Lighter

by rheeb

Back in 2007, I noticed that there was this lesbian chick working at the front desk of my college library who would check IDs when people would enter the building.  She intrigued me, because, as I have stated, I was deeply into the whole “ex-gay” movement so any gay person that I saw was like the forbidden fruit to me.  So I befriended “Shant,” and then found out that she was a sophomore and also an English major.

We, of course, ended up having several classes together because of our shared major, and unlike the other girls in our classes, Shant wasn’t stuck up nor was she cliquey.  In addition to that, she had a sense of humor which I loved.  For instance, one time in our African American Women’s Literature class, our professor referenced Civil Rights leader “Malcolm King.”  We almost died from laughter.  No one else seemed to catch her hilarious error.  Anyways, anyways, Shant and I never hung out much.  Other than having fun in class and talking public transit together every so often, we weren’t close.

Skip to 2011.  I had just come out during August of that year, and I was slowly in the process of rekindling relationships with people who I’d lost contact.  Shant was one of those people.  From there, we became Facebook friends and would comment on each other’s statuses or pictures, as people do on Facebook.  Now, about a year later, Shant asked me to go out with her to a bar in the city.  I am not a drinker, but I figured she was my friend, so I’d go with her.  She invited her girlfriend as well.  As soon as we got there, Shant had two rail drinks and was completely drunk.  While drunk, she began asking me all kinds of personal questions, which was something I am not used to dealing with–especially from her–especially from a drunk her.  A few months after that, she invited me out again.  This time, she called at 11:00pm on a Saturday night and said she wanted to go to the lesbian bar in the city.  I told her that it was late, but then she said, “You don’t ever wanna do anything.”  Now, that phrase has been said to me throughout my life, and as time has gone on, it has become an insult to me.  I now know that I am simply an introvert that prefers quiet surroundings, but that phrase has made me question if there was something inherently wrong with me for many years.   To fight my ill feelings toward her comment, I told her that I would go.  She then said that I would drive them to the bar in my car.  So, in the middle of the night, I drove to the bar with a drunk Shant and her girlfriend.  When we got there, Shant was pissed because I wasn’t dancing (which, seriously, if I was with my girlfriend, as she was, I wouldn’t have given a flying fuck about what my friend was or wasn’t doing, but I digress).

About two months after that, Shant invited me out to a lesbian event taking place during Pride week–again, in the city.  I went again, mainly to fight the whole, “You never wanna do anything” phrase that makes me feel so bad.  So I went with her  and was having a pretty good time until Shant got pissed off about something and left me and her girlfriend at the event.  Like, left like, went walking down the street and was gone left.  I was stunned that she would be such an immature asshole.  I swore to myself that I would never go out with her again.  And of course, she invited me out several times after that, but I always declined kindly, knowing that I would regret being around her later.  So, in late November, she invited me out again–this time, to a strip club for her birthday.  I told her that I wouldn’t be going and she said that fucking phrase, “You never wanna do anything” again.  This time, I let her have it.  I figured, fuck, if she wants to keep trying to belittle me, I would confront her on her actions from our previous outings.

So yesterday, I log in to Facebook and realized that she had deleted me as her friend sometime in the past week.   I knew this because, since we went to the same college, we had about fifteen people who were mutual friends, and while she was still friends with them, the ever-so-infamous “Add a Friend” notice was on her page when I visited, and I was pissed!  Not because I felt a deep connection with her, but because after using and abusing me, she got offended by being confronted about her behavior and now she suddenly felt like the victim.  Just a bit more about me: I am one who confronts issues with people I’m in relationship with.  I don’t like letting shit linger in the air, which I find to be much more frightening than confrontation.  So, I called her after I realized what she did.  She answered, and I said, “Shant, did you delete me as your Facebook friend?”  She sounded disoriented and said, “Lemme call you back.”  I hung up and then blocked her paltry ass from contacting me.  I even changed my number just to make sure I never hear from her shitty self again.  In addition, I had a massive epiphany.

I cannot trust any relationships I’ve had from ages eleven to twenty-fou..  I say that because those are the years where I didn’t have a clue who I was.  I simply accepted any worthless person who decided to be in my life, because I didn’t have any self-worth.  My life began to change drastically in 2011 when I came out at age 24, and since that time, many people from those dark years have been removed from my life either through their elimination of me or through my breaking up with them.  Truth be told, had I loved and known myself back in 2007, I would have never been friends with Shant.  She is literally the antithesis of the kind of person I would ever want to surround myself with.  I am drawn to authentic, life-giving, life-sustaining, kind-hearted, open-minded, love-centered, intelligent people.  Shant was life-sucking, close-minded, manipulative and toxic.  My self-hatred attracted her, just like it attracted most of the “friends” I had during those dark years.  Like attracts like.  Anyways, I was upset about her unfriending me, because, for the past two years, I have technically been “unfriended” in life by about six people who I believed I was extremely close with.  Thing is, all of those people are toxic and needed to be out of my life.  But I was upsetlast night, wondering to myself why I am being rejected so consistently by all of these people that I know.  I then yelled to the heavens, “OK, who’s next?  Bring them forth, because I wanna get this over with!”

So today, Chocolate Baby came over and I told her about what happened, and she smiled and said, “Rheeb, don’t you know that this is a part of your process?”  We talked for about an hour until she had to leave, but when she did, I realized that the burden I felt for several hours had been lifted.  And that is what a true friend does.  They make you feel lighter.  CB made me realize that there is nothing wrong with me.  I’m simply going through a time of purging that is absolutely necessary for the next stage of my life.   I haven’t mentioned this on the blog before, but let me lay out what I really want in my life.  First, I want to be around awesome people.  Seriously.  I want the people in my life to be, again, authentic, life-giving, life-sustaining, kind-hearted, open-minded, love-centered, and intelligent.  Secondly, I want to have an amazingly wonderful marriage.  I want my wife to be my best friend, and I want us to grow together and be teammates through life (and also have mind-blowing sex!).  I want to live in a beautiful place like San Diego, raise two kids–a girl and a boy–and have several cats and dogs.  I also want to be a screenwriter, a novelist, and an essayist, in the vein of Nora Ephron.  This is the life that I dream of, and it’s so worth going through the excess bullshit now just to get to live my dreams without baggage later.

So, I know what it’s like to have a real friend.  I can breathe around CB and be fully myself.  That is a precious gift–to feel light in another person’s presence.

Songs of the Day: You Only Get What You Give by The New Radicals; MMMBop by Hanson

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