A Broken Heart

Lately I’ve been feeling really melancholy. You know the feeling when you’re just feeling low for apparently no fathomable reason? Yes that feeling. I have been wracking my brain with little success as to what could be making me feel this way. I mean, I’m typically a really happy person. Plus my life honestly couldn’t be better right now; everything is actually really going well which makes it even more bizarre. I just want to curl up in bed, day in day out with only me for company.

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Then today, wham! Out of the blue, it hit me. I have a broken heart. I know you’re rolling your eyes and thinking, what’s so special about this? Let me explain. My heart wasn’t broken in the usual way, where a relationship between a man and a woman abruptly ends. My heart was broken by a very unlikely source. My heart was broken by a friend.

For those who may still be rolling their eyes, allow me to break it down for you – I have the kind of friendships where I go all out. I treasure my friends, few as they are and I allow myself to be vulnerable with them. In the past I have had friends who’ve come and gone and it really wasn’t a big deal. Seasons of life right? So I never really saw this one coming till it hit me like a speeding freight train and took out my heart with it. Because I never really thought that a friend could actually break my heart. Then again I have been called naive on several occasions.

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Now it’s been a while since I got my heart broken so it’s no wonder that I didn’t recognize the signs immediately. Shockingly though, it was exactly like all the past instances with all the stages presenting. I went through denial (actually I’d been stuck there for a while); making excuses for the person’s behavior and now I’m at grief mixed with anger and bitterness. I expect the next stages will follow logically but I honestly can’t wait for acceptance and finally closure.

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It got me thinking though, should I have protected my heart better? Should I have kept my distance and been aloof right from the start? Would I have been feeling better today if I had? Was it my fault? All these and more are the questions we usually ask ourselves when a relationship falls apart; I’ve just never been in a position where I had to ask them for a broken friendship. And just like in relationships I found myself making resolutions – you know, the “never ever again” type that are typical of waking up with a hangover and swearing to never drink again. Till the next time. At this point, I caught myself and thought, why would I want to change who I am just to be safe? Why would I need to protect myself from my friends which would probably result in me turning into an aloof, insincere snob? Why would I go against the very grain of what I believe in, that people are intrinsically good but make bad choices occasionally?

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After much thought, I resolved not to allow this incident to change me. I resolved to continue being myself and genuinely immersing myself in friendships regardless of the outcome. I realized that I have more to lose if I allow myself to give into the fear of rejection. Yes it hurts and it will take time for me to heal. It will however not hold me back from living my life as I truly believe. With an overflowing abundance of love for all whom I hold dear.

For all my friends, you know yourselves. I treasure you.

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F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

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What kind of a friend are you? What kind of friends do you have? It may seem pretty cliché but the people you surround yourself with influence you more than you would care to imagine. In turn, you also influence them just as much. So if you have never looked keenly at your friends, perhaps you need to.

What’s a friend anyway? One of the common definitions is a person whom one knows and has a bond of mutual affection with, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations. Using that definition, a lot of people would definitely make the list, right? They don’t all influence you though, do they? I mean, I am pretty fond of my Face Book friends, but I wouldn’t really say they influence me.

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So we need a deeper distinction. What then is a True Friend? Some people would say, someone who will always be there for you, even when everyone else is gone. Someone who sees you and accepts you as you really are. Someone who would never judge you. All these and more, are what we normally call True or Best friends.

I have seen my fair share of friends come and go. Some I could clearly tell were there for the short haul or for a particular season or reason. Like my campus friends for instance. I absolutely adored those girls and even though we no longer speak daily, I still consider them my valued friends. They had a very high influence on who I was during that season of my life. Others, I could have sworn, were friends for life till they just upped and left without so much as a goodbye.

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One thing I have realized as I grow older (and hopefully wiser) is that I have fewer friends. The ones who are really close to me. The ones who know where the bodies are buried, so to speak. And it’s actually harder when you’re older to make new friends. The long lasting deep kind. Our experiences make it harder for us to trust people easily and we end up holding them at arm’s length and never really letting them in.

Personally, this is my definition for a true friend. Someone who will pick my call at 3am and will come to wherever I need them to. No hesitation and no questions asked. I use the same consideration to define myself to the precious few who call me a true friend. And trust me, I am not the kind of person who would often need to make 3am calls. Even when I was a night owl, I only made that call once. So it’s symbolic really. These are people who will have my back no matter what, and will not hesitate to call me out if they see me going the wrong way. They are not afraid to offend me and subject me to tough love on a regular basis.

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I used to think that a true friend was one who would let you get away with anything, like an enabler. The kind who would let you jump off a cliff, and be waiting at the bottom for you. I recently learnt that true friendship is about telling someone that they are making a big mistake – before they make it and not after! True friends will tell you the truth; the painful truth. They will not mince words, or stand by as you make a mistake, or let you wallow in your misery. And you will hate them briefly for doing it, but eventually you will thank them. And ultimately, these are the people you will come to treasure and hold close. These are the people whose opinions will influence and gently complement your own.

And by the way, if you ever have the good fortune to fall in love with and marry your true friend, then consider yourself one of the luckiest people in the world!