When we are born, we come with many a blindfold wrapped around our frail, soft bodies, mummifying us. And as we grow, little by little, we begin to leave a trail of them in our wake. These are the blindfolds of innocence (or ignorance), and these follow us until the very last one is dropped at our departure, when the ultimate bit of realization (of what’s to come after) is finally revealed.
Now, where exactly am I going with this, you ask? I have no idea.
Just kidding, I got this.
One of the blindfolds that we discard is that one regarding relationships, friendships for example. Shortly after leaving my hometown, and moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, I said farewell to several of my closest High School friends. I made a promise that I (that we) would all stay in contact even though I was so far away. After all, we were best friends, and we’d always be.
Six years later, I have difficulty pulling up faces from memory. If it weren’t for Facebook, Instagram, and other social media, I might have very well forgotten the faces of those who were once my closest companions. Needless to say, we did not stay in contact, at least not all of us. Distance, for me, was the greatest obstacle to friendship because it weeded out all those that were, in fact, not as close to me as they had claimed to be. And vice versa, because I am guilty here as well. I simply did not have the energy to stay in contact with certain friends, and soon, our lives just pulled us away to the point where neither had the time, nor energy.
This was one of the biggest realizations for me: the distinction between friends out of necessity, and friends out connection. In high school, though I didn’t go to a public school, I was friends with many out of necessity so I wouldn’t feel alone. I hung out with the video game nerds, the bookworms, talked with my teachers, and even hung out with a “Chicano” crowd. (Granted, most of my school was made up of nerds and Chicanos.) Yet now, I can’t remember half of these individuals’ names.
In college, I made similar friends as well. At the end of each quarter, we promised to hang out in between classes and go out for lunch. We never did, and again, no recall. However, the fact that I now live with one of my old High School friends, and strangely enough, the one I was least closest to, is enlightening all on its own. This girl turned out to be one of the closest friends I’ve ever had, and we’re even complete opposites! (Exhibit A: one of her favorite movies is A Walk to Remember. My favorite is Pan’s Labyrinth.)
Learning to distinguish between the two types of friends was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. Mainly because I liked everyone, thought everyone interesting, but at the end of it all I just didn’t connect with them. It was necessary for me because by learning to distinguish between the two, I saved myself a lot of effort and time. (Sounds horrible, I know.) And instead, I was able to dedicate this time to those who really mattered and continue to matter: my closest friends and family. I also learned to feel less badly about myself, and came to terms with the fact that not everyone’s going to like me. That’s cool, I don’t like you either. Moving on.
Or so, I would say.
Most recently, however, I’ve also come to realize that I actually like myself. And in fact, I like being by myself, being able to just dedicate time to myself and to my writing without the constant din of voices all around. The sound of human laughter is wonderful, but so is the laughter of my characters, whom I can only hear when everything else in my world is silent.
Well, goodnight folks.