Swinging Back vs Shutting Up - 10.24.97

For the most part, I think I've always been a fairly laid-back person. There are probably one or two instances where I may have gotten a little hyped up, but I'd venture to say I'm an easy-going person most of the time. It's not like I blow everything off and have no drive, but I've always tried not to let things get to me.

I think that this is mostly been a good thing. There haven't been too many times when I've gotten mad or yelled at someone else and I rarely get into arguments with anyone. I have been known to take things out on myself, but it's not very often that I get upset with anyone else. I don't really hold grudges against people, so I've even managed to stay friendly with people that have given me the shaft (unless they're completely unreceptive).

While is has tended to be something that I'm happy with, I've also kind of looked at it as a major fault at times. Again, I think that it's roots kind of start from a friendship that I had earlier on in my life. I'm not sure whether one would even call it a friendship in very many senses of the word. Yes, there were times when my friend and I hung out and did things together, but it was more of an abuse of power than anything else.

Basically, the friendship went on between us for a long time as I explained in my other essay. I would always end up feeling sort of defeated, although I probably shouldn't have. One day during recess, I guess I had finally had enough of everything. I had just cracked an innocent joke about something he had done when he slugged me in the arm. The pain was there, but it wasn't sinking in like it usually did. Before I'd even thought about it, I lolled back my fist and hit him in the arm as hard as I could.

Everyone around us looked stunned for a moment, including my friend. Soon, his face changed to show a bit more. I didn't hurt him by any means, but now he was mad. Everyone was looking at him to see what his reaction would be, but he really didn't do anything. After a few moments, he called me an "asshole" and just turned around and walked off. For once, he didn't punch me back or do anything else to get himself back in the drivers seat. The crowd disapated and I was kind of just left there standing by myself in front of the playground equipment. From that day on, we never hung out quite as much as before. It wasn't as if we didn't get along, but there was a new tension between us. After this had gone on awhile, I think I missed the friendship, no matter how messed up it was. We had spent a lot of time together and I didn't want to lose everything. Instead of having a big fight or showdown to end things, our friendship just sort of faded away. We attended the same school right up until graduation, but things were never quite the same.

I'm not sure whether it has much to do with my forgiving approach when it comes to friendships, but it seems to be one of the only things that makes sense to me. I think that I've definitely let a lot of things slide, simply because I'm afraid that I'll lose all the time that I've invested in getting to know someone. There have been times where I've been hurt fairly badly by people. I've had relationships go terribly sour and people I thought were good friends have done things to me that I only thought happened in movies. Through it all, though, I've managed to stay friends with a great majority of the people that I've come to know very personally over the past several years.

There have definitely been times when I know I should have said something to someone. The days pass by and I don't even bring up the situation, and at times I've gotten very angry with myself. After all, if these people were truely my friends, would they have done such things? Perhaps, but I should still be able to at least talk to them about it and work things out instead of letting them simmer in my head and then completely forgiving or forgetting. Friendships are mutual and if you can't talk about them, there's not much chance that they're going to be very stimulating anyway. Besides, always taking what is given is too much of a wimp-out route, and it just ends up causing uneccessary hurt in the end.

When I think about it more, it kind of comes down to a long-standing fear I have of being alone without any close friends to talk to and confide in. I'm sure that everyone has had thoughts of this nature at some point in their life. Although it's great to be independent and alone a lot of the time, there are some times when you just need to sit down and talk to someone about what has been going on. It's a fairly natural fear to have, but eventually I have to try and figure out which people would actually be there for me when that need arises.