9 MINUTE READ
Over the past few days, I’ve spent time reflecting on past and current friendships and relationships. I’m thrilled to realize that I am slowly growing new healthy relationships. I know I’ve written about that before. Still, when things seem dire or desperate, it can be hard for me to see that there are seeds growing roots underground, metaphorically, that I can’t necessarily see and are, therefore, hard to value. It’s tricky because, like sowing seeds, not all seeds that sprout will grow into something healthy, which I’d like to keep. Nevertheless, I have had some people reach out to me in the past few days with great kindness.
Last year I had to change my phone number for the first time. The Crime Victims Unit and the police department suggested I do so because I was dealing with more than one stalker. It was daunting, and I had to decide quickly, but I’m happy I did. When I changed my phone number, I only gave out my new one to a handful of people. Most of them are local. If a friend cared about me and they texted my old phone number and didn’t hear back from me (because I changed my number), they would find another way to reach out to me. I am easy to find on the internet. As it turns out, no one did this. Well, no one except for my old neighbor in California. After a year of not hearing from me, he found me on the internet and wrote me an email. Having someone who I cared about in the past make that extra effort to connect because they cared felt good. I was on the fence with this new neighbor, so I did not give him my new number. We just don’t have that much in common. However, this interaction with my old neighbor from California was over email, and it was delightful. We talked about her own lives, and it felt nice to have somebody care that way.
I was not shocked that no one from my family tried to reach out (except for one legal matter). But I was shocked that none of my friends for a year tried to reach out to me. Especially knowing what I was going through. It was telling and confirmed that I had made the right decision not to share my new phone number with them. I had one friend I was very close with in California reach out within that time. She responded to a newsletter that I sent out. The newsletter announced my new TV show and that I was moving into a bus (Skoolie Life). But her response to this newsletter was strange. She mentioned nothing about these two major life announcements. She simply said something like, “Neat! I’ll be on the East Coast over the summer, and we can hang out.” But the email she responded to announced I’d be on tour, not on the East Coast.
Not hearing from any of my “friends” for a year confirmed that I made the right decision not to share my phone number. I don’t want any friends anymore who, when we see each other, just talk about what’s happening with other people I’m out of touch with. Most of the time, we’re either talking shit or sharing other people’s drama, and to me, that seems like trauma bonding. I don’t want anything to do with that. I don’t follow anyone on social media because I don’t need to know what’s happening in other people’s lives. Not only is it a distraction, but why would I need to negatively or positively judge someone for their doing or not doing?!
This title wave of loss of people cleared the way for these budding healthy relationships. Not only did my old neighbor reach out, and we had a positive interaction, but I also had an old friend apologize for not being there for me for the past year and a half. Interestingly enough, this is someone I did share my new number with, and I did not doubt that she was still my friend, that we were in a healthy relationship, and that when and if she could reach out, she would. I told my therapist that I hadn’t reached out to her because I couldn’t be a good friend. What I needed at the time was a therapist. Nevertheless, it was super sweet to receive a voice memo from my old friend, sincerely apologizing, recognizing that the last year-and-a-half must have been difficult, and then sharing that she had a challenging year herself.
It’s funny when I make a decision, and then right after, I see evidence to the contrary. It’s almost like, of course! However, I’m learning not to let those new facts dissuade me. I will not gaslight myself after getting this further information. For instance, the other day, I wrote about that “He’s Just Not That Into You” friend, and the following day, I got a text from a different friend. This friend apologizes for her absence and says she went to rehab and moved away. This friend is also on the autism spectrum, causing me to look at what leeway or excuses I give to other people on the Autism Spectrum where I don’t think it’s warranted.
Just because you’re on the Spectrum, myself included, doesn’t mean that ghosting is okay. So I’m going to keep a note of that going forward. However, it was amazing to hear her apology for her absence and even more amazing to hear that she took that step to get help. I didn’t even know that she was drinking. My response to her text was it’s so lovely to hear from you. I’m proud of you for getting help. I would love to see you whenever you’re in town again.” So the evidence to the contrary has to do with that “He’s Just Not That Into You” guy. Maybe that guy is going through something. But when you drill down to it, he didn’t just ghost. He breadcrumbed me. And that’s different than disappearing because you’re going to rehab.
Due to my history of abusive relationships (including my family), I would bend the rules for what behavior was acceptable and what wasn’t when I perceived that people were different or unique, as I mentioned that women on the Spectrum quote influencers quote. I’ve been friends with many spiritual people who have large platforms, and each one is unique. However, they seem to be “strange birds.” Strange birds of the feather flock together! Haha! It takes one to know one. It’s not lost on me. Now I know what is healthy, what feels good to me, and what I deserve. In other words, I know what’s acceptable and what’s not, and I wouldn’t bend these rules again. Just because somebody has a platform does not mean they can treat others in a way they would not want to be treated. To be honest.
It’s interesting, though, that my friend reached out and said, “Sorry I’ve been out of touch. I went to rehab.” Because I did have a friend who had a large platform disappear, someone I considered myself close to. I felt ghosted. I mean, I was. And it wasn’t until a year or so later that she came out as having an eating disorder. She was dealing with many complex life issues, and I understand why just like my other friend who went to rehab, she disappeared. However, I didn’t get an apology text from that one. In addition, my intuition told me to look this person up the other day. I didn’t know why. And I found a lot of shady information I never saw before. It is just subtle power plays using privilege in ways that are not kosher, some cultural appropriation stuff – things that can be hard to put your finger on if it’s just one or subtle. But once you see it, you can’t unsee it. So I’m not judging this person, but I am discerning that it is a good thing that we’re not in touch anymore, and as much as I want not to believe it, she falls into the same category as all the other people who got washed away in the Title Wave. In other words, it’s best for me that we are not in touch. And even if she were to get in touch today, I don’t think I would want to form a close relationship with her again.
I did wind up texting my other friend and expressing a new boundary with her. It went just as well as I thought it would! I’m used to people sharing boundaries with me and being shocked that I take it so well. I was not surprised that my friend took it so well, but I was extraordinarily pleased. The next time I saw her in person, I told her how good it made me feel that she proactively asked about the boundary. Not only that, but I was happy to feel comfortable enough with her to know I could change that boundary later and that she’d appreciate my authentic expression.
I also had a friend text me and thank me for listening to her the other day when we ran into each other. This acknowledgment and appreciation felt so good! Before the Title Wave, no one would have thanked me for listening. Before the Title Wave, everyone was taking advantage of me. No one acknowledged me for my unique qualities. And that’s because I attracted people who pushed boundaries, manipulated people, thought they were better than others, and tried to control me. These people didn’t like to take responsibility for things. They used their privilege in unsavory ways. It makes me so happy to reflect and see that none of those behaviors are acceptable anymore, and I simply do not tolerate them. Which means the seeds that are left to grow are the healthy ones. That’s something I can be confident about moving forward.