Saturday, April 3, 2010

the usefulness of friends

I've never had a problem making friends. well... thats not true. when i was 10 i only had one friend. Tiana the buck-toothed girl with the big glasses and odd braids..of course i was the little weird whimpy boy that everyone called a girl. we were pretty much alienated by everyone. but that changed over time. i learned how to be charming and draw people in and by the time my childhood came to a close i had a pretty good system of making connections with people. But the problem is that once ive made a friend what do i do with them? how close do i let them get? how often do i call? how much do i rely on them for emotional support? how many favors do i ask? how much time do i make to be there for them and help them if needed? with a sea of friendships these questions exponentially increase.

An old friend died a few days ago. at least id like to think she was a friend. i knew her for many years. worked with her on various project, shared many, many mutual friends...greeted her with enthusiasm if we happen to be in the same place...but other than that i have no idea what she was going through. what her life was like day to day...what her hopes and fears were...this was an amazing human being that ive shared such wonderful times and cultural experiences..and yet i made no effort to maintain or expand our friendship over all those years. her passing has shaken me out of a long slumber of complacency regarding my friendships. i have strong friendships. and i work with friends on many levels. but im afraid that what my friendships have become pales in comparison to what is possible. "but you are so busy" i tell myself.."how can you possibly make time for the people in your life right now"...and that is true.

I am at a critical time in my life. preparing to unveil the culmination of my lifes work in just a few short months and making plans to take down the music industry at the same time is no small feat. every ounce of my being is focused on that goal. But then someone dies. and i think about all these wonderful people in my my life. and how infrequently i actually see them. And how much I ask of them on my mission. My friends are amazing. They perform in my music videos for free, they put up with my forever-lateness, they put up with me calling them only when i need something, or not calling them at all.....and somehow i dont drive them away. When i think about them i feel love. When i think about them i want them to succeed. I want to be there for them. I want them to feel like they can rely on me...and yet, these thoughts are fleeting and more often than not unspoken. I feel like i dont have the time to properly cultivate my friendships..and yet without them i am alone. I am suddenly saddened by how out of touch i have become with my friends. and there it is again..the definition of friendship.

So this is my brainstorm. the usefulness of friendship. whats the use? to stave off loneliness? to have a companion when you walk into a party? a shoulder to cry on? a hand to help when you need to move heavy things? someone to walk through life with under shared experience? maybe all of these things. i feel like a fucking hallmark card.."friendship is.." with disgustingly cute little kittens snuggling up to one another... but i digress. Thinking about my friend who died and how much she was many many friends..and yet in the end she called no one. reached out to no one. took the ultimate solitary act of claiming one's own life. In some ways i can relate: as my mind whirls through friendship after friendship until it almost implodes on itself and rather than choose who to share myself with and how much to give and take..i end up alone. how does one keep track of all these people floating through? its enough to make me want to retreat into an web of digital anonymity where i can organize people in easy to comprehend rows and "favorite" or "delete" with the push of a button and sit and watch a feed of what everyone ive ever known is doing at that moment and never have to actually pick up my phone because i already know it all.

What it comes down to is that I am ready to redefine my friendships. I dont want to wake up one day and realize that ive lost the people who are closest to me. figuratively or literally. So to all my friends: to all my friends i never all my friends i only call to help me with something, to all my friends i only call to work on something with me, to all my friends i only call to "not show up to a club alone"; my apologies. i love you. i want to be closer with you. but i dont seem to know how. I'ts like I mastered the first stage of friendship and never moved beyond that. but i want to learn. There is nothing like death to alter a habit and im ready to reinvent my relationship to friendship. a friend. such an amorphous might be easier if friendships were declared like marriage...with vows and a list of expectations...that would make it so much easier....but we humans are left to our own devices...a sea of bodies clamoring to find a place. clamoring to define stand apart..but be connected..if only for a moment, and ideally on our own terms...and more than anything running from loneliness.


OutlandoGirl said...

I love this. Entirely.

Holly Canfield @rvnhawk said...

Cassidy, I have often thought about the same topic often. But I have made myself somewhat of a cyber-hermit because of my fear of reaching out to people. It's not a good option either.

I know that right now it may not mean much, but your friend's actions do not reflect on you as a person or friend. When someone is in that place, the whole world can reach out to them and the end does not change. I work in the field and have been on the other side, and honestly the times that I was close, even my family reaching out wasn't enough and I'm very close with my mother and brother.

Well, I don't know if any of this has helped, hurt or made no difference, but I wanted to reach out and say I'm sorry and I know this can be a difficult time. I work the crisis unit at my community health center - you can always call me!

boundandfallen said...

so many times i've gone through the same thought process. only i lack all charm and my list is really small. but there are different levels of friendship. they can be in lists. the friends you call on when you need an ear probably isnt the same person u want to party with which is probably different than ur friend with a truck that can help you move. what i consider a true friend is someone that offers shelter if its needed. what you consider a true friend could be someone who always knows the right things to say. there is no one definable term other than what our hearts tell each of us. in an earthy way of saying things, we are star stuff. each of us are looking for the same things and sometimes if you're lucky you run into someone who's thinking the same thing you are at the same time you are, and eye contact is made, words don't even need said, then you're friends for life. that being said i'm also pretty much a hermit. my friends are people who treat me like a halfway house. but everyone's milage varies. how do i act if someone i've known for a long time dies unexpectantly? it sucks and it hurts because everyone should live forever but death happens. but the world still turns.

moemoe0319 said...

Thank you Cass for sharing. Death makes us look at things totally diffent, it makes us see things that we may never have seen before. I lost a son 2 years ago. I grieve daily. Friendships are very important during a time like this....Thank you for sharing

Anonymous said...

Cassidy you are beautiful and all you have written is so very true. I have experienced much of what you have written and totally understand how you are feeling.

Now on a shallow note, paragraphs would make for much easier reading :)


Janet said...

Cassidy, every one of the questions you ask in this piece, I have ask myself also. And I have rarely come to any conclusions.
I know that over the years my friend relationships have waxed and waned as I needed them, and they needed me. It has always been very fluid. Some very old friends are there again as we get together after months or years apart. New friends come along continually.
I think the universe provides us with what and who we need, when we need it and them.
The hard part is recognizing that.

islasands said...

As The Ruin Falls (C. S. Lewis)

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love --a scholar's parrot may talk Greek--
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grown man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.

With love, Iz (islasands)

Duzy_Suzy said...

Im so sorry for the loss of your friend & you have really made me think & think very deeply after reading what you wrote. I read it twice & saved it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, feelings,& words of wisdom.

Cass, I really believe your friend is in a peaceful place now & knows how your feeling. Im glad you blogged about it. Writing about your feelings will help you thru this rough time.

Maybe after some time passes you could write a song about this & dedicate it to your friend. Use those writing skills of yours & it would touch other peoples hearts & your friend could live on thru the song..just a thought...

My deepest sympathy goes out to you dear.

Suzette Vee

ALYESKA2 said...

This is a bit long but worth the read, wrttien by a terminally ill teenage girl who has since passed. Something for us all to think about

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round? Or listened to the rain slapping the ground?
Ever follow a butterfly's erratic flight? Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last.
Do you run thru each day, on the fly? When you ask, "how are you?" Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done, do you lie in your bed, with the next hundred chores running thru your head?
You better slow down, Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last.
Ever told a child, "we'll do it tomorrow" and in your haste, not see their sorrow?
Ever lost touch, let a friendship die? cause you never had time to call and say, "Hi"
You better slow down. Don't dance so fast, Time i short and the music won't last.
When you worry and hurry thru your day, It's like an unopened gift... That got thrown away.
Life is not a race, do take it slower, Hear the music before the song is over!

AdamsWench said...

i was touched profoundly by what you wrote.I have been there many times.Death has a immediate way of rearranging our priorities.yet it seems in time we slip back into the selfish behaviors of our character defects over time.
i am 52 and because of the color of my hair and the winkling of my face.I have been overlooked as not being significant or of use.
for instance i have tried to friends you for along time.*yet you pass me by. i have offered help on your team yet you passed me by. So I t must be the winkles.and the lines on my face. why else would you turn from someone who admires your art.yet you will make no contact to .
anyways keep on reaching for you dreams and i will keep on posting your videos on myspace page.and if you ever want to follow me on twitter that would be awesome
on twitter and on facebook

Jades said...

You are not alone in this. I think we have all questioned what kind of friend we are. At my age I have lost so many friends to death and with each one I find myself asking some of these same questions. I only know that I have friends that I have had for 50 years and friends I have had only a few years, but each of them is special in their own way. I know they value my friendship or they would not put up with some of the things you have touched upon because I too sometimes neglect my friends at times. I do try to keep in touch, but as we all know the best laid plans don't always work. I just know that I am lucky to have the friends I do.

Cassidy Haley said...

to adamswench: im am sorry to hear that you feel i have "passed you by". i can say with certain that i welcome everyone who wants to support me as part of my street team and that whatever rejection you feel is 1) perhaps a missed communication and 2) has nothing to do with your age. if you would like to be on the street team please email and we can get you set up. im afraid that a personal friendship is not within my comfort zone, but you can be assured that this has nothing to do with your age, hair color or face. As an artist i keep clear boundaries with fans. if you are speaking of facebook friends, i accept everyone, however occasionally i have deleted people if they post to much random stuff on my wall. if this was you, know it wasnt personal and feel free to friend me again. i appreciate you following me and hope you continue to be a fan as i grow.

Lisa Gomez said...

Oh wow... it is too odd how this fits my current situation. I am performing RENT at my university. Because of this, I had rehearsal 6 days a week, three hours a day. Because of this, I have lost contact with almost all of my friends... and yet over 100 of my friends are going to see me perform as Joanne. I am grateful for all of them... this is really going to change my perspective and how I treat them. Thank you for your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Thus far in my life I do find that I have different friends for different 'functions.' I have individual friends who I relate to best for a variety of individual interests: heart-to-heart talks, artsy/cultural interests, partying at the club, concerts and movies, Eastern/alternative medicine and astrology, etc. I've pretty much made peace with that, because I've learned that I can't be everything to everyone I know. It's also impossible for each of them to be everything to me. No one can. I think that's how you know when you've found a partner to share your life with, because they can be MOST things to you MOST of the time.

That being said, I actually would like to know why I myself don't have more really close friends than I do. I can't tell you how many people in my life I've stood by through thick and thin, only to have them inexplicably blow me off and actively exclude me from their lives, no matter how much I try to stay in it. That really, really hurts, but less so over time. I have a handful of very close friends, which I guess I do prefer over many friends who wouldn’t mean very much. It has though made me see that from the moment I was born to the second I eventually die, ultimately the ONE thing I have that no one can take from me, is ME. So I've learned to not ever define myself through my relationships, despite having a partner for many years now and a couple of kids to boot. Admittedly, there is just a tiny, little part of me that I hold in reserve from the rest of the world. That little part that somehow makes me...


terry said...

When I was a little girl I read this quote: "To have a friend, be one."

Cassidy that is the other half of friendship. Think about it.


SquashlingChaotic said...

You're probably going to recieve every poem imaginable, but somehow I think this one, from a short story by Theodore Sturgeon, needs to be shared:

There is in certain living souls
A quality of loneliness unspeakable,
So great it must be shared
As company is shared by lesser beings
Such a loneliness is mine; so know by this
That in immensity
There is one lonelier than you.

Julie said...

As I think you'll continue to hear in these responses, most people feel somewhat guilty about not being better friends (or children, parents, or club or team members, for that matter).

On either side of a relationship, whether overly needy or always giving, each person is doing the best they can under their personal circumstances. I try to forgive myself for my shortcomings and make allowances for others.

Also, though I'm not particularly religious, I find comfort in a vague belief in an afterlife. It helps me live with the death of others, feeling that I'll get another chance with them eventually.

The fact that you're even thinking about these things shows that you're a decent person. I bet if you asked any of your friends, regardless of their closeness, they would agree.

Anonymous said...

Hours fly,
flowers die.
New days,
new ways
pass by.
Love stays.

Henry Van Dyke

Naomi Mink said...

Thank you Cassidy for sharing your heart.

Naomi Mink said...

Thank you so much for sharing, Cassidy.

standtogether said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. Just be grateful for what you had with her and regret nothing. Just appreciate what you have and remind yourself of time's rapidity whenever you feel ungrateful. Try to remember her.
I thought it was great that you brought up the whole friendship thing, because I think we all have issues about that. I have a problem of keeping up with casual friends - my closest, dearest friends are the only ones I really stay in touch with, while the others kind of fade away after a while. And some would say that isn't a problem, but to me it is. Just because you know someone who doesn't completely see through you into your soul doesn't mean you can't at least try to keep up some sort of relationship with them, right?
Again, thank you for sharing this. It means a lot.

Anonymous said...

Friends..bah who needs them..Truth is WE ALL DO. We need them to help us along our way, to laugh, to cry, to love, and to die. There's just no getting out of it. And we need to be there to help them as well. You can always tell how good of a friend you are by how often you are called upon.

with love