I am listening to a pod cast on Thompson’s Live with Cecil Baldwin, from the famed Welcome to Night Vale Podcast.
During the discussion, the question was posed, “Would you be friends with you?”
Growing up in my world, I did not have many friends during grade school, well, none that I would invite “home to play.” The first real friend I had come when I hit the sixth grade. My dark skin friend from South East Asia was banned from setting foot in our house, just because he had dark skin, and what would the neighbors say to my father, who was patently racist, if they saw my friend in my front yard.
But when it came to white friends, the sky was the limit. To this day, many of the friends I had then, are still in my life on Face Book. Face Book is this necessary evil. We are all there, posting random shit and political fare, and every once in a while, something substantial crosses my feed.
We are friends, all of us, but I don’t think any of them would welcome a call at 3 a.m. There is just a disconnect with who we were then with who we are now. There really isn’t a connection to each other, beyond a “like or reaction” to something one posts.
I have always been the same person I was way back when.
My father hated everything and everyone. He was a racist, homophobic, ignorant, and hateful man. But I have also said the he was a Jekyll and Hyde kind of man. He was good for a time, until you introduced alcohol to the conversation.
And I always knew, early on, that I did not agree with many of the things he said, felt, or expressed. I would never be like him. I would never treat people like he did. And to this day, those family members who deign to talk to me, because I am a mistake, I apply my values, morals and codes to them as well. I am not my father.
Odd it is, that some of my friends, my best friends from my high school, whom I contacted on Face Book, really did not want to know me. Friends came and went from my life quite frequently over the years. And maybe my excessive drinking played into that, or the rift between us was caused by something they chose to do, and had nothing to do with me.
Time does not heal all wounds.
When I got sober the first time, I had friends, in all the men who worked in the bar, and of course Todd and his then partner, who is now his husband. And over the last few years, I have actually had contact with Todd on the odd occasion, but the connection is not the same. I don’t think he sees me in the same light, or hold the connection we had, in the way I do. To me he is my savior. The man who saved my life. And I will be forever grateful to him, so I hold him up to a certain light of divinity.
I have said before, that in Todd, God made manifest in my life.
I have only one friend from that era in my life, Mark. Who survived AIDS along with me, and we do talk often. I’ve maintained that connection for all these years.
When I got sober the second time, I met new friends who are still in my life to this day, thanks to Face Book.
I know a lot of people in the rooms, who are friends. People who I can depend on no matter what, whenever I need them. All I have to do is ask. There are many people who fill that description.
There are only three people in my life, who invest in me beyond a room or a meeting.
I’m not sure why that is …
If I make the out call first, people answer. And having to always make that out call bothers me. And over the past few months, I decided to stop making that Out Call, and delete people who cannot be bothered to call me.
I think I would be friends with me. Because I put a great deal of work into being friends with certain people. Relationships are something that I have seriously devoted myself to since Mama and the baby came into my life.
That one relationship, in addition to my own marriage, have made me the man I am. I am devoted to Mama and the baby, and to my husband.
I am also devoted to those people who are active participants in my life.
I think I inhabit good qualities. Qualities like Honor, Respect, Dignity, Compassion, Understanding, and Altruistic beliefs. I am giving to a fatal flaw.
I know now, today, that if I over invest in people or places, it is a foregone conclusion that I am wasting my time because as I have said … Not Everyone Gives a Shit about You …
Even if you wanted them to.
I’ve found that many of the people I know, or have known, do not have the capability or will to put the effort into friendship, beyond seeing you in a meeting once or twice a week.
Is that about me ? Or is that about them ?
I treat everyone equally. In the rooms, trust is something we give freely, from the get go, because if you can’t trust people in the rooms when you come in, and most people need someone to trust, who can you trust. That is a double-edged sword…
I just know that people I know and have known, do not see relationships in the same way I do. And I think that comes out of being ostracized so hard when I got sick. Seeing how humans turned into vipers and animals. I saw people and had people treat me like pariah, at home and in the rooms.
Spending almost fifty years watching how people around me treated others so terribly and hatefully and ignorantly, and watching how my sober friends today treat each other and myself, has taught me what NOT to do to someone else.
AIDS was the furnace that emboldened me to never turn my back on a friend, or treat people without dignity or respect, because a friend is all you might have when you need someone the most.
We are spiritual beings living a human life … So many people out there tend not to think about that.
If you damage another’s spirit, you damage your own irreparably. However spiritual you might be, if you abuse the privilege of friendship and family, you will be damned forever…
Would I be friends with me, Absolutely …