Sunday, 16 August 2009

i call you friend. do you?

When I was younger I used to have this unnatural fear of 'what if they don't come home today?' when my parents went for a late night meeting. I don't know why I used to think that way. I learnt to dismiss it as a stupid thought and laugh at myself for being silly. Thinking about it now, what if it was more than a silly childish fear, but a symptom of a deeper-rooted problem?
Sometimes I wonder if there is something in my psych that makes me withdraw from people that I want to be close to, as if I am afraid of intimacy. Looking at my track record of maintaining friends over any sort of distance, or non-distance, it's not very encouraging. I have many acquaintances, yes. My cg leader accuses me of being a church-politician - I seem to know many people from everywhere. And it's true. I meet people. I remember (most of) their names. I recognise (most of) their faces. More often, they remember me when I don't remember them.
[aside] And yet within a year of leaving, it's as if I don't exist in their memories anymore.
Maybe it's my fault. I haven't been very intentional about building friendships, or very purposeful about maintaining them. Maybe for all intents and purposes I am the one who has ditched them, in a way. But why? Maybe because I never felt like I belonged with them. Maybe because I always felt the awkward one, the odd one out. I read blogs and feel bitter and envious of the strong friendships that some people have built from childhood up to the present. I am bitter about the bonds they have because I feel that I have missed something in this intentional/unintentional solitariness of mine. Unintentional because I want to be part of them. Intentional because I do not want to impinge on a group that obviously does not want or need me.
Maybe at the very core of this bitterness is the fear of being left alone, left behind. It always feels like I'm one step forward, two steps back when everyone else is keeping a steady pace and momentum. Maybe at the core of this fear is the disappointment of broken relationships in the past, whose ghosts I have never laid to rest. The ghosts of little girls and adolescent boys. The ghosts of friends who were acquaintances. And maybe it's time to lay these ghosts to rest.
Sometimes I think to compensate for this, I am overly grabbing in my relationships with those I met through iBridge camps. It's like I have finally found a no-holds-barred group that I am comfortable with and I do not want to lose it. Overcompensation? Maybe.
Or maybe this is what building friendships is about - pursuing fellowship, making time, sharing thoughts and experiences. Occasionally being in your face, because I want this friendship to work, and I am tired of drifting.
I cannot help the me-time I need as part of my nature. But I can help the friend-times I wish to see. It's time to intentionally build those bridges.

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