I wrote a blog in late 2017 about another type of rare love, and that is friendship. Good and trustworthy friends who desire to invest in you as much as you want to invest in them are hard to come by. That is especially true in a culture that is busy and sometimes teaches that once you have a family friends are a luxury. Friendship doesn’t require two people to constantly be around one another, but if years go by is the term “friend” even accurate? If during that time both people change considerably and are not happy how things turned out, then is it good to continue to call the relationship a “friendship?”
There have been more people than I would like that fall into this sort of category. Not only has there been so much time between visits we don’t know each other, but a few people do not wish for that to change. Others have been toxic for various reasons, something which I didn’t know while I was close with them, but as they say hindsight is always 20/20.
There are things I would love to say to all these people, but I am starting to realize that the most loving thing I can do is let some people go. Some folks simply do not want to take the time or effort to invest in you. Their definition of “friend” is in all actuality an acquaintance. Someone they know, had a few good times, maybe even shared some deep things, but they ultimately don’t know you and you don’t know them. I would argue that most people have very few true friends if any at all. That is scary, especially since we are social creatures.
Do not misunderstand this, I’m not saying a long period of time between seeing each other necessarily means two people are not friends. What I am saying is that if one or both parties put little to no effort into the friendship it ceases to be a friendship entirely. Our emotions and sentimentality hinder us from making that realization. We often cannot comprehend that it might be loving to let someone go. Most of us would probably agree that we do not want a person feeling in bondage to us or an idea of us out of some sort of misguided sense of friendship.
Anyone who is an adult knows that with maturity comes more responsibilities. If you are a typical adult living on your own with a family you’re raising, this is particularly true. On top of work, raising children, and maintaining a relationship adulthood affords far less spare time than when we were younger. As a result, friendships fall apart and hobbies such as reading become neglected. Are we really so busy? If so, then is it necessary?
Western culture is notorious for cramming our lives with as much stuff and activities as possible. Children and work are huge commitments that take up most of our daily hours. Yet how much of this lack of time is due to having too many obligations instead of poor time management skills? After all, if you really want to read or spend time with a person you would. Sure, there are a plethora of good examples of things that could separate someone from a friend for a prolonged period or their reading hobby.
I have come across many people who say, “I would love to_____ but I just don’t have the time!” Here is my counter to that. The things I really love to do I still manage to do. Things I enjoy but aren’t as passionate about are the ones that get neglected due to “busyness.” Those we love and desire a real relationship with we reach out to even if we our personal lives have little room to work with. As a writer, when I read the statistic that roughly 80% of Americans do not read, I cannot help but wonder if the excuse of busyness is the reason. Then the next question that comes to mind is how can we writers come to terms with this and help American adults effectively rediscover the magic of reading?
Perhaps the answer lies in each and everyone of us contemplating what is our priorities in life. If we enjoy watching television, we will watch it. We all need to take an honest assessment of ourselves and discover our true priorities. If there is someone you think of as your friend but haven’t called him/her for years perhaps deep down, you may love or respect them but they are not really as close to your heart as you believe. The same goes for the more trivial things such as our hobbies. The point is that we all, myself included, need to reassess ourselves sometimes. If something needs to me more of a priority we need to make it so, otherwise we don’t care as much as we claim.
I’m a quiet introvert. I spent most of my life being submissive, avoiding conflict, and generally letting people steamroll over me. Due to dealing with bullies for many years, I feared being friendless and rejected. I rarely voiced my opinion, especially in situations where I knew someone would disagree with me. If a “friend” spoke harshly or was even mean, I kept my thoughts and feelings private, pretending outwardly that I wasn’t bothered.
This started to change once I had a life-changing event take place in 2013. I was riddled with anxiety due to yet another abusive friendship I found myself in. That year I finally spoke my mind on the toxicity of the friendship dynamic. Something which was completely foreign to me. A year later I decided to publish my first book and start blogging.
Writing has opened a new window for me. I feel more confident in what I have to say on a page and that has transitioned into my personal life as well. I’m done being a doormat, and once I made that decision, people started to take notice. Some were flabbergasted that I would dare to speak my mind. Writing has shown me it’s okay to have an opinion or voice, even an unpopular one. Everyone should be treated with kindness and respect, even if their behavior doesn’t warrant it. However, that doesn’t mean, as I erroneously once thought, that we cannot or should not stand up for ourselves. In fact, I would go so far as to say if a friend or family member doesn’t listen to your voice, especially if you are treated poorly or have an issue, then perhaps it is time to reevaluate the relationship.
If you are reading this I want to remind you that you have a voice. You have a right to speak up for yourself, your beliefs, and to defend yourself. Perhaps like me, you will find writing a means to empower you and your voice.
It was November of 2013 when I first started blogging on WordPress.com. Since then, I have learned much about myself and the whole blogging process. What started out as a mission to let the readers gain insight into the worlds I built and the process of writing, became so much more.
Truth be told, blogging was something I despised. I saw it as a way for people to sit from the safety of their homes and critique the world around them without having to get involved. Around the time of started on WordPress, I knew of someone who used his blog to spew criticism at the culture. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to say about societal shortcomings, but I wanted a theme, something to tie my stuff together and that’s writing.
Writing was to be the topic and I resolved not to deviate from that. In July of 2017 I finally moved on from WordPress.com and bought a domain. Along with that came a new vision with my blog. During the couple years I only wrote about writing, I struggled with topics, yet I did not want to be an armchair critic. Blogging after all is something anyone can do, anything can be said, and facts largely become irrelevant. That isn’t something I want to be a part of. However, many authors use blogging to discuss life, social issues, and the world.
I realized that if a reader is going to take the time to read a blog they want to know more than the ins and outs of writing. A variety of content is essential, especially if a blog is going to become monetized. I began writing on more topics, and realized that I can do it in a way where I don’t have to offer sanctimonious platitudes without facts. I can write about my observations in the world, sharing my thoughts and feelings while at the same time directing my own words back at myself. I have a blog about refusing to get offended but instead pausing and taking time to formulate our thoughts instead. This is something I need to do, especially in this crazy world that only seems to be getting more insane. Now, the challenge is to not become what I dislike about blogging, and become a critic from behind a computer screen without living up to my own standard.
We are all guilty of it. Most of the time we are unaware of the snap judgements we make about people and our settings. While judgement has an often-negative connotation, most judgements are benign such as which clothes we wear, and the best way to start our day. Others however, are more impactful and can deeply harm our relationships with others. We all know assumptions, especially negative ones, are not healthy, yet we continue to make judgements based on nothing more than our presumptions.
One of the main themes in Crystal Moon is that we should always be careful what sort of conclusions we come to, especially in marriage. It is a part of human nature to assume the worst, especially if there is an argument or a relationship hasn’t been going well. Sometimes there are other factors such as a bad mood, alcohol, or simply an inability to empathize with another person.
Usually, the more negative assumptions we have about a person, the more wrong we are. There are of course exceptions, toxic people do exist and they are more common than we would like to believe. Everyone that has gone to school knows that first hand, and perhaps when we become adults we are on guard against such toxicity. It is easier to assume the worst and be on the defensive then it is to be vulnerable, especially opening ourselves to someone who will betray that trust in the future.
Most of the time negative assumptions do nothing more than get us into trouble, especially if we lash out first before discussing them. I have come to believe that people are more emotional than rational, especially when they are fired up. When we are upset and believe another person has wronged us, in that moment we want to fight, and more importantly win. This is the sort of mess the main characters find themselves in. Both the husband and wife come to conclusions about one another, and instead of discussing their fears and concerns, the real issue at hand continues to spiral out of control. When this happens in fiction it creates plot, but in real life it can cause irreparable damage. When we are accused of doing or feeling something we aren’t guilty of, we feel angry, that there had been an injustice done upon us. May we learn from characters in fiction and be better than that, remembering how it feels to be on the receiving end of untrue assumptions.