I have thought back over the last few years of my sobriety, on the friendships I have had and what sparked them, or what brought those friendships crashing down. It is safe to say that even as a small girl, any interaction I had with a fellow school mate, or anyone who I deemed a friend was never anything but intense.
My expectations have always been high. Where that came from I dont know. The wiring in my brain. My Temporal Lobe Epilepsy at a young age meant I steam rolled over logic with emotion in all situations. It was always very black or white. Right or wrong. Even if it was according to me and what I felt – and even if that meant spitting in the faces of everyone else, I remember vividly, feeling very passionate about just about everything, especially the idea of friendship. With it came expectations of loyalty, trust, and truth. I gave those things, so it just didn’t make sense to me when I didn’t get them in return.
When I was seven or eight, I was in therapy. It so happened that a girl that I believed to be a best friend came in for an appointment that overlapped mine, and we saw each other. I will never forget how that girls mother scooped her daughter out of my direction and away from me. I put up such a fuss that eventually I was told that the girl was blaming me for some of her bad behaviour, and that I was not allowed to speak to her any longer. I was devastated to the core.
That wasn’t the first time another human being would place the weight of their own choices on my shoulders to escape the wrath of parents or some sort of authority. There would be many more in the years to follow – and it took me a long time to understand that it was because I didn’t actually understand what loyalty or friendship was that I was the perfect scapegoat. Unconditional loyalty is the same as sticking a plastic bag over your head and giving someone else permission to zip tie the seal around your neck.
The sad part is, my motives were never because I was desperate for friends. I wasn’t afraid of being bullied or ostracized. I found the idea of belonging to a group of whiny faceless morons unfathomable, to the point where my disgust got me into trouble on several occasions. My loyalty stemmed simply from my belief in right and wrong and that ‘that is how its supposed to be’.
But that intensity, when it wasn’t returned, left me gutted, and took me a long time to compartmentalize so that I could move on.
Having said all that now though, you can image I never really did have a the normal friendships with normal kids that did normal things. You can’t be as intense as I am and make your average everyday kind of friends. No. Instead as I grew older I collected broken things. Broken winged people who I found to be way more interesting that the perfectly in tact faceless idiots I had already spent most of my adult life trying to bypass for fear of boredom. Its almost as if it someone is more complicated, its easier to understand. But, two fires burn a happy house down faster.
I remember at my 30th birthday bash – looking around and thinking – how the hell did I collect all these people? The theme was Sweeny Todd, and it appeared as though we were all born in that era. Cleavage and fishnets and pale faced men ready to whip out something sharp and slit a few throats. Some guy in a wheelchair appeared with enough coke to keep us all happy and no one knew who he was. A drag queen with a yellow feather scarf arrived too, and I did his makeup and he appears in just about all of the photos.
My Egyptian friends all suited up and pissed out of their trees, and my sober friends on the other end discussing existentialism and how come beer bottles are green.
Even at my wedding (which didn’t last long) – the marriage – not the wedding – one side of the room was filled with stoic sober friends and family – and on the other were friends that literally set fire to one of the table centre pieces in order to stop me walking down to my fateful doom.
The point of this little trip down memory lane is to say – that even though most of those friendship exploded and no longer exist – I wouldn’t chnage my intensity for anything. I cant imagine a world in pastel colours, where everything is safe and mediocre. Having a filter – or a pause button must be exhausting. Having to restrain and reign in and be correct and love with reservation and disagree with boundaries would make me … depressed.
You know, just saying.