September 22, 2010

Pulling on the Past - Pieces I Left Behind: Part 3

Last night, I had an intensely emotional dream. The kind of dream where the feelings and the heartbreak stick with you long after waking and invade an otherwise perfectly pleasant day. Hours later, I feel so raw that tears are pooling in my eyes. And the subject matter and the fact that I feel so ridiculous that it could still have such an effect on me just make it hurt more.

I dreamed about people I used to work with. Between 2001 and 2003 I worked in retail. It was by far the most fun job I've ever held. I was young, and it was my equivalent to the experience a lot of people have in college. I made good friends, we hung out, I lived in a new place and did new things. I lived with Justin, but he traveled a lot for work, and during the time he was gone I spent a lot of time at work and with my co-workers. I met my best friend there. I worked on a team for a while with people I considered my closest friends. It was fun.

I got involved with people. The boy who lived in the same apartment complex as me. We talked at work, chatted online, went to movies together, carpooled, and had lunches and dinners together. I helped him through times he was sick - physically and in his heart. The girl who would eventually become his wife, who I talked to on the phone in the freezing cold for an hour during one of his ridiculous breakups with her. The boy who worked on my team with my best friend and I, with his volatile personality and inability to talk about his feelings. The boy with the long hair who I developed a huge, pre-wedding jitters crush on.

These were people who were very central to my life during that time. People who I deeply cared for, and apparently still do. But it became very clear upon time passing after none of us worked together anymore that I was more invested than any of them. I guess I'm not surprised, it's not as if I'd never found myself in that position before. I tend to give my whole heart to people, and for some reason keep expecting them to give theirs in return.

This dream last night involved some of these people. There was fighting, screaming, crying, and rushes of all of these feelings and my desire to know why? Why didn't they care about me? Why don't they think about me still? When I dream about these people, or other friends I've lost, the feelings are intense and real, and still very close. Why don't I matter to them?

As if the dreams are not bad enough, I find myself pulling the past back into my life. Why do I do it? Read old emails? Peruse their photos on Facebook, watch them together and wish I was there too? Maybe I am just kidding myself in thinking that we were so close. Maybe I was just in too different a place, not fun enough... Maybe it's out of sight, out of mind.

I open my old email account because I'm trying to figure out where the hell E-bay is sending my forgotten password emails. I sort through the hundreds of junk messages in my inbox, keeping only about 10.

And somehow, I just can't help opening the folders. My old emails, still there.

I read, because I can't seem to help myself. I am taken back to the times when I supported people through their own moments of emotion and feeling so unsure. They are there, in words, people I don't see. People I was once close with and no longer speak to. And it tugs at my heart.

I am an internet voyeur and Facebook lets me in to their lives just enough. Just enough to keep that longing alive. To wish I'd been invited to their weddings. To feel a pang of ridiculous jealousy when they message each other, but never me. When I see them planning to hang out.

I find myself feeling hurt and completely ridiculous all at once. What is the point of this longing? Even if we'd stayed in touch, these are people who are not married, or just getting married. I am like an old maid - I am a stay at home mom with two kids. I don't work anymore, and I don't have the freedom to go out whenever I want. It makes me feel like my feelings are even more irrelevant. Yet, their intensity remains.

Would it be easier just to cut myself off completely? I know from other ended friendships that I would still wonder. I know that cutting myself off that way would not end the longing, or the wondering, or the pieces of my heart that I've left behind with these people. But perhaps the past would pull a little less hard.

Do you have lost friendships that you still feel pulling on your heart? People who you no longer see who hold pieces of your heart? How do you deal with it?


Edie_Hope said...

That's the conundrum, isn't it? I believe it is impossible to lift others without putting your whole heart into it. The hard part is that it makes you vulnerable. If you know in your heart that you have helped someone in their life, then sometimes that has to be enough. In my experience, people get busy and the days go by fast. They mostly attend to what's directly in front of them and not much else. You're a really loving and sensitive person who has a drive to be of help to others. You put that energy into the world and it helps balance things toward the good side. Would you give that part of yourself up if it meant never being hurt by the obliviousness or insensitivity of others? I don't think you would or should.

Trish Haveman said...

I had a really good friend from high school, who I feel that way about. We kept in touch through my first year at Western, then we had an issue that came between us which essentially completely severed our relationship. For two years following, I would have dreams at least once a week, where I'd see her and cry because I missed her so much, and sometimes she'd hug me tight and say she missed me too, and other times she'd just ignore me. It hurt pretty bad, even after I woke up, and I'd feel down and out for the entire day. I see her every once in a while when I visit "home", and we greet each other and do a bit of small talk, but we've never really spoken about what came between us. My dreams are less frequent now, maybe once every month or two. I think it makes it easier, knowing that we're completely different people now and have taken different paths in life. But yeah, still hurts to remember what used to be, and that connection which is no longer there.

Molly said...

Yes. I most certainly do. I try not to think about it, but when I do it HURTS. A lot. Some of them will bother me forever.

The Original Bean said...

Unfortunately, I can totally relate. My high school split into separate schools my junior year, and since I lived on the "wrong side" I didn't get to continue on with my closest friends. I still feel pangs of jealousy/regret/sadness when I see the pictures of them on facebook, all in each other's weddings, involved in each other's lives, all that stuff. I thought I made an effort, but maybe it wasn't as good an effort as I could have made.

I'm uncomfortable admitting it, being that I'm a very happily married woman with a beautiful child, but I suffer from the same type of dreams. The most emotional ones involve the boy I dated the summer I turned 15, the first "real" boyfriend I ever had, and the first time I felt anything even approximating love. Some of those memories are powerful enough to bring tears to my eyes.

I guess some of us are just cursed to have long, deep, detailed memories of the past and huge capacities to care about others.

Misssrobin said...

I am one who tends to give my whole heart quite freely.  Too freely.  Sometimes it freaks people out and they run away.  Sometimes they take advantage and use me while they need me and then leave.  I know this.  I know it's dangerous.  But it's me.  I won't stop loving easily just because others many not receive it well.  I can't.  And once in a while I find someone else with an open heart and we connect.  Then it's all worth it.

And I still cyber-stalk old, lost friends, too.

Rachael1013 said...

Yes, I love what you said - it's better to love and get hurt to close yourself off. It's worth it.