There’ll be gray days, Mama said …

“You can only extend the hand of friendship; you cannot force the other fellow to grasp it.”

Things come along entirely too often that throw shade on my discernment, comprehension, and BS-detection capabilities.  Each time I’m left wondering how I could have gotten it so wrong, and each time I vow to learn the lesson and do better.  Some things, of course, can be attributed to the adage “The man woman who has strong opinions and always says what he she thinks is courageous — and friendless.”  But that doesn’t speak to what’s been unfolding for the past week or so.

Question:  Has it ever once occurred to you, Dear Reader, to devise a stealth attack for gauging who your real friends are, or to send suspected disloyalists on wild goose chases to see who will or won’t follow your mandates?  No?  Yeah, possibly because I wasn’t a Mean Girl an In-Girl in school, that brand of cunning feels foreign to me and I can’t relate to it — set-ups, plots, fidelity tests.  I mean, if you want to know something from or about me, ask me — I’ll tell you.  FRIEND:  Are you loyal?  ME:  Yes.  {Or no, I disagree with you, but we’re still on the same side.}  Instead, my prove-you’re-with-me mission, should I choose to accept it, was to troll someone until he/she left a page, but nobody ever said who I was “trolling,” so I couldn’t actually follow through.  Haha, silly me — pretty sure I was the one slated for the guillotine all along — how’s THAT for being clueless?  Anyone having flashbacks to junior high?

Truth — this friendship has longevity to it, a ton of agreement, much fun, a couple of heart-to-hearts, a few this-is-who-I-am convos … so while I wait for the other shoe to drop I’m doing an internal file-search, looking for where the relationship started to go off the rails.  It’s entirely possible that I was wandering around in a fibro fog when the Freight Train of Distrust left the station long ago, and unbeknownst to me started picking up steam.  I do know that the arrival whistle blew shortly after my friend sent out the BFF test, and when I didn’t turn mine in right away it was instant winter on that page.  My friend won’t see this, but for anyone who might view Tests of Friendship as a cool experiment, see if you can first pick up on whether any of your potential testees are currently engulfed in heavy-duty life-stuff, because it may not, for myriad reasons, be possible for them to really get back to you any time soon.  Here is where most of us, when we sensed which way the wind was blowing, would feel compelled to *explain.*  But ‘splaining accomplishes nothing except to make the offended party dig in with increased resolve — and we all just feel shitty afterward.  It took most of my life to scrape down to the actual me — not going back to justifying my existence now.

I shed my tears days ago and the inevitable denouement can take the stage when ready, I’m good.  Being unfriended ain’t no thing, but if I’m blocked on top of that, it’s gonna leave a mark.  It helps that I do understand what happened — the friendship simply became a casualty of what happens around us every day — collateral damage.  It’s a stress-inducing challenge to trust and align yourself with someone whose skin color looks like other people who don’t love you and don’t mind proving it.  By association I’m required to do more, try harder, prove myself over and over, and pass all the litmus tests.  I don’t have to ask you how familiar that sounds.  Every cell in me is sorry the world is so incomprehensibly ugly — I’m trying with all I have to reverse the trend and I thought you knew by now what my heart looks like.  I think it’s gotten steadily harder for you to look past pigment and I do not blame you.  None of this changes my firm belief that race is simply a construct — if we were truly separate peoples, our insides would not match any more than our outsides … but we’re the same under the skin.

Love and acceptance are priceless, as is friendship with a person you instinctively trust, and all of that is hard to let go of.  But since some things do happen for a reason, I’m going to assume this is for the best — you know, maybe we weren’t all that good for each other’s blood pressure and mood swings.  I do know you were good for my heart, however, and I’ll still be over here loving you — you wield a lot of power, but it exceeds even your pay grade to stop me.  I’m grateful for all I’ve learned from you, my friend, and I’m in awe of your feistiness and sass — please don’t rest until you get your hug from Barack Obama.



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Barbara Downing
    Nov 15, 2015 @ 17:52:49

    Wish I could express my feeling that well. That ‘splains the importance of putting it out there. Wonderful essay.!

    Liked by 1 person


  2. dee poe
    Nov 15, 2015 @ 16:44:06

    this is very well written, this kind of situation is very caustic and immature to me, and i would think to any thinking/feeling person. i was once tested although the story was different, and i think anyone who does that has very poor, or no, interpersonal skills. or maybe they ARE just looking for a reason, an out. at any rate, i have to tell myself no loss there. even if i don’t know if i believe that.

    Liked by 1 person


    • Judy Smith
      Nov 15, 2015 @ 17:49:39

      I don’t have any blame in my heart, Dee, just heaviness. Things are crazy out there, people get exhausted and make decisions they wouldn’t choose in more mellow times. I had to write it all down to get it out of my spirit.



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