Close Encounters in Friend Land
I sustained my first Close Encounter of the Ouch Kind during the transition years from high school to college. As time marched on, I realized the young & dumb phase we all pass through offered the lion’s share of explanation.
Recent circumstances dredged those memories.
This go round, we’re talking about one old enough to know better, to do better. And that applies to me as well. Signs popped up, the Universe trying to warn me. But those warnings dawned against a background of intense pain —— we each lost a lone parent within the same 6-month period. Pain strengthens friendship. Friendship’s blinders kidnapped me, coercing the benefit of the doubt whenever intuition subsequently tugged my coattail.
The Recent Oops
Then it happened: indisputable proof the alleged friend vomited knives in my absence, using her BFF status to validate the verbal diarrhea raping my reputation for integrity. The proof? She interpreted my turned back as too far away to hear. Wrong! The timing? In the immediate aftermath of my conquering a deep fear of heights. I rode a tram, high up in the sky, circling the Raleigh State Fairgrounds. As we left the tram, her coworker asked a loving question, likely generated by my shake, rattle, & roll appearance: Is Pam ok? The woman I thought was my BFF exploited the opening to rip my character, as opposed to smiling or celebrating with me.
The same knife drawing blood from this back proved sharp enough for a second slice, accommodating my swift cut of all ties at the source.
Devastating? Yep. Necessary? Absolutely!
The how? I don’t permit myself to direct negative speech to a person in front of an audience, i.e. her coworker. Add: prove to me you’re unworthy of my time, and I won’t waste another word on you. So I smiled, said goodbye, and walked away. The end.
We each possess absolute control over actions, mind, and mouth. Folks with self-respect don’t futz others. When the mind insists you’re unworthy of respect, respecting anyone or anything devolves into mission impossible. Self-respect follows self-discipline, the latter required to transform dreams into reality. Chasing goals leaves neither time, energy, nor inclination to indulge blatant negativity. A backstabber hammers home this reality, with action revealing herself in all her gory glory.
Inescapable “Backstabber” Facts of Life
1️⃣ Snatching pretend personal stature, through stealth hit & run attacks against the absent, forms the backstabber’s reward. Oblivious to the self-imprints of sneak, coward, liar, and cheat generated by such activity, fakes clutch the fleeting feeling of self-importance. It’s easy to speak ill of one not present, difficult to earn stature through actions sourced in daily self-discipline. Lazy actions confirm a lazy thinker. Lazy thinkers produce a meh! life. A disappointing life births and nourishes inner poison.
2️⃣ Whatever is happening deep within the mind and soul infects the heart, inevitably muscling its way to the surface. It typically escapes through racing lips. If it’s true eyes provide a window to the soul, it’s equally true the mouth mirrors nuggets nestled deep within the heart. One’s core always outs. Inner contentment pushes peace and joy toward those in our path; bitter inner disappointment instead inflicts venom’s handiwork.
3️⃣ Accept: You can’t fix a heart you didn’t break. Aware of certain life events in this woman’s life, I viewed all through the lens of empathy. In retrospect, I should have donned the 20-20 corrective glasses of wisdom. Patterns tell a tale. In this instance, the pattern manifested as a number of estrangements flirting with the Guiness World Record books.
4️⃣ I love strawberries … or did. What’s yummy fun in the moment sets the stage for a later ER visit, courtesy of my severe allergy to strawberries. Love can be blessing or curse. Once you realize the target of your love is, in fact, toxic and thus destined to harm you, grab your best mental sneakers. Run like a choo-choo in the opposite direction! No genuine friend speaks with a forked tongue.
Learning the Lessons
Because I refuse to duplicate my mistakes, I applied the 5-Whys Technique to discern my role in this emotional debacle. Bottom-line: I screwed up, on several levels.
- A few weeks after mom died, I reviewed some bird pics. Therapy. Through that process, I discovered I met this woman one year to the day before mom passed. I infused deep spiritual significance into that timing, providing a perfect bubble for the illusion of genuine mutual friendship.
- I know duplicity’s signs. Yet I refused to anticipate the one I cherished as a best friend would unmask as a toxic fake. Realizing she gripped the smoking gun aimed at my back took my breath away. It also opened the door for clarity‘s awakening… finally.
- I did honor my intuition, by forthrightfully challenging foul statements uttered about an absent third party in my presence. This set the stage for my third mistake: I accepted the promise to change. When seasons passed without additional negativity, I allowed myself to believe the change was permanent. Heck, I even purchased & gave her a gift -—one of those old-school heavy keys, symbolizing an atta girl! for recognizing her mouth and mind = the key to her future. I again ignored a fact of life → a snake can shed its skin many times, but it remains a snake.
Pam, you silly rabbit! But hey: Live. Learn.
The Inherent Beauty of Truth Triggers Gratitude
Despite the lingering ThrillaInMeKilla sensation, I prefer the sucker punch of one’s core to serial duplicitous hugs, smiles, and kisses. Forgiveness encouraged my movement forward. But forgiveness and tolerance reside in different zip codes. I forgave for me, not thee. My memory remains intact. As a direct result, I gained full appreciation of Steve Harvey’s admonition: “Everybody by your side, ain’t on your side.”
The experience, in conjunction with The 5 Whys, coerced a realization. As an adult, this experience witnessed my sole escapade with a fake friend. My lifelong friends, each a woman of mutiple accomplishments, exude stellar character and integrity. I refer not to paper achievements, but to the love and respect they engender and give daily. Surrounded for so long with the best of women, my norm lost sight of “the other.” I’ve always respected these women. Now, that respect kisses the highest cloud. I feel my gratitude, rather than taking these women for granted. They may be hundreds of miles away geographically, but each lives in a carved area of my heart. I created a new BuJo spread, ensuring I reach out to each on a more consistent basis.
Believe: Lady Karma delights. A surprise call invariably floats to me on grrr days, refueling my spirit. Hey y’all, nuffin beats an old-school phone call!
These days, when thoughts of this aborted relationship invade my being, I understand such as the hallmark of unconditional love. I loved this woman as a friend before the enlightening event. I love her today, because my side of the friendship equation proved real. The difference is this: trust and respect disintegrated in the ashes of illusion’s implosion. Without those two requisites, love rests in the null and void zone. I continue to wish her well, but over there —miles away from my personal air space. Read: I’ve learned to let my brain handle this ‘hood, cuz my heart positioned me for a mugging.
I kid you not when I say music forms a joyful obsession.
I enjoy the comraderie of countless associates. Yet I’ve always been profoundly stingy in applying the word “friend.” Those who are friends enjoy a musical umbrella, a tune playing in my head as they approach or linger in my mind’s eye. I never plan the tune assigned. It simply pops one day, then remains. Until this post, no one —not even hubs— knew this life-long Pam fact.
The fake —the only “friend” from whom I’ve walked away throughout my adult life— incurs no exception. But her assigned song changed, from an old-school endearing Motown tune to one sung by The Undisputed Truth. The latter jumped into my head as I sat at a red light. Fitting.