Saturday, May 01, 2010

Friends are God's way of apologizing to us for our families...


Take a good look at your relatives. Uh-huh. Yes, you have that Uncle. We all have that Uncle. In my family you could usually find him face down on the sofa after Thanksgiving dinner claiming it's the L-Tryptophan...BUT with an empty six-pack next to him. I like to think he was born in the shallow end of my gene pool. And so having these things called relatives we all grow up looking for our real family.

What we find are called friends. I have had some amazing friends in my life. Still do. I've actually never dropped anyone I've believed in - and I've never dropped anyone who's believed in me. I've never turned down anyone's love or support - unless they betray me.

This is why I love Facebook. I have 562 friends. Yes, I do. Yes, I know they all exist in cyberspace. Nonetheless I love FB even knowing as I do all the ways people can hurt you with it. It has connected me with old boyfriends, first boyfriends, old girlfriends, current girlfriends, past co-workers, creative friends, and entertainers I've both worked with and admired. And my love, Stanley Tucci. Well, I'm connected to him. He isn't connected to me...just yet. hee hee hee... (And yes, I realize that most of my friends are virtual - but there IS some peace in knowing that I could call them up if I wanted to. They are not Farmville animals...)

You know what? I am a loyal friend. I am a good friend. I am there for you. I appreciate my friends because I know that true friendship; which I define as a mutual attachment, bond, that link in understanding, that is hard to come by. I am usually really careful when I choose my friends and let someone into my life because of my little penchant for being there for them no matter what. Remember? I'm the girl who's reeeeaalllly bad at ending things? I am the consummate second-chance-giver. I throw no one away. I tend to seek out friends as soul-mates, intimates, alter egos, defenders, champions. And I mirror their esteem back to them.

I remember a friend wanted to set me up on a date recently with Frankie Valli. I said, OMG I CAN'T!!!!!! If I date him and like him I'll never get rid of him - and eventually, ok very soon, he is gonna die - and if I have trouble killing a spider how am I gonna do waking up with a body?!?!?!?!?... Yes. Me. Straight to hell.

Hollywood is a tough town to have friends in. It's the place, according to Marilyn Monroe, where they'll pay you a thousand bucks for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul. Although I believe any big city is like that. A city is the place where people gather from all over to let their hometowns and all that they were in them and any friends that came with them disappear. I too fled a house full of mentally and emotionally challenged adults and watched them disappear when I came rip-roaring out of the Northern California Bay Area - but I believe I retained my ability to bond my heart with and form an alliance with affection and trust and hope. And you know what, that hopey changey thing works out great for me. I let people in my life be who they are and only move away from them when they hurt me enough.

The hardest part about loving friends is that there is the risk you might be betrayed by them. What I remember keenest about being divorced is losing my best friend. I always felt that my marriage was a true friendship that had crossed the line with a kiss. I truly believed that the last place I'd get screwed was at home. There are different kinds of betrayal, but I define it as the abuse of your faith in someone. It is the ultimate act of faithlessness. It can be called duplicity, selling someone out, falseness, double-dealing. Hard to say which is most painful. Easy to remember having experienced them all. None fun.

My friendship betrayal has a bizarre pattern. I meet a person who makes my heart smile. I let him or her - NEVER an it - into my life. We become friends. They like me. They want to be like me. They want to be me. (I make being me look easy.) They try to figure out what makes me me. Then they try to be me. (It's a little harder than it looks. There is some serious pathology there! hee heeeeeee) When they can't be me, they blame me for being me. Then they simply want to kill me and someone ends up crying. Usually it's me. For being me.

When they stalk out of my life they are usually furious at me for being me. To show me who's boss, they crustily go back to being themselves - as if I had tried to make them drink the me Kool-Aid. Listen, not that it's any great shakes to be me. I think the big allure in it - is that I like me. Warts and all. Just as I had liked them. Warts and all.

I think it's vital to have more to your relationship than just the loving the warts though. Many a friendship has been based on a mutual hatred of a third party. This is why they call your next relationship the rebound relationship - without a lot of serious introspection chances are your strongest attraction to each other is a hatred/jealousy of the last person one of you loved.

There is also the wart-like common enemy friendship. I recently rid myself of a common enemy relationship. Talented guy. Huge hater. As embarrassed as I am to admit it, his friendship filled a niche for me. I could let him hate and revile everyone and everything and I could live vicariously through it. He had enough bile in his veins for the both of us. The friendship fell apart according to plan; loves me, wants to be me, can't be me, hates me and then wants to kill me. I got out of there at Stage Four - the hates me part. But when hatred of that kind is couched in friendship it's hard to tell when you are at that stage. You need the trigger. The betrayal. It happened.

Despite the love I felt for this friend - the deep affection for, total acceptance of, the fondness, warmth and familial intimacy - I cut him loose. His profound insecurity and his inability to be loyal had caught him up. There are things friendship makes me turn a blind eye to, but I'm a lot like Tyra Banks, and with the requisite chin wagging - do not play with my money, honey. Do not play with my money. My favorite tic about this particular relationship was that he thought his meanness was evened out by a spiritual veil. He was stunned to think he would lose a friend when he had the power to pull someone's arm down and tell them what vitamins they needed. I love LA.

"But I'm a homeopath! Trust me!"

People can suck at times - I mean we all suck at times. But I'll tell you - when you are at the bottom, it is your friends who will be there raising your face into the sun, hugging you into health and reminding you that your are the princess of the planet. They are friends who ooze candor, honesty, authenticity, sincerity and arrive with vodka.

I had a true good girlfriend love me through the lowest point of my life. A period when I had forgotten that everything eventually passes and that the only constant in life is change. She and I were out power-shopping for jeans that didn't make us look our age when asked me something. Fifty paragraphs later we get to the point of this blog. (Stanley, you will learn to love this about me, trust me.)

I am on this teetering path to remember to "expect the best" from everyone and everything. Sometimes I forget - and my sharp little tongue takes over my body - as I assume the worst. She asked if I have been hurt too badly to ever trust again. I didn't know offhand - and that so bugs me. Every question is a quiz I must ace. I took a fearless inventory.

I looked back and found myself grateful for every person who walked in and out of my life. I don't feel the need to belittle anyone (in order to justify the hurt) simply because I am clear about who in my life matters, who never did, who won't anymore, and who always will. I answered her that I think we ALL have been hurt - especially if we are sentient beings over the age of seven - and I think that defines all of the dozen or so of you who read this - but I truly truly truly hope I can trust again. Trust off the bat. Expect the best. It's definitely my goal.

But to be completely truthful, because I was the kind of kid who read the directions and did NOT need to place her hand in the flames to figure out that "fire burns" I think the next person to get in will probably have to earn that right. I am careful now, though I do try to go through life with joy in my heart and tenacity of spirit and a picture of Stanley under my pillow. It keeps the dark circles from under my eyes. Sure, I have been hurt and I'm even gimp. It's only a flesh wound.

I eagerly await friendship. I eagerly anticipate love and will know him the second I meet him. I will accept nothing less and as Oscar Wilde said, "if you are not too long, I will wait for you all my life." But I also know, like I know the sun will rise tomorrow, that when the love is there I will accept it and embrace it - and then take it shopping at Tiffany's.



Until then, I have my family - warts and all. My daughter - 18 and all. (In the picture above. You have NO IDEA how hard it was for me not to sound like my mother..."If you do that with your eyes they'll stay like that!!!!) And my friends - all that vodka. Lots of what I learned about love and friendship comes from AA Milne. Here's a favorite quote of mine. I like to pretend it is spoken directly to me:

promise me you'll always remember:
you're braver than you believe,
and stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think.

- Christopher Robin to Pooh

You know you love me. Candi

does anyone read this......................


Lee said...

Once more you give us something to think about.

I think we've all been where you have been at one time or another. (I know I have.) But like the old song said, "Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again."

Above all else, there is one reason we love you, Candi. You care. Your friends matter to you...even ones you've never met. If I were to relate the number of times I've imposed on you for prayers for my relatives, I don't think it would take all night to read, but the fact that you did so without hesitation is important, and shows the true character you have. I'm honored to be one of your (currently) 562 friends. And I still look forward to the day I can back you up on drums while you boogie to "A-B-C", and then we can go to Tiffany's.

Is it a date? :)

Gerry said...

Candi: How and why anyone in their right mind could hate you for being who you are is a mystery. It's you being exactly who you are that makes you a great person and friend. Honesty is a top priority in ANY relationship, and I'd say your pretty darn honest about yourself. I'm proud to be one of your friends, as should anyone lucky enough to know you (Mr. Tucci, please take note!).

If you and Lee ever do that "ABC" jam, I'll bring over my bongos and see if we can snag Tower of Power's horn section for the night!

Lee said...

Tower of Power? NOW you're talking!

Candi Milo said...

Thanks guys - but you know, I think all the wrong kinds of friendships follow that path of adoration/loathing. For everyone! Think about the people you know who are no longer a part of your it happened.

I'll bet there's at least one that follows the pattern: initial attraction gave way to some form of adoration, and then to the formation of kinsmen (alikeness) and then, when the parting of ways happened it was usually due to one party not being able to completely BE the other person.

The colleague I let go - was someone who was professionally jealous, and wanted my career. It required him to be things he was not; kind, considerate, quiet and patient. When he realized that was how I got things he did not - he attempted to be me. When that failed he attempted to "harm" me professionally. Very passive aggressively.

The sad thing was that he had plenty of work that suited him. His caustic and cavalier attitude brought him much work from people who love being in the room with that.

It's just that he wanted what I had - I guess he figured I cast a wider net - and tried to get it by being me. Funny though, he would constantly belittle my "happiness in the face of crap" demeanor and call it PollyAnna.

I can think of girlfriends like this, too.

And I guarantee you it isn't just me. All of us have had these types of friendships. It's just that in my journey of searching for what works best for me at this time in my life, I am a little heavy on the ME ME ME aspect of revelation!


Gerry said...

Candi: My own personal experience leans more towards the Fair Weather Friend syndrome. The ones who are only there for you when things are going fine, then promptly disappear when things get rough. I've dealt with this more than once, including very recently. I do indeed understand what your saying. It's just depressing that some people like that colleague can twist love and friendship into the exact opposite.

As always, I hope I'm making a tenth of sense.

Candi Milo said...

You are - and sometimes I wonder if we spend all this time and energy running from our families and never take the time to search for anything really different! hee hee hee I have made some "too close to home" choices in my life in the past but hope today points me in a better direction!!!!

Adam said...

Hey Candi,

This is the first time I have read your blog, as I didn't know you had one until you invited me to friend you on Facebook. Wow. You don't fool around when it comes to bogging, do you? Powerful stuff. Very well written powerful stuff, at that.
You said much of what you learned about love and friendship comes from Milne, and that is a great source. Everything I believe about love came from Robert Heinlein. He is the only person on the planet that I know of that has come up with a working definition of love. "Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own." To me, the emphasis in that quote is on the word "essential". It leaves no room for jealousy, which is good, because jealousy is something I don't grok at all.

Candi Milo said...

Hi Adam - welcome to my weird but brutally honest life! Candi

Anonymous said...

You are fearless, woman. I know when I come here to read I will learn something about my heart. And about your heart. There are lots of people who read you here in New York. We are all waiting to read about your wedding to Mr. Tucci! je je je

Gerry said...

does anyone read this......................

Yes Candi, I certainly do, and a lot of other lucky people do too.