I have a tendency to dredge up old writing when I am stressed out,(like some recent posts) which is ironic, because lately, I am not outwardly stressed. Physically, I feel incredibly good, except for an insatiable craving for anything crappy and sugary, which is not my nature. I am by nature a salty rather than a sweet person. But I really want a half dozen mini-cupcakes from the grocery store. I am just sort of doing and going and snowing and blowing. Life has gotten a bit chaotic for being so dang calm.
Falling out with a friend always feels horribly personal, even when you can justify the thousands of ways it is not about you. In so many ways, it is always good to see someone's true colors, to realize that they were never there for you, yet it is so damn painful to go through the process. To have their silence become deafening, to hear words of intended hurt, to dredge up painful pasts...I cannot pretend that any of that was easy, but I am glad it is over.
I was raised Catholic. I am drawn to Catholic art and writing. Deep within me, I feel there is a quintessential alienated American/Latina Catholic novel within me. I was meant to write about saints and loss of faith and mysteries. When the Passion of the Christ came out, I had that deep yearning within me still. I was still a mass-going Catholic, albeit a secularly married and divorced one who wasn't taking communion. I had recently finished my degree in Religion where I studied early Christianity. I had a few friends who were studying to be priests. I wrote and talked about Catholic theology quite a bit back then with them. Still read Catholic writings. (Now, not so much.) I know the movie was controversial and Mel Gibson has shown his true colors since then, but at the time, I was very interested in hearing Aramaic, and seeing the story on film. I desperately wanted to see this movie when I began reading about it. It opened on Ash Wednesday and I was in this theater full of ashed foreheads watching such brutal violence and pain. This is the essence of Catholic art, I thought. Grotesque. Beautiful. Intimidating. Not pleasant. Redemptive.
When I went to work the next day, the other lapsed Catholic girls asked me what I thought. Should they go see it? And all I could say is that it was like asking me if I thought they should go have a traumatic experience. I mean, at the end of it, yes, I was a better person. I was moved. It changed my faith and I think it will shed light on your faith. Yes, I think it brings Catholicism to a new place and Catholic art to the 21st century. Yes, I think it captures the gospels and the stories of the Bible and shows the true sacrifice of Christ. But I can't in good conscience recommend to anyone to go see someone suffer the kind of brutality that was shown in that movie. You are either moved to see it or not. If you are asking the question, then the answer is probably no. I would never say, "Oh, yeah, it is a great date movie. Go check it out, then get a nice steak dinner afterward."
I think lapsed, ailing friendships are like that. Awkwardly. You know when you have to confront it. It is not going to be easy. You can't really ask when should I confront this person, when should the friend and I "talk" about things. It suddenly becomes abundantly clear that things need to be handled and clarified. It is not going to be without tears. It is going to be hard and traumatic. You are either ready to sit in that theater and watch the suffering, and listen to someone's crap, or you are not. But at the end of it, I think you come out better for the experience. You either let it go, or flush out the questions, the insecurities, the hurt and pain and get to a place of resolution in yourself. Sometimes that comes with virtual silence from the other person, which is what I got. I had someone apologizing, falling over themselves last spring to restart our friendship, sending me pages upon pages of ways in which they failed our friendship to someone who simply said that she just no longer has the time or inclination to talk about our friendship or why she cannot be there for me anymore.
Going through fall out feels like a personal failing. I'm not going to lie. I am okay, though. Better for having been reminded of my ability to survive. To be reminded that sometimes someone is there simply because your grief is a way to make them feel better about themselves and their compassion, rather than to truly be your friend. And at the end of the day, there are your other friends, standing tall and sure, holding your hand, grieving another loss with you. Things become abundantly clear, even as they were traumatic.
Tomorrow, Sam gets surgery, the one postponed in December because of a health scare. And I am (gulp) 31 weeks pregnant. And we have a shitload of snow on the ground. And all the little boy clothes are washed and put away. And I will be tired in two weeks, but Sam will be back on his feet (he is literally having foot surgery). And we are okay.
We are okay.