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Nov
30

FEELINGS – they get bruised

This past Thanksgiving weekend I was thinking again about what it means to be thankful.

The standard list is pretty much the same for everyone; a job with enough money, people to love and love you back, your health in place… the basic needs for a relatively happy life.

Are these “basics” in place for me and my wife? Yeah, they are.

So what you’re about to read could very well make me seem “small” in your mind. You may never want to read another word I write. You may think I’m ungrateful and immature or egocentric. Maybe I am.

But I don’t want to be.

I want to be so secure and confident and autonomous that I don’t need validation from others. I’m getting better with that. I don’t beg for compliments or super approval at work. I don’t demand that everyone talk about me at parties or hear what I have to say. I’m a listener.

And as far as my blogging goes… well, sure, I’d love to have more readers and comments. I’d love to know I’m making a difference, maybe helping someone with their problems. I’d love to connect with you all. But if it doesn’t happen, I won’t beat myself up.

Still, friendships are important to me – but they’ve got to be honest.

So when someone close to me dies, which is the most honest thing anyone can do, I look around my life and the people within it and ask, where is honesty, truth and loyalty? How much of that am I actually living? Or is my life a façade of social ritual meaning very little? Because when someone dies, it’s too late to finally make that meeting happen that you kept promising.

I often write about this topic, “truth and honesty,” because so little of it is expressed in our society. And this lack of sincerity, with its manipulation and deceit, really bothers me, because it doesn’t have to be this way.

It really doesn’t.

But lying and cheating or simply “blowing you off” is everywhere. And I’m still trying to come to terms with it.

That’s why, when I meet a person with integrity, I want to be their friend. I want to keep their purity concentrated and hold it near me. I want to feel like I have backup, and that the world can be trusted. I want to believe people are basically “good” and kind and generous. I want to believe we are all safe and that there is nothing to fear.

I want to believe all that. But I can’t. Not yet.

All I can do, is make my personal world a little more ethical by populating it with honest and sincere people.

It ends up being a very small world.

Maybe that’s me. Probably is. Maybe I expect too much of people. Or maybe I expect the worst and get it.

If that’s the case, I’m messing up. And I should change it. But for that to happen I have to believe in the righteousness of humanity. Tough one for me.

Generally I think most people are greedy, fearful, self-centered, lazy and uninformed. I know. Sounds elitist and conceited. But that’s the world I see in the workplace, in the news, worldwide. It’s a Me-First Universe.

Sure, there are many exceptions. There are wonderful people out there. But 99.9% of those souls are not in my world. They’re not physically close to me, or want to be more open when I meet them. This may be another reason why I entered the social network. Closeness comes in a various packages, and I seek them.

My Aunt Elly died two weeks ago, the third death of a close friend or relative in five months. And as I started to tell you already, when people die around me, I reevaluate my connections to the people still living: the people I call my “friends” and my extended family. And then I get “real” with them. I reach out… or I cut them loose. And I tell them why.

Lately I’ve been calling aunts and uncles and cousins to wish them a happy holiday. No worlds got rocked but they told me it was nice that I called, and that appreciated it. I guess that’s all that’s necessary, that they know I care about them.

But I also care about getting my own feelings hurt, which still happens. And I try to avoid it.

One of the ways I stop getting hurt, is dropping insincere friendships. This usually happens after I attend a funeral.

Here’s a story. Tell me if I did the right thing or if I need counseling:

I’ve been friendly with John for twelve years. I met him through my drumming hobby. John is a pro studio drummer and I wanted some lessons. He offered to help me and that relationship turned into something more: something that seemed like a friendship with casual meet-ups and intimate discussions.

But looking back over the years, I realized I initiated all the calls and our four or five non-drumming get togethers. John called me when he was performing and I supported him in that way. And when we talked over the phone, and I suggested face time at some coffee shop, John always promised to get back to me on that. He never did. It was me who pressed it.

That sort of hurt. I really liked John. I wanted a brother-type connection, something I had never had growing up. Once John actually told me he “loved” me, in a Bible-reading, praying-every-night, close-to-the-Lord kind of way.

But I never “saw” the “love.” Well, actually I did; in the few times we were together. But that was rare. And so I decided to never call him again, for the second time.

A year passed. Out of the blue, I got a call from John. He was now engaged and he wanted to introduce his fiancé to my wife and me. So he coaxed me into an invitation in my home, not his.

Okay. Fine. And over drinks and food John offered to reciprocate the dinner with one at his house. Never happened.

Half a year later he called me again for idle conversation while he waited for his fight to take off at some airport. And he told me that when he returned, we would rendezvous at a restaurant in the valley.

Did this happen? Again I wrote him off.

Then last month, John’s fiancé called to invite me to her future husband’s 50th birthday party. I immediately called John asking if we could meet before that. As a guest at his big party, I knew I’d have little chance to talk to him. John said, sure, he’d get back to me.

He didn’t.

And then Aunt Elly died. I wrote John a long letter telling him our “friendship” was nothing of the sort and that I would not act as a “prop” at his tribute day party.

I thoroughly burned that bridge, telling him never to write or call me again. I was hurt. I felt like I had been taken for granted, like a Christmas toy displayed only at holidays.

I was chasing a friendship that didn’t really exist. So I called him on it. And yeah, I’ll admit it here. There was revenge involved.

Was that being small? Was I overly sensitive? Should I have taken the “higher moral ground” and gone to his party, and given him a present, and pretended everything was fine?

I ask because I’m not feeling any better after my declaration of independence. And I’m not so sure it made a positive difference.

 

This post was originally published on Curiosity Quills.

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5 comments

  1. Edwin Tucker says:

    There was nothing wrong in sending the letter. It did show however that you had endured the relationship for too long, hoping and waiting for something that was not
    going to happen.
    We are social animals, we need each other to survive, yet it is foolish to expect
    that people will never let us down.
    I have dissaponted and betrayed in one way or another most if not every friend that I have had. I strive to be more constant and faithful but I keep falling down.
    I cannot make myself perfect, but I can become much more patient and forgiving of others.

  2. Jerry's cousin says:

    I think you are a very sensitive man, but there is nothing wrong with that. In the party situation, I too, would not have gone and it wouldn’t have bothered me. I don’t think that’s being small, just being honest. You shouldn’t let it bother you so much. Back in the 40s, 50s and 60s, we lived in a different world. People were more honest, hard working and trustworthy. Today, we live in the “me first” generation. Today, people will do whatever they need to do to get what they want – even ignore, step on their friends. It’s not fair but we have to deal with it.
    Irv, you need to have tougher skin, write off the “props” and move on. It’s better to have one nice/good friend than a gaggle of fair weather friends.

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      Thanks for your kind words, JC. As I said in my post, I see such little loyalty around me, especially in the work place, that when I do find kind and honest people, I treasure them. You have followed this blog from the beginning. I can’t help but put you on my short list of special people.

      Irv

  3. Arthur King says:

    Your feelings about honesty are curious. After all, as you have yourself indicated, Irving Podolsky is a pseudonym. How can you expect your readers to be honest with you if you are not honest with us? Your own fear– manifest by concealing your identity– calls into question the authenticity of the feelings. As far as the brutal honesty that you expect from others, Iriving P should know that even the Talmud permits one to lie in order to tell an ugly woman she is beautiful on her wedding day.

    The premise of the mistress story is not plausible. Typically publicly funded rehab/detox programs are not provided through cash grants but through service provision. The issue is the wait time for admission. If a woman were hitting me up for money to get her brother into detox because she couldnt get funds from the government, i would immediately suspect a scam. If you are forcing this woman to sell herself for some greater good, at least make the greater good plausible.

    I respect your efforts at writing but if you are so uncompromising in your demands for honesty, you may well find yourself hoisted on your own petard.

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      Okay… Points taken.

      I write under a pen name because professionally I have publicly established myself in the entertainment business and that other perception of me would conflict with my identity as a writer. If you’ve been following my blog, you may “know” more about me than the people I work with.

      Regarding my premise. I researched rehabilitation as best I could. I’ve never had it myself. If the word “grant” is wrong for the state funding process, then I stand corrected. But I remember reading it somewhere on the internet.

      I understand why you might feel my premise not plausible. And according to the way you live it might not be. But you have to keep reading to see how this plays out before you evaluate the characters. Jennifer isn’t hitting up any man. She is joining a sugar baby- sugar daddy matching service. And every guy who uses that service knows what he’s getting into. Beyond that, Jen doesn’t tell her dates why she needs the money. The reason why she is trying to help her brother now, even if it means dating for fast cash, goes deep into family dysfunction. This history is revealed as the story progresses.

      And sure, I could have thought of other ways to make Jen cross the line. But as I researched this story, I discovered that many college girls are dating sugar daddies for no other reason than paying off school loans. Now, are these girls “bad” in your assumption? Or anyone’s assumption? And if so, why?

      It’s THIS question I’m investigating with the story.

      I appreciates your comments, Arthur. I’ll respond to anything you want to bring up.

      Irv

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