Stepping from under a shadow, as one

Truth and absolutes follow closely with the water cycle when it comes to matters of the heart. Truth is fluid; it evaporates from my psyche, leaving my ego behind then often precipitates to keep that pride in check. Sometimes there’s a drought, letting the ego make assumptions from a point of arrogance. Sometimes there’s flooding, where my self-confidence wavers under the pressure of uncertainty: Am I doing the right thing?

I’ve been in a lot of difficult situations in this silly life of mine. Some of which were of my own design, some of which were by circumstance, and some of which were created by factors outside of my control. In every instance, this tautological “water cycle,” if you will, is always present. Which is why I had such a hard time with this recent impasse between my best friend, his girlfriend, and myself.

Things are ever really easy when it comes to relationships, but with 8 years of my best friend and I knowing each other intimately, we rarely stay down for long. That ended up being the case this weekend. We’ve since reconciled and I can proudly say I’ve saved my friend-marriage. With a caveat of course (did you really think I was that good?)

I confessed, much to my chagrin, my desire to have friend’s girlfriend excluded from our hangouts. Literally one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to phrase. But, as a testament to our friendship, he took it in stride, but then opened dialogue as to why I felt that way. I summarized my feelings by stating I felt awkward and as though I was intruding when the three of us hung out. My previous efforts to initiate conversation to foster a friendship with his girlfriend was often met with disinterest and downright rudeness sometimes so I figure to not even bother.

But the main crux of my dislike for being around her would be the fiasco of my monthish long squatting at their place during my leap of faith that panned out. That day when emotions ran high and choice words were said, things were never properly addressed thereafter. For better or worse (definitely worse), I left that wound to its devices. I dissociated myself from that and moved on. Or so I thought.

So, as were having the second part to this discussion in a tea house, some things that I had not considered were brought to light. Namely, the reason why she felt slighted by me. I had truly never considered any reasons outside of “I was taking attention away from her” and “I didn’t get a job fast enough; I was cramping her style; I was taking advantage.”

To my surprise, she not only seeks to have a close relationship with me to mirror my connection with my friend (her boyfriend), she also seeks to feel that I want her in my life like I want him in my life. And that was a point of contention I hadn’t considered because while I living with them, my goal wasn’t to form a connection with her. My goal was to find a job, get out, and go live. This is in the face of the fact that her agreement for me to stay with them was instrumental in that mission. Had she said “Fuck off,” I wouldn’t be where I am today in a lot of ways. My friend mentioned my lack of willingness to connect with her. I corrected him. It was less so willingness than it was me not seeing the point.

I didn’t see the value of building a strong relationship with someone I didn’t really care to know and I could see how that hurt her. It’s fucked up in a way, but that doesn’t preclude that I didn’t respect or care about her. I did…insofar as my friend was happy, but my connection with her was superficial in my eyes. We didn’t have much in common, conversations were dry, and our only impetus for dealing with each other was based on a singular thread: we both had a relationship with my best friend. The best of circumstances, clearly.

On top of that, my friend and I have a lot of unspoken moments where we just get each other. We call it ESPN because we’re fucking dorks. If there are long periods of no communication, that means we’re busy, both with work and introspection, so we let each other do what they need to do. No harm, no foul. Then we reconnect like nothing happened. It just works that way. From our discussion, it’s my understanding that his girlfriend wants to be on a similar level with me as I imagine she’s on that level with him already, albeit in a different way that’s alien to me.

I honestly don’t know how to feel about her approach. It’s really a difference of how she and I navigate relationships. I’m a major introvert and she’s not. Constant communication is something she holds dear, as do I to some extent. But not on the level where I need to explain the moves I’m making on a regular basis. If I’m not dating you, you won’t hear from me for days, sometimes weeks. But know that I always come correct and with something warm for you. That’s just the territory.

So, as I was grinding toward that goal of getting my shit together, had I included her every now and then in the process, she probably would have felt better overall. I personally think that’s a waste of time and largely unnecessary, but that’s my character flaw. I’m very dismissive and my ego can get the best of me. Rarely out of malice though. I’m not going to mince words for someone to feel valued. I keeps it real.

So, because of all that, there’s been this air of awkwardness and weird tension between me and her ever since that falling out. I’ve debated on addressing it, but largely felt it wouldn’t do much because our worldviews are quite different. But during this discussion, my friend mentioned that it’s not a “me vs. her” thing, it’s a reconciliation for all three of us.

We all had a part in the current situation and through a concerted effort to repair the damage, we’ll move past this. Him and I have already done one half of the work by rekindling our friendship. We confessed what was bugging us, talked about it, and worked through it. Now we’re back to normal, which is easy when your love for each other is 8 years strong and you’re willing to fight for that shit. That’s my brother, through and through.

Part of me wants to be stubborn and say “Nah, it’s only you and I or no hangout,” because that’s the easy out, even if it puts in him an uncomfortable situation where he has to explain that she can’t experience what we’re experiencing because I don’t “like” her. Most people would be pretty upset by that, naturally. This isn’t wholly true though. I think she’s fine; I just rather not put myself in a situation where I’m not comfortable.

But as we were talking, he put me on to some knowledge and I came to a slight epiphany on my own: I was judging her based on an impression of her from years ago, when she was in a bit of bad place and dating some less-than-scrupulous guys. And because I never interacted with her on a deep level beyond what I perceived and knew secondhand, I’ve held the same opinion of her ever since. I hadn’t given her a chance to show me that she had worked on herself significantly. If she’s dating my best friend, who is pickier than I am when it comes to women, she’s doing something right.

Holding my friendship hostage with that outdated information is petty. It really is and years ago, I would have stayed the course of such pettiness. I’ve undergone too much evolution to be alright with that now. I know in my heart of hearts, my core of cores, my nexuses of nexuses…that having a legitimate discussion about this long shadow casting despair over this scenario is a must. It’s just the right thing to do, tautological water cycle be damned.

I don’t want to be the Best Man at my friend’s wedding still having beef with his wife over a misunderstanding. What kind of shit is that? And for those that know me well, y’all know when I swallow my pride, ego, and inclination to write people off, for a chance at better outcome, it’s a true sign of growth. And I fucking hate it. Being a petty piece of shit is so much easier.

In all seriousness, life is way too short to let such a manifestation of bastardized egos sour the future with my best friend and his girlfriend, who could also be my best friend, if given the chance. They’re two of the most reliable people I know that literally live down the street from me. Two pillars of good human nature at my fingertips. I’d be fool to taint that because I “don’t wanna talk about it.” I’m not 17 anymore; there’s no need for all that. Genuine people are notoriously impossible to find in this mad world.

And with what I have planned for this summer, I refuse to let my pride get in the way having them both be a part of that every moment that I can. With all this recent vulnerability talk, I’ve got to own it. I plan on extending that olive branch this week. So, if that means burying my ego so we can get through this shit, then so be it. For as much as I taut being a lone wolf, I won’t survive without my pack.

As a solider of love, in all of its forms, I’ll fight the shadows of our making to carve a path for the light of our hearts. Or this meetup will devolve into a blame game party and we’ll actually hate each other. Boy, do I love rolling the dice.