When I woke up this morning and looked out of the window at Capri, the rain had stopped, the sun was shining and I felt a sense of well being, that I hadn't felt in a while. When you have spent a period of seven months ill, everyday seems to be raining and dark. Each time you look through the crack in the curtains, the day always looks the same, it becomes part of the monotony of life, just another same old, just like all those that passed before kinda of day, where nothing changes. Today was a 'build on' day, where things are better, I am in a much better place, more determined, happy and comfortable with who I am, where I am heading and what I have to do in order to fully move forward in life. I suppose you could call it a feel good factor, rarely felt until recent times. I was and am now a strong person. I have an acquired personality, joyous most of the time, expressive, inclusive and accepting of others. I love people and being around them. Over the years I have made many friends and enemies and in all honesty, I do not find that process hard. I enjoy the company of others, the stories they have to tell and the lives they have lead. I find it very easy to empathise with others, put myself in their position and generally, at times feel what they are feelings.
I have such a varied, different and eclectic mix of people in my life. All of them are very different. Each person feeds an emotion within me, that when bought together, make me the person I am. Initially we are drawn to those in our life, through some sort of attraction. Whether that initial feeling is physical or mental is immaterial, the attraction exists and we strengthen our bonds through contact and growing esteem or just a plain ability to see something in others that others may not see. Most of the people I am close to today, I have either been warned about, told to keep at a distance or avoid like the plague. That is a sure fire sign for me to do the complete opposite. I have learned over the years, that when other people interfere or try to influence friendships and indeed relationships, it is for their own advantage. It really does amaze me, that we can be introduced to someone, by a mutual friend, who speaks highly of them, then in the next breath, they change their mind, when the friendship becomes, closer than they would otherwise like. Pure, selfish behaviour, with a whole lot of inbuilt jealousy. People like to control others, their feelings and influence the direction circumstances may take others. I have really never worked out why, but am as guilty as anyone when this happens, I guess it is part of human nature, it is what we do, so we can remain in charge of situations, that may go too far, for us to handle.
I used to be one of the worst kind of people, where friendships were concerned. I used to get terribly hurt, very easily. I had a set of standards that I always used, to live my life, and I generally expected those who I was connected too, to follow them also. As a friend, I am very loyal and supportive. If I believe in someone, I will give my all, to help them and make sure they are OK, even at the expense of myself. I truly believe, that the more you give others, the more it will be returned one day. That is not to say those you give to, will reciprocate your warmth, but maybe, just maybe they will and if they don't, others will. Karma if you will!
I was thinking this morning, as I had a cigarette in bed, about the network of close friends, I have around me at the moment. They are certainly, not those I imagined would be there for one minute, but then I never was a good judge of character, but they are people, with whom I finally feel comfortable. I was trying to work out the length of time I had known various people, my longest friendships, to those who have come into my life, relatively recently. There are also those I have known from school, spent a generation not talking too and finally rekindled that school time friendship.
Let me take Rachel for example. We were never close at School. She was always part of the popular group, who everyone wanted to hang around or be like. I last saw Rachel in 1987, when I left Henry Cort School. Our lives took very different paths. Rachel, settled down, had children and led a very successful life. I always regarded, Rachel as a bit of a rebel, outspoken and way out of my league, but she achieved everything I should have achieved. I was always quiet, blended in to the background, said very little and my no means popular. I had my friends, but they were few, close and very similar to me.
Rachel has settled into life very well. She is till a fabulous looking girl, just as I always remember her, has a personality to boot and has reached a point in her life, that I have yet to achieve. Rachel the rebel, became Rachel the success. When I look back to those days, and think about the ambitions I had and the hope for a glittering future, I could have never believed, that little old quiet me, would have become that forty something year old rebellious natured, outspoken, lover of people, that I never was. I became Rachel, in all but name and it really does make me think, just how strange life is. My life certainly! I still haven't reached any real conclusions, as to why thinks went so awry for me, when others became the success stories, I was always determined to be. May be luck has something to do with it. I know family bonds have much to answer for and of course sexuality at a time of discrimination has cut a swaithe throughout my existance and definitely made me the person I am.
Rachel was the only person, from my School days who came to my Wedding and I am so glad she did. Rachel had been on my facebook for a while. A lot of others from that period of my life had deleted me, after the latest rant from someone on a Bipolar cycle, that they found very difficult to understand. Rachel stuck around, yet I thought she would be the first person to delete me. It wasn't until I got really ill, after a second relapse, that I began to understand, what made Rachel, not only stick around, but also offer support, that many others, closer than she, couldn't. After a particularly bad episode, Rachel sent me a message, asking me to ring her. Me ring someone I hadn't even seen for over thirty years was a bit strange, but I bit the bullet and thought, why not, what is the worst that could happen?
Speaking to her on the phone, although alien, felt right. I instantly remembered her voice and was surprised just how well we got on. We had much in common also, which gave me an insight, as to why she stayed the course. Her words were caring, genuine and special, at a time when I needed all the support I could muster. I had plenty of friends around me, some very close, but for some reason, to hear from a School friend, who I never really had a close bond with in the past, meant all the difference. Rachel always seemed aloof at Henry Court, better than me, on a pedestal and way out of my league. In many respects I was always scared to even talk to her, yet here we were speaking on the phone, after all those years, as if I, at least was back at school. I was pouring my heart out, in a way I felt was so difficult in the past and to someone I barely knew. It felt right, as if it was meant to be. I have said many times before, that we are supposed to meet people for a reason, so may be, just maybe, we were supposed to meet for that very day. I felt proud to have Rachel in my life and grateful for all she was doing, although still could not quite believe I was speaking to her on the phone.
I asked Rachel if she would come to our Wedding, never believing she would, but deep down hoping and she agreed. That knocked me for six a bit. In a way I was still that shy child, who never felt good enough to have a friendship with the popular girl from School, and as weird as my life was at that stage, it was comforting knowing that someone from School was thinking of me, not only that, but we came from the same small town, grew up at the same time, knew the same people and had a connection, that I didn't have else where. That was a secure, almost loving feeling. A positive link to my past, when I thought there was none. It gave me a tingly feeling inside, butterflies in my stomach and a feeling of acceptance, from a period in time, when there was none.
The day of the Wedding came. I was as nervous as hell. I was marrying the man I loved, LEGALLY, surrounded by those who were important and I was as happy as Larry. I was also deeply tense that certain people would not turn up, which is inevitable at a wedding, but I was especially anxious that Rachel wouldn't attend. I really wanted her to be there, and just thought she would forget, have something better to do or would be, like me, just too scared to come.
I need not have worried, she came. When she arrived, although it felt awkward at first, that soon dissipated and I felt real joy at having her there. I was proud to introduce Rachel as a School friend and that reassurance I sought was there in spades. She made an impact on all my friends who she met, they adored her, enjoyed her company and felt happy to be speaking to her, as did I. Rachel said to me afterwards, she was worried what my friends would make of her, yet her calm exterior and composed stature said different. I felt apprehensive, thinking, I hope I don't make a dick of myself and hoping Rach would get on with everyone, yet she was thinking exactly the same.
Rachel said some lovely words about the great and the good in my life. She said I had some truly wonderful friends and felt very welcomed by everyone. All of that worrying I did, and probably Rachel did also was really just part of friendship. We all want our friends to be accepting of others close, in fact we are all constantly seeking acceptance for ourselves also. If one values another person highly, one wants them to feel comfortable and at ease with all those in ones life. I know from experience that when your partner is accepted for who they are, by those he holds dear, yet they can not accept me, for who I am, it makes life very painful and challenging. Everyone should accept others for who they are, make no assumptions, not put barriers up, or get involved in others friendships or relationships. When this does happen, it does make life difficult for all those concerned.
So what was the point of this blog today? Why did I feel the need to talk about Rachel? Well, most people find it hard talking about friends with any affection. When one talks about people affectionately, one shows feelings and weakness. I would be the first to put up a barrier and pretend to be hard and not get hurt, but over the last seven months, I have gained a lot of strength through friends, not through being distant, not through ignoring feelings, not through being unable to show emotions. I have grown to realise that strength, in character, will power and ability, is really shown through being the person you were meant to be, not being afraid to say what you feel and always, without exception offering inspiring, loving and true words, to others, when you want to say them. If you have something nice to communicate, do it in a way that you feel comfortable with, say them with meaning, let the words flow freely, don't edit them, water them down or muddy there meaning. Just damn well say what you feel.
Peace and Love Always!