Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Soundtrack of My Life, Up A Lazy River

On my Battle of the Bands post, I promised to do some 'splaining about what happened at the end of freshman year that impacted sophomore year. We are finally to that point.

I was good friends (I was sure "besties") with this girl we'll call Erika, since that's her name and the chances of her reading this blog are nil. Anyway, Erika and I hung out all the time end of freshman year. She was one of those people who was liked by everyone. A whole lot of fun to be around.

I mean check out this face. This looks like a super nice person, right?

At the end of the year, you decide on who you want to room with the following year. We decided to be roomies. In the meantime, I turned down a whole bunch of other opportunities for roommates. In fact, I hooked two of the people up who asked me to room with them. Thus, when Erika backed out on rooming together at the last minute, because it might strain our friendship, it could've put me in a real pickle. Turns out, one of my "party" friends still needed a roommate, and we decided to give it a go.

Moving back into sophomore year, things with the actual roommate were working out very well AND things with Erika were also going very well. She and I still were "besties." Check out this sweet card she made for me in September:

click to enlarge

I also became much closer with the girl with whom I actually roomed. Our party friendship turned into a real one.

This person is actually a nice person:

me on left, roomie on right

Erika and I decided to roadtrip to New York for the fall break in October (she lived there). And then I was going to visit a high school friend of mine who was going to school at Westminster Choir College (it's close to Princeton).

Anyway, during the course of this trip, I made the mistake of sharing with Erika all of the "crazy" I felt about my parents divorcing. That's what best friends are for, right? Turns out we weren't best friends. In fact, after that trip, and my over-sharing of my feelings about my parents' divorce, we weren't friends at all. She couldn't handle my brand of crazy as evidenced by this note she wrote me right after we returned:

click to enlarge

That hurt for a long time, and that little bit of distance turned into an ocean. But, never doubt that there is a Bigger Plan at work, and she wasn't in mine.  Besides, if you can't handle someone's fears about their parents' marriage going up in flames, you aren't going to handle the tougher stuff that comes later. She was a shallow pond instead of a pool. It's always best to find that out sooner than later. Can you imagine getting that letter and still having to room with that person for the rest of the year? I was so thankful that Erika pulled the plug on the roomies thing in the spring. Otherwise, sophomore year would have been an endless nightmare.

This song, though, sums up how I felt about that relationship tanking when I needed it most.

With a sampled heartbeat and a stolen soul
I sold my songs to have my fortune told
And it said
You should know that love will never die
But see how it kills you in the blink of an eye

I know love is a hot white light
It knocks you down and then leaves you dry
Oh how can it be sweet mama tell me why
Why all love's disciples have to wither and die

Please sister, help me come on do what you should
Please give me something I’m not doing so good
I’m gone, done wrong is there nothing you can say
Please sister help me I’m not feeling ok

Give me belief that my time will come
And a toll free helpline if I find someone
But she said
You gave away what you never really had
And now your purse is empty I can see why you’re sad

Please sister, help me come on do what you should
Please give me something I’m not doing so good
I’m gone, done wrong is there nothing you can say
Please sister help me
Can you make me feel ok

So if it’s true, that love will never die
Then why do the lovers work so hard
To stay alive

Please sister, help me
Please give me something oh
Please sister, you know I do what I can
Oh sweet mama, please descent me a man
Cause I’m gone, gone
Is there nothing you can get
Please sister help me I just need some love
To live
Just a little love to live 

Have you ever mistaken a shallow pond for a deep pool? Been disappointed when someone you thought was a friend walked away?

If you're enjoying these posts, feel free to share your own Soundtrack. This isn't a hop. No requirements at all, but a suggestion to do it one song at a time. (If you participated in the hop several years ago, you can still do this. Just post them one song at a time, with the freedom to add more songs if you'd like.) I'll link to all participants at the bottom of each of these posts:


Cherdo on the Flipside 

Holli's Hoots and Hollers


  1. I suppose the old saying "Familiarity breeds contempt" might fit in your story. When we get too close it can sometimes become uncomfortable for some people and they start looking for a way out. I'm not as close to most of my friends as I used to be, but I think that's mostly my moving away, being married, and drifting apart in common interests. I consider my old friends great people, but they mostly suited the parts of my life they were in.

    There have been a few times when I've felt a certain disappointment because I felt a close friend "walked away", but they were in the circumstance I'm in now--new relationships or jobs or whatever and the responsibilities that go with those. I'd imagine with most of those people with whom I was close in the past I'd feel pretty much at home with if I were to meet up with again, but I don't think we'd ever have a prolonged close relationship like we once did. A lot of that is probably me too as I tend to like my solitude and my sense of freedom of obligations to a close relationship.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Road trippin' with A to Z
    Tossing It Out

    1. Friendship is a tricky business. One of the things we'll see later as we move through this ole life of mine is that there are patterns in everything, including friendships. I'll find myself on the other side of this coin. I think when we've got too much dissonance in our own life, we simply can't handle it from our friends. I wish it were different.

  2. She proved she wasn't a real friend because a real friend accepts the bad with the good. Like you said, good thing you weren't rooming together at the time.

    1. Yes, it was a good thing we weren't rooming together.

  3. It's interesting, another blogger I know is going through this very situation right now. I think, though, he mistook a friend for a therapist and the dude cut him off "without a word of explanation". I told him that it is hard to see from the inside when you've become an emotional black hole, people pour stuff in and it never fills the hole. Some friendships can't handle that kind of stress. On your story, though, I wonder if Erica hadn't gotten to that point before she turned you down for a roommate- and just didn't want to admit to herself.

    But she is right in that people change. You can't tie together what grows apart.

    1. You've made an excellent point here, CW. When we are full of holes (I was, but didn't know it) it can be way too much for some people. Or maybe because she put this label of "best friends" on us, my expectation exceeded what it would have otherwise. But, the thing is I'll never know if it could've gotten better, because she never did come back for that talk and to try to work it out so that we moved in a different place.

      Ironically, many years ago when MySpace was a thing she sent me a friend request. She also sent me a short update email on how things were for her. I'm pretty sure she said in the email that she wasn't married and didn't have kids. I went to her page and that indicated she was married and had three kids. I considered the fact that she still seemed to be loose with the truth (or reality) and decided not to accept her friend request or respond to the email. I have no idea which of those truths was the reality, and the fact that I didn't care pretty much sealed the deal on "where to go from here," which was nowhere.

      However, your comment makes me wonder if she already knew it was going precisely down this road and she couldn't face it. I don't know. The thing about college was that I had many types of friends. All she had to do was decide she wanted to be a distant friend and I would've been fine with it. I was never the person pushing us toward besties. It was always her. I never wrote her cards like the one she sent me. I didn't decorate her door or go all out. Just not my nature.

      However, I did have an expectation that you could tell your best friend anything. In return, they could tell you when you're full of crap. So, I guess we just had different ideas about what that friendship looked like. She wanted someone who was always a Feel Good Friend with Good News All The Time. Man, I wasn't that girl. I'm still not.

  4. Interesting-the overall title to the soundtrack of my life is "Up" another long and winding body of water..."Without A Paddle."

    I have a couple of friends right now that fit the shallow pond description-yet expect me to be their deep pond.

    Said differently, I am expected to listen to anything that is on their mind or bugging them, but if I want to vent or unload, something else seems to come up.

    Sadly, one of those people has been a friend for almost twenty years, but the friendship has become so one-sided over the past five years that I see him every couple of months (at best).

    Erica did not seem to be a "one-way." She seemed (from your narrative) just as shallow with what she would share with you.

    Shallow is easier for me to take than selfish.

    I'm not sure I buy into the "people grow apart" logic.

    My two oldest friends have lived across the country from me for 20 years, but while we are very different people than we were, the three of us know we can depend on the others no matter what.

    The reason we are still friends after all these years? If we say we will do it, it gets done.

    What's the saying? A true friend might not kill someone for you....but they'll help you dig the hole.

    Many friendships are really just due to circumstances-work friends are a good example. One of you gets a new job, and how often do you ever see each other?

    Sadly, the other current friend where things are somewhat one-sided has a magnet on her refrigerator (that I may have even given her) that says something like "it takes a long time to grow an old friend."

    I don't know why some friendships can stand up to typhoons and others cannot weather a drizzle. But I suspect that similar characteristics are required to build lasting friendships as lasting romantic relationships.

    There is no "i" in 'besties'.

    Well, ok, there is one...but it's at the end.

    1. I remember having a conversation with my cousin many years ago about friends. She said something like, "I may want to help someone else, but there are times I can't. I feel like I've been out in the middle of the ocean for a year now desperately paddling for shore, and the progress has been slow. Every now and then I spot a friend also in the water paddling like crazy. A part of me wants to help, but if I do, I'll drown. So, I just shout over to them encouraging words and keep on paddling. As do they."

      Well, if you've not been in the ocean for a really long time, this might not make much sense. As someone who's been in the ocean a long time, it made perfect sense.

      What I'm getting at here is that as I move through this life of mine, you'll see that I, too, made bad judgment calls when it came to friends. It's only as I started writing these soundtrack posts that it occurred to me that karma has been at play. Erika bailed when I needed her as a friend. Many years in the future I would bail on one of my best friends. My life was too hard. Her life was too hard. She wasn't telling me the truth. The reasons were numerous... because people in abusive situations don't do the rational thing. And then I would be the one in the abusive situation and a close friend would bail on me.. for pretty much the same reasons. Oh, the cycles and patterns.

      CW said this, " I told him that it is hard to see from the inside when you've become an emotional black hole, people pour stuff in and it never fills the hole. Some friendships can't handle that kind of stress." I didn't see myself then (or until right now) as an emotional black hole. But maybe Erika did and it was just too much for her. I know from my own experience that when someone you care about becomes an emotional black hole, it's really hard to keep it together. I know from experience that when you become an emotional black hole, some people will bail.... and if the hole is big enough, you can't fault them for it.

      Writing these reminds me that I really want to mend some of my broken friendship fences. Not this one. We weren't ever really friends. But other ones. I've taken some steps already, but I really need to do more.

    2. In the two friends I am thinking of, I think it is more the selfishness than the fact that they are weathering their own storm, but I could be wrong.

      Make no mistake-they are both friends that I value, or I would be actively looking for other friends. I find it funny that the bond with them, one after 19 years, the other, 16, is nowhere near as strong as the bond with the two friends back in Philly whom I have seen a handful of times each in 30 years.

      You nailed another truism in your comment-you simply have to accept people for what they are, warts and all. Some of them have limitations. It does not make them bad people. Just flawed. Like all the rest of us.

      People throw the word "dysfunctional" around like that's the exception.

      It's the norm.

      We are all dysfuntional.

      We're people.

      We all need other people.

      Oh my gosh, this is bordering on the lyrics to that old Streisand song!

    3. One of the most difficult aspects of Journey Toward Health (or Kicking Those Migraines to the Curb) is the need/ability to forgive myself for my own bad choices. As I move toward that, it actually is easier to forgive others for their bad choices. Bad choices. We all make 'em. Regrets. We all have 'em. There's plenty I'd do differently if I could, so I know that is true for others, too.

      I know you probably didn't watch the TV show Veronica Mars, and I could get into a very long blog (in fact, I have on my TV blog) about what worked so well in that show and then they stopped doing it, and it stopped working. By the third season, it mostly wasn't working well at all. But, there were still moments of greatness. In one of those the Logan character says to the Veronica character, "Can't we just go a little easier on each other?" And I thought to myself... we all need to go a bit easier on each other. And ourselves.

      If you want to see it...

    4. Well, you would be wrong in your presumption. I loved Veronica Mars , although I never liked the Logan character. Probably a credit to the actor. He played a good snotty rich kid, and I grew up on the side of the tracks that the leads in all the John Hughes' films came from.

      That is a good scene though.

      The series' high point was season one-the story arc in season 2 was not very interesting, and I can't remember much about the third season (except that if memory serves me, it was not one long story arc).

      If my comment was bordering on a Streisand song, yours is knocking on Sinatra (regrets, I have a few)!

      What's funny is, I don't know how much I would really change (decision-wise) because everything had led me to where I am, which is a pretty good place.

      I wish I could take back encounters where I got all bent out of shape over something not worth getting bent out of shape about, just because it was in moments like that I'd said some pretty hurtful shit to people I cared about (still do) very deeply....and I'd take back that hurt if I could.

    5. I had this thought after I hit publish...many of the people I feel bad about saying that hurtful stuff to are still in my life. What's funny is, if I were to bring it up and apologize, they'd laugh, having probably long since forgotten.

      It bothers me far more than them. So to echo your point-learning to forgive ourselves is often not easy.

  5. I am just glad you found out before she caused you much more hurt and pain. It is probably why I always withhold a piece of myself. The rejections just hurt too much! Loved the song!

    1. I think that when we get to a place where we're strong inside, it all gets easier. At least I hope so!

  6. Dang, that's harsh. But at least you didn't have a fake bestie for a long while (like I did - for over eight years) so there's that. People do change, but I think she did the changing before y'all even went on the road trip. A best friend who can't handle talk like that... :/

    1. Yes, that friendship was likely sliding off the rails freshman year, and I just didn't know it. But she did. And she saved us both a great deal of heartache by backing out of the roommate thing. For that, I can simply be thankful.

  7. Hi, dear Robin!

    You wrote/asked:

    << Have you ever mistaken a shallow pond for a deep pool? Been disappointed when someone you thought was a friend walked away? >>

    Yessum and yessum! It's a bitter pill to swallow, too, because you think you know someone and then find out the hard way that you really don't. Suddenly, at a critical juncture, when the chips are down and you need them the most, they pull away from you because they can't handle the intensity. I was shocked to see the difference in those two letters you showed us. It's hard to believe that the same girl wrote them both. Perhaps your first clue that she was a shallow pond was when she backed out of becoming your roommate. It would surely have been a long and very tense year if you and she had ended up together.

    True story. From childhood through high school my cousin and I were besties. We ran around together, went to the Dell together, played basketball and other sports together and thoroughly enjoyed each other's company. We even went to Penn State together. In my sophomore year, the first year that I was eligible to live off campus, we decided it would be a great idea to move in together as roommates in an apartment downtown. In no time at all our relationship soured and became strained. On one occasion we even got into a bloody fight with each other. To our surprise and dismay, we simply couldn't stand living together under the same roof, and when our lease expired we went our separate ways.

    I have learned to surround myself with people who are willing to get real with me and go deep. People who are fluff communicators, people who insist on keeping things light and superficial, people who can't handle "too much information" and people who walk away at the first sign of conflict aren't a good fit for me. Walking away, painful as it might be is, in the long run, best for them and for me.

    Thank you for another interesting, thought provoking and highly relevant post, dear friend Robin!

    1. Some people simply cannot live under the same roof together. You can be great friends and think it will work, but it does NOT.

      I hope you and your cousin got onto a better track once you didn't share a bathroom!

      I think a big part of the work I'm doing right now is forgiveness. Forgiving other people for not being what I wanted/needed them to be. Forgiving myself for falling short, too.

      This is a journey for me. As I share these stories, I see the patterns. The mistakes and the rights. Sometimes they both are in there somewhere.

  8. Life is full of acquaintances and as you get older, you get more adept at know which ones are actually friends.

    The dark hole may be there for a person some times, but I expect that a friend would help lift you out or at least listen. Listening is not that difficult of a task; if you love a friend, it's the least you can do.

    I've been blessed with some wonderful friends and some stinkers. I've learned to not only let the false friends go, but even show them the door - I'm even nice about it. I have an inner circle and "acquaintances."

    God looks out for people. THAT one needed to go and I'm glad she didn't stick around for more years and really leave a wider path of destruction.

    1. One of the hardest things to learn is what sort of friend you're dealing with... some aren't really friends at all. This was the first time I'd experienced that. Others are friends to get you through that time/place. Then the friendship falls away. It doesn't mean it wasn't real or good, but just not permanent. And then there are the people you should work at keeping in your life.

      I hate to say this but chronic illness turned me into a not very good friend. Not a lack of caring, but an inability to do. I actually felt like I was cutting wide path of destruction when I was married, divorcing, after the divorce, when the migraines were so bad... well, it took a toll on my friendships. I'm not sure that I'll be able to repair the damage. But, I'm trying...

  9. Oh my gosh I wanted to hit something when I read that second letter. She was most definitely a shallow pond friend for sure. You know sometimes breakups with friends are more painful than with boyfriends. I think it is the closeness you get by sharing secrets and your most happy and painful memories with girlfriends that we would be more reserved to share with boyfriends. Ive had 2 "breakups" with 2 of who were also considered best friends. Ironically, 20 years later I'm friends with them again but I will always be more reserved and protected than before. Its painful. Its true that you learn who your friends are when you're going thru tough times. I had a friend that was so Unsupportive when I was going through my dad's illness and his transplant. I couldn't believe she never once asked about him or me when I was living at the hospital. That may seem selfish but I always asked about her family that meant a lot to her. I feel like I put a lot into my friendships and I've had to learn not to expect the same from others most of the time.

    1. Well, don't get too bent out of shape about it. That happened a long time ago. It hurt at the time, but I don't feel anything about it any longer. Well, relief. Relief that I didn't spend more time there than I did. Some things are just not meant to work out. Her closing that door on friendship made other doors open that probably wouldn't have had she stayed in the picture. I don't regret that at all.

      I'm "friends" with a couple of people who hurt me in school. As you say, not close friends because that wouldn't be smart. And also not close friends because those people were never "real" friends. I've had some relationships with real friends take bad turns. I really want to get those relationships back on track.

      I don't know why friendship is as hard as "relationship," but it seems to be. I guess it's because as humans we all mess up constantly. I'm sorry your friend wasn't more sensitive about your dad's illness.

    2. I was thinking of a quote that I had seen lately and I finally just found it. This reminds me of todays topic : Some people aren't loyal to you... they are loyal to their need of you... once their needs change, so does their loyalty

    3. Wow. That's deep and oh so true. I like it!

  10. When I look at the writing of these 2 letters I find it compelling how different the actual writing is even though both are printed. The first shows warmth with the slant in the writing while the 2nd is harsh and cold. I have read and heard that when a person always prints, they are hiding their true feelings. I also found it interesting in the first letter how she mentioned how much you were there for her and how you listened to her. It is actually quite one sided where you gave and she took. When you needed a shoulder and a true friend, she backed right off. She will never know the meaning of true friendship because she can not give it while you can. It is a nasty letter and it was meant to hurt and for her to feel superior. Thankfully she is not in your life. There is judgement in her words which is plain wrong. I recall having a "friend" and she told me that she could no longer associate with me because I did not fit the look-ick! I had another who just simply dropped me and to this day I am unsure why. I have had some who took my sensitive nature and abused it. In the end they are all gone and good riddance! I have very dear friends now and I am extremely lucky because I can count on 3 people being there for me no matter what and the saying goes that if you have one friend you are rich. There is another saying as well and it goes something like this-"there is a friend for a reason, a friend for a season and a friend all your life."

    1. I never noticed the handwriting. That is interesting. Did you know about hubabub going on in the schools today in which they don't want to teach children cursive? Makes you wonder if you aren't the only one who's figured out this phenomena.

      It's funny, but I don't recall much anymore about this phase of my life (or our "friendship"). I kinda think I've just allowed it to be erased from my memory storage. I remember that during college it was always a sore subject for me. Of course, I'd see her around campus and she'd look through me like she didn't know me, and that always hurt. I think the fact that she never came back and had any conversation about it all was part of what made it so painful. Because, of course, I was sure for the longest time it was something I'd done. It took me many years to piece together the timing of our trip (break to NY) and the conversation we had in which I shared all the garbage over my parents divorcing, which was pretty fresh for me, to the fact that she wrote me that note right after we returned. I think figuring that out helped me to let it all go. I didn't actually DO anything.

      As for the friends you mentioned... yes, this relationship ending bugged me until I figured it out (closure!), so I understand why yours is still painful for you. I hope that a day comes when you understand why your friend suddenly pulled the plug. But, if it doesn't, you're better off without her. Sometimes the Why isn't as important as the Is.

    2. Oh those people from the past I don't give much thought unless it comes up like this for example:) I had no idea they want to get rid of cursive-how stupid is that!! I wonder who makes or thinks up these decisions-very stupid. Glad it is in the past for you. I always say "Smell ya later!":)

  11. I'm convinced you and I have lived parallel lives. I've done my bit with the evil college roommate. I keep trying to tell my husband the whole story -- for 20 years now -- but apparently I foam at the mouth and my eyes roll back into my head whenever I talk about it.

    If I'm ever going to tell the story of how this demented bitch ruined my last year at college, stole the apartment I'd signed the lease for, and cost me every single friend I had after I'd supported her through the worst dilemma a college student can face ... I'll need to write a novel.

    *wipes foam from lips, tries to roll eyes forward into head*

    1. Yes, it does seem to be so. For every one of these stories, you have your own.

      I hate it that yours was so much worse. I can't imagine having a roommate go evil on me, stealing my apartment, and taking all my friends. If there is any comfort I can give you it is this: she hasn't changed. So, chances are good that she screwed those same friends over later on. It's quite possible you could reconnect with the ones who mean something to you and see if there is anything salvageable there. Or you could go on like you're going. (You seem well adjusted to me... at least when you're not foaming at the mouth and doing that eye roll thing.)

  12. I agree with everyone that it's a good thing you weren't roommates. She just wanted everything to be easy-breezy, and didn't want to get mixed up in anyone else's drama. Sadly, many people don't change, and always behave this way. I've found this out the hard way many times over. Unfortunately, it doesn't sting any less when you get older.


    1. Yep, Julie, I think that was the bottom line. She wanted an easy breezy relationship and if there was any drama in the room it was gonna be hers! Well, I say good luck with finding friends like that, but you can count me OUT.


You can now add YouTube videos in your comments by copy/pasting the link. AND/OR you can insert an image by surrounding the code with this: [im]code[/im]. In the case of images, make sure that your code is short and simple ending with something like .jpg. If you want to use a pic from someplace like Google Images, click on the image, then click on View Image. That is the code you want!

Dazzle Me!