Updated: Mar 25
FLAW- Friendship Can Hurt
LAW- Friendship Can Heal
Raya, our little podcast puppy whose name means “Friend,” had surgery this morning, and it did not go well. If she weren’t so uncomfortable, I’d say it is me who is the more traumatized one, but I highly doubt she would agree.
No matter what the ailment or procedure, there is a certain kind of heaviness that weighs in the room of convalescence: a quiet stillness that feels both sterile and tainted, a recognition that something has been invaded that never should have been. A life. A body. And with a dog, maybe a goodly amount of trust, though I am already hard at work trying to win that back. She’s sweet and I haven’t left her side, so we’re making headway together, I’d say.
So naturally, while sitting in a room with a puppy whose name means Friend—with a little too much time on my hands—I’m stuck inside my thoughts (when I was rather looking forward to being stuck inside Netflix). The parallel between her surgery, the invasive cuts of friendship, and the effects it has had on so many women are making it hard for my mind to get fixed anywhere else.
Looking at it from an objective, aerial point of view, Friendship should be a fairly simple and enjoyable process in our lives—and for some it is—but the stories we often hear are the heartbreak of it, leaving women struggling to breathe, like my puppy, with wounds that are not easy to get over.
When this happens, many women find it easier to cut Friendship altogether than to repair it or try again, and because of its treatment as something extraneous in our lives that shouldn’t hurt so much when it ends, the devastation often goes unacknowledged and hidden. Writer Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett acknowledges the pain and asks, “Why don’t people talk about this?” (Link to article: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/apr/21/like-having-limb-cut-off-pain-friendship-breakups)
So I wonder where Friendship finds us all today: Struggling to breathe? Too sore to move? Heavy and still? In the upswing of recovery? On the full mend? Ecstatic and fulfilled? Or is it not really a presence at all?
To answer Ms. Cosslett’s challenge, I’ll talk about it, and I’ll even unashamedly go first.
A few years ago, I would have classified myself in the “too sore to move” category. To say I had a friendship end badly is to put it mildly. It was the worst breakup that left me pouring over endless replays of conversations, untangling a mess of emotions that weighed heavier than possessions accumulated between a married couple, and reeling from the sudden silence of my days where laughter and camaraderie used to fill the empty spaces.
Watching my puppy now, I remember how it felt like surgery when my friend and I parted, and how I too struggled to breathe. How when I looked around for help, there were a few who wanted to but no one could quite grasp what I had lost or what I was feeling. It was a loss of such proportions, unequivocal to any I had felt before.
In that season, I also remember how a new friend made time for me. Even though she walked in on the strangest season of my life, she somehow weathered the ups and downs, and through her I learned to try and trust again and eventually heal. Even though we’ve had our struggles, it's been nothing like the friendship before her, and now we are together for the long haul, staking a claim in the ground of Friendship through a blog and podcast about what it means to stay when it’s hard, laugh when it’s good, and celebrate friendship when we build it to last. You just never know who’s going to walk in and make everything better, even when it’s through the doorway of a gaping hole where someone else used to be.
And when I look at Tabatha now, I'm so thankful the doorway was clear.
At least in my experience, I don’t know any other way to heal Friendship wounds than to bind them up with Friendship. For every person who’s been hurt by someone, I truly believe there’s another person out there who’s waiting to love you through it, just like how my friend did for me, and how I will do for this little dog who was given to us as a promise of Friendship.
Even now as I write, Raya is beginning to show signs of perkiness, her stomach is growling, and at least one of her ears is back where it belongs – pointing upward (though still a little floppy)!
I will happily take that as a sign that Friendship is beginning to perk up all around us: that we will acknowledge the pain of it long enough to get to the healing of it, and move on together in it, higher and higher.
So if you want to talk about it…
It is not wrong to want Friendship.
It is not shameful to have been hurt by it.
It is not uncommon to have been left alone in it.
It is not unreasonable to say you will be healed by it.
When time doesn’t heal all wounds, maybe it’s waiting on the right person to do the job so that, like Raya, you'll make a full recovery in the name of Friendship, the way it's meant to be.
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This week on THE FLAWS OF FRIENDSHIP Podcast (Episode 27), we'll talk about the Hurt and Healing that Friendship Can Bring. Subscribe Here.
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