More thoughts on the follow up

{So… this ended up being a doozy…in both length and content. Before I start, I want to clarify a couple things about the situation referenced in the follow up post (which is discussed again in this post: 1) My friend was not mad at me for writing that post. Well, I don’t actually know how she felt about it beyond our mutual friend telling me she was sad and hurt, but I believe that was more about my committing to disengaging from the friendship than for writing about her/our friendship. I think I might have been more hurt to learn she read that post than she was to read it, but as I said, she never mentioned my blog or her thoughts on the post, so I have no real idea. 2) The reason I asked my friends to stop reading my blog was because it was actually having the opposite of the intended affect. Instead of helping them understand me better, it seemed to make them more confused. They thought I was too negative and didn’t understand why I was putting so much of myself out into the world in that way. Instead of bring us closer, it drove us apart. That is why I asked them to stop reading it. It’s not like I was writing things I specifically didn’t want them to read, or that I was writing about them. I just felt that their reading my blog was hurting our friendship instead of helping it, and asked them not to read because of that. 3) If our relationship had not disintegrated, and my friend mentioned she still read my blog sometimes, I would be surprised but not incredibly upset. It would seem weird to me, but if she brought it up casually, and mentioned she read it now and again, I wouldn’t be incensed.}

So, without further ado, let’s officially begin this 2000 word bad boy.

I’ve been thinking a lot about anon’s comment on my follow up post. It definitely got me thinking. I’m still thinking, in fact. And as I tend to do, I’m going to write as I think. First there is this:

However, a couple things to consider, as you reflect on all of this, I don’t agree with your rules regarding friendship and reading your blog. Your language suggests a deep violation of intimacy, as though she entered your home and read your diary when your back was turned. She did not do this; you posted something about your friendship with her publicly. You put your thoughts and feelings into the world. These words are no longer just yours, and you cannot control their dissemination (or rather, you chose not control its dissemination) or anyone’s reaction to it. Your posts are usually much more self reflective than this, so I am surprised. You publicly wrote about your friendship with her, presumably without her knowledge or permission. It’s difficult for me to see her reading your blog in the light you are painting it.

It’s absolutely true that once I publish something on my blog, I choose not to control its dissemination. I agree with that 100%. And by sharing my blog with my friends at one point, I relinquished an expectation that it would ever really be private from them. If its purpose was to express myself outside of that friendship, they would never have known about it in the first place. And it’s not like my friend went out looking for it without my knowledge, which would be a very different thing indeed. (See #3 above.)

So why did I feel so betrayed that my friend was reading my blog? I guess because she didn’t tell me. That seems like a betrayal to me. I suppose it could be argued that once words are published publicly, one cannot expect to control who reads them and to what end. At the same time, it feels disingenuous, if you are truly friends with someone, to read their words, especially when you know that they expect you to not read their words (because in the past the reading of those words caused misunderstanding and hurt in the friendship), and never mention it. That does feel like a betrayal to me.

I’m trying hard to figure out exactly why though. I guess it’s the secrecy. And the intention. It seems that if you are unwilling to share that you are reading the blog, you aren’t reading it in the service of that friendship. If you are reading your friend’s blog, but not telling him or her, your motives cannot be to help. Actually, that’s not true. I can see a friend reading another friend’s blog without telling him or her, to better understand and support that friend. But if reading the blog DOES NOT lead to an enhanced ability to support, but instead coincides with a distancing of that friendship, then I don’t think that secretly reading a friend’s blog aligns with the actions of true friend. In that case if feels like a betrayal of trust. Especially if that friend was once very close, and that friendship involved a high level of trust (the case in this situation).

Perhaps that is my hurt twisting my perception of the situation. I don’t know. I’m trying to imagine a similar scenario in which I am not involved, to see how I would judge the actions of both people, and it still feels like a betrayal to me for one friend to read another’s blog and not mention it. But maybe I can’t properly distance myself from the situation to look at a parallel scenario impartially.

I’m curious what other people think.

I do know that PART of why I was so hurt by my friend reading my blog without telling me is knowing she was doing that, while also not sharing things with me that she shared with our mutual friends, that she was privy to my life without sharing anything about her own. Anon has some interesting thoughts on that as well.

Maybe your definition and understanding of friendship and group situations is different than hers. Friendships are also fluid and sometimes I feel more comfortable talking to one person about a topic than another. I don’t think I owe telling anyone a confidence because I have shared it with a mutual friend. It’s not something I would apologize for. In fact, I’d be ticked off if someone expected me to actually say sorry about that (“A classic sorry, not sorry about the whole not telling me things that she told our friends.”).

This definitely got me thinking.

The truth is, I did come to some form of acceptance about my friend not sharing with me what she shared with our mutual friends. I worked really, really hard to get there. I had to work really hard because the truth is it hurt to see that my friendship with this woman had changed in a way that it hadn’t with our mutual friends. But I could, in my hurt, upset way, accept it. I recognized that she was creating the boundaries she needed, even if I couldn’t understand why she needed to set them. I tried hard to set my own boundaries, and I will admit that involved distancing my friend, as a form of self-protection.

And we remained friends for another couple of years. But when it happened again, and as I realized there was more and more that hadn’t been shared with me, I realized that the whole situation made me feel like shit. As I stated in my original post, I resorted to dredging up old hurts between us to explain why I was no longer a person of confidence for her, and reliving those past mistakes made me feel bad about myself. Also, knowing that I was the only one of the three of us who wasn’t being told things made it hard for me to interact with the group as a whole, and eventually I just couldn’t stomach the constant reminders that I was now different.

As anon, asked, can’t it be that you grew too far apart, but neither of you grew apart from the mutual friends? Yes. I suppose, if someone asked me that without context I would say yes, that is okay. But I guess in this specific scenario, it didn’t feel okay. And I suppose some women would be okay participating in a group friendship knowing the other women had a closer, more intimate bond. To be fair, I think I’d be okay joining a group and being the more distant member. I guess what I couldn’t handle was knowing that we had all once been equally close, and now I was the only one who was not.

I first wrote that sentence with, I was the only one who had been deemed unworthy, which shows that I’m not yet far enough away from the hurt of this situation to really see it as just, “we grew apart.” I clearly believe that my friend’s refusal to share with me is a rejection. I obviously believe that she chose not to share things with me because of WHO I AM and WHAT I’VE DONE.

Is there any rejection that hurts so much, as the rejection by a person who once cared for you? A person who truly knows you, and still pushes you away? That is a really, really hard thing.

And I think THAT is why the blog reading feels like a betrayal, because what if she stopped confiding in me BECAUSE of what I wrote on my blog? What if she judged me for my inner-most thoughts and feelings, which were shared here in an uncensored way (or at least a way I would not have shared with her), and found me lacking?

It’s not the first time people have pushed me away because of what I’ve written on this blog. Once it even happened with a friend I had MET through blogging. The thing that had originally brought us together — my writing — ultimately ended up pushing us apart. And it wasn’t that my thoughts, and therefore my writing, took some dark turn. It just that eventually I became too much for her.

And I guess that is ultimately what hurts so much about this situation. It feels like yet another piece of irrefutable evidence that I am TOO MUCH. That I feel too much, and express too much, that I am simply too much, and eventually everyone has to leave me, because they all determine one day, that they just can’t anymore.

Well, I guess I ended up where I needed to go with this. I guess I got my revelation.

This hurts so much because it is yet another situation in which people who know me in real life, and read my blog, push me away. Another example of people who know me, and read my words, and decide, based on my writing, that they can’t be close to me.

I suppose if that is what’s at the bottom of all this, I can’t possibly see the situation for what it really is. Unfortunately my friend is not the type who will be able to give me a clear, honest explanation for her own actions, so I guess I’ll end up never knowing what really drove her away. This will be yet another friendship that ended for reasons I can only invent for myself. And those inventions will almost certainly support what I already believe about myself, which will in turn shape my understanding of all future friendships.

In which I will always, and forever be found lacking. Lacking, and yet too much.

A follow up

I never followed up on it, because it seemed like I should wait a while to put it out there, but I ended up distancing myself from that friendship I wrote about not long ago. Actually, my blog ended up doing the hard work for me.

Oh yeah, this is one of those posts.

One of those posts where I write about how my blog imploded a small part of my life, and I wondered yet again why I keep writing.

It turns out my friend, the one from the post, had been reading my blog. So she read that whole post about how our friendship was making me feel. You can guess how that went down.

But you’re probably asking yourself, Why did she know about your blog in the first place!? That’s a good question.

I actually told my friends about my blog. The first one, the one I started a long time ago, when I was really struggling with my failures to get pregnant, and then my ectopic pregnancy. I was desperate for those close to me to understand what I was going through, and to offer support. I was naive enough then to think if my friends read my blog they would get what I was going through and know how to help me.

That wasn’t exactly what happened. (Looking back on it, I can’t believe I hoped it would happen that way. What a fool I was. I have a lot of regret about sharing my blog with them.)

I won’t write out what actually happened because the truth is, I can’t really remember anymore, at least not accurately. I only remember flashes, small bright points of pain that I incorporated into my understanding of myself and other people. A constellation of hurt that shaped the way I have walked through the world for the rest of my life.

In the end I asked my friends to not read my blog anymore. One friend had already stopped, because she recognized that it was affecting our relationship negatively and she wanted to salvage what was left. I am forever grateful to that friend for honestly sharing her concerns, and then distancing herself from a part of me she didn’t have to engage with.

{I was able, after the hurt had faded, to take my friend’s concerns to heart, and her advice has actually shaped how I present myself here to this day. I ended up telling her that after this recent blog drama. I hope she appreciates that sometimes words reach a person, it just takes a while. I know I learned that myself at that time.}

My other friend hadn’t actually been reading my blog much, so I didn’t really worry that she would keep doing it. (Ha! Was I wrong!) And I was pretty sure my third friend never read it, and never has since then – the last thing she wants to be a part of is someone else’s drama. I didn’t really think about them reading it much after that.

Eventually I kind of forgot they had ever read it at all.

{But when I changed spaces and moved here, I did take down the forwarding address rather quickly, partly because I didn’t want any occasional visitors clicking here after a lengthy stay away. Was that because of them? At the time I didn’t think so, but now I wonder.}

Anyway, my friend must have been a frequent visitor, or she just happened to be at my old blog at the right time, because she made her way to this one. And I guess she kept reading. And I guess she didn’t stop.

{This is actually the thing I most want to ask her, if she was reading my blog all these years. I just can’t fathom her doing that and never telling me. And when our mutual friend tried to tell me that it was only her I’d asked to stop reading my blog, and wouldn’t believe me when I assured her I had asked them ALL not to read it, that was my defense: would a real friend who felt it was okay to read my blog NEVER mention it, or one thing I had written on it, for YEARS?! I don’t believe she would. I am certain she knew she wasn’t supposed to read it, and kept doing so anyway.}

And all that time, while she was reading my blog, and privy to my inner-most thoughts and feelings, she distanced herself from me, sharing less and less, and eventually not sharing anything at all.

The level of betrayal is staggering.

When I found out (through our mutual friend of course – she briefly got caught in the middle), I was furious. And hurt. So, so deeply hurt. Knowing she had been reading my blog, that she had been granting herself access to my life while denying me access to her own, while specifically withholding important information from me, but sharing it with our two mutual friends, hurt me in ways few things have hurt me. I was gutted.

It took me days to sit down and write her an email about it.

Her response was short and to the point. A classic sorry, not sorry about the whole not telling me things that she told our friends. She regretted that I no longer felt comfortable in the group, knowing I was not welcome in the closer, more intimate subgroup, but she said she understood. She also said that she hoped we could salvage something of our friendship in the future.

She never once mentioned reading my blog. She refused to even acknowledge to me that she’d done it.

I agonized over my response for days. In the end I went with the most non-committal reply: sure, maybe some day we can salvage something. I guess it was my feeble attempt to not burn bridges, except it felt like someone else had already taken a torch to any bridge that might have still existed between us.

And then it was over. My friends still have each other, and probably rarely realize that I’m no longer there. They already had their own thing without me, so I imagine it’s not that hard to keep having it.

I, on the other hand, lost that group. I still talk with my other friends–I try much harder now to stay in contact, mostly to make sure they realize how much I appreciate that they haven’t deserted me–and I’m super careful to NEVER bring up the woman I’m no longer speaking too, but it’s hard. We were a group, the four of us together. Always. It’s awkward pretending she never existed, that her absence isn’t a gaping hole in what’s left of my relationships with my other friends.

So yeah, that happened. And it’s made me re-examine a lot about my life, especially why I write here. My friend, the one who stopped reading my blog of her own accord, mentioned again that she doesn’t understand why people (specifically I) blog. And I recognize her confusion. Why put myself out there in ways that can come back and bite me in the ass? It’s a fair question, one I’ve been asking myself more since all this happened.

I’m still not really sure how I feel about the whole thing. I haven’t yet gotten to the point where I’ve gleaned the moral of the story. Perhaps there is no moral. Perhaps the whole thing is just a bump on the road of my life and my writing. Just another thing that happened to me, in conjunction with this space.

One good thing did come out of the whole ordeal: When I started this space I made the promise to myself that I would never write a post that I didn’t want someone in my real life to read. Or rather, I would never write a post that I would regret having written if someone I didn’t expect to read it laid eyes on it one day. When I do write about topics that involve other people, I try hard to make it about myself and not about them. I still stand by that post, and I don’t regret putting those thoughts and feelings out there. Writing that helped me understand how the situation made me feel, and the comments you all left clarified the direction I intended to take (and I would have, if my friend hadn’t read the post and veered my path sharply). In the end I don’t regret anything I wrote here, or how I present myself in this space, despite the consequences. And that is a significant thing. At least I have that.

I AM VICTORIOUS!

I beat the drain monster! He has retreated, ceding victory TO ME!!!

At the start of Round 5, I took the u-pipe off yet again to empty all the standing water, reattached it and poured a ton of vinegar and baking soda into the pipes. Oh the fizzy goodness of everyone’s favorite chemical reaction! I let is sit for over an hour, then plunged some more.

Nothing happened.

So I took off the u-pipe for the millionth time and drained the solution. Then I stuck my diaper sprayer into the pipe and blasted it. The pipe filled with water, then spraying out the sides of the mouth, then drained out when I stopped the spray. I did this a few times, and the last one I held the sprayer on there a LONG time, blasting the water as hard as I could.

When I pulled the sprayer away that time, no water came out. It was finally draining!

I HAD DEFEATED THE DRAIN MONSTER!!!!

I danced a victory dance. And almost slipped and fell on my ass.

I reattached the u-pipe yet again, and poured boiling water down the sink (it was my final line of offense and I wasn’t going to waste the huge pot of boiling water), then turned on the faucet and watched it drain and drain.

I have no idea what could have caused such a major blockage, but I’m really glad it’s gone. I would have been so pissed to waste a day on that and then still have had to pay a plumber to fix it.

Me vs The Sink Clog

I’ve unclogged our sink before–taken apart the pipes and cleaned everything out with the diaper sprayer I still have attached to the toilet. It’s a PITA, but it’s better than spending a couple hundo on a plumber.

Our sink has been draining slowly for a while, but I didn’t do anything about it. Then I had the bright idea to plunge it and suddenly it wouldn’t drain at all.

So I took off the pipes and cleaned everything out. SO MUCH GROSS AND DISGUSTING.

Then I cursed a ton trying to reattach the u-pipe and turned on the water and watched it drain beautifully…until it stopped.

Evidently the clog was way back, in the pipes behind the wall.

So I took off the u-pipe again and stuck a hanger back there. But I couldn’t get it past the next turn in the pipe.

Next I bribed my tantruming 4yo to visit the hardware store with me, where I bought an auger and a special sink plunger, and where he got a “drain monster sword.”

I managed to get the auger a good five feet into the pipe, and it pulled out some gross stuff, but nothing that would explain such a tough clog. Still, I hoped for the best, reattached the u-pipe (with much cursing again) and turned on the water, which drained beautifully again, until it didn’t. Again.

Next I cursed myself for not buying some f*cking chemical drain cleaner at the f*cking hardware store, while checking to see if the internet had any wisdom to impart.

Many cups of vinegar and baking soda later, plus a few more plunges, and we’re at a standoff, and the clog is still winning.

We only have one bathroom and two sinks in our house, so this is really frustrating.

I’m taking a rest before going in for round five.

Recuperation

It can be hard, when I have a lot going on, to give myself the time necessary to recuperate. If I’m resting, things aren’t getting done. When things aren’t getting done, I feel stressed. It’s hard to rest when I’m stressed. Vicious cycle engaged. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I am trying hard to give myself the time I need. To rest my voice. To rest my body. To do these things I have to cut out the regular fun stuff. My husband and I haven’t spent an evening together in two weeks. First he was sick and going to bed early. Now I am doing the same.

I can’t believe it’s already the second half of November. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday, and the Christmas mayhem starts directly after that. We will need to get a tree and decorate it. We’ll need to get the Big Box down and rummage through everything. We will need to make the calendars and ornaments and order them. We will need to do so, so many things.

I am excited to hide Heart, our elf on a shelf again. She has some new surprises in store for our kids this year, and I’m stoked to see them excited every morning to find her and her surprises.

I do love Christmas, but I don’t feel ready for it this year. I’m trying to get in the right head space, because it’s coming whether I’m ready or not. And I want to take advantage of this, the most wonderful time of the year.

Are you looking forward to the holidays?

Better

I felt better today. I still felt like shit, but I didn’t feel like shit on a shoe, that had been placed in a bag and lit on fire on someone’s doorstep.

So yes, today I felt better. And I was thankful for that, because yesterday I felt really, really bad.

All my students asked me why I was at work, when I was so clearly feeling like shit. I explained that it’s hard to set up for a sub, and it being the penultimate day of the trimester, there was a lot to do. So many of them owed me missing work, and I was trying to make sure it all got in. Plus we had a test to get ready for. I think a few of them recognized I was there for them, and some actually appreciated it. That was nice.

Now I have all those tests to grade, and late work to score and enter. I’m glad we have a week off to get it all done.

Except it’s not really a week off, not for me. A few of my friends didn’t have childcare for next week (it’s SFUSD’s first time taking the whole week off, so it was a new experience trying to get coverage, and there weren’t many options) so I’m taking three 2nd grader girls for three days. Their moms are paying me (I’m not that nice), and I’m trying to keep the whole thing professional. It’s a really nice group of girls, and my son will only be around on Wednesday, so it should be a okay. But we’ll see. It’s not like I would have been on vacation otherwise, but having a bunch of 2nd graders over is very different than dealing with my own kid. Also my house is small and it’s supposed to rain. We’ll see how it goes. I’m looking forward to having a little extra spending money over the holidays, too.

I’m sorry for the shoddy posting this week. I hope to make up for in during the rest of the month.

 

Sick

That cold I was worried I was getting this weekend finally hit, and it hit hard.

At this point I’m just trying to get through the next two days, because all that shit I mentioned having to do yesterday is still sitting there, waiting for me to do it.

In the weeds

It’s the last week of the trimester and I’m really in the weeds right now. I have a ton of stuff to grade, tests to create and scores to input. I’m trying to stay on top of everything so my students know where they stand at the start of the Thanksgiving break. My finalized grades are due the Wednesday we get back.

Posts here are going to be sparse this week. I apologize for that. I’m doing the best I can.