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Fox Tales in the Garden

What's in a Friend?

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And thus, the tale of two sisters has reached its climax. With all cards on the table, I am left to reflect on my behavior and the behavior of my sisters. Bear with me while I ramble. This is mostly for me to read over later, but you're free to post your two cents.

At the risk of this sounding like a sob story, when I was really little I lived with my birthmother, Linda in Simi Valley California. I stayed with her for my first 8 years of life even when Dad left when I was maybe 6. Linda kept me very sheltered, and limited my contact with the outside world. I did not go to school, I was forbidden to talk to the neighbors *though I did anyway when she wasn't watching* and I mainly did chores and took care of the house *as best as a toddler can anyway* while she played an MMO on the computer all day. We lived off of the welfare she got for taking care of me *for at the time, I was listed as a disabled child and diagnosed with epilepsy and whatnot* and from the money Dad sent her to take care of me. No, he hadn't divorced her yet, but Dad still cared about me and my half-sister, so he paid all the bills and sent us extra money for food and whatnot, but for the most part I was still on my own. My life didn't really begin until Children's Services of California came to the house and took me away from her, and placed me in a home for kids whose parents are in a custody dispute. The fight for my life began, both for me and Dad.

While Dad was fighting tooth and nail in a court that typically awards these battles to the mother, I was fighting to catch up to the rest of my peers. In terms of my education, I was very bright and managed to pick up the classwork easily. But my social skills are a whole nother ballgame.

No matter what I did, I wasn't able to make friends easily. I was fairly suspicious of everyone and tended to jump the gun. Before I was placed into a foster home, I did manage to make SOME friends in the form of the outcasts, like a little girl whose diet had to be closely monitered and was just as socially awkward as me. When I did make it into the foster home, things got worse socially at school.

At "home", I got along fine with my foster sister Sabrina, and she's the closest to a real sister I ever had up until a few years ago. We played together, we cried together, we did stupid stuff together, and yes, we fought all the time. But I still loved her, even though she resented me deep down because I had at least one parent who cared for me, while both of hers didn't care one lick about her. Sabrina did make a lot of friends at her school *I wasn't able to go to it because they didn't have a special ed program, which I needed for my social development and I was still diagnosed with epilepsy and aspergers at the time*, but she did not get along with our foster mother at all. Meanwhile, I'm miserable at school and was somewhat miserable at home. Becky meant well, but she had a...dated way of rearing children. She didn't physically abuse us or anything but she wasn't exactly patient.

Yet despite all that, Sabrina and I shared a special friendship, and we both enjoyed it very much even despite our differences. When Dad won full custody of me and the time came to go, I was very sad to leave Sabrina behind. To this day, I still wonder if there was anything I could have done for her. I had asked my dad occasionally about seeing if we could adopt her so that she could have what she so badly wanted, a loving family. Unfortunately, the laws at the time *and maybe still are, I don't know* wouldn't have made it possible for him to, and I didn't really have any way of talking to her. She occasionally got on the phone when we called Becky, but still, I wish I could have done more, especially when I fully accepted my stepmother as my REAL mother and let go of Becky.

Even though Dad won his fight, twice, I still haven't, and I don't know if I ever will. I still have severe problems with my social skills and I have a hard time trusting people in real life and keeping my friends. Thus, we come to the part where it's relevant to my current situation.

During my social hardships, Mom and Dad tried to go where Linda refused and teach me about friends. They told me that a friend is more than just someone you have something in common with. A friend is someone you talk with, laugh with, work with, someone that you care about even though they aren't related to you. To be a friend, I had to trust the people I chose to share my life with, and show them they could trust me. A friend will cry on your shoulder, and let you cry on theirs. When you are lost, your friend will be there to guide you. When you have a problem that you can't face alone even if you think you can, your friend will be there to fight alongside you whether you like it or not.

But friendship goes both ways. You have to be willing to work for it and make some sacrifices for your friends if they really mean anything to you. A friend will play Pokemon with you, but if they want to play Legend of Zelda instead one day, then you need to put away Gates to Infinity and pop in Ocarina of Time for the 3DS. You may not like the game, but if it makes your friend happy, that should be all you need to be happy too. If you are really their friend, then you can't always have it your way, but you might enjoy their way too. Likewise, if your friend is really your friend, then they can't be demanding and whiny when you don't want to do what they want to do some days.

This took me some time to learn. Where is the line between being bossy and being used? How do I know if I'm being fair to my friend? My childhood friend Kyle, who I met shortly after I went to live with Dad, helped me learn this lesson. My god did Kyle ever teach me this. He was like the annoying twin brother I never had, sometimes he was bossy and demanding, and sometimes I was. We fought ALL the time and did the whole "You're not my friend!" bullshit that little kids always do. To us it was always take take take, and we fought tooth and nail to make the other give. It was miserable, but thanks to Kyle, by the time he moved away I learned that I can't always have it my way. For the sake of my friend, sometimes I had to submit to their desires. Make of that what you will, you and I both need some laughs right now.

Back in school, I still had some major trust issues *which, in all honesty, probably isn't really something you want to have an issue with in Los Angelus. When you raise your kids and they have confidence issues, look into a...less violent school district. They'll learn the wrong things otherwise, trust me*. Going back to my days at the home where I stayed when I first left Linda, I forged some real friendships with the outcasts of the school. The special ed kids.

Most of them were in there because they had ADHD, and were perfectly fine otherwise, and they were pretty nice kids. There was one friend though...Eileen. Dear god Eileen. My ex-boyfriend Daniel tried to warn me about her, and I wish I had listened to him. She was psychotic, manipulative, and boy howdy did she know how to play people. I bet her favorite TV Trope is the Wounded Gazelle Gambit, because she ALWAYS pulled that and I fell for it. I helped her stalk and harass her ex-boyfriend and got into loads of trouble thanks to her. She constantly criticized my taste in manga/anime *because "REAL ninja's wear black, not orange!"* and wasn't really willing to make any sacrifices for me. But my time with Kyle humbled me, and I let her strut and command me. Long story short, I saw her for what she was eventually and cut myself off from her. Daniel never did forgive me though, even when I moved away he still refused to talk to me. I've been able to look him up online and saw that he was doing okay, but even if I had a way to contact him, I don't know what I could say exactly.

Anyway, so with Eileen, I learned that a little bit of an ego never hurt anyone, and that it was okay to put myself first sometimes. With these lessons, I was able to forge other friendships that were simply wonderful.

But there is still one lesson that I'm having trouble with. The one part of friendship that eludes me. Maintaining that bond against all odds, even when you are separated by thousands of miles. Over the course of my life, I've noticed that I go through friends like we go through pokeballs. Every friend I have ever made, I've failed to keep in touch with when they weren't immediately accessible. Sabrina? Gone. Kyle? Gone. Katelyn, Sam, Angela? All gone. I never made an effort to talk to them except for rare occasions, and thus, the bonds are weakened. I hate that I just can't bring myself to pick up the phone and give them a call or open Yahoo! and send them an email. Except for Sam and Angela, I have no way of contacting my past friends, and only a miracle can reunite us now.

And so, when I left on my two-month Hiatus to conserve bandwidth, I was deathly afraid of never seeing my new friends again. My two sisters mean the world to me, and if I lose them because I didn't care enough to drop them a message, I would never forgive myself. They've loved me, cared for me, and even put up with my bullshit where everyone else would have said "fuck you", and I never had that before. When my ex-boyfriend tried to warn me about Eileen and I ignored him and befriended her anyway, he abandoned me. Even when I realized he spoke to truth and tried to apologize, he wouldn't even look at me. When that happened, I was just so...crushed. I never wanted to feel that pain again.

And yet, here I am. And I only have myself to blame.

When I tried and failed to get ahold of one sister, I hurt the other in the process. We got mad at each other and left each other alone for a couple of days, but we managed to get over it and be civil again. But the other sister, I'm literally going stir-crazy because she still hasn't said anything to me. I went ballistic when I texted her if she was alright and got nothing, and even though the sister who I did managed to get ahold of told me she was fine, I still feel like she isn't. I mean yeah, I know about her real life giving her a lot to deal with and whatnot, but...I just wanted a "hello" or "I'm okay, stop freaking out, I just need some space.". I just, wanted to see her face to face, and not through some third party. It's not fair to our other sister and, to be honest, I feel like it isn't fair to me. It isn't my fault that the internet company decided to cut us back when we were getting close to the due date. I always told them both that if they needed me, they could call/text me, and they never did. I never bothered them about it though because I KNOW they had too much to deal with the added problem of a needy little 21-year-old.

Mom and Dad tried to emphasize the importance of communication, and being the one to reach out if I really cared for my friends, but I did that this time, and it's led to worse problems than what I am used to dealing with. It's gotten to the point where I gave the sister willing to talk to me an ultimatum: am I worth the friendship, or am I just in the way and they are trying to be nice to me because they know how hysterical I get just when they get mad at me, nevermind cutting me off for good? I've done my part, and now I'm forcing them to make the decision, because nothing that I've learned about friends has helped me, and now I'm risking everything on one single phone call or text that has a 50/50 chance of never coming, and truth be told, I'm scared. I want to be hopeful, but I'm just terrified that thanks to my hysterical attempts to restore the status quo, 5+ years of friendship just went down the drain. If I lose my sisters, it will destroy me.

But I have to be strong, and no matter what I will pull through. Even if it does turn out that I'm hazardous to my sisters and that I have to leave them for their sake, I can't just not go on. I still have lots of friends and my real life family, and it wouldn't be fair to them if I did anything drastic. No matter what happens, I will be okay.

In the meantime, I'm gonna be careful about where I go on the web. I'm not hiding from them, but I don't want to ostracize them either. I told the sister who actually talked to me that when she had an answer for me, she knew how to reach me. I don't know if she's told the one hiding from me or not, I doubt she did. If I had to guess, I'd say that she's dismissing this as me being dramatic and silly and I just need a timeout and we can talk like adults. That part makes me mad. I've been TRYING to handle this like an adult, but talking made EVERYTHING worse, and just waiting for a little while before going back in and pretending nothing's happened won't fix this. Not this time. I tried to reach out, and now it's their turn. If they really care, they'll come to me. I'm tired of walking into the lions den, so I'm not going to anymore.

Now then, you know what my idea of friendship is. What about you guys? What does Friendship mean to you? Where is the line between humility and lacking self-confidence? Wait for people to contact you, or should you reach out to strengthen your bonds? Where does your duty in the friendship begin and end?

You don't have to comment and post your opinion *though I'd appreciate it, if only to in/validate my point of view*, but give it a thought. What I'm going through right now is incredibly painful, but if I can prevent it from happening to you by at least making you think it over, then maybe this pain can be justified.

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Comments

  1. GliscorMan's Avatar
    Friendship. Tough thing to describe. It's a feeling of trust, like you know they wouldn't stab you in the back just for profit, and they know the same about you.

    Humility versus a lack of self-confidence is a fine line. However, I tend to think that humility is an active thing, while self-doubt is a nagging feeling in the back of your mind that you mustn't ever give in to.

    That question is the core problem I have regarding anyone, specifically relationships. If anyone else has an answer to that, let me know...

    Really, I don't think there's an end to friendship. You just move away for a while. But duty? That's all how much you can do for each other, how much they want you to do, and how much you are able to do. It's a balance of those three.
  2. Catilena1890's Avatar
    @GliscorMan I dunno man, I just don't know. I thought I knew, but then this happened.
  3. JustAnotherLeafeon's Avatar
    I, personally, love wall-of-text-gut-spilling-rant posts like these due to the fact that I just like to read things.

    Anyway, per your request, here's my idea of friendship. As I stated in one of my blog posts, "I am one of those people who have a few friends, but take them to heart. My best friends, they're like brothers and sisters to me. I trust them, from keeping a simple secret to my life."

    As for the humility question, I agree with Gliscor in the fact that it's quite a fine line. In fact, some might even say that they go hand-in-hand. However, I fell, from personal experience, that a low self-confidence has a tendency to lay at the back of your mind and say that everything you do isn't good enough or how you're a horrable person, etc. Humility isn't like that. Humility is usually just on a situation, and you generally have to think about it. So I guess you could say that I pretty much agree with Gliscor in EVERY way, and not just the fine line part, lol.

    Onto the contact question. I, myself, cannot really answer this question in a way that could be the "right" answer. You see, I'm quite the introverted person. I am usually the one who waits to be contacted, not the one who makes contact. However, sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to strengthen bonds. Such was the case with one of the best friends I ever had. Long story short, I got together with him -- specifically we went bowling with a few other friends -- and we've basically been brothers ever since. (I feel like that was a bit out-of-context, but whatever)

    Fourth and final question; Duty of friendship. This was sort of answered in the first question when I said that my best friends were like brothers/sisters to me. I feel that even though you may part ways, that there should always be some sort of little contact there where you could catch up with them and whatnot, much like I did with the best friend I mentioned earlier. I've known him for 9 years, and even though I moved, we still chat a lot on skype and facebook and the like. However, it could be a two-way road. If you want to establish that contact while the other doesn't, well, there really isn't much you could do.

    Longest comment ever? Perhaps. But I just wanted to make my opinion known, I guess. I hope everything gets better for you though. And keep those friends close; they're the ones who got me out of a dark place when I was there.

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