A knot in my throat and tears in my eyes, I returned home from my 26th birthday celebration. Once again, my friends had let me down again, failing to show up to my birthday festivities. Despite the number of times I’ve shown up, overcame obstacles or incurred an exorbitant amount of debt to make it there for my friends, they failed to show up for me. I am a firm believer in where there is a will there is a way and if my friend has invited me to a wedding, milestone birthday celebration or made me promise to visit her in a far away city, then I will do whatever it takes – shift monies from my savings account, forgo a hair appointment or two (sometimes three), eat Raman noodles for breakfast lunch dinner – whatever it takes to be there for more friends.
I do these things because (a) I take the role of friendship seriously and in my book this means being there for your friend’s milestone events and (b) I assume that since we’re friends, you’ll do the same thing for me. And (c) most times these short excursions to attend a birthday party out of state are exhilarating for me. I enjoy the party.
Well, these beliefs have set me up for disappointment everytime. I find myself doing all these things to be there for me when it’s their turn to “reward” me, I get nothing. A mere text message on my birthday; a “sorry I can’t make it” on the e-vite, or my favorite, a non-acknowledgement that my birthday is here.
Now, I understand that life happens cause in the last few months life has happened to me too, certainly interrupted my comfort level, but on the other hand, I don’t really understand. I’ve practically jumped over wild horses, grew money in my non-furtile backyard, said a prayer over making it to your shin-dig, why can’t you do that for me?
When I think of these things, I typically become very angry. But I have recently come to the realization that putting faith in people to do what you do for them is simply unfair and inappropriate. Unfair – because who says that my friendship book matches their friendship book. And inappropriate because this expectation puts more damage on me then it does on them. Think about it. My friend is home doing whatever she does, while I’m at home sobbing cause she let me down again. While she says “sorry” for her non-attendance, she doesn’t carry the burden – the regret, the anger and the overall disappointment – that comes with this great expectation of mine. And on the bright side, I have had a brilliant life. For everytime someone has failed to meet my expectation, three people have exceeded them – giving me money when needed, traveling two hours to pick up an i-Pod that I left behind, taking me under their wings while I was away from my home country.
With this being said, I relinquish the burden that I have place on people to meet my every action and embrace the endless possibilities that life has to show me.