Saturday, September 24, 2011

...how many of us have them?

I have a lot of family members.  My mother's family and my father's family are both huge. Hundreds of relatives on both sides.  It seems that, as blood relatives, we take certain things for granted.  And in that, something happened. I found that my friends became my family.  I have friends that I may fall out of touch with and when we reconnect its like we  never missed a beat.

I probably should preface this with a tidbit of information about myself.  I've always struggled with the concept of friendship.  I can remember my first friendship heartbreak. (Don't laugh. I'm sensitive. Born early July... you know the types.) Anyway, I was seven years old and came home crying because my "best friend" told me her mom said she couldn't play with me anymore.  Did I have cooties and not know? Was I the cootie kid?  Actually, I wasn't and it was a misunderstanding but the damage had been done.  I cried. I was hurt because my "best friend" could not be my friend anymore.  My mom told me that everything would be okay.  She told me that I would learn that everyone is NOT my friend and would know who to give that "best friend" title to when I got older.
Well, here I am, older, and still struggling with it. When I feel comfortable with someone enough to let them in, to allow them to see me in all of my vulnerability, they become a part of my life.  That person becomes family to me.  If families were chosen, these are the people that I would choose.  But this allowance that I offer comes with expectations.  Unfair expectations? That remains to be seen.

I expect the people that I choose to also choose me.  This is something I didn't realize at seven years old.  Just because the person is your best friend doesn't mean you are the person's best friend.  This has to be mutual.

I expect the people to care about me as much as I care about them.  Now, this may be unfair.  I'm a heart-on-my-sleeve, heal-the-world, care bear and not many- ok, most people are not.  So, the revised expectation is that I expect people to care. Period.

I expect the people to realize for me to consider you a friend that there is unconditional love for you and recognize my intentions are never to hurt you.

The most important expectation I have is that I expect the people to realize we are, just that, PEOPLE.  And not without flaws.  So love me flaws and all (thanks Beyonce) as I accept you.

Maybe that's too much.  Relationships, across the board, are difficult to maintain.  Maybe people run out of steam.  Maybe some people don't grow, remain selfish.  Maybe some people just grow apart and SOMEONE just didn't get the memo.  Maybe we were what we needed to be to and for each other at that time and that time has come to pass.

I still struggle with the whole friend thing.  I mean, I love the times we have. We laugh until we cry. Pick each other up when we're down.  But the fighting (not physically), the arguments, the heated disagreements is where it becomes hazy to me.  Although, I consider my friends family, in reality, that are not.  And this relationship can be undone.  I look at things this way: I fight with my sister all of the time but one thing remains and that is she can never NOT be my sister.  But my friends that I may call my sister, in reality, are not.  That relationship can change.  So, maybe my issue isn't with friends, friendship, family, or relationships.  Maybe my issue is the potential change that can occur, sometimes without notice.

I have plenty of friend stories.  I want to know if anyone else struggles with the whole "friend thing" or am I just a big wuss.

(By the way, if I am just a big wuss, I can deal with that.)

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