I searched for a shorter more "searchable" title, but I failed. There really isn't another title that fully embodies what I want to say. What I wanted to say was: you are an asshole. Yes.
And you too.
My last two years of high school were rife with ambivalence and struggle. I am not sure I know how to do things the opposite of whatever the hard way is. One thing that wasn't a struggle was how deeply I loved my two best friends. Paige and Ginger and Jasmine. We were a trio. Our lives were chicken potato burritos, late night music jam sessions, and pedicures. We all had this weird thing where we had to wash and lotion our feet every night before bed. We practically lived at Ginger's house. Ginger was a year older than Paige and me. We'd pile into her Saturn and go on endless adventures. When she upgraded to a huge truck, for reasons I don't recall, we'd do what any environmentally conscious group of teenage girls would do. We'd take it on long road trips and go camping. One time we were rained out of our campsite and slept in the Silverado. All three of us were drenched and attempting to determine how we could sleep comfortably when we realized, by some stroke of sick fate, our periods were synced. Ginger had a single tampon in her glove compartment, but Paige and I were unprepared. A torrential downpour, crammed into a truck cab, all bleeding; basically hell. What I am trying to say is that we had a rambunctious and amazing time and made wonderful memories. We all got along. At times it felt like my two best friends were reading my mind. We shared secrets and fears and grew up together. That all ended when Jeff entered the picture. I don't remember how Ginger met Jeff. I suppose I blocked it from my mind. I hate Jeff. He was awkward and lumbering. I remember when Ginger beamed with excitement, ready for two of the most important people in her life to meet, and introduced me to Jeff. I coldly looked him over. Truth be told there was nothing wrong with Jeff. There was, however, something wrong with me. I used my objections to Jeff to mask my inability to adjust to the change that was looming between Ginger and me: "he is too short," "he just got out of a relationship," "you are compromising your values by staying the night with him." Ginger was in love. I felt the pinch of transition as she rearranged time with Paige and me and incorporated more of Jeff.
I was afraid of change.
I was afraid of being abandoned.
I was afraid that there wasn't enough love.
I was afraid I would no longer be a priority.
I couldn't face my own insecurities and discomfort so I used Jeff as a scapegoat. I missed the chance to trust Ginger. I missed the chance to celebrate her new love with her. I missed the chance to support her and connect with her. I wasn't happy for my friend because I was an asshole. Are you being an asshole by not being present with your friend because you are too busy deflecting your fears? Are you unable to appreciate changes and transitions happening in their life because you are too consumed with your own baggage?
Get it the fuck together.
Assholes aren't actually mean and awful people. They are just self-centered people who can't see beyond their own struggles to love others for a myriad of (sometimes) completely valid reasons. Ginger didn't invite me to her wedding. The pressure I put on Ginger with my disgust for Jeff created a schism. Instead of moving into a new role of intimacy in her life as she fell in love with Jeff, I was relegated to the outside. I was no longer safe person. I was no longer safe because I was unable to own my inadequacy. I pushed my values onto my beloved friend, instead of simply being present with her and asking her what she needed.
Thankfully, Ginger and I found our way back to each other. Not everyone can find their way back to each other the way Ginger and I did. Is your objections worth the devastation of losing your friend?
I still haven't officially asked her forgiveness for causing so much grief in the early phases of her relationship with Jeff.
I am sorry, Ginger. I was immature, self-absorbed, and a total asshole. You deserved better and I didn't know how to be happy for your because of the weight of my own loss.
Ask your friends what they need from you. Admit your fears. Ask them to support you through your transition and find out how you can support them. No matter what, though it may be hard, just don't be an asshole.