind the pity party and a good amount of friendships that I had no room in my life for. And, along with endorphins, I felt a load-off and could breathe in deep for the first time since before I took my first step along the race.

I also had to change my perspective a little. Focusing on those that don’t instead of those that, when they do, they do it 1000%, seemed to be a waste of time and an unnecessary reality. I started to really appreciate those that are always there for me, give me tough love, take my tantrums with patience and pleasantries, and love me for no reason, just because I’m Claudia. My signature peeps that made this gal feel completely loved.

It’s another great example of reframing. The glass is half full. Turn that frown upside down. All that crap. A positive umbrella to remind you that the rain doesn’t have to completely throw you off.  I have an amazing group of loved ones, and I couldn’t be any luckier.

This was really shown in full force the days approaching, during, and after BS 2011.  It all began the weekend before surgery. My bff, Jay, came and spent the whole weekend with me. She left her cozy suburbian home in Virginia, her hubby and adorable daughter, to spend the weekend with me! A weekend of me distracting myself with laundry, some final projects at work, cleaning the apartment, and driving myself crazy. And Jay did it all with me, holding my hand, and making sure I was ok (and that I didn’t cancel the surgery. After 25 years, the girl knows me so well). On Sunday, she surprised me with a Broadway show (I almost chose work over this. Luckily, she also knows my bffb—best friend forever behavior, and, more importantly, knows how to call me out on it to get me to do what she wants).  Later that evening, she also talked me off the ledge of uncertainty and fear, as I had the only break down in my apartment. Having her there though, made the surgery seem completely possible and that all was going to be ok.

That weekend set the tone for the weeks to come.

Between all the phone calls, texts, cards, emails, and flowers, I was blown away at everybody who was concerned about my surgery and who thought about me and took the time to send such love and support. I had some amazing lovelies watching my felines (which, anybody who knows me, knows how much my babies mean to me). I had visitors, motivators, and alleviators (and I don’t mean the Percocet. Well, JUST the Percocet :) ). So much love that would make even the most saddest person ever so happy.

And happy I am!!

While I had to make some tough decisions about friendships this year, decisions that terribly hurt, it allowed me to see the hidden diamonds that were being overshadowed by some deceptive cubic zirconium. That's the thing about painful experience. It always leads to a positive outcome. 

I can humbly admit that I give the impression that I can take care of myself. I realized something about that, though. Whether it's true or not, the impression is completely irrelevant. I  don't have to take care of myself. I can depend on my amazing loved ones, my concrete foundation, a family that God has blessed me with, and that has made this year all the more worth it. 

Love you guys--you know who you are!


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