Open Letter to the Toxic Ones
I don’t know how to begin this. By writing instead of telling, am I engaging in the coldness of passive-aggressiveness I hate so much? Perhaps. I really just can’t contain what’s been on my mind so much over the last 2… 3…. er, 5?… wait, maybe longer……….. years.
This has been a long time coming. Maybe I’m too sensitive for my own good, but after a long, somewhat-objective look at the state of things, I think I might be a little justified and that’s enough; I don’t need the totality of 100 percentness.
I am a giver. I always have been. Of course I take, but I really do find a joy in giving. I have told many of you over the years I wish I’d fall into a lot of money somehow so I could spoil you rotten. I have given even when my body has fought me. I have given when you have betrayed me. I have given when you have given nothing back. And until now, that’s all been mostly okay because we were young. But here we are, on the door of adulthood, and the scale of give and take is still uneven. I’m still drowning in a sea of sadness, created with the waters of unfulfillment.
I thought time would solve things. I thought I would never have to point out the lacking pieces of our relationships because surely, with just enough time, wisdom, and experience, things would even out. I would feel less and less like my soul was being sucked from me, and start to feel like pieces of it were starting to be poured back in, even if it were as slow as molasses. But time didn’t do the job I thought it would, so now I’m faced with doing it myself. I should have dealt with the task from the start, and now that I have to, I’m not sure how to do it at all.
It’s not everyone. It’s not all the time. Even those of you who are guilty don’t do it on schedule… but it does happen. (Hell, I’ve written about it before. More than once.) It’s not a delusion, as much as I wish it were every day. This has happened as long as I can remember, and it continues to happen, despite my internal wish for things to change. But I guess you can’t bring forth change without saying or doing something, so this is some kind of bumbling, probably awful start.
I know I’m not perfect. I’ve done things wrong, I’ve shut people out, and I’ve been inconsistent with contact. And while I take personal responsibility for my faults and my own selfishness, a lot of my behavior over the years has been a reaction to yours. That doesn’t mean I don’t need to work on things, but I would love it more than life if you worked on your things, too.
First things first: I confess my sins.
1. I have made grave mistakes in friendships over the years. Most of them I made when I was younger, but I made a handful of horrid ones in my older life, too. However, the mistakes I’ve made have made me the grown-up I am today, trying my damnedest never to do them again and wishing, wishing, wishing you all would stop making them as well.
2. I DO shut people out, namely you, because when I consistently have expectations shattered or unreciprocated, it’s easier just to bow out and guard my heart. I sit back and find people that do seem to want to give as much as me, who want to meet those expectations, and wait for the rest of the group to catch up. The only problem is, these people never do. And every time I give them a chance, give them the opportunity to live up to my expectations, they break my heart all over again. It’s too much to cry every night about another forgotten call or text, another birthday missed. It’s for my sanity that I pull away long enough to regroup and heal.
3. Mostly my inconsistent contact has to do with outside factors. I move a lot; I work very hard during the school year; I have graduate school to finish; I have to save my money. But you all also need to remember something I have ne’er argued and always confessed: I hate the phone. It brings me some anxiety, and it’s just an annoying form of contact. But there is a small part of me that thinks some of that anxiety, which didn’t begin until later in my life, comes from the inconsistency I’ve learned to expect in return.
Second things second: I explain.
1. You are not reliable. I know that sounds awful, and I’m truly sorry, but you aren’t. You can be good people. You have been there in bad times and good, but not really on a constant basis. If we make plans, you often are late or cancel last minute. It would be okay if it were for something important or understandable, but when you just decide to bow out because you’ve found something more fun or are just too lazy, that’s rude and insulting.
2. You don’t care. I say that in the most general sense. You don’t care about my life if it doesn’t involve petty, pretty, easy things, but more bothersome is that you don’t care about your own life. You don’t care if you succeed, if you will have enough money for bills, if you find a job you love, if you find your own happiness, if you won’t be too hungover to make the appointment we set a week ago. You don’t care about finding yourself or finding the whole version of that self. You don’t care about anything except initial satisfaction, often found in booze, drugs, gossip, or shallow bullshit. But I care. I care about everything, and I need my friends to care, too.
3. You turn it around on me. On the occasions I HAVE said something, my past has been thrown in my face. That’s to be expected, I suppose, but those who have known me long enough can see the evolution I have made. And you know what? It’s old. It’s not effective. I know where I am well enough that the argument is invalid. We’re talking about the people we are now, and the better people we should become. We’re not talking about some dumb ass girl from two or ten years ago.
4. You don’t understand. You don’t understand the time constraints and responsibilities of adulthood, let alone the effect the intricacies of an individual has on both of them. For example, I have a problem with the fact you call bullshit on my health when I have cried and tried and worked and fallen and gotten back up about it over so many years. You haven’t sat with me during a tachycardia attack, walked in on me crying on my floor in visceral pain, listened to me on the phone as I breathe for dear life, or felt the heavy weight of the fatigue I carry every day, yet still push through. I also have a problem with the fact that you don’t respect my calendar, as if I’m an asshole for wanting to and making plans well, well in advance. If you make plans for something a week in advance, even then may be too late. I hate I can’t be there for you, but if something is important enough that you would like me to be there, make sure you send me a reminder as soon as you think of it. You need to understand my health. You need to understand my calendar. You need to understand everything, and how everything changes when we’re adults. With that understanding will come a respect that just isn’t there with us right now. What the hell is friendship without respect?
Third things third: I’m sure I have done every single one of these things to you in my past, and for that, I am truly sorry. But I have been on a journey to wholeness for a very long time, and I cannot be whole by perpetuating this bad behavior myself. It has mostly ended for me, but I will say right now: it ends for me all the way today. However, that also means I can’t surround myself with people who will not end the cycle themselves. I need to feel whole instead of drained, happy instead of constantly heartbroken. I need to be able to be the full me, and I can’t do that unless you do the same.
As I mentioned when I wrote about this before, I’ve been mourning over this whole change for a really long time. Now I see the only way I can truly move on from my grief, and hopefully see a few of you there on the other side, is to set the truth free. I still love you, Toxic Ones.
Hoping you’ll join me for the ride,
(it’s gonna be a real honest, but fulfilling one),