I Am A Terrible Friend

Friends are supposed to be happy for each other, not jealous for what the other has.

I am always happy for my friends when good things happen to them. But I can’t lie. I’m jealous of them too.

My friends, who have wonderful spouses who stick by them, who make them part of their family (married or not), who keep their spirits high, who smile for them.

And I will never have that.

Once upon a time, we had “too much history”. Now, the reaction to anything is to break up. While I blame myself for being naive, I couldn’t have imagined every supposedly loving thing he ever said was a lie.

I made the mistake of mentioning I was invited to an NYE party and wanted to go. The party was never a certain thing, and it ultimately seems it’s not happening, so I’m not going. But the mere possibility had me banned from his home for an unspecified amount of time because – as he always says – he and they “aren’t taking any chances”.

Despite he took a chance when we to an airBNB in April, and he smoked with the hosts.

Despite I went to the beach twice and attended a neighborhood fireworks party for July 4th.

Despite I stayed four days a week ago.

Despite I’ve been exposed all year due to my job, though he believes my job requiring masks negates the numerous (over a thousand) employees kept in the building at any given time… and that multiple locations, mine included, have had multiple outbreaks. My job is also not clean and I touch countless filthy surfaces and items. And there was a four hundred employee outbreak I was never aware of.

But masks mean that outbreak, and me having no idea who or what I’ve been exposed to, doesn’t terrify him (despite it still happened?).

It’s extremely interesting to me I care only about myself in his eyes after I spent money to travel to be with him, and for food, and for a few gifts (one of which was expensive). I wouldn’t have done that if I could’ve foreseen this.

I vented to a friend, who agreed about the party, but disagreed the freaking out was justified.

I tested negative twice, I never intended to visit him if the party happened anyway (something I had to yell multiple times, and he still didn’t hear until I spelled it out for him), and I planned to get tested after the party if I went. Although, he’s made it clear a negative test means nothing to him. My being is still to be feared.

Unless I’m spending money on him, it seems.

His only response is “everyone is struggling”. This seems to be the equivalent of “crabs in a bucket”. He and everyone he knows is miserable, so no one is else is supposed to try to do anything to stave off depression?

Ironically, this is the person who tries to convince me I shouldn’t take my life and it’s worth living. Seems he finally shut up about that.

He also once complained I make him out to be “the bad guy” to my friends when I vent to them. Interestingly, my friends have never ostracized him like he had his family do to me for something that hasn’t happened. Oh, and one of his siblings stole money from me.

I thought he came to the hospital after the bus collision because I was wrong about him not caring. No, he came only because the hospital mandates masks.

I’m now, in his eyes, the same as his worst ex.

His worst ex assaulted him, and caused him a nervous breakdown that resulted in him staying in a mental ward.

I wonder if I was the same as his worst ex when I came for Thanksgiving after testing negative twice.

Note the date: December 23rd. A week ago. How quickly things change.

But maybe the following image is less surprising. Things can change in years.

Text messages I kept in an email draft to remember. The headline of one is “he loves me”.

I think this year took the love with it.

To my friends, though they don’t read my blog, I do apologize for my feelings of envy. I wish them nothing but long and happy lives with their spouses. They absolutely deserve their spouses, and their spouses, for being the amazing partners they are, deserve them.

Please never stop caring for each other. I am always happy for you.

As your friend, always.

Loneliness

It’s amazing one can have a partner and still feel lonely.

Maybe the nostalgia isn’t completely dead. Okay, for my school days, it is, but I’m starting to feel there is one thing that could make me want to relive high school: my friends.

I miss them.

Recently, one of my friends – or, I suppose, former friend now – cut contact with me entirely. I will never know why. The last he told me, he wasn’t well and wanted to be alone. I apologized, as that was the first time he mentioned it, wished him well, and said I hope he feels better soon. He thanked me for it.

A day later, I was blocked. Ouch.

Obviously, I’m not entitled to anyone’s friendship, so it’s absolutely his right to no longer be friends with me. But knowing that doesn’t stop me from wishing I knew why.

I hated high school with a passion that rivals the sun’s fire. But I miss walking home with my best friend every day. I miss my friends and I getting together during lunchtime in the courtyard. I miss when we would play in the leaves while we waited outside during fire drills (two students were suspended for that; we still did it).

It’s no wonder “best friends forever” is aimed at teenagers. Most friendships can’t stand that test of time.

It’s life, I know. It happens. It also makes me understand people who seemingly can’t be single. Loneliness can kill people. I’m not afraid to be alone, and at times, I prefer it, but contrary to belief perpetuated by the internet, being introverted doesn’t stop me from wanting time with my friends. But most have little time, as do I, I recently lost one, and some no longer live in the same state. That leaves my boyfriend as the most free one. Much as I love him, I still miss my friends.

When I told my boyfriend I’m unsure I want to live beyond Dec 31st of this year, or beyond my next birthday if I live beyond the former date, he insisted he would see to it I live a long life. The implications of that aside, I really can’t help wondering what this obsession is with having a long life. Even as a teenager, I didn’t see the point, but with the future absent of light, I’m more confused at 26 than I was at 16. I mentioned in a previous post I think I’ll always struggle with depressive feelings, and I certainly don’t want to fight that struggle for the next fifty years. That’s not “brave” to me. As I said in my last post, I’m simply stuck. I’m not here because I want to be here. I’m here because I can’t take myself out. My existence wasn’t my choice, but I’m stuck with it until I can access a sure solution to solve it.

Only music distracts me somewhat from these feelings, but the music has to go off eventually.

Goodbye, Mi Amiga

Yesterday, my favorite manager – and my friend – told me this would be her final week.

I knew she would quit eventually because she previously mentioned her intentions to return to school. But to my surprise, that’s not why she’s quitting. Her reason is one that surprised me.

She’s tired of the store manager.

The surprise isn’t so much the reason itself as it is being the one she’s leaving. She is genuinely one of the kindest and most cheerful souls I’ve met in my life, and she’s the last person to complain about anything. Even when she does complain, she smiles through it, like she’s trying to brush it off. I knew of her frustrations, but I didn’t know she felt that badly.

I admitted to her I considered returning to being part-time for the seasonal period and she vehemently advised me to remain on-call and ask periodically if I need more work. She worked at this store for four years – since the day it opened – and it was her first job while the manager that eventually pushed her over the edge has been there for less than a year. Were there ever a clear example for the expression of people quitting bosses instead of jobs, this would be it.

I wished her well in life, and I know wherever her next job is, she will be excellent, and hopefully, with better management. While I am sad about her leaving, she unintentionally taught me a lesson in telling me so: never waste your time.

Most people cannot quit without a back-up plan, including myself, and after my experiences this past summer, I’ve been working three jobs out of fear of being fired. However, one has been nothing but trouble since the start due to payroll (they still haven’t paid me for the first day I worked, despite I brought it to their attention no less than four times and was told the problem was fixed, and it’s possible they no longer have the record of the day), lack of breaks during shifts as long as nearly twelve hours, smoking, and ultimately being stranded due to the travel required. I’m not the only one with those struggles at the job. The long-term employees have also expressed them.

The other job is my retail job, which I’ve wanted to quit for over a year due to the store essentially being a sinking ship and paying the least of any job I’ve had, but kept because I have history there, they’ve never screwed up my paycheck, and I genuinely love my co-workers.

The problem is juggling three jobs makes it hard to commit to the one I care about most. However, I’ve been at that job for only 39 days, which is not long enough to fully commit to it and quit the other jobs. While I have no reason to believe I’ll be fired, I thought the same with the two jobs I had in June, and that obviously turned out poorly (one involved a manager attempting to intimidate me due to being nearly twice my size and required getting a police officer involved to retrieve my stuff; the other dismissed me for not being social enough and worrying more about learning the job properly; my school faulted me for both, and I’ve since disassociated with them as a result). I’m too afraid to risk having a false of security again, and want to stick with the newer jobs for at least a year. But I also do not want to waste my time like my friend feels she wasted hers (“four years down the drain”), nor do I want to burn the history I have with my retail job. Even she advised me to always have a back-up plan.

Granted, the job I want to commit to is nothing like the jobs I was fired from, namely in that you get fired if you don’t do your job and you don’t spend the majority of your shift (think seven out of nine hours) doing literally nothing while being expected to pretend you have work to do. However, I feel that’s not sufficient reason to believe I’m safe. For all I know, they could decide they dislike how I style my hair and fire me for that (yes, people do get fired solely because a boss dislikes a trait or feature about them; US laws do not protect against that if it isn’t a protected class and most states are at-will, so employees can be fired at any time for any reason that isn’t illegal in written law; it’s one of the reasons I never want to join management, no matter how long I work somewhere, as that’s a level of coldness that’d keep me awake at night).

I don’t know where my friend will go. I don’t know where I will go. But wherever we do go, I hope there’s a bright future for both of us in the places we want to be in our lives.

“People leave managers, not companies” – Marcus Buckingham

Motivations

Many people say you should want to improve your life for, above everyone else, yourself. And I have always agreed with that.

However, I believe I can understand how and why it sometimes takes others to really motivate someone to move forward. I liken the concept to how it’s easier to forgive others than ourselves, or how we often see our own faults against everyone else’s spotlight. It’s a wildly different perspective.

Something I often hear about parenting is children tend to motivate them their parents to work toward a better future, either financially, physically, or emotionally. While I have no children, I’ve found I do have a powerful outside motivator: my boyfriend.

At one time, my boyfriend told me he was doing poorly in school until we met. After we did, he began doing very well, to the point he was passing his assignments and tests with flying colors. This would be romantic… if not for the fact we hadn’t met in person yet, let alone become a couple! Answer? He’s a hopeless romantic.

I’ve always (playfully) laughed at him for that story, but it seems the tides have turned, and while he’s not my only motivation, he’s definitely the biggest part of it. Yes, there are things I want for myself in life, like my own apartment and car, but I want him most of all to be a part of any future I have. My answer to the question of where I see myself in five years has changed from “I don’t know” to “With him”. Maybe it’s not a good answer on its own, but it’s what I have and what I feel most confident in. Even when I try to think about myself, he tends to come into it.

“I want to a car… to travel around with him.”

“I want my own apartment… for us to live under the same roof.”

“I want school to work out… so I can get a job in this field and have enough money for both of us in case he loses his job.”

There are other reasons I could give that would make these statements about me. For example, I also want trade school to work out for the sake of getting myself far away from retail, a career path I’ve come to consider to be taken intentionally only by masochists. Yet, I feel stronger about the reasons that boil down to us being physically closer than the ones that boil down to my own independence. And yes, I’d be fine with financially supporting him temporarily if I had to while he looked for other work. He’s better than me at doing domestic chores anyway, so he claims.

This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try to better myself if I didn’t have my boyfriend, but I may have less drive to do so. The future frightens me. Having someone to go through it with makes it a little less scary. For a reason I’ve yet to grasp, he often has confidence in me I envy because I can’t find it in myself. Perhaps that’s what makes it easier to fight for someone else: they believe in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself. It’s a different situation than parenting in that his survival doesn’t depend on me, but it is similar in that children usually have unshakable confidence in their parents. Whatever makes him have the confidence in me he does is something I may not understand, but I am ultimately grateful for. Of all the reasons I have, he’s one of the few positive motivations that drive me. I don’t want to be motivated only by getting away or acquiring things, even for the convenience the latter would bring me. Much like I’d only marry for love (if getting married were an active desire of mine), I’d rather be motivated by friendship and love than the ability to run away. I don’t want to feel like I need to run away to improve my life. There’s not much to life if you can only run away. I can only speak for myself, but I don’t want to be alone. It’s not so much that it’s romantic love as it is I have him in my life as someone who does love me and vice versa.

Treat Others… And Yourself

A long conversation with my boyfriend this early morning gave me huge insight into something.

I enjoy writing, particularly fan fiction and my opinions (gee, what gave the latter away?), but it dawned on me less than half a day ago I’ve been writing fan fiction for twelve years – nearly half of my life!

I never put thought into it or considered it a hobby or noticed it becoming one. I don’t recall what sparked it. All I remember is I started shortly after I watched “The Little Mermaid” when it came out on DVD in 2006, when I was 12 years old. It was the first Disney movie I ever watched, and what introduced me to Disney to begin with. I don’t remember that being any sort of inspiration, but it’s closest I can think of as a reason I may have started writing.

There were other hobbies I tried to develop later on, but I failed at them, despite genuinely liking them. As it turns out, it’s not always a bad thing to be selfish.

When I wrote, it was always for myself. Even if I made it public, and I do enjoy sharing, I was still writing for my own sake. I did it when I was bored or had some random idea pop into my mind. Most of the stories I write are kept private. As a pre-teen, I kept it secret partially out of embarrassment because they weren’t good (not to suggest my more recent stories are), but being a reserved person even back then, I didn’t care for anyone to know anyway.

But when I started drawing or playing some games or learning languages, it was for other people from the start. Drawing was sparked by my then huge love of Winx Club and jealousy of others’ amazing art, and the goal was becoming skilled enough to create fan art to share with the fandom. After finding the Sims community, I played the game more and more to create stories to share with the community. I first began learning another language in second grade, but when I got older and tried to study on my own, it was for the sake of being able to communicate with other people, not because I wanted to study. And I should mention I hated writing too… when I was forced to do it.

None of those reasons are necessarily bad, especially not the last one. But the pattern there is I became miserable with those hobbies because I was doing them for other people’s sake, not my own. Yes, I truly liked them, but they reached a point of solely being done to share with other people for their enjoyment. I stopped caring about my own. Realizing that, it’s no wonder they eventually died when I tired of trying. Yet, I never tired of writing stories, nor can I remember ever feeling burned out. I once wrote eight pages in a day. In the huge world of literature, that may be amateurish at best, but for me, it was a big deal because I wasn’t trying to.

This is not restricted to hobbies either. I did poorly in a number of things, particularly school, because they were for the sake of pleasing someone else. For a while, I succeeded in school over, but after a certain age, being a people-pleaser became too exhausting to keep up and I stopped trying so hard just to hear some praise that meant nothing to me because I didn’t want to do it in the first place, nor was I getting anything valuable out of it. Yet, I’ve discovered I am good at finding friendships, as I’ve made friends even when trying to avoid it, and I am good at holding my own relationship. But I am good at those things because although they involve other people, they are still for me. My friendships and my relationship make me happy, which is why I’m rarely hesitant to and very much enjoy doing things for my friends and my boyfriend. And the reason I hold them so highly is because they care for me. What I got out of friendship is love (platonic and romantic) and happiness I didn’t find elsewhere (please forgive the cavity-inducing sweetness). And I clearly have no problem sharing my friendships with the world!

Of course, there’s such a thing as priorities and some things have to be done, no matter how dreadful they are. This is not about that. What I’m referring to are things that are optional (yes, that now includes school). The truth is I have missed those hobbies. I miss when I did draw in my sketchbook, drawing either from imagination and tips I read, or trying to recreate a specific picture. I miss when I played video games because they relieved my boredom and I was interested in continuing the game’s story, not trying to create a story from the game to upload (though I have been slowly getting back into this one). I always hated studying, but I did like to try reading books in other languages after some weeks of classwork in my language classes, and much of the time, I could. I didn’t care I couldn’t understand what it was actually about (because I couldn’t translate quickly). I just enjoyed I could read it. I once got fun out of reading an Italian dictionary when I was still taking Italian class in tenth class, and I used to play around with DuoLingo, an app for learning languages, for the fun of the games. There may be other hobbies I’ve dropped as well, but I don’t recall them.

All along, the burn out wasn’t from doing too much, but from trying to give so much. During most of my childhood, I heard how “giving to others is a gift in itself” and “it’s better to give than to receive”. Maybe there’s such a thing as too much giving. As I said, I rarely am hesitant to give to those I care most about because I also enjoy sharing. It’s much simpler than I’m making it sound. It makes more sense to go through so much effort for someone you really love instead of dozens or hundreds of strangers you’ll never meet.

My boyfriend asked me if there’s any way to reignite those former hobbies. After realizing what I did, I think there may be. If I choose to try picking one or more of them up again, I have to remember who they’re intended for: me. They’re for myself and my pleasure. If I make them public, it’s because I want to have another place for them, not because I’m after attention and recognition. I realize those can be good motivational tools for some people, but I’m clearly not one of them. For me, hobbies are much more fun when it’s my enjoyment I have at heart. Thinking only of myself is selfish, but this is not exactly hunger I’m talking about. I’m talking about pastimes. I’m positive no one’s getting hurt.

However, I don’t think I’ll ever overcome the shock of taking twelve years to discover this. I now fear for what else I may be oblivious to. Can I trade this “identity crisis” thing for some more sketchbooks?