Sometimes, keep it to yourself.

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I’m annoyed.  I’m annoyed with how seemingly easy it is for other people to pass judgment on my life.  I’m annoyed when friends decide it’s their place to tell me what I should do.  It’s not.  And if you feel like it is, then perhaps you don’t know me all that well.  Sure, there’s a time to speak one’s mind, a time to say, actually I don’t agree with you in your moaning and here’s why.  But you have to know me well enough to know when that moment is.  I’m not saying I need to be handled with kid gloves, but honestly, most of the time, I just need/want someone to listen; not someone to commiserate with or join my pity party – just to listen.  I work things through by speaking them aloud.  I’m sorry if that annoys or frustrates you, and you then feel that it’s your place to give me your two cents.  Getting to know friends is a learning process, like taffy it pulls and twists until you reach a smooth, finished product.  A true friend has every right to tell me what they think, and that’s fine.  But I’m not going to pretend that I agree, or that I’m not annoyed.  I don’t, and I am.

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and the waves roll over me…

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I can’t help but stare at this picture.  I’m staring and staring at my computer screen, looking at a face that no longer looks back.  He’s been gone for 11 years now and I still think and wonder about him.

I wonder if I ever knew him at all.  I don’t think I did.  I wonder how much any of us knew each other in that delicate time.  I spent so much time with these people, and now, as an adult I truly wonder if we were ever friends.  I considered all of them my friends at the time, but that was under a 17 year olds definition of friendship.  The older I become, the more weighty that title becomes. 

I stumbled across a recently created facebook group, dedicated to those of us who used to (and currently are) members of this group.  A post by the administrator encouraged old school photos to be posted; so I posted them.  I’ve looked through these 29 photos three times already today. 

I look at these pictures and remember what was, I think about what could have been.  But then I wonder if things could have ever been different, perhaps they played out just as they were supposed to.  The decisions we made and the paths we all took.  We’re all scattered to the winds, all connected by a common past and yet not intricately linked as we once were.

I don’t think there’s anyway of denying what we all shared, though. Even in it’s normalcy and ‘just growing up-ness’ we were all changed, molded, affected and moved by our common experiences.  Who I am today is directly shaped by the people I shared those years with…..and I can’t seem to shake it.

I’ve travelled, grown, moved (a few times) and I still can’t leave behind the people and experiences that shaped me during those teenage years. No matter what happened, no matter what changed….I’m not sure I’d have changed a thing.  Moving and time doesn’t get me any farther from that time of my life. It remains with me, sometimes haunting me, sometimes in memorys that wash over me like a wave.  Sometimes all I need to revisit these people and this time is news.  Today, it was news of a new bundle on it’s way.

They’ve married, they’ve had children. And somehow I feel I’ve just floated on….I’m not sure I’ve moved on. You could argue that I haven’t since I’m sitting here typing about it, listening on loop to John Mayer’s version of Free Fallin’, starting at Matthew’s photograph and admittedly, surprisingly, wiping tears from my cheek.

I’m staring at his face, looking directly into my camera lens and I wish I could somehow make it three dimensional and reach in. I wish I could grab his face and just touch his flesh, somehow make all real again. 

What I wouldn’t give to make it all real again.  I wonder if when I left youth behind, I left a part of me that allowed me to just live.  I think too much, I analyze too much, I pause too much, I doubt – too much.

I feel like I’m free falling and I’m not sure that there’s anything to catch me.

Does it still count?

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I’ve been faced with a few examples of unintentional ‘hurtage’ recently, that’s really gotten me to a-wonderin’.  Does it still count if you don’t mean it to be hurtful?

A friend of mine has been hurt by her gentlemen friend.  He’s insisting that’s she’s great, she’s wonderful, but he’s not ready for a relationship.  He seems to go on and on about how he doesn’t want a relationship, but he wants her around.  And all of this pontification is under the guise of being honest.  Honest or not, he’s pushing her away and hurting her in the process.  He insists that he’s being upfront about his expectations on the relationship, but his actions and his words don’t match.  Under this banner of honesty, he’s hurting her – albeit unintentionally.  He’s trying to communicate to her what he wants, but is doing it in a way that cuts.

Recently, a sibling said to me, “you know what I’ve realized? Our mother doesn’t have a mean bone in her body”.  And he’s right.  My mom is sweet, and caring, and considerate, and giving.  She is all the things people should aspire to be, character-wise.  But, she’s said some really mean things to me in the past.  She was trying to make an impact on me about my weight – but in the process, really hurt me and sculpted what is perhaps not a healthy self-image.

I am not an exception here either.  A recent post had a ripple effect that I wasn’t expecting.  I was writing about something that had happened in my life, never intending to be mean or hurtful; but apparently my words didn’t come across that way.

I think it’s extremely curious that we spend our whole lives communicating; not just with words, but with our bodies, our actions – and we still can’t get it right. 

I know the answer to my question, because I’ve felt the sting myself.  Even though we don’t intend to be hurtful, we still are – and yes, it still counts.