Again, a source of struggle. Wanting to do the right thing, be the right person and not having the energy or heart to do anything close to that.
I am nearing the end of the first week without actual work schedules. So far it is weird and I keep forgetting what day of the week it is. That is what free, unfettered time is doing to me.
One of the things I wanted to do was to have contact with a few friends with whom I had some issues during the past year or so. I am taking one, an older woman, out for one of her favorite excursions. It is a 12-hour-plus day and when I was still providing social contact for her, well, it just wore me out. However, I am staying positive about this day out and I know that we will have a good and very interesting time.
The other woman was always a little bit nosy, but, really, who among us is not some of the time. When I finally left that other life, she kept calling me and drilling me about the gory details. I explained that I preferred to not discuss any of it, and when she kept on I stopped answering her calls. Then, I had to get a less expensive phone and she no longer had my number and did not know where I had moved. One day I was having lunch by myself and she came up behind me. She was there with another friend and when she pulled out her address book and asked for my telephone number I gave it to her. Yeah, I know. In my defense, she told me that she had planned to show up where I work on Wednesdays, so giving her the information seemed a better choice.
The problem, as with most things on which I have to work, is that it is difficult to say 'no' to anyone for anything.
Part of that is not being able to say 'no' to anything in my other life. He would ask me to do something and I would do it, or not do it. Demurring, much less refusing, was not tolerated. Once you go down that path, it is impossible to turn back. If you try, the violence escalates, so you stop trying. It is safer.
But, it drifts into other parts of your life. That whole syndrome is the inspiration for the notion that if you want something done, that you ask a busy woman. As an aside, domestic abuse is supported and bolstered by those kinds of societal influences. No one ever says to ask a busy man, probably because the work and recreational activities of men are considered to be more important, inviolate.
Anyway, I am giving these two friendships another try, because I need to be sure that it is good for me to let them go, and the difficulty with them is not simply because I have been so stressed for so long.
Saturday will be the usual marathon with the first woman, and I will be meeting the second woman on Monday, and her suggestion for lunch is the same restaurant where I last saw her, the day I gave up my phone number.
Sure, I want to see if there is anything left of decades of friendship with these two women, but more importantly, I need to know how good and faithful a friend I can be. I need to find out if I am a decent person. Neither of them know that I have negative feelings about them.
They may suspect something, if only because the mess of the past months is really not sufficient reason to have prevented me from contacting them. When I spoke to the second woman tonight, to invite her to lunch next week, she said that she was glad to hear from me, and that she thought she might not. The day that I gave her my phone number I told her that I did not have many minutes on the phone. Unfortunately, she heard what I was really telling her and she shared that with me today. She said that I had told her that I would call her and that she should not call me.
I did not use those words, but that was exactly my intent. I suck.
So, I am very glad that I called her this evening and that she immediately accepted my invitation. I am glad that I will be seeing her and spending a long and luxurious lunch together. Frankly, I do not deserve her kindness and her generous spirit. What I did to her that day was unconscionable. Even with the enormous stress of that time, my behavior was despicable. I am feeling justifiable shame and it is my most fervent hope that I am learning something from this.
And, I hope that she considers us to be close enough friends that she is able to forgive me, because once we have ordered our lunch and are sitting and talking, I will apologize to her. At the very least, she deserves that, and if she chooses, cannot, forgive me, well, then I deserve that.