2003 went out with a horribly traumatic bang for me. There were a bunch of us at my mom’s house for New Years Eve, and somehow Henry and I wound up on opposing Trivial Pursuit teams. I can’t remember–or maybe it’s more that I won’t remember–the gritty details, but there might have been a skirmish between Henry and me revolving around the video game character Yoshi, and perhaps it culminated in me lunging at him from across the top of my mom’s coffee table while all my friends watched with scared eyes as I called him a mother fucker amongst a shimmering array of death threats that all but came out in the backwards tongue of Satan.
That’s the thing with us bi-polars: you toss us in a roomful of people, some of whom we’re only pretending to like; place a bevy of alcholic choices at our finger tips; top it off with the element of intense competition and watch our tops blow, mother fuckers. It starts off with nervous laughter, always. But it escalates, inexplicably and fast, like having your thalamus double-fisted by Charles Manson. It was a scene. Quite embarrassing after the fact, but while it was playing out, all I could comprehend was: I was PISSED, I was HURT, no one CARED, and I wanted to fucking KILL myself.
I drove home drunk that night. No one bothered to stop me, no one seemed to care at all, really. In fact, before I left, I overheard my mom griping to my friends, “Ugh, she always does this shit.”
Sometime after I got home that night, after I staggered through the door and collapsed in a pathetic Sybil-esque heap on the couch, Henry called me from my mom’s house and instead of asking how I was doing (NOT WELL, thanks for not asking), he had the audacity to say, “Your friend Lisa is really pissed off at you. You ruined her night.”
That right there? That caused me to hurl the cordless phone into the decorative fireplace that has pissed me off since I moved into this house in 1999 because in whose world is a fireplace a DECORATION? It’s a heat source, you fucking interior designing cunts.
It was a low point in my life. Maybe the lowest, but there are a few contenders for that title. I cried a lot. Quit talking to Lisa. Began reevaluating my other friendships and even my relationship with Henry. I knew I needed to talk to someone, probably (definitely) someone with a sturdy psych degree. But for now, at that moment, I needed a friend more than someone spouting off clinical “How does that make you feel?” ‘s and prescriptions for tiny blue pills.
That’s how I knew I was alone, as I sat on the couch a few days later and scrolled through the numbers in my phone. “I don’t want to talk to any of these assholes,” I thought. And then I remembered Christina, how she was always so supportive in the comments she left on my LiveJournal entries, how she went to Bible College. And maybe that was the kind of person I needed to talk to. Someone who had Christ on her side.
So I called her. I let it all out. I don’t open up very easily, if at all, yet I found myself I telling her things I never would have admitted to a therapist or any of those people programmed into my phone. We spoke of my abandonment issues, and how that past New Years Eve exemplified my fears. We spoke of my Pappap and my ability to consistently feel alone even in a crowded room. We spoke of everything that mattered. And instead of telling me what she thought I wanted to hear, she did something better: she made me feel understood, cared about, unalone. For the first time in a long time, I remembered what it felt like to have a friend. Sharing psychological horrors with a near-stranger will do that, I guess. But moreso, what I realized was that she was no longer laying on that bombastic persona with me. She sounded real now when we spoke on the phone. She wasn’t coating her words with smarmy humor and squirting the conversation with a creamy braggadocio filling; instead, the phony game show host voice was retired in favor for her true sincerity and I liked this girl. This was the Christina with whom I wanted to be friends, and hanging up with her day, I was suddenly very thankful to have met someone as fucked up as myself.
And it was completely unexpected, like scoring an STD after having protected sex and shouting at the doctor, “But I didn’t think it could happen to me!?”
That sounds like an awful night. I’ve had moments like that too, where I’ve been gripped by that paralyzing feeling of being alone and having nowhere to turn. It’s so difficult to find people who can be comforting in a situation like that. Most people just can’t relate to the rollercoaster ride that is a chemically imbalanced brain, so I totally understand how it must have felt to find someone that was a comfort.
People come in and out of our lives at the perfect moment for a reason. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, even if you don’t understand it at first…
(And, I completely apologize for sounding like that little cat on the poster saying, “hang in there!” That wasn’t my original intention… Nor was starting a sentence with a preposition. Done.)
RIGHT? Because people who don’t understand it automatically think, “Attention whore! Drama queen!” when really we don’t WANT the attention, we just want to be able to control this shit and function like a “normal” person.
I know it’s frustrating for Henry, but my friends don’t see this side of me too often, because I really do try so hard to keep it behind closed doors so that I don’t have to be embarrassed and my friends don’t have to feel uncomfortable. So for all of them to be so uncompassionate, it really was a slap to the face.
I believe everything happens for a reason too, and also that not every relationship/friendship is forever. I think sometimes they naturally fizzle once they serve their purpose. It sucks. It hurts. But it’s necessary and for the best.
I’m so glad you’re reading these. I’ve been going through all my old journals and some of the things I’ve been reading I had forgotten about and it’s tough to relive. Thank you for your support!
I’ve had nights like that. Not exactly the same but I think I kind of get it. I just want to reiterate that it’s awesome of you for sharing all this
Thank you, sir!
i get it. and i’m like that. we’ve talked about that kind of stuff before, and nobody gets it unless they experience it themselves.
and when you find someone (like christina) that you can open up to and be yourself with, it’s an amazing feeling!
i’m with the first person, everything happens for a reason and people come in and out of your life for a reason. big believer!
It is amazing! Connections like that are so rare. I’ve always been the type to have a ton of aquaintances and so few close friends.
That’s why the dissolution of our friendship affected me so hard. Because there was so much time and effort that went into it and it seemed so indestructable for so long. I really valued it and it hurts to know that, well, she apparently didn’t.
We should talk sometime! I miss you.
You’ve been that kind of a friend to me. When everything happened last year and I had NOBODY to talk to, I was so lucky that even though I’m a shitty sporadic friend you were still there to listen. It’s really meant so much Erin… I don’t think I would be as mentally semi-healthy as I am right now without your friendship. I do believe people come into your life for a reason, and it doesn’t always last, but I hope our friendship doesn’t just fizzle out one day.
I’m so glad you’re writing about this, and I’m starting to truly understand how much she meant to you.
I’m really glad I’ve been that kind of friend to you! And conversely, I feel like I could tell you anything without being judged, so thank you! I don’t easily connect with people on emotional levels. Most people expect me to be this fucking caricature, you know? Like I’m not allowed to have a serious side and god forbid, ever get sad! Thank you for being there for me:)
I hope our friendship doesn’t fizzle out either, and I don’t think it will. There were elements to my friendship with Christina that made it more than a friendship, and more likely to go up in flames. Had we kept it on a platonic level, maybe things would have turned out differently!
Writing this is hard. And it’s going to get even worse:(
“She wasn’t coating her words with smarmy humor and squirting the conversation with a creamy braggadocio filling; instead, the phony game show host voice was retired in favor for her true sincerity and I liked this girl. This was the Christina with whom I wanted to be friends, and hanging up with her day, I was suddenly very thankful to have met someone as fucked up as myself.”
See, even when writing about poopy painful stuff, your writing is brilliant.
Still, I feel sad reading that paragraph knowing how it turned out.
Thank you, Alyson. <3
I'm feeling less sad. I'll be damned if I'm going to chase someone around, trying to salvage a friendship that I know in my heart I don't even want. Going back and remembering all the little nuances is helping me. This should have ended long ago, back when you and I first talked about it. I was too stubborn to let it go.
I think my favorite thing about your blog is that you don’t suger-coat yourself. Too many people on the internet do, sure we all have our egocentric perspective, but as much as possible it seems you try to dish it all. I like that, we’re all imperfect and you’re not afraid to discuss it. Whether it is a meltdown like your NYE party or the spaz out I recently had with Bill over Easter plans, it happens. We make mistakes and we learn from them (hopefully), and this whole Christina thing was a means to an end at the time. She helped you through some tough situations, clearly, and there was a reason you hung in there as long as you did. While in the end there is a lot of pain in letting go, it is because at one point it was meaningful. I can think of several relationships I have valued in the past for similiar reasons and have now outgrown for one reason or another, I can relate.
This entry just reaffirmed why you are one of my favorites, that’s for sure.
The fact that you notice that about me makes me happy. I know my self-deprecation can get a little out of control at times, but I do try to be as real as possible. It’s the most important thing for me, when it comes to writing. I’m very flawed and I think the more honest I am about that, the more of a chance I have at making real connections with people who read this — you know?
You mentioned outgrowing friendships and that struck me, because I really think that, even if all the drama and lying and cheating was cut out, she and I still would have out-grown each other eventually. I was already sensing that, and that kind of sucked more than the rest, because how do you work past something like that?
You are one of my favorites, too. <3