Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Friendship Game

I've talked about tier friendships on this blog before. I've talked about how, sometimes, despite drifting apart, there is no malice intended. It's simply time commitments that you both may have, busy lives, contributing to a marriage, raising children, pursuing careers.
But the good friends, the true friends, the tier ones, the staunch supporters, the ones that don't go away when things get rough, who can look troubled times in the eye, their own or someone elses', transcend these realities of life. I've talked about it here.

These transgressions, are, for the most part forgiveable.
Time goes by. That period in her life where the two of you were close recedes, and you make the change the level of your relationship--to that of acquaintence. You have other close friends who were at one point close with her too. They too experience a shift in their level of frienship with Acquaintance. The two of you stay the close friends you've always been, and regard Acquaintance with a kind of pity. After all, into every life some rain must fall, as we are told, as life shows us, and when that rain is falling, friends are crucial in holding you up in those critical moments.
Which brings me to the real purpose of this blog, it's something I touched on in this blog a couple of years ago. At the time I was writing about the duplicity of being lied to by a colleague, but it applies to this situation too;

I also took used this blog entry as a reminder of all the wonderful women in my life who truly are real, and I mention A and J. My encounters with both of them, no matter how long the distance, or how much we have to catch up on, are always cerebral, enriching, and I can feel their caring. I am sure they can feel mine.

I've become enmeshed in following a wonderful website known as the TinyBuddha written by a talented woman, with a bit of zen up her sleeve, and an enormous gift for self-examination without feeling defeated, and self-introspection without judgement. I've been receiving updates from this wonderful website for a number of weeks, they come precisely at noontime into my inbox every day, and I read them as I eat lunch at my desk, and look for the meaning they are transmitting. This week, on Friday, was a beautiful entry about friendship.
I re-post here with full credit to this wonderful, enriching blog.

I read this with a critical eye towards myself, and tried to remember all of the points, and to work on ones that may have gone by the wayside lately. I consider myself hugely lucky in the friend department. I have a circle of girlfriends who go above and beyond. It's not a huge circle, but once you're in at this stage, you're likely to be around for a long time. The friendships I made in my 20s have stood the test of time the longest, one common thread being a steakhouse we all worked at when we were young, struggling to make something of ourselves, and trying not to let the stress of starting a real career and form lasting relationships beat down our spirits too much.
Even those who I am not on a 'daily' with now, continue to check in on a regular basis, and we know what is going on with each other and when we might need a bit more of a shoulder than other times. The ones with whom I have regular phone contact with, email daily and weekly, the ones who have a standing invite to my home at any time, the ones who can come over and open up my fridge, they remain constants.
See, that's why Acquaintance evokes pity in me. She doesn't have any of that real time anymore. She doesn't have a hint of real--just superficial, self-absorbed conversation, polite interest, and the general cloying fog that seems to envelope people who feel a sense of over-value about themselves. So when I found out that some of her ideas might be a little less than original (re: MINE), I didn't really give it too much thought.
I get that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and in the words of my professional mentor, the pull-no-punches-resident-bitch-boss of Peoples Revolution, Kelly Cutrone; "average people are average and no one bothers them".

Honestly--I just can't be bothered.

note; the phrase 'resident bitch' is lovingly borrowed from Mad TV

Monday, January 24, 2011


by Reginald Shepherd

You are like me, you will die too, but not today:
you, incommensurate, therefore the hours shine:
if I say to you “To you I say,” you have not been
set to music, or broadcast live on the ghost
radio, may never be an oil painting or
Old Master’s charcoal sketch: you are
a concordance of person, number, voice,
and place, strawberries spread through your name
as if it were budding shrubs, how you remind me
of some spring, the waters as cool and clear
(late rain clings to your leaves, shaken by light wind),
which is where you occur in grassy moonlight:
and you are a lily, an aster, white trillium
or viburnum, by all rights mine, white star
in the meadow sky, the snow still arriving
from its earthwards journeys, here where there is
no snow (I dreamed the snow was you,
when there was snow), you are my right,
have come to be my night (your body takes on
the dimensions of sleep, the shape of sleep
becomes you): and you fall from the sky
with several flowers, words spill from your mouth
in waves, your lips taste like the sea, salt-sweet (trees
and seas have flown away, I call it
loving you): home is nowhere, therefore you,
a kind of dwell and welcome, song after all,
and free of any eden we can name

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Inside the Box

I’m distracted today. Tearful. Worried.
The book I just finished, that I wrote about at the end of last year, “Must You Go?” by Antonia Fraser about her life with husband Harold Pinter, ended with his death. From complications relating to esophagul cancer.
This was not an easy section of the book for me to read, and it was a surprise that this was the condition that ultimately ended Pinter’s life (despite his decades-long reliance on nicotine, to the tune of sixty cigarettes a day). It was not easy to read because this is the same cancer my Dad has been struggling with for the past nine months, and it is not at all easy to witness the suffering that comes with that, however stoically it is borne.
I’ve navigated this journey along with my family, and our support of each other has been tremendous. Friends have also helped immeasurably with easing the burden of the sadness I’ve felt since the diagnosis. One close friend in particular whose father has been battling a similar cancer for a number of years has been a huge help. This same friend also had to deal with the harsh reality of having her mother also suffering from cancer; her mother lost her life to the disease on Monday of this week.
I’m grieving for her mother, and also for my friend, as she has been as courageous in the face of her parents’ double illness as anyone could ever be. I hope I can be the type of daughter she has been to her parents in their time of need, to my own parents now.
My father has an important appointment today, too. That’s weighing on me. As Antonia Fraser so aptly described it in her book in dealing with her husband’s cancer and its stages, ‘the Great Fear’ is back.
I likened it to putting emotions in a box, in an email to a friend today. You box up the sadness, the suffering, the grief, and only draw it out when you have time, or when you can afford to go there. At other times you simply blank it out, maybe in order to continue with your daily life, to keep going.
I’ve tried all month to trace back my anxiousness, my restlessness, my inability to even start and finish a blog entry, and tie it up to a little bit of winter-blah-ness, but also to a nagging part of me that feels a bit defeated in this new year, one that doesn’t seem to vary much in its sameness from the last couple. They start off benignly enough, and then the challenges just crop up.
Steeling myself to deal with them bravely and sagely and to keep letting light in.