Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Smallest of Things Can Trigger Our Greatest Fears

It's going to be my birthday this month. The new year just began. Valentine's day passed. And now my birthday's coming up. Each are Holidays that make people think of the future and reflect on our lives. I don't usually give attention to days people associate with significance but I spent the Holidays in my hometown, so I was exposed to an undeniable contrast between my old life and my new one. I've conditioned my friends to remember my birthday is 6 days after Valentine's, so it's closely associated to change. Not to mention since I'm single and 27, my mother can't resist criticizing my waning youth that's apparently being suffocated by enlarged pores. Even my father's joined in on the condescending territory my mother has more than adequately fulfilled by beginning and ending sentences with "you're not getting an younger." I understand how time works. Thank you.

I've thought about how much I've changed, how many people are still in my life, and which ones matter the most to me. I don't often worry about being able to maintain the friendships I've developed with local friends because I'm more connected to them. I see them regularly. I feel like if the friendship begins to slip away, I sense it and can work towards tethering to it or let it go because it's the right thing to do. My newer friends are also my adult friends. Life takes over and we lose touch, but we reconnect. That's our friendship works. But it's different with friends from my hometown.

I knew them since I was a teenager. I hang on to them more because while I want them to change, encourage them to, and even assist them with it, I don't want those changes to occur without my presence because I fear I won't recognize them. What if we drift away? By presence I don't mean physically. I just don't want to wake up one day and feel that they're nothing more than strangers. It's interesting that the things I fear are usually the things I should worry the least about and yet they matter the most to me, so I fret. When these friends change, even slightly, I'll feel it and it immediately brings me to a state of panic and desperate reassurance I impose on myself.

It's nearing a decade since I've left my hometown and I still talk to my friends from there regularly. I feel like we've survived the test of time, but the thing about time is that it's always moving forward. It never stops. What if one day we fail the test of time? That's my fear.

I should celebrate the growing years we've managed to stay friends, but instead it feeds my insecurity that we're coming closer to the demise of our friendships. We know each other so well that sometimes we send the most random and seemingly meaningless texts for each other. Other times we'll talk for six hours. So when I found that a close friend of mine was going out with another friend instead of talking to me for countless hours, the pang of being replaced took over. I never told him because these feelings are pathetic and embarrassing to have as it is. And I can understand why people think my feelings for him are more than platonic and I'm tired of repeating myself, but I'll do it in writing. I don't like him; sadly I'm just that insecure.

There are a few close people in my life I feel this way about, but I'm fond of certain systems and ours was being drastically altered from what I've become accustomed to. It's not just him. I have another friend who I texted if he's still alive cuz I felt like he's been MIA and I asked him if I'm just paranoid. He admitted that he's been preoccupied but I realized it was only two days that we hadn't communicated. Two days! Who the fuck trips off of two freaking days? And I swear I'm not usually obsessive like this, only when I worry that our friendship is compromised and I'm not used to these ordinary changes.

And my birthday rolling around made me think about where they'd be 10 years from now. But the truth is I have to stop worrying because we'll find out eventually. And no matter how much I fear and resist, what's going to happen will happen with or without my consent. I can't waste my time stressing when I could be living because our time here is indefinite and can be more brief than we think it'll be. So it's time to celebrate!

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