03 September 2008

I Liked You, You Putz

I dreamed last night that I was lying in a living room watching an action flick with several friends, and I was right next to a friend with whom, in real life, things once were quickly and briefly romantic but went sour and with whom I haven't spoken in a while. No contact, no looking in each other's direction, no connecting in any way. Just the awkward awareness of each other on the living room floor.

At one tense point during the movie, I moved my hand in a startled motion and accidentally bumped his hand, and instead of jerking his hand away and accusing me of some ulterior motive, he simply clasped his hand very gently, almost imperceptibly, on mine, as if to leave open the possibility that it was just my imagination in case I rejected the gesture. I might not have noticed except for the gentle pressure of his finger tips on the sides of my hand. I relaxed my tense fingers, letting them drape gently over the edges of his hand, without clasping back, returning the gesture in a way that left it open to interpretation that I might or might not have noticed.

Our hands stayed like that, embraced, somewhat insecure and tentative but clearly intent on connecting, and the movie continued, but I was so relieved that he really did want to connect again and show some small kindness and sincere desire to "hold on" to what friendship we had left that I didn't notice the movie. I was feeling so much relief that after all that has happened between us, this tender gesture proved a persisting desire to repair what we could.

This dream was just another indicator of my feelings towards a couple of such friendships. I'm not used to romantic friendships gone bad. It's probably old news for most people, something they went through in years much younger than mine, the confusing phenomenon of thinking someone is a total jerk and not ever wanting to see them again while, at the same time, feeling so much affection and wanting to be close again, albeit without the romance.

Well, it probably should be embarrassing for me to admit that this stupid dream meant something to me. Or that I felt a tinge of disappointment when I awoke to find it was only my imagination. Not chagrined enough to get bent out of shape, I sighed and chuckled at my emotional persistence in holding on, for several months now, to some hope for reconciliation, then I shrugged, climbed out of bed and got ready for work. So I still haven't completely "let go" of things, apparently. Dang. But hey, I'm genetically flawed.

I've experienced something similar with a couple of other friendships, but we were able to talk through it, and we each gave a little and worked things out or are still doing so. These others are different somehow.

How is it I can think someone was such a dirtbag to me and feel a desire to kiss and make up at the same time? It's weird, and it's wrong, and I'm not used to it, and it's not on my top ten list of fun emotions. I'm used to making and keeping friends, albeit slowly. I'm not used to losing them. I'm a pack rat. Pack rats don't lose things, we might set them down for a while, but we fully intend to keep them. *shrug* I'm also not used to wondering how I'd react if I ran into someone, whether I'd feel casual and indifferent, or I'd want to hug them, or I'd have to force a smile and some civil greeting while cursing them under my breath with nasty words. Being a puzzle-solver, I want to believe there's a way to solve this. I hate when I can't solve a puzzle, but I'm learning to let go when I realize the pieces I need are in someone else's clutches or when solving it is maybe not priority number one.

So I'm left wishing things were different, wishing that a couple of friendships were better for me than they are, but unable to see a way to get there and refusing to go back to things as they were. Trying to talk things through only went so far. It seems a couple of friendships are possibly beyond repair, at least for now, and to some degree, I've come to terms with that. So it seems all that's left, for now, is to wish. Or to let go completely. Damn my genetic flaw that makes it so hard to let go completely and makes me dream of holding hands tenderly with putzes.


Kengo Biddles said...

FWIW, I too am a "people collector" as my Grandma has dubbed me and my late grandfather. I don't know that it's a genetic flaw--I think it's a sign that you have a great love for people around you. And is that really such a bad thing, in view of eternity?

"How is it I can think someone was such a douche bag to me and feel a desire to kiss and make up at the same time?"

I have felt/feel at times these same feelings toward my ex-wife...well, not necessarily the kiss part, but make up. Helga was a great woman.

I think that part of it is a willingness to forgive perceived wrongs. (Matthew 18:21-22)

Dichotomy said...

How is it I can think someone was such a douche bag to me and feel a desire to kiss and make up at the same time? It's weird, and it's wrong...

I don't think it's either weird or wrong. If you were close to someone (as a friend or as more than that) it's completely normal to miss that relationship when it's gone and to want it back (even if there were good reasons for ending the relationship).

If the hard feelings are completely one-sided (i.e. you think he's a douche bag and he has no hard feelings) it sounds like you might be ready to forgive and rekindle a friendship.

If the bad feelings went both ways, someone will need to make the first move if you're ever going to be friends again. It's up to you to decide if you're willing to be the one to do that.

It's likely you'll never have the same relationship that you once did, and it's possible that you'll find it too hard to even ever be friends again. In any case, you're not unique (and certainly not "genetically flawed") in missing lost friendships and wishing things could have turned out differently than they did. That's a trait you share with nearly every other person on the planet.

Original Mohomie said...

Kengo--yes, forgiveness is a must, even if the other person denies they've done anything wrong, and I'd hope for the same. Acknowledging that they may not realize how their actions affected me--or realizing that I might have misconstrued their words or actions--is essential.

Forgiveness does not require re-entering a relationship, and sometimes, I'm a bit disappointed in myself for even wanting to do so contrary to my own reasoning and friends' recommendations. I'm generally a "logical" person, and it seems like my emotions are overriding logic here. Stupid feelings.

Dichotomy--yeah, I cut out specifics about why I felt hurt because all of that was beside the point, but there's of course more to the story. And even though I'm pretty sure the people I'm referring to do not read my blog anymore, I didn't want to try to drag anyone through the mud here or make myself out to be a martyr; I'm aware I'm not very easy to get close to and can be difficult and frustrating in my own right.

With one friendship, I repeatedly tried to do the friend thing again or extend the olive branch however I knew how, but I kept getting burned, so I've given up for my part and am blandly accepting it at this point.

With another, short of him recalling things he said or offering to talk, I think it's a done deal. But that doesn't change the things I like(d?) about the cuss.

Maybe someday things will be different, and I'll welcome that. For now, I need to focus on and invest in friendships that are more rewarding and less hurtful. Maybe one day I'll be a healthier person, myself, and better equipped to overlook the bitterness of the past, but I'm not there yet. *sigh*