I don’t have a lot of friends and that’s definitely by design. I’ve said somewhere on here that I have the emotional real estate of a postage stamp. I don’t have a big Wall Street heart. It’s a shitty little credit union in a city of hundreds, if that. Naturally, it has to be rationed out accordingly lest I go insane. And I’m talking about deep connections, not superficial acquaintanceships. Those are easily handled by my surface personality that has a few different levels to make people think we’re all buddy buddy when in reality they don’t even rate. Sorry, not sorry.
I had the fortune to connect with a buddy of mine, for the first time actually, in a personal environment where we could really shoot the shit. This had been in the works for a while and was supposed to happen last week, but I was feeling-some-type-way no thanks to events leading up to Valentine’s and he was busy making moves. So, when he hit me up yesterday to link-up later that night, I definitely agreed. And I was so glad I did.
I got to the venue first as he was running a little late courtesy of a situation. And because he’s such a nice and good guy, he apologized at least five times. It wasn’t that big of a deal honestly. He had a fair excuse and I was in no rush. The initial meeting was heartfelt. Hadn’t seen the dude in months. After that there was like a minute of awkwardness and realization that this was the first time we ever truly hung out together one on one. After we ordered food and drinks, it all came together. We caught each other up on routine stuff: life events, job stuff, what we’ve both been up to. Generic bullshit. Then we got to talking about some real shit, which was awesome because he’s one of a handful of people I can really dive deep into conversation with about heavy shit, metaphysical theories, philosophy, life in general and the like.
And as we’re having this conversation, we definitely got closer. We went from “friends” to actual friend friends. The very thin walls I had up came down and it was a naked-ass conversation party about any and everything. I learned of some hilarious yet heartwarming stories sparked by my telling of the wonderful absinthe class earlier this week.
Pro tip: Don’t drink for 12 hours straight at 10,000 feet then cap your night off with absinthe. You’re gonna have a bad (awesome) time. That being said, I’m totally buying some next week because YUNGIN’ LYFE.
It was especially great to hash it out with someone that shared my spiritual leanings who also married someone that’s of a particular faith, but they’re also curious and inquisitive despite that. Plus a discussion on shifting friendships, the fluid nature of them, and the effects that romantic partnership has on a friendship; that whole ” clingy when I’m single, ghost when I’m not” deal. Lastly, but more importantly, our discussions about what I claim to be good at: writing.
He put me on to an idea of his that I actually did some years ago. A daily chronicle of life in the city, particularly in poem form. I did this back in LA for a couple months just to try it out. So, when he ran that by me, I had some insight and some advice. It also inspired me to start thinking about doing that myself once my Cali-Exodus anniversary happens in May. I don’t get to talk to many writers about writing stuff because…well…I haven’t truly explored the avenue. Not out of fear or disinterest, it’s more so I rather read what my fellow crazy folks have written than actually talk to them if that makes sense. If I have questions and stuff, sure, I’ll hit them up (yeah right). But for me, their work speaks for them. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind having a great discussion with some sharp minds where they appear, but I’m not actively going to seek those discussions out.
During the course of this hangout, I’m somewhat tipsy and I open up about my relationship issues, chiefly with my father and best friend with a sprinkle of my non-existent love life that I prefer at this moment in time. This discussion tangentially entered in to an explanation of my experience with vulnerability in the recent years; well, if I were to be completely honest, the last year and a half. I’ve really put my ass out on display and let the softest parts of me hang out to be potentially abused, which did happen. On the flip side, those parts got nurtured beyond what I thought was possible. Indicative of the condition I find myself in on this dirt ball: Life is a foil to itself.
What’s funnier is that with so much vulnerability going on, you’d think it would be easier each time. Not the case. I mentioned this during the hangout that it’s equally as hard to be vulnerable to various parties. But the thing is that I don’t think about what can happen once I put myself out there because I’ll 100% of the time I’ll recoil. Fire and forgetting sounds wrong, but it’s my main strategy in really being comfortable with it. But my friend did have a point. A point that I think a lot of men (and maybe women) can relate to: Being too vulnerable too quickly actively works against you.
The logic and argument behind that statement didn’t dawn on me until I was shooting at the range today. The goal of securing a new relationship, romantic or otherwise, is to secure common ground and start building on it from there. For the former, if I’m too forthcoming, too quickly with borderline heavy shit, it’s seen as desperation. Although I disagree largely, I can see where the sentiment is coming from. Throwing myself at somebody for validation or sympathy is a huge turn off. It shows massive insecurity and co-dependency that I can’t stand personally. For the latter, it’s similar, but it’s more along the lines of “this friendship is too much work.” High maintenance people are not my people, sorry. I’ll sooner ghost this person than entertain any of their bullshit.
The thing about vulnerability, that folks like this may not understand, is that tact is essential. Gushing about heavy shit to everyone you meet regardless of context is not how this works. A vetting process is certainly required and once I feel good about somebody’s mental inclinations, I tend to drop something heavier than the norm on them just to see how they react. Depending on that goes, determines how much deeper I dig into this pit. Because most people play the game of chicken when it comes to being vulnerable, this causes a lot of would-be amazing conversations to fall flat on their faces. There’s a reason why public speaking is feared more than death. People want to hold on to that vulnerability, it gives security. They would rather take it to the grave than share it with strangers. A fair excuse.
I mean shit, I’ve recently been stung by being vulnerable for the umpteenth time, but what I will say, is that recovery from this becomes easier with each shitty situation. So, there some progress going on in regards to this crazy road I’m on. I think of it like Wolverine’s Healing Factor.
After-school special aside, it was great to see my homeboy, who I call the President. He’s going ghost for a while, but hopefully when he gets back we can go out for Round 2. That Korean BBQ pizza was to die for.