Mirror, mirror…

An unexpected visit from an old friend this week – she was flying into town on other business and took the opportunity to stop in and catch up a little.

We met somewhere along the way in our tweens – middle school, maybe?  Got much closer in late high school, and stayed connected through the college years and beyond.  We had an opportunity to meet last September, when she came to town for the 30th high school reunion.

Smart, accomplished, insightful and carrying the sort of professional responsibility that can break lesser souls.  She’s a police chief.  To me?  This is unimaginable stress, but she was born to do it.  Speaking of stress?  She birthed triplets almost 7 years ago, and is a devoted mother.

She arrived Thursday, after my busted business trip this week, and the ensuing lack of sleep… also lacking sleep due to her own set of airline travel disruptions due to weather.  We talked late into the night, through the exhaustion, over a couple of beers.  The sort of stream of consciousness babble that only old friends can manage…

Demons were presented, dissected, and studied.  Some old, some newer.  And a few still spewing fire, and hacking at us with sharp claws.

Discussing the perils of alcohol, and youth.  Binge drinking is a tremendous challenge to law enforcement officers, and she just dealt with an alcohol fueled death of a teenager.  i talked about my own challenges – dating back to the high school years.  And those of The Boy.  How i learned to manage them.  That he’s doing better…

daisyfae:  i had to learn my triggers. Know when i was susceptible.  Moments of stress, combined with a drinking environment.  But the key trigger?  Being with those few friends i trust with my life – knowing they will have my back when i lose the ability to make a rational decision.  i established ‘rules’ for myself.  Awareness.  i told those trusted friends what to watch for – lest they end up dealing with my sorry drunk ass again…  It works.

We continued the conversations the next day, digging in on our emotional walls.  Quite similar in our emotional inaccessibility, we have developed different strategies.  She has committed to one person – one alone has been let inside the fortress, and there shall be no others.  My approach?  Arms length, and a stiff arm at that.  Multiple companions, each with a built-in “barrier to committment”, i’m adept at keeping people out.

daisyfae:  To keep that distance, i’ve established some boundary conditions, in addition to those “barriers to commitment”.  Rule One has always been “no one spends the night”.  If you start having breakfast together?  It becomes all ‘relationshippy’.  Too intimate.  Too much like playing house. 

Chief K:  As long as you’re honest with all of them, I guess no one gets hurt.

daisyfae:  It’s part of the overall strategy, and seems to work.  So why have i invited Mr. X to stay over Saturday?  Not really just because he lives out-of-town… i think i’m reconsidering my rules.  Maybe it’s stupid and artificial, and i’m just kidding myself?

Chief K:  Rules aren’t always a bad idea.  You have the rules you place on yourself to avoid binge drinking…

daisyfae:  Yeah, that’s different.  That’s just to keep myself from getting hurt…

Chief K:  Ummm…. Yeah…

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40 thoughts on “Mirror, mirror…

  1. This was more than just chit-chat. Deep and meaningful dissections of life’s struggles produce fascinating disclosures. Break your own rules, I say. If you know from the start that love is hell and never will satisfy and always brings some hurt, then getting closer to someone can only defy these expectations for the good.

    • it is more than chit chat. maybe that’s why we only can get together once in a blue moon? it’s hard. but it’s good for us both… as for Mr. X and the breakage of rules? we’ll see…

    • your friends may not suck. i believe it is that you all own testicles. you see, Chief K and i may be strong, tough, and ‘no-bullshit’ types. But we both have ovaries. And that’s just….different.

  2. xoxoxxo sometimes i feel as if i’ve known you forever! next time, i’m sending a cab to pick you up, sugar! ;~D xoxoxo

    (ok, i’m hoping next time, i’m not on lockdown, so to speak and we can hang out down on river street!)

    • i’ll be back sometime when you are NOT dealing with the gnarliest shit that life can throw down. and we shall drink together, woman. but in moderation, of course!

    • it has been. but it’s ok. i am reminded how fortunate i am to have some seriously extrordinary humans in my life… and i am also reminded that it’s been worth the effort to hang onto them. The “Chief K Hour” would make Oprah, Dr. Phil and Dr. Drew quit out of respect… she’s fucking awesome.

  3. Now that’s a good friend. I love long talks with old friends. It’s way more effective than therapy. I always learn something about myself. It’s as though a good friend is a safety blanket where you can put all your baggage, and they’ll wrap it up and keep it warm for you. But if it’s an electric blanket they could burn your baggage and melt your lipsticks, so it has to be the right friend. I feel like dragging this metaphor on, but I’m afraid I’m already boring you…

    • there is something about the folks you ‘grew up’ with… they just know you better. there’s a flip side to this story – her demon. i like to think i’ve been able to help her with hers as well. but hey, that’s her blog. if she had one. which she doesn’t. because she’s too busy being a badass chief of police, and mothering triplets, and taking care of her friends…

      safety blanket? electric. yep. no lipsticks for either of us, so it’s cool.

      but it’s visceral. like warm entrails, it’s visceral…. round two tomorrow night as she camps here before her flight early in the morning on tuesday….

  4. I hadn’t had a boyfriend for some years until about a year ago. I wasn’t looking for one; didn’t want one. I’m quite happy with my own company but he is a treat!
    We had been friends for a couple of years and both of us were something less than intrepid about changing the nature of our relationship. But we did.
    I still like living on my own, though.
    Good luck, missy, whatever you may do. x

    • there is absolutely NO risk of me acquiring a roommate. living alone is a strong preference, and i’d have to have a pretty compelling reason to consider changing that. but i do know that sometimes things happen, preferences change, and all bets are off – sounds like that’s what happened for you, and that it was a wonderful surprise!

  5. I completely get the wariness of thinkgs getting relationshippy but I don’t think I could go as far as asking someone to take their body away from I me. It’s a form of bliss to wake up and slowly come to next to someone you like.

    • Welcome to the Park, looby! to each his own… i’ve never been comfortable as a cuddler… i suppose it could be learned. i’m pretty sure i’m in the minority on this matter…

  6. Sounds like a lovely reunion, even if a bit draining with the deep conversation… made me miss my talks with my best friend. I had to make a rule for myself regarding alcohol too, and that means I haven’t had a drink now in over two years — my friends support me, but I must say my talks with my best friend are not the same (or as frequent) nowadays… I tell her I’m okay with her drinking, she says she’s okay with me not drinking — but I feel she’s holding back somehow…maybe that’s just me being extra sensitive without the wine ?
    I’m glad you can connect with your friend in such a deep way.

    • it has been wonderful – not draining, but revealing. i’m a huge fan of good self-awareness, and having a friend who can shine a little light on a blind spot is not a bad thing.

      congratulations on walking away from the drink when you found you needed to… it’s not easy sometimes. i’ve got several friends who abstain, and are comfortable with others who do. although i’d have to think watching people get tipsy while fully sober could be annoying sometimes!

  7. Well, some rules are meant to be broken. I mean, it’s not like that one isn’t going to be broken sooner or later. And conversation over breakfast is some of the best! Although maybe that’s my perspective since I’m kind of a morning person.

    • unlike you, i’m not much of a morning person… mornings are my quiet time… although Mr. X was fully aware of this, and was quite happy to spend breakfast with me scouring the sunday NYTimes. he’d been warned!

  8. Barriers are important to all of us, but now and then we have to let someone in, just to test ourselves and our emotions. You are one of the very few who I have opened a door to, and what a good choice it was.

    • this one is pretty safe for a multitude of reasons… and he’s been on his own for a few years, and we both considered it an experiment…

      appreciate that you opened the door to me. i’ve been encouraged by what’s inside…

  9. I’ll go against the grain here and say you’re right, stick to the rules, relatioships are a pain in the ass… i’m much happier alone… the only people i ever really want to see are my sons, my father and a certain Gulfboot Johnshon.

    • i’m not inclined to give up the rules entirely. case-by-case basis, situationally dependent on my basic ‘risk management’ analysis. relationships are a lot of work. there are benefits, but there are also costs. and for now? i am not willing to do the work for the anticipated benefits. costs too damn much.

  10. That’s the kind of friendship that truly embodies the word “friend.” You need those people who can take what you’re saying and help you hold it up to the light to see the cracks in your logic. It’s the best way I know to see the truths we would otherwise hide from ourselves.

    Good to have rules. Especially for an ENTP. 🙂

    • Throwing the “bullshit” flag is an important job for a friend. Especially when i’m dancing around all of the really hard stuff. i’m working up to it. but i’m not there yet… and yes, i’m listed as a “Mad Scientist” according to the good Myers-Briggs team. we need rulz…

    • Got in round two last night, as she and a friend camped here en route to an early flight home this morning. Guitars. Beer. Singing. Magic… Glad you had your most-of-the-nighter. Fuck therapy. Friends are more fun!

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