Remember that childhood story about me holding that picture of Kim (my childhood best friend who had recently moved across town) while I forced tears out of my eyes and sappy music played in the background? Well I have a little more to say about my friendship with Kim. She was my first (as in chronologically) best friend and therefore affected my life in a similar way as does a first love. You know what I mean? I really liked her and my general contentedness in life depended quite heavily on my relationship and experiences with her. It was so fun to have her as my best friend because not only did we enjoy each other, but we looked very similar as well. We were the same height, had the same color eyes and hair, and had approximately the same build as well. We had people mistake us for one another all the time, and I loved it. I loved it because I thought the world of Kim, and I couldn't imagine my life without her. I wanted to be just like her. The thing was--just as is the case for many sets of "twins"--one twin was the prettier, more popular one, and I was not that twin. Hmmm....this story seems to be derailing....But anyway....I remember that in third grade (or fourth was it?) two new girls-Macayla and Dorothy--moved into our school and a friendship between the two of them and Kim quickly sprouted. It wasn't long before I felt like the old getting tossed out and replaced by the new. Oh, man. I was heart broken. And I remember one time having Macayla tell me that during an overnighter with Kim and Dorothy, Kim had been talking badly about me behind my back. When Kim admitted to it, I seriously felt as if my world were crumbling all around me. I could hardly bear that pain of betrayal. (In all honesty, the trust issues I struggle with today probably did grow out of this one experience.) I've been surprised all my life at the pain I felt as a little girl having her best friend move on to funner, cooler pastures. OK. I have GOT to get to the point. The thing is...starting at that time and continuing throughout my life, I have been a bit heartbroken every time the person(s) whose affection I long for has chosen someone else over me. Most likely we've all been there a time or two--having a boyfriend dump us for someone else, being left out from attentions and invitations, being replaced by Macaylas and Dorothys. And it hurts. It hurts bad. And I don't know how you've dealt with it, but growing up, I didn't deal well. I was defensive. I was cold. I was mean. I did what I could to make my offender aware of my anger. And it was totally counterproductive, obviously. And I knew better. I knew being that way was not going to win me any friends or any boyfriends, but I just couldn't deal any differently.
It's been a long time since I've had to experience those feelings--not that I haven't experienced jealousy in a long time. I experience that all the time--but specifically the feelings that accompany a friendship which is somewhat unbalanced because one person is more dependent on the friendship or relationship than the other is. You know what I mean? Recently in my life I have found myself feeling somewhat desperate to develop a certain kind of friendship with a person who seems to prefer another or others to me. Man, this just sounds so junior high-ish. The good news is--despite the fact that I am experiencing little girl (or even high-school girl) feelings as a 32-year-old lady (I refuse to say woman), I am dealing with them like a big girl! I'm a big girl now! (Diaper commercial, anyone?) I'm not being mean and defensive. I'm not trying to get back at them. I'm not falling apart. Because I've at least matured enough to be OK with the fact that many times I'm not going to be the one who gets invited, and sometimes people won't like me as much as I like them, and sometimes I might feel left a little behind. But it's really OK. That's the way life goes for each of us, and it's OK.