As a kid I used to worship Napoleon and Julius Caesar. Strange heroes but they were mine. I had read somewhere that Napoleon believed in burning bridges, in never looking back while working towards his goals. A quick search through Google does not find the quote I am referring to and now I wonder if I had misread a passage in a book years ago and lived my life by a philosophy that Napoleon did not endorse (not that it really matters...). A majority of my youth I spent making friends and dissolving friendships (burning bridges) in the quest for "true friends." As I've matured I've accepted that there are only a few true friends in the world (I have found them thank god, but I am always willing to add to my list) and the rest are people I can enjoy but I do not need to know them on the most intimate level of friendship.
Today I called someone I had burned bridges with almost 4 years ago. Our friendship ended because we were friends by proxy through my boyfriend at the time and I felt he would keep his friends and I would keep mine after the breakup. Sadly, people who I thought were my friends, proved to be on "his side" of the breakup and he kept both sets of friends. It hurt that his lies were more believable than my truth but I moved on and left the young Jewish community entirely. Recently I heard that someone from my past had information on a topic I was curious about so I reached out to this person on Facebook and they asked me to call them.
I was extremely hesitant to reach out, not knowing what kind of reaction this person would have. I had burned bridges with several of this person's friends (all due to this breakup) and lashon hora has a great way of getting around the Jewish community. My reputation was in tatters for a long time, lies are more fun to believe. I was pleasantly surprised by the warm response and called immediately to chat with this friend from long ago.
As we discussed the past I felt emotions rising up from my chest. I felt like someone who really knew the whole story would finally understand I wasn't the evil "gold digger" that my ex told anyone who would listen. I know it doesn't matter what other people think. I know that the masses are just the masses easily manipulated by a sensationalized story. I know that the truth isn't really interesting to most people. I know that the gossip of four years ago that wounded me so deeply does not matter to anyone else. The past is in the past. Whatever other corny sayings are out there urging people to forgot and live in the present - I get it. However, there is something wonderful about sharing my side of the story. I am not blameless in the breakup but I am also not the all consuming bad guy I was made out to be in his story.
Upon writing this blog I am ashamed at the whole situation. I didn't need to share my side of the story. It doesn't matter if the other person believes me or him or any of it. I am ashamed at my need to be accepted and loved by this person or any person. Not everyone has to like me. I continually need to remind myself that not everyone is going to like me, no matter how nice I am or how much I bend over backwards to make other people like me. It's my life long challenge that some days I conquer and others I am washed away by my need to be liked by everyone.
I have a list in my head of people who don't like me, like me a little, like me a lot and love me. One of my best friends tells me all the time the list is just in my head!!!! Most of the people who I think don't like me probably really don't care one way or the other about me. And the few people who hate me, well, who cares, you can't be liked by everyone. I think Facebook plays really well into this insecurity for me. I see people having parties I wasn't invited to, messaging each other and ignoring my posts - the huge world where you once could move to a different state and never see the people from your past has quickly disappeared. Due to some Facebook friends I have from my old high school in Chicago I am asked to Friend people from my past I'd rather not associate with. High school reunions are being undermined by the fluidity of the internet and the ease of Facebook stalking people from your past. The past refuses to stay in the past - it's constant and alive haunting me in my present. And when I say haunting, I mean the past continues to replay in my mind taking up valuable energy that could be used for other needs. The past, the stories that helped me become who I am today, continues to live in my mind. I haven't put them away and forgotten about them. I still think about my ex boyfriends and ex friends and wonder what happened or how I can prevent the same thing from happening again. Life is about learning from our mistakes and moving on.
Interestingly I have found getting married and having a child has reset my world. All of a sudden I am accepted and loved because I am a mother. The past doesn't matter and I am approached by others with a new perspective - I am now Sadie's mom, not merely Esther. I like this fact and I think it's true. Motherhood changed me. I have learned how to live beyond my own needs and to do what needs to be done to keep my daughter content. Life is no longer about drama, boyfriends, dating or partying. My life now revolves around raising my daughter, giving her good values, taking care of my family and having play dates with other moms with kids. Some of the people who were not my friends in the past continue to not be my friends - and that's okay. Old drama and politics can run deep. I am also to blame. I don't go out of my way to rekindle old friendships or to pretend to forgive people all in the name of politics. I have a hard time forgiving a friend for forsaking me just because several years have gone by - sometimes the wounds run too deep.
However, upon writing this blog, I am realizing maybe it's time to forgive and move beyond the past. Perhaps by being kind there can be a truce. Yes, those people hurt me, but what's the point of holding on to grudges forever? It doesn't get me anywhere and it only creates conflict in my life that I don't need. Is it possible to live in a conflict free world? I don't know but I am willing to give it a try.
Meet the Blogger!
I'm a mom. A writer. A lover of good fantasy. A proponent of nursing when possible. A birth advocate. I am absolutely horrible at keeping my house clean or the dishes washed or the laundry done. I strongly believe in women having a positive birth. When we start to respect women's rights to birth the way they want, we can start to treat women as equal people in this world.
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