|All photos by Elizabeth Smarra....again....|
A long time friend showed up, an old bff, and brought a huge hand made photo board and another small photo album assembled by her kids of notes and pictures for me. I was moved by her thoughtfulness. As we later talked she told me how my blog has inspired and moved her, and she wished she could do the same with her own recent struggles, which in the past few years had inadvertently caused a rift between us.
At the end of the night as we were all taking photos. Our posed group shot ended and and we continued to stand and chat in place, she said "and oh my god I couldn't believe how retarded that was..." I froze, standing feet away from her, swiveled my head to look at my other best friend, then turned back and asked "Did you just say what I thought you said?" She replied "Oh come on, you use it all the time! I don't know why people are so uptight and politically correct! Even my friend Kate gets upset when I slip up and say it...." I was stunned. My friend, OLD friend, after everything she had made for me and said to me and then....not just using the r-word but then DEFENDING IT???
Occasionally, I've experienced a friend use it in conversation with me, then look at my with fear and wide eyes and a horrified "OMG I"M SO SORRY!" Those people are easier to forgive because I can see they are genuinely apologetic and appalled and fearful for their life. And most only do it once. But from her, that night, off all nights...I just didn't understand. DO!? YOU?! READ?! MY?! BLOG??!! And if so, is this somehow my fault, did I do something wrong - is the message so muddled by the title that the point doesn't come across EVEN TO MY BEST FRIENDS??!!! I don't know. I think my real friends would tell me right now to shut the hell up, they they 'get it', that they've worked to not say 'THAT WORD'.
And to be honest, this person hasn't really been in my life much lately for various reason, so I have to also admit that maybe a real friend wouldn't do that to me.
Why do we do it? Why do we put up with people in our lives who treat us like shit? I see it all the time - in friends, in clients - sometimes pathologically so - when they are people who have abused you and continue to abuse you. You'd be shocked (or maybe, you wouldn't be) at how many known pedophiles attend family functions - even though the whole family is aware, they all just pretend for the dog and pony show.
We all do it - maybe not to that extent - but we do. "But they are my mother...father....sister....blood relation...wife...husband....boss...best friend....oldest friend..." And this time, maybe it will be different. Maybe this time they'll be kind, or listen, or loving.
Or really, maybe this time they won't be such a bitch. Maybe he'll talk to me more. Maybe she won't call me names. And every time - you're disappointed. Because really, those are YOUR expectation, so when they are dashed who's fault is it? Do you continue to bang your head up against the wall and wait for people to treat you differently - THIS TIME? We wait for people turn into who we WANT them to be, or who they USED to be, or someone who we KNOW that they can be, or maybe we are even still HOPING that they will finally become that person - who we need them to be...the person that we may sometime see a glimmer of, but who never fully materializes.
Or do you learn to detach - walk away - and stop giving a shit. Not love, not hate, just apathy. "Lack ofs" - lack of expectation, lack of disappointment, lack of self abuse. Because if you continue to let people abuse you, aren't you just as much to blame? Why self abuse when you have others so willing to do it for you? "Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead..."
Within seconds of the 'r-word' debacle at the party, my troops had rallied round and all types and kinds of my friends, including the 911 Team Honey Badger, were the on the scene to sooth, reassure, and most importantly make me open gifts and laugh uproariously. The party was still in full swing and I needed to get my dance on, so I got over it and proceeded to enjoy the rest of the long crazy fun evening.
The next morning, I received a text from the friend thanking me for the evening. Although I had let it go the night before, that didn't mean I wasn't going to address it. So as a true mature adult, we had a text war.
F- I had a great time last night. Thank you for inviting me.
Me- BTW I NEVER use the word 'retard' and find it highly offensive.
I'm not sure if you read my blog how you don't get that.
F-It wasn't my intent to be offensive and I apologize.
Me- I was shocked.
F- Words slip out sometimes. I'm sorry you're so upset.
Me - Then you defended using it and said you didn't understand
why your friend Katie continues to get pissed at you for using it.
Clearly you're not 'getting it.'
F-No I said Katie used to get mad at me for slipping all the time
saying it. Even the president slipped up and said it before. And
I do get it. I can't take it back.