WHY AM I AFRAID TO TELL YOU WHO I AM


She has been a friend for more than 40 years.    We’ve been through the death of children and husbands, alcoholism, infidelity, illness and loss of youth.   Too many life events to even count and absolutely no way to determine which of those events was most meaningful or life changing.    The carapace of aging begins to diminish the ability to feel the sharp pain of  youth. 

During the past year she has become more and more isolated and resistant to getting together to have lunch or share our daily lives.  She has avoided me in many ways; email not answered, cards or small gifts not acknowledged, not inviting me to meet with another friend who has visited her.   I began to feel the rejection and made the excuse that we are both getting old, some days we don’t feel well or like being with other people.    

She likes men more than women, even in our dotage. She will accept the invitation of a man friend to have dinner, etc. however is too tired or busy to accept an invitation with a woman friend.   That has always been the case and so is not surprising.   The things in life she values most are men friends and the money she has that allows her to give the appearance of being affluent.  She has always insisted on paying for any lunch and is very verbose about her ability to pay even when she is with those who have less money.     She is a snob in many ways; where and how much education one has, where one lives, the kind of grocery one shops at and the kind of car one drives.     She will sleep with a man of the working class but she would never marry the man unless he had status.    Climbing upward is for her about financial security and about the status it gains you in society. 

My interaction with her has been one of openness and frank conversation.   One of the things I’ve always liked about her is that even though we were miles apart in many of our values  about men and money, she accepted my views and seemed to like talking with me about things of important to both of us.
We are both politically very liberal and articulate so conversation was a joy. I believe we both came away energized and with more insight. 

After several months of little or no contact and several attempts to get responses she sent me today an email with a message that she no longer wanted me around her.   She stated that she now had people around her who did not “jar” her as I did.  

I was stunned and yet at the same time not surprised. Only an idiot would not know that something was amiss.   My blind side told me it was our aging, health issues, etc.   I did not want to admit that I was no longer a person she liked or wanted to share time with.    

I am hurt and I will heal. One of the wonderful things about getting old is that this is certainly not the first time my feelings have been hurt or that someone has not liked me.   It will take awhile and I’ll move on to the next experience, hopefully more positive.

Many time I have chastised myself for “being honest about my feelings” when asked, knowing that sometimes that level of honesty is not well received .    There is, however, for me something more important than the relationship and that is the freedom to say what I feel and think when asked and take my chances with the friendship.    If I do not say what me is the “truth” then how do they ever really know me and I would only be presenting the “nice lady” side of myself which is only a part of me.    All of me has to be acceptable .  I’m reminded of an old book (70’s) “Why Am I Afraid to Tell you Who I Am”.    The above paragraphs answers that question for me.   

Peggy      

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