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Growing Old (and UP) with Friends

November 19, 2007
My childhood friend Della called today, the woman who visited us in August right after we moved here but had not settled yet, a visit in which she invited herself, which was okay, but it did not balance well with her expectations. She let it be known that she wanted everything she had envisioned a vacation to be, but it was not a carefree time for me. I had things to do, like unpack, organize our house and maintain our daily schedule. Her expectations caught me off guard because I never saw her as someone with unreasonable demands. Yes, her expectations were just that, demands. For example, one day she complained that we were not going out enough. We went out somewhere every single day, sometimes all day. That in itself is a sacrifice because my daughter and I do not live like that. We have no need to run the streets and be in the mall or find a constant stream of distraction, which that is what it is, a need to be distracted from oneself. That whole “I must call someone on my cell phone, text someone, look at something, pick at my nails or my ear, etc.” Della told my daughter she wanted to watch her at swimming lessons so we all went together and that woman did not look at that child once. She was busy digging through her purse, flipping through her messages on her phone and calling people to ask what they were doing, the very people she was vacationing away from. The same thing happens when she calls me, not as if I interrupted what she was doing by calling her but, she called me and wants me to stop what I’m doing to talk yet she talks to everyone in the room instead of on the phone. In turn, she did the same to the people on the other end of the phone when she was here, she was talking to them but trying to tell me something. It is like, “Are you talking to me or them, make up your mind because I’m not going to enable this chaos.” Apparently my unwillingness to enable chaos, abuse, crazy making is exactly why I am now labeled mean. Yes, in her opinion I have grown mean. She asked what happened to the nice woman she used to know. I corrected her immediately. I am not mean. Mean, just a variation of cruel depending on the context, is a group of boys kicking other boys in the head over and over, mean is men raping women, mean is lying about raping women, mean is pretending to be a young boy on Myspace causing a girl to commit suicide, mean is elevating oneself over others, mean is being dismissive and diminishing, mean is scratching and clawing at others because they remind you of your weaknesses, mean is refusing to look inside your soul, mean is hostilely categorising and using those categories to validate or negate people, mean is following someone around the internet and leaving anonymous insults about them, mean is intruding, mean is stalking, that is mean. What I am, is, tired of being a doormat diva, tired of being ignored, silenced, dismissed, not listened to, tired of being told my existence does not matter or the experiences I have lived do not count, tired of invisibly going along for the ride. That is what I am. If mean means that I no longer take shit from people, then call me mean. Because no one will ever dictate to me, force me to say something I really don’t believe or think or act in a manner that I’m not willing to ever again. If that means I am mean, then so be it.

I thought about her visit a lot after she left as well as my friend who histrionically informed me that he is dying. He is so not dying and I so do not appreciate his drama that I have to stay out of contact with him for fear of what I may say. There is no benefit in being mean to him, I already told him enough of what I think and I’m quite sure that led to upping the ante and claiming now that he is dying. Whatever, I’ve seen the pattern for over thirty years now. In about two or three years he will surface again and act like the whole “I’m dying” thing never happened. If examined individually the complaints I had/have against Della may seem trivial. However, to me, they are part of a bigger picture. I don’t want to go into particular examples right now because I do not want to demonise her, but I know and she knows now that I’m no longer a silent partner just along for the ride. So it is take me or leave me and it looks like she is taking me, unless I get a call in a few weeks telling me that she is dying (not really).

2 Comments
  1. Rent Party permalink
    November 20, 2007 3:20 am

    “What I am, is, tired of being a doormat diva, tired of being ignored, silenced, dismissed, not listened to, tired of being told my existence does not matter or the experiences I have lived do not count, tired of invisibly going along for the ride. That is what I am. If mean means that I no longer take shit from people, then call me mean. Because no one will ever dictate to me, force me to say something I really don’t believe or think or act in a manner that I’m not willing to ever again. If that means I am mean, then so be it.”

    Amen.

  2. Liz permalink
    November 20, 2007 3:17 pm

    Yes, be “mean” because your soul deserves better than the results of the phony niceness that gets forced down our throats. I am trying to learn to shift the reality of what’s nice and what’s mean in my life as well.

    And so true about people needing distraction from themselves and their lives.

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