Hello, friends and foes and fairies and the like. I have been horrendously ill for the past two days and can only speak in a bassoon voice while feebly and steadily crawling towards what seems to be inevitable death, so do not expect much from today’s post. If my brain isn’t oppressed by snot, which it is, it is oppressed by the fact that I just finished reading To The Lighthouse (never before have I ever read a book that has been so hard to complete), or by the fact that I have to complete the analysis of three poems and think up of something for the 100 Happy Days project and get in a half an hour of exercise somewhere in there, whilstcounting existential questions such as how no one remembers the names of Medusa’s sisters (Sthenno and Euryale, in case you were wondering… which you probably weren’t) and how Daniel Sharman’s existence calls to mind questions of the superiority of Art vs that of Life.
My brain, let me tell you. It physically exhausts me. How was I born to be so incredibly lame?
Anyway, today we will talk about those strange vile beautiful innocent corrupt annoying loveable creatures we all know and adore and occasionally hate; creatures who pull us through abysses, up mountains and across hallucinogen-induced dreams about gigantic mushrooms; who put up with our fetishes and fears and faults and still love us; who, in short, make life worth living. Today, we’ll talk about friends. More specifically, the gut-wrenching, tear-building, heart-burning business of leaving friends behind, as all of us step forward into the terrible unknown void of the future.
College, let me tell you. It has been a time of so many new things that I’m beginning to lose track of it all (who am I kidding, I never kept track anyway), but this ain’t one of the things I’m going to forget soon.
I’ve had a lot of friends over the years of my quite short yet substantial lifespan. But when one has lived in three different cities and attended eight different schools, the idea of a friendship that lasts starts to mean very little. They were companions, they were close, they were people I couldn’t live without- but only in that moment. Ultimately, they were people I moved on from, they were people I found again elsewhere, they were people I left behind once more, and so the wheel bludgeoned forwards. Not willingly- the image of physically wrenching apart a healthy beating heart comes to mind- but it’s what I had to do to pull myself out of the quicksand of despair I had sunk into. And so these are the rules I formed in my mind: C’est la vie. Keep marching on. By the time I came back to Kolkata, I had forgotten what it was like to have friends that know the fabric of your soul- and I know there are a few of those out there. I left behind so much in Bangalore- so many new beginnings, nipped in the delicate bud- but I gritted my teeth and told myself, C’est la vie. And I carried on.
But the terribly annoying thing about life is that things never go according to the rules. All that I didn’t want, happened: not only did I miss those friends, new and old, desperately, I also formed yet more new ties that did not have the know-and-forget character I had become used to. I now can’t live without those fuckers. And, as always, I’m a huge emotional mess about just how much the lack of their comforting, Butterbeer presence means to me. I miss making inappropriate jokes and utterly unethical sexual innuendoes with them. I miss being politically incorrect. I miss being just as enthusiastic about Vedanta as I am about Sherlock. I miss talking about Tagore’s songs and Lungi dance in the same breath. It’s been a benediction and a bane, knowing these people. My heart aches for them to be here, with me, right now, so badly that I feel like it might actually cleave in two. Social media makes it even worse; somehow, it makes friendship into a competition; who goes out more with their friends, who has more selfies with their friends, who has more friends. Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the one being envious because I just miss them so freaking much.
There was a time when having friends was uncomplicated for me, but these last few angsty teenage years wasn’t it. The curse of my life has been to move away from a place, every time that I settle down to forge lasting friendships that bring me peace and stability. The question is, has this pattern been a result of life and the universe screwing with me, or is it because of me? Is it that there is, in me, an inherent phobia, of commitment, if you will, that prevents me from really becoming close to someone until I know for sure that a deadline is approaching, that I have been handed an expiry date? And the peace that I long for, do I really want to attain it, in the end? Peace results in minimised conflict, and while that will be good for me as a person, for the me that wants to be a poet… without conflict there can be no writing, no art, no poetry. Perhaps this is better, this non-Bohemian wanderlust that keeps me tearing about all over the place, in my thirst for knowledge, and life, and experience. Maybe the dearth and death of friendship is just a collateral damage that I will have to put up with. And… honestly? It’s a price I’m almost willing to pay, if only the cost wasn’t so damn high. If only my gut didn’t wrench with loneliness and an inexplicable, primitive fear every time I observe the desert I’m ultimately left standing in. The figures are there, sure, but they’re so far away.
The good news is that I haven’t taken up inanimate objects as friends just yet (although I am unhealthily attached to my sidepillow… but never mind that). I’m finding new friends, I’m finding a new life that does not involve the careful surgical removal of old ties, or being obsessively chained to them either. It’s just that the interval is so hard: the actual period of change is so twist-in-the-stomach painful that it’s really tough to deal with sometimes.
And so, of course, I came here to purge all my self-centred first world problems on this blog. This has been LITERALLY the whiniest blogpost I’ve written in a while; please do accept my profuse apologies for making you waste the past few minutes of your life on it. On the other hand, maybe we can join forces and moan together in combined self-pity. It’s therapeutic. Really. Try it out. Go on. Comment below about that friend you miss terribly, or that other bff (what a term) you have drifted away from, or a new friendship you were forced to leave behind. Life’s a bitch and by groaning together on this all-accepting forum, we can make it a little easier for each other to shake off our troubles and say, with a smile, “Ah well. C’est la vie.”
Until next weekend, then, il mio amico. Arrivederci!
(Is it just me or is this turning into a multilingual blog-thingy)