I mentioned in my last post how this one was going to go down. I’ve had thirty-six hours to ponder, rage, rant, cry, hurt, bemoan, angst, and just generally fall through the full array of emotions this experience has caused. However, yesterday, as much as all I wanted to do was sit at home all day and whine about things, I had to go to work. And I took the tedious boring moments in between phone calls to figure out what the next step was. I could be a complete bitch and say everything that I’ve wanted to say about certain [personal] issues between me and this friend of mine. It would have been… ugly, suffice to say. Or, I could think of a way to just side-step all of this and move on with my life. As many tears as I’ve shed over the fact that my childhood best friend seems to think of me as an evil, curse-wielding embarrassment, I figure it’s time to go for the high road in this. And like Dr. Sheldon Cooper, I certainly do like the sound of being the Bigger Man.
I will admit that this is difficult for me. One of the things that both Devo and Helms have tried to get into my head is the “two response rule.” This is a way to conserve “spoons.” In effect, it means that expending your precious energy on things such as Internet fights and real-life fights may not be in your best interest. You’re sending all of this into the universe, even if it is over the Internet, and you will never get that wasted energy back. No three-fold law here or karma here; it comes down to wasting your time, energy, thoughts, and heka on events that you probably cannot or will not change. I’m no orator here, people. I’m not Martin Luther King, Jr who can inspire with pizzazz and moving oratory. I can’t change people’s opinions. I can only offer what I see, what I feel, what I think and be done with it. And if I can’t do that within two responses, well.
And I’ve done more than have two responses here, both what is apparent from my last post, as well as mini-snipes via Facebook messages.
My first step in taking the High Road was to delete the message conversation we had been having. I didn’t even read most of what was placed after the first message that I commented on in my last post. I saw snippets. And while those snippets are still very much drilled into my mind, and will be fodder for future blog entries, they weren’t worth the time to respond to. As much as I wanted to say X, Y, and Z to her about support and the whole enchilada, I just couldn’t bring myself to go there. Where I was heading was that dark place. I tend to associate it with the place that the Reverend Mothers from Dune and its subsequent books cannot look. It is a place that only a man can go in the books. In all reality, I can definitely go there. It’s not a place for just men or just women; anyone can go there. But it was a dangerous, dark, angry place that would have only been me lashing out in an effort to make her cry as much as I’ve been doing. So, the safest and first step was to merely delete the messages without further responses.
I’ll admit that I dithered back and forth on this particular course of action. I thought that maybe I could save them somewhere and go back later, but I think no matter what, I would always get angry enough to last out at her in a very painful and vile manner. Even if it’s years down the road, I know things and have felt things and she knows things and has felt things that makes it easiest for the two of us to hurt each other, to the quick, with no foreplay. It’s not in anyone’s best interest in this situation to do that, so I deleted the messages and will just hope that I’m making the right steps here.
The next step was to think over what this all means. I guess you could say that I’m big on signs and symbols. I tend to view major events in my life – of which this is a big one – and try to figure out where this is all going. I think that’s a pretty human trait, in all honesty. I think it’s something that every human being tries to do: connect the dots to see what the fuck this whole shebang is doing and why the fuck it is doing it. I’m nearly positive there are lessons here.
Let’s talk about those lessons.
1. This is more of a personal lesson and it aggravates me. This whole argument and some of the things she’s said to me have made me realize that people still think I’m the asshole-bitch-cunt from high school. Since our discussions have been limited to online or piss-poor telephone conversations, neither she nor anyone else seems to realize that I’m not the person who will make a Lumber Jack cry anymore. Sure, I can do it and I will go to that place if my friends need me. However, I’m not the person that she thinks I am. She still sees me in the “gives no fucks” attitude that I had in high school. Let’s be honest, though. A lot of people had that attitude in high school and the subsequent years because of the hell and horror they went through during those formative years. Yes, I have my moments where I put on my “gives no fucks” slicker, galoshes, and gloves and go trompin’ around, busily not giving a fuck.But, I’m not that person anymore. I do give a fuck – a series of fucks even – about things. People tend to see how I reacted and behaved in high school and think that the intervening years haven’t made a single change to who I am. That’s really not how it works. Lessons have been learned and things have changed. Just because I can cut someone out of my life for the preservation of myself doesn’t mean that I don’t care. It doesn’t mean that I can’t hurt because of this. I’ve had moments where I have cried myself stupid for some of the things I used to do and I have had moments where I’ve cried myself stupid over some of the things I’ve felt the need to do to save who I am, my soul, my life, my everything. Just because someone can doesn’t mean that they do it easily. Unfortunately, she won’t see it as that. She’ll see it as me being a bitch and the same asshole-bitch-cunt I want in high school.
2. There were a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings in her commentary about what I practice. At first, I just figured, “Well, she’s not actually paying attention to what the fuck I’m writing.” However, in league with this post by Zenith, I’m beginning to think that it’s not just her fault she doesn’t understand what I do. I’ve been thinking that I need to write more in my On-Going Path Project stub up there. It’s out-of-date and you know, it doesn’t really say anything. But this is one of those things that is supremely difficult for me. I’ll get into why in a different post, all its own, but I think it’s about time I set up a clear explanation of what I do so that there can be no more miscommunications, innuendos, or misunderstandings.
3. This has made me realize how much faith I’ve built into my practice. I talk about faith a lot here and having it. And this has made me realize that I really fucking do have it, even if I’m on a doubt trip. While losing a best friend twenty-years strong is a different matter all together, I also realize that I am okay with it. Not because I won’t miss her. Not because I won’t cry. Not because this doesn’t hurt like a fucking bitch. All of those things are true. However, as time has gone by and I’ve felt and learned and seen, I realize that I truly do believe that my friend and I have lived so many lives together. I told her once that I believe when one of us dies, the other soul waits around in wherever-land to plot out the next life together. While all of this hurts in the here and now, it doesn’t hurt nearly as badly as I thought it would – tears be damned – because I know that there is always the next life to get whatever we fucked up in this one right. I’m not overly worried that we messed up here because there’s always the time after that and the time after that and the time after that.
This is actually one of those moments where I’m surprised at myself, actually. I’ve always talked about how I have “a lot of faith” or how I am a “very religious person.” This, to me, feels like a kind of vindication or proof positive that this is the case. Just because I say something or write about it doesn’t necessarily mean I believe it at the time. But… I guess I do.
4. I do believe that interfaith relations are a very important thing. Too often, I see things lambasting pagans and pagan practitioners for things that are half-truths or out-and-out lies. But, I think I’m also beginning to realize that it may not always be possible. I’ve always been of the mind that acceptance between the faiths is possible. But, I don’t think it is anymore. If a twenty-year friendship isn’t enough to keep the two of us from fighting like cats and dogs, then what else could possibly ease the process? I don’t really think there is anything. She was too afraid to say what she was thinking and feeling because of a fear of losing me. And I was too worried about embarrassing her in front of her Christian friends to actually say anything big and meaningful in some of her darker, more painful, lacking-faith posts on Facebook. If fear and anxiety can get in the way of our friendship, then maybe it doesn’t really matter how much we loved each other once. Maybe none of that matters.
Maybe it just isn’t possible to keep up friendly relations with people of other faiths.
And I think that’s one of the larger lessons I’m having here. I try very hard to maintain an open-ended conversation and policy when it comes to other people’s religions. However, too often, people will take their religion to a very negative, angry place and they will use that backlash to shame and victimize people who don’t practice the same thing. I see it all the time just in the pagan community. At large, I tend to ignore what the Christian community is doing to us, but I know it’s out there. Occasionally, I stumble on an article that makes me angry and upset that I have a religion that isn’t popular and so, therefore, no one but myself will or can speak up for me if I feel like I’m being shamed and victimized by someone from a popular religious practice.
I think, too, that this is a precursor of what I can expect. Christmas, after all, is just around the corner… and my mother’s hardcore Catholic family are all friends with me on Facebook. So, I think this is a kind of preparation of sorts for a possible show-down between myself and the matriarch of the family. I think it’s possible that this happened now so that I can better prepare myself. I’m not really sure how I can prepare myself if it’s necessary, but I think that’s part of this whole shebang right now. That I have to be prepared that I may have to take the high road again and again and again, if only to prove that I’m not the asshole everyone seems to think I am.
5. Above all, this entire drama diorama has made me realize how very important my religion is to me. It goes hand-in-hand with lesson number three, but it also merits its own place. I have faith in what I believe, so I think that gives me a solid and firm foundation. But I also realize how very religious I have… become in the last year or so. I’ve been worrying a lot lately that by going back to work, I’d become the same materialistic jerkface that I was when I worked for my last job. But, I think I’ve come to the realization that my religion has become so much an integral part to who I am that, no matter what job I’m working, it will always be there.
And it’s more important to maintain its integrity and the Djed pillar it is in my life than to keep hiding myself behind the fear and anxiety I get whenever I debate trying to talk with my friend. My religious is part and parcel to who I am. It’s helped me deal with a lot of the traumas that I’ve been through over the years. It has given me a place to belong. It has given me the strength to stand up and say, “This is who I am and you either take it or you leave it.” It has given me a wonderful online community of support and friendship. My religion has sewn me up, Frankenstein-style, so that I am a mostly whole, functional adult.
And I won’t sacrifice that.