Monday, November 28, 2011


Friend…what does the word Friend mean to you?  The meaning of the word changes as you grow older…when you were an infant, your “friends” were the children (most likely also infants) of your parent’s friends and/or neighbors.  When you were a toddler, your friends consisted of anyone who was willing to let you play with their toys (again, likely dictated by the company your parent’s kept…or even your childcare situation (preschool/daycare provider etc).  When you were in elementary school, you friends were the kids who were in your class-because they were the ones you spent the most time with.  Then you went to middle school (and if you didn’t change school’s for middle school, bear with me, because you were, at least, of age to be considered a middle school student (you know the 5th to 8th grade range) and your friends were the people who shared similar interests/things with which you were active…be it, sports, band, art, chorus, being mean to other kids (a.k.a. bullying-these kids probably wouldn’t consider themselves bullies if they aren’t physically harming the other kids, but don’t live in denial, the words that kids use are sometimes more hurtful than physical altercations can be so maybe you aren’t using your fists, but there are a group of you out there who can throw a verbal right cross like it is nobody’s business-and you know who you are…the ones who know just what to say to send someone over the edge) or any other activity you are introduced to while in middle school. 

Middle school is kind of key when it comes to determining who your friends will be in high school.  The friends you have while in the 8th grade will likely be the ones you will sit with, should you have the same lunch period, when you are a freshman in high school…and you didn’t know it then (o maybe you did…), but that table is what defined you as a person to the other students who attended your high school.  This table would tell anyone else in the lunch room if you were a jock, or a cheerleader, a band geek, a skater, a punk, etc-you get the point…and the label you get on your first day tends to follow you throughout your high school “career.”  There are a few exceptions…You know, the girl who may have lost weight over the summer between freshman and sophomore year, she might move from a shy or awkward group to a more popular group due to the attention she receives from the boys in that group…or it can work the other way as well-the girl who says the wrong thing to the captain of the cheerleading squad and gets “banished” from the cheerleading table and is forced to find other “friends” to dine with for that 20 minute period of time…
After high school, people have an opportunity of the lifetime-but so few people realize this opportunity, until it is too late.  After high school graduation, many people go on to College…You can go to a community college, a vocational/tech/ school, a local University, an in state college, an out of state university, or even attend school abroad…the possibilities are endless, and only limited to the work that you (or your parents…I am not throwing any stones here, because if it wasn’t for My Pops, I have no idea where I would have ended up…) put into the search for higher education and/or scholarships.  When a person chooses to go to college, they have the opportunity to redefine who they are as a person.  You will find yourself surrounded by strangers who have no preconceived notions of who you are or knowledge of what table you sat at during lunch while you were a sophomore in high school…this is your time to shine! 

How did you choose your friends while you were in college?  Did you befriend your roommate?  Did you strike up conversations with people in your English 101 course?  Were you on a team sport so you automatically had a commonality with several other people-who were forced to endure early morning practices and training schedules much like yourself?
 I, initially, chose my friends based on the similarities we shared-and the smile lines on their faces…no, seriously, if you look at a person and you can’t see visible lines on their face that are made from smiling, they probably don’t smile frequently…or laugh a lot…and I do.  I smile AND laugh a lot…because I like to…and I choose to spend time with other people who do as well…I also chose to spend time with people who cared about the well being of others…I just like to know that the company I keep is constantly thing of ways to improve the lives of others, in any way possible…My friends also dressed like me (which, at that time, was jeans, t-shirts, flip flops ,little to no makeup and pony tails-98.5% of the time)-, liked to watch the same kind of movies, etc.

Because my father was in the Navy, I moved a lot while I was growing up.  I did not have the luxury of living in the same neighborhood from birth through high school, I don’t have friends that I have known since elementary school, and, on top of the frequent moving, I was shy, so I had a difficult time making friends at a rapid pace.  By the time I graduated from college, I had a small group of gals that I considered to be my good friends.  In fact, 3 of them were in my wedding party (which occurred 10 months after we graduated from college.  I felt like I had a very strong bond with those ladies, and that they were there for me during very difficult times in my life and critical times of the relationship that Hubs and I had while we were dating.  I know that without the support and friendship from those ladies, Hubs and I would not be where we are today.  I heard a quote once that goes like this: “I did not go to college to find my husband, I went to find my bridesmaids.”  I don’t know where that quote originated, nor was that my intention when I enrolled in college, but that is what happened. 
Why all the banter about what a friend is, you might ask?  Well, I will tell you….it has to do with something that has been weighing heavily upon me for a while.  I would like to preface this next portion with, I love my family, and I would not trade Hubs or Hannah for anything, so please do not misinterpret anything you read to mean anything different. 
As I mentioned above, 3 of the ladies I called friends were in my wedding.    One was my Maid of Honor (of First Runner up J if you will) and the other 2 were Bridesmaids.  After college we all went our separate ways, I moved home to the Charleston area, which is approximately 100 miles from Columbia (where I attended college), my MOH ended up moving to DC (and after a while in DC, she moved back to Columbia), one of the bridesmaids moved back home to Greenville, and the other stayed in Columbia (I will call her Columbia-creative no?) .Shortly after my wedding, I lost touch with one of the ladies, due to conflicts of “adult life” (you know, work, family, location, etc), and did not have much in the way of communication with the other, unless I found myself in Columbia of some reason, then we would speak in passing, though, unbeknownst to me, there was a reason for all of that lack of communication, other than just because we lived in different cities and had different work schedules. 

I came to discover, through a mutual close friend that Columbia had gotten engaged.  I posted a message on her MySpace (remember when people used Mspace? -Yeah, it was that long ago) as well as on the Facebook page telling her congratulations, and that I was excited for her and couldn’t wait to hear the story of the engagement and all of the details of the wedding.  If she was happy, then I was happy for her.  I made a trip to the city of Columbia to visit some friends, including Columbia, but I felt a little-distance-for lack of better words-from her while we spoke of her wedding/engagement in Fazoli’s (What-you know you love Fazoli’s-I do and  am not ashamed to admit it…).  She said that she was going to have a small wedding and would oly have one bridesmaid-her sister.  This detail did not surprise me, as she has always said her sister would be her bridesmaid and that she did not care to have a large wedding…she also said that she was considering making the wedding family only in the late fall.  Again, not a reason for me to raise an eyebrow, knowing of her desire to have a small wedding for so long. 
Time went on, and I really didn’t hear much from her nor about the wedding…I only knew of the date and time of the wedding because the other bridesmaid from my wedding, texted me and asked if we could hang out after the wedding…Of course, I agreed to meet with her, I hadn’t seen her in so long and I love to have the opportunity to spend any time with her!  We met at the mall and caught up for a little while until she had to leave.  It was during this meeting that I discovered that Columbia no longer liked me…it was there that I learned that she said after graduation she was going to cut ties with a lot of people she no longer needed din her life…it was also there that I learned that the wedding was not, family only, and that she never actually considered making it family only, but that she only told me that so I wouldn’t expect an invitation in the mail…it was also there that I learned that Columbia no longer deemed my friendship necessary because “I thought I was better than everyone.”  Now, my feelings were hurt.  I am not going to lie.  My feelings are still hurt.  And yes, I still tear up over this.  No, not the part that I wasn’t invited to the wedding, but because Columbia said I thought I was better than everyone…you want to talk about the figurative knockout punch-there it was-she hit me with it-an uppercut to my heart…which sunk into my stomach…and made me sick…(I am sure it did not help that I was VERY early in my pregnancy with Hannah-and when I say VERY early, I mean, literally just found out the day before this meeting that I was, in fact, pregnant).

I do not care for anyone who believes they are better than other people.  I don’t like the perception that someone has put themselves on a pedestal and looks down on other people.  I believe we all have our strengths and weaknesses but that is why we have friends-to balance those out….I wanted to cry right then and there…the second I heard the words…they cut me real deep…and they still do.  As I type this my eyes are welling up.  Why though?  I feel certain that Columbia has not given me a second thought since the day she decided to cut ties with me…without telling me…I feel like I need closure…I want to know why.  (I always want to know why-it doesn’t matter what the situation is, I just want to know why things are the way they are…it is just who I am…and it tends to get me in trouble…).  I have always said (and will always continue to say) that I don’t think I am better than anyone.  It is not for me to judge the talents and abilities of others.  The Lord demands accurate scales and balances, he sets the standards for fairness-Prov. 16:11.  Because tof the Priviledge and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning-Don’t think you are better than you really are.  Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us-Romans 12:3.
I want to close this chapter of my life …I want to move on but I feel like without knowing why Columbia made the decision she made I will be stuck right here-without closure…wondering what I did that made her feel that way.  I can’t recall a single time when I had ill intentions or feelings towards her…I wish her well in life, and I hope she has happiness in everything she does. 

I just wonder if the person I believe I am is really the way other people see me as well…is my perception of reality so distorted that I have no idea how other people view me?  You are not very good if you are not better than your best friends imagine you to be…but then again, was Columbia ever my best friend?  Did she have a different view of our friendship than I did?  I have heard that Friendship is not capable of ending for, if it ends only because it never existed…I don’t want to think that some of the happiest memories I have of college were fake… It takes years to build up trust, and just seconds to destroy it."  I have a wonderful life, and I would not be the person I am today without all of the experiences I have endured… Moving on is simple, what you leave behind that makes it difficult.
Thanks for sitting through this if you did…clearly I needed to get all of that out…

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