Many moons ago, a switch went off in my brain and I was compelled to become this person who had to do something productive every single day to survive. It could be an hour of exercise, writing in my journal, cleaning my cupboard, reading a book or an essay that lends something to my writing process, attending a class, making notes for a story or a blog post, washing a sink of vessels, adhering to a skincare routine, or even cooking something. As you can see, I cast the net far and wide so that I end up doing something, anything, for-the-love-of-God-do-one-of-these things. And the reason for this wide array is because I am very unkind to myself. So, on days that I can’t do something productive, and I have seen too many episodes of a TV show, or infinitely scrolled on Twitter, or listened to so much music that my ears bleed, I am my own worst enemy. I’m hard on myself, unkind to the point of self-directed anger, and generally speaking a pain in my own butt.
Yesterday was one of those days.
On 25 June my life stretched around me like a vast expanse of meaninglessness, everything I had done felt like it came to naught, and I was a microscopic individual in this ginormous galaxy subject to insignificance. I was not going to cast a dent in the universe. I was never going to amount to anything. This living had been for nothing. And at this point, all I wanted to do was call someone up and freak out. I came home, stood near my window, looked at my phone, and set it aside. I couldn’t think of a single person. And by that, I don’t mean to be disrespectful to the number of exceedingly wonderful people that are my friends — each one of them a blessing in disguise with a heart of gold. But the fact remains that I don’t have a ‘best friend’.
For a couple of years now, I have wanted a best friend. A girl who knew me better than anyone, one in whom I could confide all my deepest secrets and fears, who I could call at anytime to report about the grocery list I had written, the quiet beauty of post offices, or even whine about how the heels I recently bought won’t fit me. I needed a person who I could bank upon, who wouldn’t judge me, and who would listen to me talk about the boys, berate myself and then smack me back to reality. However, the truth is that I don’t have a best friend. At my lowest times, there is no one to call. Now, I have come to believe I am too old to even find a ‘best friend’. So the pursuit must be abandoned. Other lives must be lived.
While we’re on the topic, I’ve been thinking about this other thing for the longest time. It has nagged me across the seven oceans and back. This wonderful scenery (in the picture) is why we can sit here and talk about this. So come, sit with me.
It has come to my notice that as the years roll by, some of your closest friends become people you don’t recognise anymore. And because we’ve spent so many years with these friends, disassociating from them becomes hard. I’ve asked myself this: how does one let go of old friends who become people you can’t identify? Because familiarity is the reason why people stitched get into your lives. And familiarity is why people stay for it is hard work to unravel new people all the time. Make no mistake. I am in love with the piling up of years and knowing people for a long time. Sedimentation is my favourite form of poetry. But as I come to prune my life to uncomplicate it, I find it necessary to let go of people from time to time.
I’m old enough to write about all the lives I’ve lived and not lived. And, if I’m old enough to enjoy routine, I’m old enough to be disappointed at how certain friends have turned out. Now the question remains, how do I give them up from my life and from my heart? Because give them up, I must.
I’ve come to this conclusion after much internal dialogue and debate. And, of course, by sitting next to such rivers (see pic) to contemplate how short our lives are and how quickly this will all be over. We don’t have time for anything else but honesty and the tangible expression of it. You don’t. And I don’t. So get to it.