Anyone who has read my work for more than a month or two can likely tell you basic things about my character. My friends can tell you precisely who I am and what I stand for.
My own brother has described me as, “The last person I ever want to disappoint because you’re scarier than Mom and Dad combined. I’m more scared of your reaction than I am anyone else’s.” I was surprised to learn this, but it explains his behavioral patterns around me because he knows I see through all the bullshit.
Whenever someone describes me, these are the key words used: Honest. Loyal. She says precisely what she means; there’s zero sugarcoating involved. She’s not exceptionally forgiving, and that’s because she knows the difference between a mistake and patterns.
One of my own physicians said he knows I don’t hold back and he respects that because he sees other people do it and wonders what they aren’t saying, but never wonders with me because I’m not afraid to be forthcoming and extremely honest about everything. When I hear myself described like that, I know I am a solid person, regardless of what the occasional idiot may think or be stupid enough to say.
In life, forgiveness is something people have to earn. Once you break my trust, will I forgive you? Or will I listen, merely because I prefer closure? I suppose it depends on the person, but I am now faced with this in my real life.
Early this morning, something popped up in my Facebook memories that pissed me off. I was so angry for a moment, I saw red. Red is a warning sign. It’s like blood spatter to Dexter Morgan. Anger fuels me to be a better person, but that moment where I see red? That’s dangerous.
A former friend who made plans with me and then texted, weeks prior to arrival, to say her boyfriend had scheduled a private tour of the zoo the day we intended to meet up decided to pop back up with apologies. In truth and fairness, I baited her because I was enraged by what I saw.
When she had originally asked if I could make time during the month of May to meet up because she couldn’t wait to see me and missed me, I set an entire day aside, and not for nothing, it was the anniversary of my mother’s death which is SO hard for me. Lesson learned; I will never do that again, especially not for someone who flakes on me.
Quite frankly, I am astounded that anyone over the age of twelve, or someone studying certain forms of biology and/or science, would desire a tour of a zoo. 🙄 It breaks my heart to see animals in captivity. The only thing I do appreciate is the preservation of big cats. Leopards, certain types of tigers, cheetahs, and some of the smaller exotic cats are becoming extinct. This is not news, though. I don’t want to live in a world where these amazing creatures do not exist. I appreciate the wild preservation of their habitats in South Africa immensely, especially all the work being done in Namibia. However, that’s not what angered me.
It was not a change of plans, as she seems to believe, but the disrespect of my time and not immediately standing up to said boyfriend and letting him know that she already had plans that day. You can’t text me and say, “Just FYI, he scheduled a tour of the zoo that day. He’s trying to change it, but…” But nothing. I replied by saying, “I don’t even know how to answer that, so I won’t.” That moment, right there, is when you reschedule or call me about alternatives. You address it in the moment. Especially since she’s here at least 2-4 times a year to visit him.
The post in my “memories” credited me for the friend I am to her, and after deleting my initial response from two years ago where I stated that I’d always have her back, I let it be known that real friends learn how to apologize so they don’t lose their ride or die support system. She immediately replied with an apology and wanted to get into it. 😒 It’s pretty sad when someone waits and waits before they finally get called out. My anger was my error at seeing this proclamation which feels faker than a three dollar bill, and feeling as though a nearly eight year friendship was a total lie.
When a person says they were ashamed and too shy to contact you because they figured you needed time to forgive them, I find that a mixture of pathetic and laughable. I’m not a rabid beast; you just have to communicate properly. All she had to do was reschedule and be respectful of my friendship and time. That’s how adults resolve things. I would also love to know why she thinks I’m going to forgive her, because if you know me, you know forgiveness isn’t a likely scenario. I’ve got boundaries and self-respect.
Also, and this is important: I don’t permit men to tell me who I can and cannot be friends with. Nor do I allow men to make decisions for me OR disrespect my friends and family. I’d sooner stick a fork in his thigh. I’m not someone’s mouthpiece or tool, and I do not suffer fools. I’m not some delicate little flower. I am a lotus.
If you’re in a controlling relationship, naturally that person doesn’t want you to be around friends who are loyal, honest, smart, make you laugh, and who, up until this occurred, I would have cheerfully shot in the leg and buried alive. I will never, EVER support a friend who chooses to remain in an abusive relationship simply because they see the abuse as a form of love. I assure you, I’ve lived it and witnessed it, and it’s NOT on the same plane of existence as love. Perhaps some beggars refuse to make the choice for themselves because they’re not strong enough.
An abusers’ ultimate goal is to isolate you from your friends and family almost entirely. The sad part is that so many people let the abuser win. If you confront that friend, suddenly you’re labeled as “jealous”. 🙄😂 No sweet pea, I feel sorry for you. No one sane wants to be in an abusive relationship, and I will absolutely give you credit if you have gotten out of one. By “you”, I mean whoever is reading this and nodding their head in agreement because they understand what I’m saying. They understand because they’ve escaped the madness and uncertainty of being in a relationship with a gaslighting, narcissistic, abusive, disrespectful jack ass.
Instead of letting this discussion become Facebook fodder, I replied by saying we should discuss it privately. I don’t do drama on my page at all. Also, I need time before I say anything, but I’m willing to hear the nonsense out. Perhaps I’ve already made my decision and DO want closure. I’m not entirely sure. In truth, I am still so angry that anyone thinks this is acceptable treatment of a friend who has been the highest quality friend one could have or hope for.
An old friend once said, “Lisa isn’t to be trifled with.”, and I think that sums things up nicely. People assume I’m nice, sweet, caring, kind, and a host of other things that nauseate me. Clearly, I have my moments and some good qualities or no one would ever be able to call me a friend, but the second you cross over the line, you’re going to meet the other side of me. The one I often refer to as “The Dragon Slayer”. When you meet that other person who is professionally icy, you might not know what to make out of her. That’s okay. She’s already seen you coming from a hundred miles away and she’s not in the mood to psychologically break you into bits, but she will, if necessary. Many women are as multifaceted as what I’ve just described. We can be your best friend, your biggest supporter, or we can be an enemy. The grey area is ambivalence. It always is.
When you call me your “sister”, that’s a fucking privilege. It’s not some cute word to throw around. Fact: I will always be someone’s sister. I was born a sister. I am a sister to my brother, and to several of my cousins. My best friend and I have basically grown up together, and she is 7000+ miles away. She is 100% my sister. 100% family. She wouldn’t dream of disrespecting our friendship in any way. She would never fly into town and NOT see me. She would never disrespect our friendship, our time, or our bond. I would never disrespect her, either. Alas, I now realize how one-sided this other “friendship” actually was.
I was the support system. The therapist. The one with a fully functioning brain. The one with the grace and maturity I’ve possessed for the majority of my life without truly seeing it until someone pointed it out to me recently. I got nothing out of this relationship, except the feeling that I was always on call, like a doctor. When communication stopped, I felt free. I felt like I hadn’t been able to breathe properly, and suddenly this drain on my life force was no longer present. I was relieved. I was done.
I don’t know if there’s anything salvageable here. The pretty words of apology and love are just that; they’re pretty fucking words that mean nothing to me. They are not the actions of someone who is truly sorry and apologized on their own. I forced it by calling her out, and she would have waited for me to make a move until she died if I hadn’t had that flare of anger. I can legitimately say nothing for the remainder of my life and be good with that. If you’re trying to play the silent treatment game with me, you will lose. It’s NOT a fucking game, it is real life. Friends are not expendable beings.
My closest friends often say, “You’re honest and direct, but you’re also supremely fair. So if someone has pissed you off or hurt you, they deserve whatever you dish out because they didn’t have any respect for you.” That acknowledgement and validation is like music to my ears because it’s pure and true.
I don’t do disrespect in my relationships. I don’t make plans and leave people hanging without a word. I will never intentionally flake out on you. I’m not rude and disrespectful. I will be on my best behavior when you drag the uninvited boyfriend along without telling me in advance. Basically that means I won’t poison his food or accidentally, on purpose, stab him in the neck when he says something disrespectful to you that makes me want to slap him while you sit there and take it. Ultimately, I’m YOUR friend, NOT his, and I reserve the right to judge him. 😉 #BarelyKidding
The one time I had a huge disagreement with a friend, I apologized because I was wrong, but the friendship was very much like this one. I realize that now. I overvalued it because to me, friendship is a commodity I don’t play games with. But there I was; the rock she was desperately holding on to, until a bigger rock came along and I was tossed aside like garbage.
I don’t like leeches and I really don’t like psychic vampires. They are referred to as such because they drain you. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. To the point where you eventually avoid them or cut them loose. Dealing with them causes disabling fatigue. Unfortunately, you can’t increase your iron intake and be good to go. The only way to stop the drain is to deny them access to you.
I have never seen any relationship successfully recover fully from disrespect and a breach of boundaries and trust. I’ve tried with one person in particular. Repeatedly. I inevitably decided five years ago that enough was enough and that if they came back tomorrow, I’d listen, but the friendship would still be over. Essentially, I feel the same about this situation. There’s no emotion involved at all, except the previously aforementioned ambivalence, and that’s no way to rebuild something, or start from scratch with. You can’t slap me and tell me you love me. It doesn’t work that way. It never has.
I’m in control of how accessible I am, so she will be sweating it out for as long as it takes me to be patient enough to listen without rolling my eyes. I make no promises, though.
I am not afraid of confrontation. Not even a little bit. I know who I am. I know where I’m coming from, and I know where I’m going. I can’t save every broken birds’ wings. That is not my job, nor is it a role I want to take on. I wear many hats, but it’s time to send the wrong people packing. They were never meant to be a part of my long-term tribe, and that’s okay. I’ve grown and changed, and the last thing I want to do is take on any type of false superhero aspect. In life, your ultimate, true savior is YOU. Grab a sword and take a stab at it. Please don’t wait for someone to rescue you on a white horse. This only exists in fairytales. Perhaps before you buy into such bullshit, you should read about faeries and learn something.
© 2020 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
By the way, Peace Talks by Jim Butcher is now available for pre-order. FINALLY! Release day is July 14th. There, I promoted something for another writer. Jim’s a badass wordsmith who shares the same birthday as I do. Give him a shot, and start with Storm Front. You won’t be sorry. #DarkUrbanFantasy