Thursday, 23 October 2014

My Girlfriends

It's a rich and beautiful word for me. Girlfriend.  I have just a few really precious ones.  I see them in circles: the really inner inner circle; the inner circle; the circle; and then the others. There is that old saying
Friends come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime..
The girls I'm thinking about are the lifetime ones in the inner inner circle..NONE of them are Narcissists! And I think they're here for a lifetime.

The quote I chose for this blog is a statement of my 'friend' philosophy that is more than a decade old.  I'm a loner. And I work hard. And the weekends come up on me long before I think they should, and I never plan for them in advance. So I end up being mom's taxi for my sons, watching telly or reading a book on my couch, and heading to my favorite Sunday morning coffee shop.  Loner stuff. Nice!

Two out of three of my closest girlfriends left my town years ago and moved 2 hours' flight away.  So I only see them when I head over to their side when I have business trips, which I always extend slightly so we can have girltime.  And then one of them will usually come over to my place down there, escaping their families for a bit, and we'll holiday together on my deck: drinking wine; laughing; crying; telling our stories and marveling at life together.  Over the past 1-2 decades we have seen each other through marriages, divorces, lovers, children, jobs, businesses, health name it.  It's such a rich and beautiful soultime for me - I just have loved doing it!  And we have never bothered with keeping in contact in between those times. There has just been no need: I have done without that contact, and they have other friends who fill their daily support needs. Nobody sulks or gets needy. Matches made in heaven.

My third best friend is relatively new. We found each other as our lives were changing - she, now a single mom, was in the middle of a sad divorce from a cheating Narcissist, and me... well you know about me.

I realised in hospital that I have cocked up the 'best friend' thing.  Maybe it's because of my fierce independence and resilience that I have managed to claw my way through 46 years without needing them. And you can be sure that if anyone in my tribe needs anything, I'll have thought about it, bought it, had it delivered with bells on by now. But suddenly I was the needy one. Suddenly I felt stripped of every coping mechanism I ever had, and I started falling and falling.  And I had no words to tell my best friends what I needed.

Thank goodness I had the courage to ask my one bestie, Lee, whose children are old enough to cope without her for a week to fly up and look after me. This was BEFORE I landed in hospital.  And she did. She came. She came even though I had no cool stuff planned. She arrived fully prepared to just lie next to me on my bed and feed me tea and gluten-free rusks if that was what I needed. It was Lee
who took one look at our house in boxes, and the crazy activity going on all around me while I struggled to get up and out of bed and said 'Nope. We're not staying here.  Let's go somewhere". So we googled a nice nearby game lodge and headed off for the bush!  And it was Lee who rushed me to hospital once we got back.

But even that was new. My Narcissistic mother taught me years ago that my needs were not important, that I have to survive alone in my world, and that I shouldn't put anybody out by asking them to help me. Me asking a friend to come and care for me is unheard of.  In my world, I'll deal all the hard stuff, take it on the chin and bounce back.  Then those will be the war stories I'll chat to my friends about in 6 months time when we next have wine on the balcony!  This was new. And a new kind of rich!

So Lee is taking relationship strain.  She told me. In a whatsapp message.  So I'm planning an extended trip next week so I can walk with her through some of that.  And Nikki, my newest bestie, sent me messages last night and today to say she's just not coping with her life right now and is crying buckets of tears.  I'm there! Tonight if she can make space, or Saturday at the latest.  And Nesta, my other faraway friend and I spent an evening together last week while she was up here for business.  I told her about my new 'friend management plan'. She confessed that with her house building and tiny children and hard job, she has also lost contact with her daily support team and is slogging it out there alone.

So I'm changing how my relationships function with my girls. From now. Forever.  I'm going to find ways to be more present in their lives when they are taking strain, and I'm going to tell them when I need them too. I am not going to continue to operate dysfunctionally in my life. I am not alone.  I need my tribe to thrive in this lifetime. I will learn how to keep it close to me.

This is the other, really critical part of my 100 days of Solitude.  Learn, forever, when Solitaryness does NOT serve me.

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