february has always been a month full of contemplation for me as i mentioned on my birthday post. about a week before my birthday, i came across this quote:
“your moves will be misunderstood by those not meant to join you on your journey.”
as i grow older, this quote rings more and more true. i think it is a combination of me maturing, me knowing my self worth, me having a lower tolerance for bullshit and me wanting to walk the talk as a therapist. i immediately thought of a few scenarios in my own life over the last couple of years.
i saw a shift in who i was as a person when my grandmother passed in spring of 2017. however, i do not think her death was the only contributor to the shift. i wrapped up my graduate degree in counseling psych around this time. i was also officially in my late 20s. things that used to fly even six months prior no longer could.
i have a lot of friends. and by a lot, i mean far more than what is normal or necessary. but i love it – a lot of my friends feel more like family, especially after living away from home for 10 years . with that comes some stickiness. many of my friends have hooked up with one another and i am their common tie. i cannot tell you how many times i have had to deliver the following spill to two friends who are hooking up or dating: “i just need you both to know that if for some reason, this does not work out for the two of you as planned, i will still love you both just the same. i have no intentions of picking sides so don’t ask me to. the only exceptions i can think of is if someone were to be physically abusive or cheat on the other with my knowledge – i could then understand you asking me to choose. does this work for both of you?” everyone always agrees, but people do not always mean what they say. one of my best girlfriends from high school started dating one of my best guy friends from college. it was not even a year before things went sour. i only weighed in if i was explicitly asked because in my experience, if someone wants my opinion, they will ask me for it. when things went up in flames, not only was i asked by her to choose, i was blamed for her not knowing that he was going to break up with her. at 25, i would have carried that burden on my shoulders. i may have even apologized for her feelings being hurt even if i did nothing wrong. sadly, i might have gone as far as ending my friendship with one of my best guy friends from college in an attempt to prove my loyalty. at 27, i knew this was not the choice i should be making because it was not right and i would be full of regret. her time spent being part of my life had to come to an end. it was an incredibly difficult choice and one she did not understand. she wanted me to apologize for something i did not do and cut off someone who i considered to be like family. she wanted me to compromise what i believed in to appease her. she did not understand me and i lost sleep over it. i lost sleep over it until i realized that perhaps she was not meant to be on my journey with me.
i met this amazing girl during my sophomore year of college. we clicked instantly and kept in touch long after our days at scu were over. i spent a significant amount of time with her family, was there when things were shitty and there to celebrate each and every accomplishment. when she met her current husband, i was one of the first people to get a play by play of their first encounter. i watched their relationship blossom. i was present through every rough patch – deciphering emails via google docs with her, her sister and another great friend of hers. i was elated to see them overcome that rough patch and master new communication styles. when i received a dm from her in early 2018 with a photo of a gorgeous ring, i almost cried. it was not just because it was gorgeous but because it was well deserved. i got a play by play of the entire scenario before it was posted to social media. because i had a good amount of weddings coming up (and all of the events that go along with it), i told her to let me know when she selected a date and i would block it off. i did not think this was presumptuous of me as i considered her to be a part of my inner circle and me a part of hers. i had literally seen her through some of the darkest times of her life and could not wait to be there for one of the happiest. a couple of weeks later, i was informed that i would not be invited because i no longer lived in the bay. i think i initially thought she was kidding because of how ridiculous that sounded. i was not going to be invited because i lived in the wrong zip code. moving back to la got me cut from the invite list. this was her way of “keeping numbers down”… so instead, there were people present who were not 1/10 as supportive of their relationship as i had been. the icing on the cake was one of our mutual friends being invited…who…lived…in…la. i felt so used. it was okay for me to be your friend for a decade and be there through anything that required emotional support. and now, when it was time to celebrate overcoming all of that, i was pushed to the side. i realized i could not simply be someone’s emotional support + their personal cheerleader if the relationship was not going to be reciprocal. i cut her off. there were no follow up conversations. what is there to discuss? if i had a conversation and was invited, i would always wonder if she actually wanted me there or if she just felt guilted into it. on the flip side, if i had a conversation and was not invited, that would just cause more hurt. i was no longer looking for her to understand the moves i was making. we were no longer journeying together.
a couple of weeks ago for my birthday, i had a dinner with my family. while most of the attendees were in good spirits, one in particular was rude upon arrival and it did not lighten up. i watched as they individually greeted every single person at the table except for me. i did not get a hug like everyone else, i did not even get a hello. when i tried to engage them in conversation, i got nothing outside of one word answers even when i was not asking yes or no questions. i watched as they sat with their arms folded, reading news articles during a 10 person dinner to celebrate one day that was supposed to be about me. it was such an icky feeling. not just feeling dismissed but feeling my energy shift when there were eight other people present who were so happy to be celebrating me. i thought maybe i was being too sensitive. that was until multiple people after the dinner inquired about the interactions between me and the attendee that clearly did not want to be present. so i decided to sleep on it before making my next move. the next day, i sent a text message. it felt so risky. not because i was swearing or being mean in the text, but because i know how poorly this person responds to any type or criticism or confrontation. i sent it anyway. it said, “after sleeping on it, i have decided to have someone else take me to the airport on tuesday night. i found last night to be incredibly frustrating and disrespectful. it was beyond apparent that you were not interested in being at my birthday dinner which is literally one day per year. i deserve better and there is not a doubt in my mind about that. your behavior was both unnecessary and more importantly, hurtful. in the future, if you are in a mood, i would prefer for you to just stay home rather than bring down the energy at a day that is important to me. we can catch up once i am back from boston as i will be celebrating my birthday for the remainder of the holiday weekend with people who are interested in truly being present. -kristin” there was no response. if it was not for another family member telling me how upset the recipient was about the message, i would not have even been sure if it went through. a few years ago, i would have said nothing to keep the peace amongst the family. but what good does it do to try and provide peace to others if i myself am not at peace? that family member still has not uttered a word to me and it has been a full week. just because someone is family does not give them a license to be disrespectful towards you, if anything, family should treat you with more respect to offset the bullshit you deal with from the outside world day to day. my text message was not received well but i do not receive disrespect well. with that being said, perhaps that family member is also someone who is not meant to be on my journey, or at the very least, not in the same capacity as they once were.
what moves have you made that were misunderstood by someone you loved? are they still on the journey with you? did you shift them into a different category? i would love to hear about it below.