You thought you wanted to know

So far this evening, you’ve had an orange, chocolate sprinkled nonpareils, and you just finished watching an episode of NCIS. You even looked up the best keyboard case for an Ipad mini 4. An important question–Do you even own an Ipad mini 4? No, you do not. But, you learned the best keyboard case is from logitech.

Why all the procrastination?

You do not know how to write about devastation. You only know how it feels, but you cannot tell anyone what it is.

This devastation cannot be named, described, nor can it be identified. You only know that some people from your past make you want to run, and hide and disappear. But, you do not now why. All you know is how you feel.

There’s also a devastation in seeing friends from high school on Facebook, and knowing you were friends with them, but you do not know why or how you became friends. You only know you were friends because when you see their name you smile, and feel warm inside. You finally admit all this to one particular friend you feel most at ease with. She is supportive, and proceeds to tell you how the two of you became friends. It was in Honors English in high school, and you both shared a love of books and writing. She tells you stories about your senior Honors English teacher, and how you asked her to suggest additional books to you, and that you were the best writer in class.

You knock your memory bank around in your head trying to find the story she’s telling you, a story that you lived. But, it’s not there. No matter how hard you close your eyes, concentrate, and try to find the memories of knowing this friend, alas, the memories are not there. You thought this would be a happy thing, hearing about your friendship with this person. But, it brings a sadness you do not expect.

You always wanted someone to accept you as you are, have the ability to hear about you as you. But your heart cannot hear about happy stories you lived that you cannot recall. You thought this was a good idea, but instead it’s your own secret devastation.

Today’s post is written in response to Today’s Daily Prompt.

Faith is a Formless Thing

My faith is like a small bouncing ball out of a vending machine. It bounces up and down and then I have to chase after it. And now that I just wrote those two sentences I have a further realization that perhaps that’s not faith after all because if I had it wouldn’t it be more static? And I certainly wouldn’t have to chase it down.

I see people all around me in support groups that have strong faith. They don’t lose sleep over whether they will have the wolf at their door kicking them to the street. Nor do they worry about losing a job, or becoming too ill to work. They have faith that their Higher Power has a plan for them.

For me, I’ve had too many bad things happen that I feel like I always have to ready for the next bit of bad. Faith feels scary to me, like I’m giving up the 24 hour watch, like I will miss something big.

I don’t know what else to say about this. The subject stumps me completely. Full stop. I know nothing. I only know that having it will likely bring me more inner peace because people that seem to have it appear that way.

About a year ago a good friend made a suggestion that worked for him. He suggested that I choose a person to trust. He said that as I start to trust this person more with sharing things about me it will be easier to contemplate having faith in a Higher Power. I’ve done that, found someone to trust. However, I’ve not experienced having that trust rollover into full-on faith in a Higher Power. My faith is intermittent, like bad wifi in a cafe. For now, that will have to be enough. I can’t eke out what isn’t there.

Will you be my friend?

Decades later I am still stuck in that moment at the Girl Scout hut when I determined that Carlene W. was the nicest girl in our troop. I wanted to be her friend, and being the direct person I’ve always been, I sat down right next to her during refreshment time with our Hi-C fruit punch and Nutter Butters and popped the question.

“Carlene, will you be my friend?”

Carlene just looked at me with the deer-in-the-headlights look that people have when they are too stunned for words. She stammered out a “sure” but I knew even then that it wasn’t genuine, and suddenly a saw a side of Carlene I did not like, an uncomfortable and aloof side. Carlene had always been nice to me, pleasant, not mean, and I had construed that to mean that we could be friends. We had nothing in common, no interests, aside from Girl Scouts, and we certainly did not live in the same neighborhood. As she lived near the country club, and her dad was the school principal. I lived in a mold-infested house between the housing projects and an arroyo that one should not enter alone after dark.

I didn’t understand that friends were made through mutuality of some sort, could be anything, but mutuality was essential.

Of course, Carlene and I never became friends, but the well-mannered girl that she was also meant that she was kind enough not to tell the rest of the world about my awkward request.

And today I find myself with the desire to ask that random nice person if they will be my friend, and then I remember Carlene and common sense takes over again.

I have a few friends scattered here and there, but I try very hard not to overly tax anyone. The friendships I have, even the small ones, are protected and treasured like the first apples of the season that you run over your face for their dewyness and newness and you just want apple picking to last forever.

Even when I acquire a work friend I’m elated inside. My insides get confused, and think I’ve acquired a dog or become engaged.

A few months back when I started the job I have now I knew I would get along well with my colleague as I had met him at a training years ago. Sure enough, we make a good team. I found myself wanting to go to lunch with him. Such a pedestrian thing, lunch, but I had thoughts of Carlene in my head any time I conjured up the idea of asking him to lunch.

And one day, I did it. I tried to be as casual as possible, and I asked the question, “Would you like to go the XYZ Cafe for lunch today?”

And he replied, “Sure, I’m always up for lunch at the XYZ.”

I walked back to my cube as I replied, “Good, I’m ready whenever, my afternoon has no meetings.” I had to walk away as I replied because I felt myself go teary as he said yes. These days every friendship is a miracle to me.

That was a few months ago. Now we take turns paying for lunch at the XYZ Cafe. We don’t socialize outside of work, though we know quite a bit about each others lives. He knows I have PTSD, though he does not know about the DID. Very few people know about the DID. It’s a small very-manageable friendship with lunch 1-2 times a week, and the Monday morning catch-up of our weekends. It’s small, but still important to me. Perhaps more important than it should be, but that’s what happens when you don’t have a lot of people in your life. You treasure those you do have, no matter how small.

The small friendships matter to me. Other people may call them acquaintances, but I don’t.

For example, I look forward every weekend to seeing Sue, the lady with the red hoodie, at the laundry drop-off place who washes my clothes every week. She’s missing a few teeth, and she’s generally very disgruntled with life. But somehow my cheeriness grew on her, and she cuts me a break on the laundry drop-off price, and is always friendly with me. When I ran in a race at the start of the summer she told me she was worried about me all day because of the record heat. When I go on vacation she’s always happy to see me when I return.

No, we don’t have each other’s phone number, and I don’t even know her last name. But I consider her my friend.

I go to AA, and a version of “Will you be my friend?” lives on in the ubiquitous phone number exchange. It’s an accepted practice to approach others in AA and ask for their phone number. I have yet to ask anyone for their phone number. I’ve been given numbers, but I can’t bring myself to do the asking yet.

Carlene still lives on in my head.