“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
In order to obtain a friend, someone who knows all about you and still loves you, you have to first put your neck on the line and risk the guillotine of rejection. Aside, from the rejection is also the reality of eventually moving again from my own personal perspective. I've found over the last year, as I've written and rewritten this post, that this is something I’m struggling with. I made quality friends at our last duty stations, but I've also had to say goodbye to them and rely on the beauty of the internet to stay connected with them. When you’re part of the most hated group in America finding friends can be difficult and depending on where you live damn near impossible.
I’m in the fortunate position where we are currently stationed to come across people who don’t seem to have a problem with my heathen ways and a few who are happy to hear that I am in fact a godless heathen. Which you would think would have me jumping for joy and completely bearing my soul on the altar of inclusion, but something keeps holding me back. This small voice that whispers sweet nothings of doubt into my ear. “Sure they’ll accept you” the lusty voice begins, “but you know one day you’ll have to say goodbye. Do you really want to go through that again?” Well, no little voice, I don’t. I don’t want to have to put on the tough face, I don’t want to hike up the big girl panties, I don’t want to have to start over again.
The voice knows this and I know this, and so here I sit. It’s Saturday night and I’m rewriting this for the third time today. How does one convey the agony of saying goodbye to quality people and the burning desire to protect your emotions from further pain, even if it’s what you've known your whole life. I was born and raised in the military life, I know what it expects, I know goodbyes are part of the territory. That doesn't make them any easier and as I age I keep asking myself is it worth it to put myself out there?
A lot of time and energy has to go into making and maintaining meaningful relationships, and that little voice is there to always ask me “Is it worth it”. I don’t know anymore. Part of me wants to say yes, yes it’s worth the hurt that will come one day. It’s worth the lifetime of memories, those moments over Oreos and books that bring a smile to your face and a small tear to your eye. Memories of curry lunches, pedicures when you've forgotten to shave your legs, because friends don’t care about that, and silly photos to fill the photo albums you keep safely tucked away. Memories that bring joy and pain in the same heart stopping moment.
Then part of me thinks about all the moments I've missed out on weddings, births, celebrations of life and death. The ups and downs of life, a friend is there for those, and when you consider yourself a friend to someone and you miss out on those moments, it hurts. It adds salt to the wound that goodbye already created. The voice reminds me “The less friends you have the less you’ll miss out on and the less guilt you’ll feel”. I've said over the years that I have given up making new friends, honestly it can be exhausting mentally, emotionally, and physically. No matter how often I say this though, I still climb back in the friendship ring. It’s getting harder to hop that rope though.
Can you ever reach a point when you listen to the small voice of doubt completely, throw in the towel, and cut yourself off from the risk of new relationships? I’m not sure myself. Maybe it’s something that only time will be able to answer.
How about you? Yes, you, the military spouse, the spouse of a nomad, whose life is one series of hellos and goodbyes. And you, the nomad who can barely recall the last five places you've lived.
What say you? How many rounds do you have in you before you listen to that nagging voice and tap out?
Copyright(c)2014 Rayven Holmes