friendship

All posts tagged friendship

Everything has changed

Published March 5, 2013 by crazyinpink

There’s normally a longer gap between posts but there’s just so much going on in my head at the mo, I need to get it all out. 

My last post covered what happened at the conference. This one will cover what happened between me and Best Friend.

I’ve already talked about our odd kind of friendship and the weird tension that came up about a year ago. With sharing an office and planning the conference, we became even closer.  We spoke every day, spent long days in each other’s company and began to function as one person.

In the run up to the conference, our nerves were frayed. Best Friend became distracted and agitated, he wasn’t eating well and his behaviour was quite manic. I looked after him.  The same way he tries to take care of me when I’m not well. 

In the confines of our tiny little office, Best Friend was touchy feely, often giving me hugs and putting his arm around me. Around others, we didn’t physically touch but there was a constant closeness, in our instinctively doing something together or in our bickering like an old, married couple.  When I came back from sick leave, he kissed me on the cheek. Something which has never happened before. 

I admit that I loved these little signs of affection. I’ve often felt like our friendship meant more to me than to him. He would never say I’m his best friend but everyone knows that I am. The fact that he instigated the little hugs and holding hands, while weird given how socially awkward he is, made my day that he was trying to show me how much he cares. 

And so we get to the weekend.

On Friday, he kept disappearing and returning to the office to give me a cuddle. At one point, we were sitting in our chairs and he went to pat my arm, missed and got my boob instead. To my utter bemusement, he then made a joke about it.  A few hours later, I had changed into a dress for the wine reception and was worried about how big my chest seemed in it. I kept trying to smooth it down while he talked to me. In the end, I asked him if my bra was visible, which really just gave him an excuse to stare at my chest for a while. Voicing my concerns that I looked trampy, he said ‘the trampier the better’…

I didn’t see him much on Saturday and ended up at the opposite end of the dinner.  He had dressed up in a suit and made his speech of thank yous.  I already suspected I might cry, it just seemed to be the mood I was in. After his speech, the tears started to prickle. I made it through the keynote address, sniffing silently at the table. When that was over, I noticed BF make his way to my table. I fled.

I stayed in the toilets for fifteen minutes until Caroline came looking for me. Sobbing onto her shoulder, everything came pouring out. I heard myself blurt out the words I didn’t want to say ‘I think I have feelings for him.’

By the time dessert was over, I had pulled myself together and was mingling like a pro. It would’ve been bad if I had ignored BF so I made sure I spoke to him, even posing for photographs. His arm instantly went around me, the first time he’d showed any sign of affection in public. Later on, he walked Caroline and I back to my car and it was my turn to surprise him with a peck on the cheek.

I dreaded coming into the office on Monday. Would things go back to the way they were before? Would the little cuddles disappear now that we had nothing to stress over? How would I act around him? 

He demanded we talk about Saturday. He, it transpired, was hurt that I didn’t come and sit beside him at the dinner. Both of us expecting the other to be a mind-reader. In that way he has of thinking everything is his fault, he was convinced he had done something to upset me but couldn’t work out what it was. I tried my best to avoid talking about it, not trusting myself. Eventually, I had to tell him that I had been a little hurt by his generalisation of what I did. It was immediately obvious that he had no idea it would come across that way, he thought he was being nice. 

After processing for a while in silence, he took my hand and looked me straight in the eye. He told me that he would never do anything to hurt me, he never wanted to hurt me. We’d never spoken like this before, holding each other’s gazes in the most intense few seconds of my life. Like last year, I briefly wondered if we would kiss. Unlike last year, the thought didn’t terrify me and I didn’t do anything to stop what might happen. We could easily have kissed at that moment. But we didn’t. He put his arm around me, pulling me into him, pushing my head onto his chest. He used his other arm to wrap mine across his stomach and then he just held me there, his head on top of mine, my ear listening to his heartbeat.

Everything has changed.

“It’s not about you!” or being selfish when you’re chronically ill

Published February 19, 2013 by crazyinpink

I felt like screaming at him “Shut up! It’s not about you! You haven’t done anything. I don’t even care about what we’re talking about. I’m just sore! It’s nothing to do with you!!”

Moments like this, although not frequent, are familiar to those of us living with chronic pain and especially an invisible illness. Something changes inside you and you go from being normal to suddenly having pain or discomfort. If you’re in the middle of something, your whole demeanour changes.

I go quiet, I concentrate on even breathing and my posture ranges from hunched over to leaning back – anything to try and ease the pain.  When this happened on Saturday, in the middle of a day of conference organising with Best Friend, he immediately thought he had done something wrong and went on the defensive.

It’s happened before and it’ll happen again. Best Friend isn’t the most confident person in the world and, in his socially awkward ways, assumes he is to blame for any slight change in my attitude or appearance.

Last year, during the most awkward weekend of my life, I cried in front of him while we stayed in a B&B in Ireland. For months he kept on about it, asking me to tell him what he had done wrong and why he had upset me. It was only in a surge of embarrassing boldness, I finally told him that I had an abscess that weekend which was causing me considerable pain and discomfort and I couldn’t have told him that when we were there.

Sometimes, I feel so helpless about what my body does without my permission. I could be fine, working away, smiling, spending time with friends and two seconds later, my insides are spasming and it feels like a rusty hook is dragging across my pelvis. There’s no big announcement or event that precipitates the change. There are no signs. It just happens. But the timing sucks sometimes.

So it happened on Saturday, while going through a budget for our conference, a cyst that I had only noticed the day before became so angry and determined to disrupt my relative peacefulness.

Best Friend and I have a weird kind of relationship, where we’re close enough to share everything but only at certain times. If I volunteer information, he usually recoils and feels awkward. I have to keep it until he asks, only then do I know he’s ready to handle it. And he does ask, eventually.  He’s been so good during the last few weeks, phoning me every day, sending me cards. When I returned to the office for the first time on Friday, he spent all day hugging me and, for the first time ever, kissed me on the cheek. He was truly happy to see me.

Now that this cyst has reared its ugly infectious head, I know I’m more tired, more grumpy and less “me” than usual. My body is fighting an infection while its still recovering from having stuff scraped out of it.

I tried to tell him I was sick but, in his head, I’ve had an operation and so I should be better.

I know I’m being selfish but I just felt like yelling at him. His insecurities irritate me and I don’t really know why. He is only trying to help, he cares about me and wants to know what he has done to upset or annoy me. But, right now, its not about him. Its about me.

 

Of course, even saying that makes me feel worse. 100% Bitch.

The Sitcom that is my life

Published November 22, 2012 by crazyinpink

You probably wouldn’t even believe me if I told you what I’d been up to in the last few weeks.  When I tell various friends and amigos they give me that “You’re making this up, right?” look.  But I ain’t.  My life and the lives of those around me have just been so crazy lately that I’m thinking of writing a sitcom based on our experiences.

Here are a few of the subplots of late:

The One with Losing the Big V

A friend of mine sleeps with her boyfriend for the first time.  In fact, her first ever time.  This friend, Bella, decided earlier this year that she needed a man in her life, despite having survived the past 27 years pretty well without one.  Enter the dizzying world of online dating and the various catastrophes associated. A brief relationship ensued only to end after a month because the guy turned out to be a cowardly lion.  Cue depression and endless questioning.  Bella has anxiety issues and last year had a breakdown.  After a grieving period, she threw herself back into online dating, texting numerous guys simultaneously and generally behaving quite erratically.  We watched nervously, waiting to swoop in and rescue as she became glued to her phone, having combustive text arguments with a guy she hadn’t even met. Then, suddenly, one came along who wanted to be her boyfriend.  Things were obviously moving fast as a week after they first met, Bella asked me for tips on oral sex (no idea why she came to me as I have never partaken). But it was still a surprise plot twist when, meeting for our regular weekly coffee, she announced that she had slept with him.  And was not handling it well. At all.

The One with the Bisexual Boyfriend

As if the Bella storyline wasn’t enough, another friend had drama of her own when she returned from a holiday to discover that her boyfriend had multiple dating profiles on gay sites, actively looking for hook-ups.  Ellie had met her boyfriend through the choir that we both sing in.  He made it obvious one night at a concert that he was interested and relentlessly pursued her through facebook til she agreed to have coffee.  Soon enough they were facebook official.  Ellie wasn’t completely head over heels but figured that she would give him a chance.  He, on the other hand, was overly keen, lavishing presents for their one month anniversary and talking about hotels for wedding receptions. Ellie went away on holiday and decided that she just didn’t feel that way about him.  Before she could actually meet him to break up, a gay friend of hers admitted that he had found her boyfriend on a dating site. Not believing it, she looked for herself and found at least five different sites belonging to him with various degrees of detail and pictures of an inappropriate nature. Completely shocked, she turned to me.  I then had two women reeling from their love lives.

The One with the Office Politics

Sharing an office with your best friend might sound like a dream but in reality, it is anything but.  Settling in to life as a PhD student is tricky and it is only made more difficult when you share an office with someone as bewildering as my Best Friend. It has only been a month but we’ve already had our fair share of ups and downs.

Scene One: I get told off by Best Friend for not attending research seminars often enough and then get a second lecture by grumpy PhD guy who doesn’t like me.  I leave for the research seminar half an hour early although it is literally across the road.  BF questions this and I tell him that I need to get a seat in the back so I can fidget. “Don’t fidget then” I have to, those seats are so uncomfortable and hurt my back. “But your back seems fine now” Yes, but sitting in those chairs for an hour and a half will make it sore. “You’re so over-dramatic.  I think you just decide when to be sore so you can get out of things.” *exit scene before I punch him, followed by hour and a half seminar during which I say all of zero words to him*

Scene Two: I enter the office Monday morning after a meeting. I see BF has already been and left his stuff in. On my desk lies a paper bag with a post-it on top. It’s from BF. Inside the bag are two yummy buns from the bakery, something nice for me because I am always doing nice things for him. BF returns about an hour or so later, by which point I am sitting on the floor as it is more comfortable than my chair.  He chats away merrily, occasionally dropping on the floor himself to tell me things. After a while I get up and stretch, hands on my back.  BF is watching me and asks why I stand like that sometimes. When I explain that I stand like that (the way pregnant women stand supporting themselves) because it helps, he scoots over in his chair and starts rubbing my back.  He says that he has seen men on tv do this when their pregnant wives are in pain and asks does it help. I cannot even register if it does help as I can only think bout the fact that his hands are on my lower back, my very low back, dangerously close to my posterior. The rest of the day is filled with touchy-feely gestures, hand holding and hugs from him as I remain utterly bemused and start wondering if he’s done a Dr Jekyll-type experiment.

 

I could go on but I really need to practise my paper for the conference tomorrow. Oh yes, I still have to function as a normal PhD student in the midst of my drama-filled life.

No new storylines are allowed to happen until after this weekend.

A digital fairytale?

Published November 20, 2012 by crazyinpink

Once upon a time, there lived an relatively ordinary girl.  Her name was Melody and, although not blessed with the technology gene, she did have a soft spot for the world of Twitter.  She joined the twittersphere long before other people she knew in real life and became quite addicted to tweeting amusing comments, sharing her opinions on her favourite TV shows and posting pictures of new additions to her shoe collection.

One day, while watching a particular favourite crime show, Melody tweeted and retweeted lines from the show.  It amused her to feel like she was watching with a whole room full of people and their opinions rather than on her own, in her pyjamas.

One tweet was particularly funny and after retweeting it, Melody curiously looked through the rest of the user’s tweets and deeming them equally amusing, followed him.  Barely a minute had passed when the tweeter struck up a conversation with her, first about the show they were both watching but then turning into a general chat. Melody was flattered by the interest and attention and kept the conversation going until she went to bed.  Earlier that day, she had bumped into her crush and the experience had left her certainly feeling crushed herself.

The next morning, the mysterious tweeter of the night before began chatting once more.  He was called Edward and was the same age as Melody with similar interests and tastes.  She enjoyed talking to him and smiled when she heard the familiar ping of a new message. It wasn’t long until they switched to private messages, getting to know each other and asking questions.  Edward seemed so charming and sweet, saying that he was pleased Melody had retweeted him because he enjoyed talking to her.  He asked if they could be facebook friends and Melody agreed.  She was intrigued and wanted to know more about him.

Soon enough, Edward asked for her number.  It had been quite a while since a guy had asked for her number, Melody thought.  He began texting her every day, being equally cute, dorky and ridiculous in his messages.  She found herself confiding in him and being much more confident by text than she was in real life.

After a month of texting, Edward and Melody knew each other pretty well and decided that it was time for them to talk on the phone.  Both being quite shy, the conversation was hesitant at first but they quickly began talking like old friends.  Both of them were on facebook at the same time and, in the middle of telling Edward a story, Melody heard her laptop pop. Looking at her screen, she read a message from him saying how much he loved her voice.  She couldn’t help but grin at the cheesiness of it.  The phone call lasted an hour before they said goodbye.  It wasn’t really goodbye as Edward continued to send Melody facebook messages confessing how he felt about her.

Melody could hardly believe her eyes as Edward admitted that he was falling for her and wanted her to be his girlfriend.

Her tummy felt full of helium and also, kind of like she was on a rollercoaster.  She stared at the screen not knowing what to do.

She was torn for a number of reasons.  On one hand, she really liked Edward, loved talking to him every day and he was totally her type.  Had they met in real life, she was nearly sure she would have agreed to date him.  On the other hand, she didn’t want to be another story about being duped by someone on the internet.  She had to be smart and realise that until she met him, her feelings weren’t real.  She was falling for the idea of him and not the reality.  Equally, she knew that he was falling for the her that she wanted him to see.  There were things that they disagreed on, fundamental parts of life like what they believed.  Were those differences too great to be ignored because of some charming words and a cute personality?  These thoughts rushed through her head as she blinked, confuddled, at facebook.

Edward, as he did when saying something risky, tried to brush it off as a joke, something silly.  But Melody knew how he really felt.  She also knew how she felt in return.  In spite of everything, she knew she was crazy about him. There was just one problem…he lived in a different country.

A mint, a scratchcard and a baby

Published October 31, 2012 by crazyinpink

It’s all been a bit doom and gloom around here lately.  Sorry about that but there’s no use pretending I’m strong when I’m really not.

I’ve felt incredibly sorry for myself lately and, yes okay, things have been pretty crappy but I need to give myself a good shake and sort my head out.

Brief update on last post:  aware of the many, many things that were/are going wrong in my life (daily pain, feeling faint from not being able to eat due to said pain, car repeatedly failing MOT and therefore not having a car, troubles with Best Friend…to name a few) I forced myself to go into the office on Thursday.  I borrowed my mum’s car to get there.  Best Friend was a) shocked that I had turned up, b) anxious to know why I had fallen off the face of the earth for a week and c) slightly alarmed by my attire (fat jeans) and my messy hair with zero make-up.  I should point out at this stage that without make-up I look like a vampire, pale waxy skin, dark circles under eyes.  In fact, it is a constant struggle to find make-up pale enough to match my natural skin tone.  Maybe one day there will be a make-up range expressly for girls who resemble Scandinavian vampires…

Anyway.

Best Friend, upon realising my state of mind, tried his best to cheer me up.  This didn’t really work as I opened feedback for my Masters dissertation and promptly started crying (it did not go well, but that’s a whole other story).  I went outside to pull myself together and returned to find him standing awkwardly in the middle of the room holding his arms out to give me a hug.  Aware of his own limitations when it comes to social conventions, he then offered me an everton mint.  In his own odd way, he was trying to do something to help.  I then had lunch (well, I didn’t actually eat) with my Toyboy.  He didn’t have any mints but did give me a scratchcard in a bizarre effort to cheer me up.  The day got even weirder when I went to pick up my friend Chel who had offered to come with me to support group.  Her mum came out and summoned me in.  I was then handed a baby, my friend’s one month old niece.

My friends are very odd but I appreciated their random efforts to make m smile.

In responding to a comment on my last post, I started thinking about how the people in my life must see me.  It brought back something that happened about a month or so ago.  Toyboy and I went along to the young adults’ group in church for an evening of ‘Prayer, Praise and Pancakes’ (utterly awesome title, don’t ya think?) and by means of an ice-breaker we each had to reveal some facts based on playing cards.   We each had to pick two cards from a deck and whatever suit you got determined what you had to reveal.  Hearts = something you love, diamonds = something that’s precious to you, spades = something you’re working on and clubs = something you struggle with.

My two diamonds represented my education and my health.  As I said health, I saw a look of surprise in some of my friends’ faces.  I explained that when you have such bad health, you learn to appreciate the good days more because you know what the bad ones are like.

I think it might have been this statement that prompted one girl in the group to pray specifically for me during the first short time of prayer.  I know that people pray for me and it is something I am very grateful for but something struck me as this girl prayed.  It was like she got everything that I go through and exactly what I needed.  Her prayer was so sincere that it made my eyes a little leaky.  I never knew she was so aware.  I’ve said before that I have only recently been making an effort to talk honestly about my condition and I don’t spend that much time with the group because I can’t always do everything they plan.  It really touched me.

I’m so thankful for my friends, their caring, their prayers and their own bizarre ways of helping me.

“…I’ve been living with a shadow overhead, I’ve been sleeping with a cloud above my bed…”

Published October 22, 2012 by crazyinpink

I had hoped that the cloud above my head and the pain in my tummy would pass by quickly and the next time I posted, I’d be back to my positive, smiley self.  Unfortunately, I was lulled into a false sense of normality before another wave crashed over me.  I feel like I don’t even make sense anymore so bear with these awkward expressions of what’s going on in my world.

Settling into life as a PhD student is difficult, more so than I thought it would be.  It’s very isolating, you just have to go off and do your stuff while also attending all these academic things so you’re seen to be a serious student.  I guess it’s tough for me to get going because I’m doing something I know next to nothing about.  In most cases, a PhD is the ultimate expression of your research interests so you already know a little about it and want to take it further.  With me, I’m doing mine on something somebody else picked.  I have no idea what I’m doing and have, like, zero motivation to actually do it.

The excitement of moving into my office lasted all of three days until it became clear to me that while sharing an office with my Best Friend is great in some ways, it’s also a giant pain in the ass.  Great because he ignores my random habits and lets me pace around when I’m too sore to sit still.  Pain in the ass because we are spending way too much time together and living in each other’s pockets.  He’s actually started accidentally calling me ‘mummy’. :s

On top of that, he says things when it’s just the two of us in our office then says the exact opposite when we’re with other people.  Mainly this is over conference organisation stuff, he takes credit for my ideas, takes on all the work when in reality we do it together and constantly contradicts me in front of the others.  I don’t even think he knows that he does it.

On Friday, after our committee meeting, a group of us went out for lunch.  Since I still seem unable to handle actual meals, I ordered the smallest thing on the menu.  I ate my four chicken goujons while everyone else chowed down on burgers, pizzas and steaks.  Then I felt that all-too-familiar twinge.  After a while of fidgeting and squirming at the table, not even paying attention to whatever stupidly intellectual conversation everyone was having, I went outside.  I had intended on just getting myself together for a few minutes and returning.  I stayed out for twenty minutes.  Eventually, someone came to find me.  It wasn’t even Best Friend.  It was a lovely American girl who got my bag for me, sympathised as she has a long-term health condition.  She’d even heard of endometriosis and gasped in horror when I said that that was what was wrong with me.  She offered to walk me to my car but Best Friend insisted that she didn’t ‘waste anymore of her time’.  He walked me through the park to my car, barely speaking, letting me carry my bag and coat.  When I had to stop for a minute and steady myself, he pointedly looked at his watch and sighed.

I was already fighting back tears from the pain but I couldn’t understand why he was acting like this.  I thought we had moved on from the days when he didn’t get it.  I thought he understood, or was at least trying to.  I told him to go back and he disappeared without a hug or look back.  He never contacted me to see how I am (though I got a lovely facebook message from the American girl).

I feel so hurt.  What happened to the guy who not two months ago was asking me all kinds of questions about endo and how it affects me?  It’s like he can only be sympathetic when he has the time to.

 

Anyway, I’m slowly lifting myself out of whatever fog has been gathering around me lately.  Maybe things like this wouldn’t bother me so much if I were feeling myself.  I’ve spent time with some friends and although I don’t like moaning and complaining to people, I’ve tried to be more honest about how I’m doing.  I think that’s helping me a bit.  It doesn’t feel so much in my head now.  Feeling down is so exhausting, I want my optimism back now please…

I get by with a little help from my friends

Published September 7, 2012 by crazyinpink

The last few days have been quite stressful.  I am still no closer to making a decision on what to do with the rest of my life.  Yes, I’m being melodramatic but my PhD will be my baby for three years and will determine my future career. It is a big and scary decision.  Yesterday morning I was leaning more towards PhD B until I had a meeting with my supervisor (and mentor).  Best Friend and I expected Supervisor to remain neutral and not try to influence my decision.  We were so wrong.  He immediately started expounding all the benefits for PhD A. Part of me thinks he just doesn’t want to lose me and wants me to stay at my home uni. But another, more rational part, knows that he has obviously been thinking about me and what is best for me.  He has always had my best interests at heart and I wouldn’t have achieved what I have without him.  

In fact, the last few days have shown me just how blessed I am to have so many wonderful people in my life who really care about me.  I just wanted to record my appreciation of them so that next time I’m feeling down I can look back on this and realise how awesome my friends are.  In no particular order (as they say on tv talent shows), here are some of the things I’d like to say to my amazing friends.

Toyboy

Thanks for going out with me on Tuesday night and making me laugh.  At times you are like a little ray of sunshine and you make me smile. Other times I want to slap you, especially when you vowed to find my mysterious blog.  I’m sorry I ever let it slip that I have one.  I know you probably spent ages trying to find it, I hope you haven’t but if you’re reading this now, GO AWAY! 😛

Best Friend

I’m so glad we are back to normal again after all the weird sexual tension earlier this year and the awkwardness that followed. You have been a really good friend lately and I really appreciate you trying to understand me.  Thank you for talking to me on the phone for hours trying to help me make this decision.  Thanks for not trying to sway me even though I know you don’t want me to leave you.  And thanks for all the odd emails and texts you’ve sent to try and cheer me up.

Fairy Godmother

You are my newest friend and yet I can’t imagine not having you in my life. You were so amazing about the whole Butter thing and continue to support me even when I’m not making any sense at all. Thank you for dropping what you were doing to visit me in work yesterday just cause I said I needed a hug.  Thanks for being there when I need you. 

Al

Even though our lives are completely separate now and you live in a different country, you still sense when something’s wrong.  I can never hide anything from you (do you know how annoying that is?) I was so glad when you popped up on facebook chat and let me moan to you for a while. 

Butter

I still don’t really know what’s going on between us but you seemed to sense that I just needed a friend yesterday.  It’s hard in work to get a private moment but I know that you were worried about me.  I had tried to hide the fact that I had been crying but you saw a tear track I had missed and wiped it away. You held my gaze and I knew that you wanted to make me better. When someone else appeared the moment was gone but you passed me a tissue and tried to make me smile. Thank you for being a friend to me even though you didn’t know what was going on. 

Church friends

Thank you for always being there when I need you.  I know we don’t hang out as much anymore since I stopped being a youth leader but you always have my back.  I can always ask you to pray for me without worrying that you’ll judge or question me.  You are such great listeners and I value all your prayers and words of encouragement. 

 

Basically, my friends are the bee’s knees.  I should really tell them that more often.