**THIS ALREADY POSTED** I’M JUST ORGANIZING MY BLOG AND NEEDED TO SPLIT UP ONE POST TO BE TWO, BECAUSE IT WAS VERY VERY LONG. SO, YOU DON’T NEED TO RE-READ THIS, FRIENDS. SORRY FOR THE EXTRA ALERT.
Yesterday, we talked about (from at least my experience/perspective) examples of ways people were good friends, and also ways in which some friends did hurtful things. So, how do we deal with that now, moving forward?
I am finding it sometimes hard to differentiate “what comments are worth saying something about” vs “what do I just need to let go?”
I firmly believe that every one of my friends is a good friend, and really, probably also a feminist. I think everyone was trying the best they could with the knowledge they have. And I also believe I owe them way more of an apology than they owe me (which is why I’ve been doing a mini-sort-of-apology tour, as I will get into).
So, if I’m the one who was agitated a lot, didn’t want to leave my apartment a lot, was bad at keeping in touch, was sort of grouchy and hard to talk to often, couldn’t concentrate on anything (anything – not work, not life stuff, so not my friends’ lives, not even just normal conversation), etc…. If I was a bad friend, how can I possibly think it’s okay to nit pick and be like, “Listen. What you said felt sort of insensitive to survivors because of [blah], and it hurt my feelings” or, “you said something that really sounded like the myths some people believe about domestic violence, and I just want to make sure you know that when you say [blah blah blah] it can hurt,” or whatever…
On the one hand, when people hurt each other, they should both have an opportunity to express that to each other and keep their relationship open and communicative, and it can grow. And if we’re ever gonna actually grow as a country, that means every single one of us needs to grow (including me!). We all need to keep looking at our internalized biases, and ingrained misogyny (even many, many of the “feminists” among us (again, super including me!). We need to keep listening, learning, and growing. So, if my friends want the culture to change (and I think they do), they would want to know the stuff they said that may be hurtful.
On the other hand, a couple of things.
- A) I’m tired. (This is a huge, giant part of it.)
I am tired. (So, so, tired.) I have fought enough battles this year. (You can skip this paragraph if you don’t want the list.) I have talked to the police and a lawyer. I’ve navigated going back to my writing program, where I’d originally met the man who assaulted me (who thankfully is gone from there, finally). I dealt with trying to successfully keep my day job while I could barely get out of bed. I toed the line at a bunch of races when I was not feeling it (and have not gotten my full health back after a exhausting meltdowns and never being able to sleep). I’ve dealt with my own brain feeling like it’s gonna melt away when I can’t do anything but be stuck in the time of the incident and cry, cry, cry, cry, cry. I’ve tried to navigate staying in the new city I’d just recently moved to after it all happened. And on and on and on and on. I feel like I have been constantly fighting. I am exhausted. The last thing I want to do is fight with my friends – especially if there is already sort of a rift. Which brings me to B –
- B) I don’t want to tear our friendship any more apart, if it’s already fraying!
How much can people reasonably take?
“Oh, yeah, I wasn’t a great friend for a while. Also, while you were trying to be nice, you actually said this thing that upset me.” Are they living in a world of landmines now, where they can’t do anything right? That wouldn’t be a fun position to be in.
- C) As I said before, I know in healthy relationships, you can both share grievances. But there is something about this all that feels at least vaguely reminiscent-ish of my time with sexual assault guy. He’d do something awful, but then zero in on something tiny I did, so we could focus on that instead.
I don’t want that to start being a pattern of my life in the other direction where I’m playing the role of him, where it’s like, “Sure. I need to apologize for barely talking to you for like a 6-month span. But also, you should’ve have said this or that.” Like, what?
So, I don’t want to be him. And I think there’s a way to accomplish it all – to talk about things that hurt my feelings and take responsibility for being a bad friend for a while (while trying to actively change and start to be a better friend now that I’m more capable). But to me, it feels like at least a semi-sort-of hard line to walk and I definitely don’t want to turn into sexual assault guy. I don’t think I’m him. I don’t think I’ll be him. But I definitely don’t want to accidentally become him. But I also don’t want to get stuck in relationships (of any kind) where I can’t say how I feel because I’m too afraid – either of becoming him, or of upsetting the other person. So, I don’t know… I’m rambling. Anyway…
That’s it. That’s all I’ve got on this specific thing. And we’ve got another friendship-themed post coming at you tomorrow.