I was thinking about the people, few and far between… but the people who I let into my life to form a relationship with me. I’m not talking about the people who know my name, what I look like and the basics, but the people who really have gotten to know me and some of my inner workings. I have concluded that Bear is the perfect friend (outside of my best friend who is and will always be the man who gave me his last name). Bear will never burn me or hit below the belt. Bear will never make a comment to or about me that will burn deeper than anyone realizes… Bear just looks at me and loves me and accepts me.
I have had very few friends who I felt really were there for me. I will admit I am a high maintenance friend in that I have a lot of my own drama going on in my head and my world and although I would love to have carefree nights out, usually I am worried about something or endlessly obsessing over who is going to kill me. I am hesitant to make friends where I live because I am quite honestly tired of being hurt or gossiped about. I tend to trust either too much and get burned, or not enough and the friendship dissipates. I would like to pause to mention that if you happen to live VERY close to me and have been hanging out with me, this isn’t about you I promise! But it has got me thinking about my ability to be a friend.
People who know me, and have known me for a while, will tell you that my feelings of inadequacy as a friend comes up a lot. I can’t help but feel like a bad friend at times. There have been a few occasions where the words of others have hurt me tremendously. Not only do they hurt, even today, but the people who expressed them have probably long forgotten what they said. One thing that has been simmering in my mind is a comment made almost 4 years ago. A former friend blogged that she wished I had died in Iraq and that my son’s only chance at not being “as screwed up as” me was if I died or gave him up for adoption. While I understand these words were spoken out of anger and I would like to think that this person didn’t mean them, it doesn’t make it hurt less. What has added to the pain is that the lack of apology has just, in my mind, meant that maybe she did mean them. I doubt that she knew how worried I have always been that due to my illness that my son will not enjoy his childhood. I’m sure she didn’t know that almost everyday I too wish I had died in Iraq. I’m sure none of this crossed her mind. I never expressed to her that I had those feelings, maybe it was a lucky guess, but I don’t know she realizes that those would be words that would hurt so bad and for so long. When things get hard at home or stressful, her words ring through my ears again.
I spent an entire deployment with people who told me how worthless I was. I was reminded by my own guys that not only did they think I was a waste of space, it was made very clear to me that if I were in need of aide, it wouldn’t be there from them. I was told by one guy, “If you were on fire, I wouldn’t even piss on you to put it out.” This same person told me that if he had all the water and I only needed one drop to not die, he wouldn’t give it to me. I spent nearly 5 months of my life alienated, ridiculed, harassed, cold shouldered (when they weren’t making mean remarks) and almost every day of that deployment I spent my energy trying to somehow prove my worthiness. I remember it was so cold and windy and the sand was blowing sideways. I ended up with an ear infection in my left ear that wouldn’t go away. I got the ear infection from being outside helping the people who hated me. I was helping them with their jobs, helping them sandbag their tents (me and the girls in my tent already sandbagged ours…). I didn’t have to be out there but I was because I wanted them to accept me. My ear got so bad that one night just reading a book in bed it started bleeding. I had it irrigated twice, went on the medications and ear drops but never got rid of it. I now have ringing in that ear that will never go away. All for what?
The few guys who did try to reach out to me were teased and accused of sleeping with me. Understandably these guys too stopped talking to me. I lived in a tent with women from different bases and different jobs and we rarely saw each other. I never felt so alone and starved for friendship in my life. I came home to an empty house and a divorce to finalize. I had no family, few friends. There is just no way anyone can endure that and come out okay. I think surely had there been a scan of my brain before I left and another one now, it wouldn’t look the same… It just couldn’t!
Today was a stressful day and when I get stressed my chest hurts, I get short of breath, my heart races and feels weird and it is all just a reminder of the years I will not have of my life because I know that people who suffer from PTSD are more likely to have heart issues, and I can see why! The littlest thing sets my heart racing. I have come close to blacking out when I’m stressed. This last time was just over a week ago when I was stressing over dealing with my son’s school and going in there with Bear. I went to hug my husband and everything went black and I felt like my body was asleep (like that numb tingly feeling). This can’t be good for me.
So I had someone who I thought was a great friend. Seemed to accept me and my quirks and didn’t mind that I don’t have to be out doing things to have fun. I enjoy conversing with people and she seemed to get that. But, as with any small town, the rumor mill made it back to me and the things that were said were so hurtful and I felt so betrayed and blindsided. I just didn’t see it coming. I know in the long run I am healthier without friends like that, but it doesn’t take away the familiar feelings of inadequacy. My husband tried to tell me that I should get out and meet people, but I am so tired of doing this. I am tired of opening up to people and never knowing how I measure up. The people who I seem to have the closest relationships with live in other states, lol!
So I have Bear. Bear doesn’t look down on me when I depend on him to go with me everywhere. Bear won’t tell anyone that my husband should find a “better” wife. Bear won’t tell my secrets or my faults. Bear won’t lie to anyone about me. Bear doesn’t tell me my kids are better off without me. Bear would be happy even if I only ever gave him attention when I was hurting (though we all know he gets a lot more than that!). Bear is someone I can love and take care of.. Someone I can cry to or on or about! Bear won’t flirt with my husband, and Bear won’t speak ill of him. Bear thinks my kids are great and he doesn’t care if I shower or brush my teeth or hair. Bear just thinks I’m great because I’m me. That’s why Bear makes the perfect friend.