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I’m not the kind of person who could say to someone, “I’m sorry but I don’t value your friendship enough to put up with your bullshit.” But I kind of wish I was.  Or I wish I could find a nice, drama free way to extricate myself from situations where I want to say that.  I feel so full of petty meanness sometimes that I might explode with it. Even when I know it isn’t petty meanness but just the realities of the world.

I’ve been paying lip service to simplifying my life for a long time.  Getting rid of things, less possessions, less, desire, less grief.  But I guess I need to get rid of people as much as I do my possessions.  I don’t need 75 half-assed friends any more than I need 12 places settings when I only own two chairs.  But it’s not like you can call people up and say, “Oh, by the way, I just don’t get enough out of this relationship to make up for the effort I’m willing to put into it.”  Though maybe the world would be better place if all said things like that when we really need too.

In my case I don’t think it would change much but maybe to alleviate some of my guilt.  I don’t have a lot of external drama in my life, I don’t stand for it from other people.  I guess I wish I had more to give the people I really love, the people I’ve shared my life with over the last 10, 15 and 20 years.  My emotional resources are still limited and I do feel some guilt that I’m not giving enough back to my friends.  So maybe that’s why I feel some need to pick and choose who my friends are, like I can only distribute so much so I need to make the pool smaller?  Ugh, that sounds petty and cruel too.

I don’t think this is something I’ll be acting on, but it’s definitely something to think about.  Maybe not exactly shrinking the pool of friends, but who I really want around me and why.  To that end I’ve told Hawthorn that I really need him and really want him, but only as a friend and that any incursions across that line will sever what we have. Cruel.  But necessary, I think, for both of us to know where we stand.  I don’t think there’s anything left to say to Oak.  Cedar told me that he loves me no matter what and wants me around whether it’s friendship or romance.  I’ve drawn a line at friendship there too. But that’s friendship I want, something that’s transcended 25 years and is still strong.  I hope I can have that with Hawthorn one day too.

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So I think I’ve been doing a fairly good job, overall, of maintaining my calm, breathing through stressing out and generally keeping it together the past few days.  However I made the mistake of watching Eat, Pray, Love and it nearly tipped me over  the edge into psychotic rage.  With the caveat that I’m sure the book is different/better than the movie (although I never plan to read it) this was such a heap of crap.  As far as I can tell the message of this movie is as follows: You are free to do whatever you want in your individual selfish quest for happiness no matter the consequences to anyone who loves you.  If/when you find happiness you must chuck it over immediately for a man, because as a woman you will not be truly satisfied until you have a man to take care of you.

Right, I get it that this story was made into a romantic comedy that perhaps the book wasn’t, and that this somewhat follows the horrible trope of so many mainstream romantic comedies, but wow, it was so fucked up.  The level of wealthy white privilege was more than even I, white and middle class, could relate too.  There was no conflict at all presented in her two initial relationships before she runs off to discover herself.  The whole thing came off like bored rich lady who doesn’t like the toys she’s presented with and ascribes some level of spiritual need to her own baby-like grabbing for things she wants.   Until finally a man strong enough to rule her shows up and tells her whats he wants, and when she resists another man tells her to make the right choice and choose the boyfriend over herself. Ugh ugh ugh.  (Don’t get me wrong, if Javier Bardem shows up and asks me to sail away with him and says he’ll support me forever, I’m going.  I’ll just write a post later about how I made the anti-feminist choice. Heh.)  Suffice to say, I assumed it would be a cheesy, forgettable film that didn’t align with my worldview and instead it enraged me.

This past week Hawthorn has had some pretty substantial real life drama with his ex-wife.  He’s talked to me about it a lot (and then apologized for that, causing me to yell at him because really, despite everything else, we aren’t friends unless we are talking to each other about the real stuff).  Now I have very mixed feelings about his ex-wife.  If she hadn’t divorced him, my life would probably have taken a very, very different course, both for good and bad.  I surely wouldn’t have him now as the friend he is and the friend he will become if she’d done differently.  And I can, rightly I think, attribute some of my suffering to the ripple caused by her actions, though I do own my own responses to that suffering.  Here’s the thing though, I can not see her as anything but insanely selfish and somewhat stupid.  She has put her ex-husband and son through the emotional ringer, she has financially completely destroyed all of them and she blithely seems to think everything is okay and will be okay, except when occasionally forced to face how fucked up everything is and how she is the ONLY one benefiting from her actions, and indeed isn’t even noticing how much her actions affect other people.

Much like that character in Eat, Pray, Love, she took a situation that was better than what 99% of the people in world have and decided to fuck over everyone around her in pursuit of her selfish, individual happiness.  Now I’m not saying we don’t all deserve to be happy, but I really believe that there has to be a point where we say, “this is satisfactory, I can work with this,” because the chances that we will end up eternally happy without anything bad entering our lives is much less than winning the jackpot in the lottery.  It goes back to that balance thing I’ve been talking about, just happy, just happy, just happy all the time isn’t balance, and seeking that, in my opinion, is just greedy.

I’ve been breathing deeply and trying to let go of how angry this all makes me.  To recognize that it is a lesson for me in what not to do.  I want to be calm and peaceful enough to sit and watch the cherry blossom petals fall and be blissful in that moment of how beautiful the world can be.  I want the frantic feelings to stay at bay long enough that I always notice the sunrise and what color the sky is.  But I want to live practically and in the world in such a way that I am careful and cautious of how my actions affect the world and the people around me.  I want people to perceive me as calm and kind, as open-hearted enough to be trusted with whatever they are feeling. I want to make sure that my actions are never so careless that they can be perceived as cruel, inconsiderate or negligent to the needs of both myself and the world around me.  I would like to make less demands on the world in general and hope the world has few demands of me in return.  When I choose solitude I want it to be recognized as part and parcel of who I am as person, and not a rejection of the world or the people I love.

I want to notice the ripples of every rock I drop in the pond.  I hope I will have thought of the effects of those ripples before I let the rock fall.