Saturday, May 2, 2009

ships and more ships

Many topics plague the mind of the Diva these days. Certainly dating. Anyone who reads the blog would know that. The gall bladder (yes, lack thereof) also fills many posts.

In addition, I’ve been struggling with ideas regarding relationships. What makes a good one, how they last, the ones you can’t escape, and then the ones that I would never want to escape.
Relationships are difficult. All relationships. It doesn’t matter how much love is there, how much history exists or how often sex occurs. As we get older, it gets even more difficult. Everyone knows this, right?

I started blogging about 3 years ago. In the beginning it was so family and friends could keep up with the “search for a home” and then the “trip to Japan.” Eventually, I blogged to get things off my chest. I liked it. Writing into the abyss about all sorts of topics and issues, I have relieved all sorts of stress. Recently, I realized that blogging can be difficult when I find the issues I want to get off my chest involve the very people that read my blog. Awkward to say the least.

It is difficult when I want to write about things that I have no desire to discuss. If I write it, I take a chance of someone wanting to discuss it. Usually I talk to the people closest to me about the same stuff I blog about because, well, I'm a talker, but sometimes I want to write without talking. I could start a new blog, but I don’t really want to do that.

So, what I find is that I have periods of not blogging and I have to think about what the crux of an issue is before I write. I can’t just tell the tale, I have to distill the issue and really figure out what I need to get on paper, as it were. There is a bit of finesse required as I write about the things that matter to me.

We begin and end with the family. These are the relationships that define who we are and how we operate. I love my family. I have very strong principals and values because of them. They are also capable of driving me totally and completely insane. I’ve had a really good time Twittering lately because I’m getting to keep up with both of my sisters this way. Sure we could talk on the phone, but then what would I twitter? LOL I am a youngest child of a wildly intelligent family. I proudly say that I am the dumb bunny of the family because that still makes me smarter than a whole hellofalotta people; just not any people to whom I’m related.

I think I’ve pretty much beaten the romantic relationship study into the ground, so I won’t waste time on that dynamic here.

Friendships are a very powerful type of relationship, especially in the life of a single girl in the city. There are all types of friendships. Wikepedia even defines friendship for us.

Friendship is a term used to denote co-operative and supportive behavior between two or more people. In this sense, the term connotes a relationship which involves mutual knowledge, esteem, and affection and respect along with a degree of rendering service to friends in times of need or crisis. Friends will welcome each other's company and exhibit loyalty towards each other, often to the point of altruism. Their tastes will usually be similar and may converge, and they will share enjoyable activities. They will also engage in mutually helping behavior, such as exchange of advice and the sharing of hardship. A friend is someone who may often demonstrate reciprocating and reflective behaviors. Yet for many, friendship is nothing more than the trust that someone or something will not harm them.

Value that is found in friendships is often the result of a friend demonstrating the following on a consistent basis:
• the tendency to desire what is best for the other,
• sympathy and empathy,
• honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth, especially in terms of pointing out the perceived faults of one's counterpart,
• mutual understanding.

In a comparison of personal relationships, friendship is considered to be closer than association, although there is a range of degrees of intimacy in both friendships and associations. Friendship and association can be thought of as spanning across the same continuum.

The interesting statement for me is that a friend is someone who you trust will do you no harm. I think of the friendships that I have had that ended abruptly, and I can say, almost down to a one, that they ended because I felt that they would do me harm or had already done me harm. I don’t mean physical. I mean mental. Close friends, like family, know the weaknesses and fears that we usually keep hidden from the world. When they push those buttons and strike out hatefully, it is painful. I will say what I have always said. If I want someone to be mean to me, to hurt my feelings, to treat me like trash, I can go to the family. No need to go outside of the bloodline for that.

Family is forever, friends don’t have to be. And sometimes they aren’t. I am lucky as hell that I have a best friend who has truly been the very definition of a friend to me. I hope that I am able to do friendship justice for her too. Frequently people begin a relationship with high hopes that it will become a true friendship, but perhaps they aren’t able to maintain a mutual understanding or they don’t end up being truly empathetic for each other. So, although they start well, they can’t maintain.

I think there are times that we try to demand more from an “association” friendship than the relationship can bear. Everyone cannot be our intimate friend.

Work friendships certainly help make the work place more fun, but it is always important to remember that they are work relationships. Push comes to shove, people will put their own work interests above friendship. That’s ok. It is just important to remember that is how it usually happens. Work relationships can work as friendships as long as work and the friendships don’t intersect. It is important to not expect a work friendship to be more than what it is. I’ve had some great work friendships through the years. Some have managed to transform themselves into a different kind of friendship, but most exist for a time and then fade or the friendship keeps the same low intimacy level but lasts for a long time.

Geographic friendships are usually neighbors. I’ve lived where I didn’t know a single neighbor and I’ve lived where I love all of my neighbors and where I’ve really enjoyed most of my neighbors. Rather be where the neighbors are fun, friendly and part of my support system. Again, most of those friendships end when you are no longer neighbors, but every once in a while you will manage to remain friends past the geographic relationship.

Certainly, the BFF is a driving force in my life. This girl knows ALL of my secrets. She reminds me of why it is important to think before I speak, the benefits of showing good manners in all situations and how lonely I’d be without her. Even though we haven’t lived in the same town in years (and not in the same country for 24 months) we talk regularly (loosely translate that as every day please) and she is always there for me the same way I will ALWAYS be there for her.

We have often discussed that having a BFF has saved us, but also perhaps made us more willing to walk away from a bad relationship. I look at that and think over and over, that I am lucky to be in that position. When a relationship goes bad, it is a painful and awful thing. It is sad and heart wrenching at times. However, keeping a friendship that isn’t working is like keeping a man who needs to be gone. It is a mistake and it is our various fears that make us keep people in our lives that aren’t doing us any good.

What life has taught me is to follow my heart and try to keep it simple when I can. I’m not saying that relationships of any kind are easy, but that relationships should be simple; straightforward. Trust in God and believe that I am following the path for which I am intended even when that takes me in a different direction than I might have imagined. Sometimes I intersect with someone else’s life and run parallel, sometimes we merge and then part. Some have been with me from the beginning and will continue to be a part of me for as long as I live.

So, on this my 570th post, I am grateful for all of the relationships in my life and all of the people that have come and gone. I am glad that I have been able to learn from almost everyone who has entered my life and that I continue to learn from the people most important to me.

1 comment:

  1. I love you. I'm glad we're friends. I'm glad you have a BFF. I'm glad you know you're free to choose, and sometimes the best choice is to dial back on the relationship knob. Choose a different setting for a while.