A day for reflection

By panda_eyed
I met up with an old friend yesterday. I hadn't seen him in more than 4 years, and for good reason.

We were best friends in Sixth form college. He used to have a good, kind heart and was funny and intelligent. We could talk about anything, he was a good listener and gave good advice. He took care of me. Now, he is the sort of person who refers to women as p**sy and talks constantly about women and sex in a vulgar and derogatory way. He is shallow, selfish and self-absorbed, we only talk when he needs a shoulder to cry on and he is just that bored. He has failed his university exams multiple times because he thinks that he is so intelligent that he doesn't have to study or go to lectures, and as a result is still there by the skin of his teeth, resitting exams until he gets old. Despite this, he still thinks he is more intelligent than god, and is always trying to prove it by making you feel stupid.

He started becoming like this towards the end of college (yr13), and although I began to despise him for it, we stayed good friends until the end of my first year at uni. By then, I absolutely HATED that side of his personality, but every now again, he would show me the good side and his vulnerability, the reason we became friends. Mostly, he was cruel to me, ridiculing me about my looks, my weight, my intelligence, everything, though there is and was, nothing wrong with me. A lot of people disliked him and told me I should stay away because he was constantly hurting me. But still I stuck by him because I believed that they couldn't see in him what I saw.

He had all but moved in with me into my Halls of residence, because of an alleged family row. He took up most of my space, food, time and sometimes even my bed (I would be pushed out or forced to share). At this point, he was always putting me down, especially in front of others, making me feel small and worthless. But still, I wouldn't believe what others thought - that he was deliberately setting out to hurt me.

He hurt me a lot, mostly with his harsh, cruel words, damaging my self esteem and my peace of mind. He would always later maintain it was 'a joke'. Still I stuck by him. I blindly believed that he was 'good' deep down inside. But more and more frequently, he would also hurt me physically. Once, I was hurled the length of a room as 'a joke' and ended up with an arm so black with bruising that I could hardly move it for a week. That was only one incident.

But still, I stuck by him, naive and trusting as I was then. I had gone through some bad times, I was fragile and needed someone, and he took advantage of that. I can see now that I was a gullible, naive fool . I gave him the benefit of the doubt again and again, because I couldn't believe that someone who was so ultimately good could turn into this monster.

The last straw was when I fell out with some of our other college mates. Something awful had happened to me just before that, and he was the only one who knew. I trusted him to keep it a secret (even though when I did tell him, all I got was a shrug and it was never mentioned again between us) but lo and behold, by the next day, everyone knew. I felt humiliated. Loyalty is a huge thing to me, and I couldn't see past that.

After that, although we still kept in contact, I kept it as brief as possible and it slowly fizzled out. He would call and sometimes I would answer, he would ask to come round or meet up and I would make an excuse. Since then, 4 years ago, we have only spoken a handful of times - when he has broken up with various girlfriends and wanted an ear to bend and a shoulder to cry on. Stupid me, would always lend a sympathetic ear, I just can't help it when another seems in pain. He would always, as ever, use the opportunity to be cruel though. I did still want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but by then I had wised up a bit more and just wanted a quiet life without the mental or physical torture. I had finally figured out that being friends with him was a lot harder than not having him around at all. I had to recover some self respect.

Yesterday though, he was waiting for me after work, so I had no choice but to meet him. I was under no illusions that he had changed one bit, and he hadn't; in fact, he was probably worse. I did want to meet him, not to recover a friendship, nor to reminisce about old times, but because it was like a test for me. I wanted to see if my self esteem had recovered enough, and if I have sufficiently grown as a person to be able to cope with this.

Guess what? He was his same old self - rude, obnoxious, derogatory, vulgar, cruel, hurtful and more, but you know what? He just didn't have the power to hurt me anymore. I know that the only reason he put me down was to make him feel better about himself, and I am no longer that naive, fragile, vulnerable little girl anymore. And whilst a part of me mourns for the loss of that innocent trusting side of me - it felt good to know that I have enough confidence and self esteem now to not let him get to me anymore. I look at all that I have in my life, and all that I have achieved so far, and whilst I know that I have some way to go, I pity him for his ignorance and his obvious unhappiness with himself.

So today, instead of celebrating my birthday, I would like to celebrate those of you who were there for me when I was weak, who helped me back on my feet and took the cloth from my eyes; because without you, I wouldn't be who I am today. You know who you are..

And as my dear mummy reminds me - today isn't a day to celebrate the day I was born at all - but to give thanks to the poor mummy who spent 25 hours in premature labour bringing her little girl into this world. So, Thanks Mummy... :)

5 comments so far.

  1. Diva 4:58 pm, May 26, 2006
    I agree! Thanks Mummy Panda-eyed, it may have been 25 hours of labour but lots of people are grateful cos she's a top lass - hurrah! :o)
  2. Seema 5:32 pm, May 27, 2006
    A very reflective statement there, I'm glad that you are able to leave the people who have hurt you in the past, its where they belong! Happy Birthday and I'm proud of ya! Lovin ya! xxx
  3. panda_eyed 2:49 pm, May 30, 2006
    Aww cheers Diva, you're such a sweetie! *blushes*

    Thanks S, couldn't have done it without you xx
  4. Olivia 11:28 pm, May 31, 2006
    Woah where do I start???

    1) Way to go you for getting out of that trap, and rising above his level.

    2) Yay! Another preemie! We celebrate our brave mummies!
  5. panda_eyed 3:12 pm, June 01, 2006
    Hi -
    1. Ta, it did feel good :)
    2. Yay! Here's to brave mummies! 25 hours, phew! I'd definetely go for all the pain relief I could get!

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