When I grow up

To Ellen. Wherever life takes you, may you always feel loved and okay. I can only hope that my job with you was half as remarkable as yours with me. Thank you for an amazing ride.

I find it quite interesting how whenever I am reading a random inspirational quote, I always find myself trying to figure out to what extent it resonates with my own life and I am pretty certain we all do it. Why is that? According to author Cheryl Strayed, « We’re hungry for inspiration and the truth. And what a quote does is it delivers in a very concise, powerful form that little jolt of that thing you needed to hear, that thing you forgot, the thing you knew, the thing you didn’t quite understand that’s now been articulated. » That is exactly what I have experienced a few weeks ago when I saw on Instagram a note that said « I Iove you. Are you okay? » That quote hit home. Really hard. It immediately made me think about someone I love dearly, but whom I have been estranged from for quite some times now. Let’s not name names or finger point, shall we? For the sake of anonymity, let’s call that person Ellen. Don’t you dare make that funny face dear reader. Ellen is a great name, although I certainly will not name my daughter that. I have known Ellen for a great deal of time now. Most of the important memories of both my teenage and early adulthood years include her. And God, she has made me laugh so hard it would hurt. I mean actual physical pain. She has also been around when life made me want to cry uncle and each time I did not have to ask for her support nor did I even have to tell her what I was going through. Like the true friend she was, she just knew she had to be around. She was family, my sister from another mother and, well, from another father too.

Everything was great until it was not anymore. My phone stopped ringing overnight, my text messages remained unreturned, interactions between us got fewer and fewer and fewer. Even worse, she ceased liking my posts on Instagram. Can you believe that? I can see you laughing at me, but trust me, Instagram is a very accurate indicator of whether or not someone is giving you the cold shoulder. Whenever they stop liking or commenting on your pictures on Instagram, that means that you are doomed my friend. It means that that person is washing their hands of you. You no longer exist to them. They are indifferent. Do you know what is worse than indifference? Indifference itself. From the moment they have reached that point they forget that you once were one of their favorites. Believe me, we could all learn a thing or two from the gram. Thank you Kevin Systrom for revolutionizing the way we socialize as human beings.

At this particular point, I have now realized what Ellen is trying to do. She is slowly trying to write me off of her book. Not from just one chapter or two, but from the whole thing and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Well, I could inundate her phone with text messages or phone calls until she finally comes up with a plausible explanation as to why she has suddenly decided to remove my name from her favorites list. It is not like have never done it before. I have confronted her countless of times after we have had a quarrel, tricked her into having the difficult conversation because I knew it was the only way we could get past it. On the other hand, I have also participated in shamelessly avoiding having the difficult conversation. Because, let’s face it, it is exhausting and messy. We say hurtful things we will eventually regret, no one is actually listening and when they do, it is only with the perspective of elaborating a stronger argument. Your mouth gets dry and your jaw starts to hurt. Just when you are beginning to think about giving in, there goes your opponent dropping another bomb. Then you argue some more. Your mouth gets drier and now your jaw feels like it is about to dissociate itself from the rest of your face. Still, none of the two parties involved are willing to admit that they were wrong. And then, you argue some more to the point where you even forget the reason why you were arguing in the first place. Uh uh no, my time will not be wasted in such a vain manner. As I said, Ellen and I have had our share of falling-outs over the years. However, this one is different. It feels different this time, like she has departed for good. We have literally lost touch with each other. If you were to ask, my inner compass would not be able to tell you where she is right now. How is she? What has she been up to lately? Is she happy? Is she dating? I have no clue. My Ellen sensors are off.

Since Ellen has clearly made up her mind and decided to stand her ground at all costs, she is making it nearly impossible for me to fight for us. Truth be told I have also made a decision: I will not fight her. Not this time. Not anymore. Even if I wanted to, I do not have it in me to do so. Not to mention It would be selfish of me and not very fair to her. Who am I to prevent her from doing what she thinks is best for her? I refuse to make this about me and play the victim or let my ego take over. No, I will not sit on my bed and desperately try to put together all the pieces of the puzzle wondering what I have done wrong or if I was not a good friend to her which is something we all tend to do in these kind of situations. Right? Right? Right? Hey, you reader, I could use a little bit of support here. Let me reiterate. Right? Aha! Thank you! See, it was not that difficult. What we do not realize is that by putting ourselves in that position, where we get to play the victims, we get blindsided. We do not see the bigger picture. We are making the situation all about ourselves when it is really not.

I believe our first job as human beings is to help one another become better versions of ourselves. I also firmly believe that people come into our lives for a reason. They might stay in it for just a season, but if we are open enough to receive what they have to offer they may leave us with valuable lessons of a lifetime. « What does this have to do with Ellen breaking up with him? » you may ask. Bear with me dear reader, I am getting there. What I have learned over time is that in every situation lies the opportunity to choose between love and hate. To either express compassion or instinctively react with anger. More importantly, we are given the opportunity to be teachers. I believe Ellen has learned as much as she could possibly learn from me and so have I. While I no longer have the privilege of calling her my friend, at least for now, I profoundly love and respect her. As a matter of fact, I am grateful for her. She was a great friend when I needed her. She helped me transition into the man that I am today. Our friendship provided me with tools I will forever hold dear. It made me stronger, wiser, more centered and confident. She has made me demand more from both life and myself. She has made me realize that I was worthy of true friendship. I am a better friend and human being because of her. But the thing is, I do not need her anymore. Neither of us needs each other anymore. I have learned my lessons with flying colors. I have grown up. We both have. And so, her job with me is done and what a remarkable job she did!

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