14 May 2008

Remembering when all my eggs in the Longaberger basket crashed to the floor

Okay, take 2 after computer issues.

After reading Sonny's blog, I thought it would be a good idea to blog about a friendship that was going pretty well until things weren't going well anymore.

A small intro: I went on my first missions trip to Northern Ireland and met Bex. I tend to shy away from others in situations where there are large groups of people, it's something I try to overcome by challenging myself to try to meet at least 2 other people when I go out on my own, such as to concerts, and it's also the reason I prefer to go on missions trips solo, instead of with a group of people I know. The trip I went on in 2002 was a 3 week trip and our team ended up just outside Dublin, and I had a hard time bonding with others, because of shyness and being scared, but I ended up bonding with Bex (who I found out a few days later felt as I did). Anyway, once I was back home, we ended up talking frequently, and that was how I ended up staying with her family for 3 months before my 'year out' began. Also, I decided when I went over that I'd go over early to go to a festival as well as get to know the area, and how the bus/train system worked since I wasn't used to that and wanted to be able to get around and know where to shop on my own.

My 'year out' was actually 15 months and began in June (2003) when I went over early to see my host mum from the previous summer, and to attend SummerMadness and lived with Bex's family for those 3 months before we started Y-1 (the link is our team and it lists our locations, etc.) with Youth For Christ. Living with a family is the best way to really learn the differences in cultures and be able to not only learn about their culture, but also outside views on the USA.

Later on, in December, I was living in Belfast with 2 young ladies my age and working at the SM office as well as attending a church plant called Wells and having a great time being in a different culture. At this point I had spent a great deal of time with Bex, sometimes going out to her house on weekends, as well as getting to know her friends and hangin' out when they were getting together. At some point between summer and autumn, I had started hangin' out with her friends, sometimes with Bex and sometimes not. She was pretty busy with the band she was in as well as work. So this led to the beginning of what I didn't realize was a problem. Mind you if I was getting together with our friends we nearly always invited her, unless we knew that she had a gig or something else going on. Of course what I learned in hindsight is that this was not how she saw it, but not realizing she was bottling up all her feelings about what was going on in her mind instead of saying anything to me I went on in my merry ways and would ask our friends to hang out, not purposefully leaving her out, but in her mind leaving her out none the less.

This all came to a head sometime mid-December, when Bex had been acting odd and I met up with a mutual friend Christine for lunch. I thought I'd bounce some ideas off her and see if she knew what was up, as I was getting worried about Bex and wasn't sure what was going on. I knew how close she was to Christine so I thought she'd maybe know. Sure enough, I heard about it. She even asked me if I didn't know what I had done. No, I replied, I'm totally clueless as to what is going on, and I'm not sure if I need to apologize for and why I would even need to. I asked what I had done and Christine kept asking me what I thought and trying to get me to figure it out. I finally got pretty frustrated and asked her to just tell me instead of trying to make me guess because I honestly felt like we were in high school! Well, she asked, how would you feel if you had a friend, and introduced her to your other friends and suddenly your friend swooped in and took all your friends? Again, I'm thinking, this is odd, that's not what I did. So we went on to discuss this, me being pretty confused and defending myself, talking about how everytime we got together we DID invite Bex, other then the times I already knew she had gigs, or a date or something. Well, that's not how she's taking it..and so on. I'm not one to cry but I'm pretty sure I felt so attacked I did at some point in this conversation. Anyway, after this I went home and was pretty upset. I wasn't sure how to handle the situation and ended up venting to 2 of my close friends, that I had met through SummerMadness.

It was during this time of venting that I came to the realization, with my 2 friends help, that I had been putting mostly all my eggs in one basket with Bex. I hadn't realized how much I depended on her for so much and here I was letting her down. The worst part of this whole situation was her family had no idea this was going on with her, since again, she wasn't one to open up about this sort of thing easily, and I was invited to Christmas at their home. By this time I had talked to Bex, and apologized but she was still harboring resentment and not really talking to me. There wasn't anyway to avoid her family for Christmas, since they knew I didn't have anywhere else to go and so I went. Into the what I'll remember as a Christmas with her amazing family but while receiving an almost full on silent treatment from her. Her family quickly figured out something was wrong, but was unsure what had occured and I wasn't about to attempt to explain this, as I would have come off as defending my actions. This time period started off one of the worst months I was over there, and it was a depressing time, as I tried to find my bearings after losing such a close friend and attempting to make amends as well as trying not to cut out mutual friends, but also, unsure of how to go on with them without hurting Bex more.

The pain and disappointment I felt had me re-evaluating everything that I'd done since coming over in June, and making me want to return to America for at least a small break. This is when I phoned home and asked if I could return home for a friends wedding, that was the reasoning anyway, even though I really wanted to escape from the whole situation. What ended up coming of this was my mom coming for a visit at the end of March, and we travelled all over the UK, which was a good escape for a while.

I was able to get past this situation but it's something that has changed the way I see friendships and the value I place in them.

Occasionally I see Bex, when I go over for the festival each year, and it's always awkward for me and scary. I get nervous and I'm not sure what to say to her. And sometimes I even chat to her online, but once you go through a situation like that, how does one come back? They don't, at least not truly. The lesson here? Not putting all your eggs in one basket. But it's also about how you see your friendship, and how your friend may see it, in a COMPLETELY different light.

3 comments:

Sonny Amou said...

Hmm, you might want to consider something like Toastmasters. It's a volunteer group that forces you to get up in front of strangers and discuss any topic on the fly. The first time will suck, but by the fourth or fifth you'd be surprised.

That's a random observation. I may have more later. Interesting start to a blog, but beware the perils of starting a chrono...it'll start to own you.

Pax,
SA

Nicole said...

LOL - Was Sonny your inspiration for the story or for the length of the story. hehe

Sonny - if you're reading this comment, I'm just teasing!

Sonny Amou said...

Nic,

None taken. I have a pretty thick skin. P.S. I fixed your link, so check that when you've a chance (all of my links went wacko about a month ago).

Pax,
S.Amou