A new year doesn’t mean too much to me, I don’t set new goals and I don’t force resolutions upon myself knowing I won’t keep them. However the fourth quarter of 2017 brought with it my first writing hiatus that lasted a few months, stemming from the lack of inspiration and the time I took off to do some soul searching. My online presence decreased, my Instagram posting became erratic, my rants on Twitter became nonexistent, I totally abandoned Snapchat, and I avoided polished Facebook photos that would eventually be the discussion of my entire friend community.
So this time as the day approached, I couldn’t help reflecting on my not so random online and offline withdrawal and on the life lessons I learned by what I consider one of the toughest periods I went through on a personal and professional level. I want to share my discoveries with you, no matter how hard they are to divulge.
The major highlight of this year was friendship detox, in retrospect, the toxic people that were surrounding me contributed to a lot of negative emotions and actions, and only when I cut all ties did I start breathing and working towards my goals without any distraction. All my adult life I have been victim of leeches, many say I attract them, and that my positive and cheerful demeanor are like a flame to a moth. My alleged “kind heart” is always mistaken for weakness, thus allowing people to stomp all over me, thinking I don’t know what they are up to, when in fact they don’t realize that I don’t fight back because I don’t want to exploit their weaknesses and hurt them. I’m not a social being to begin with, so when I open up to a friend and end up being hurt it damages me to the core and I stop trusting anyone altogether.
I have purged the opportunists, those who stick around hoping they could climb the social or corporate ladder through me. I used to be so kind to them until I realized I owed them nothing, and had I needed a favor they would have never obliged. These are the people who would claim that certain ideas were theirs, or that they are avant-gardes when in fact they were only following my lead to later brag that they did this and went there. They are also the people who I’d put in a good word for across certain fields to boost their presence, but when a mere mention of my name could do me good, they wouldn’t reciprocate.
Then there are the friends who have nothing to offer but negative vibes, even when I’m down in the dumps and in need of moral support, they always manage to make me feel worse about my situation. These are the people who wouldn’t put themselves in my shoes, who would only dish out advice that would only get me in trouble, acting all tough when the reality required a different angle. They are the ones who would be on the offense all the time to hide their insecurities. I would nag about one of these friends in particular until I realized that the solution was simple, so I stopped being afraid of confrontation and put that person in line and got on with my life.
The most difficult was the ungrateful coworker who was very close to me, we spent every minute together and shared common interests, whose career I tried to save many times, taking blames for them year after year, speaking well of, doing the workload so that they could chill 8 hours a day, ended up stabbing me in the back. I should have listened to the hundreds of voices warning me to be careful, but I was blinded by humanity and sheltering a hated person, that I had no idea what web of deceit was being woven to entrap me. That web and its result shocked me to the core, physically, mentally, emotionally and financially. That situation eventually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, but lesson learned is, never again.
Then there are the few friends whom I would talk to every day for a decade about everything suddenly forgot to even say hello as soon as I was no longer convenient to them. Friends who I would see on a daily basis at work acted as if I disappeared off the face of the earth as soon as I stopped coming in. I could not fathom how something so deep could one day disappear. I do love them dearly, but I am not willing to force myself on anyone.
Negativity aside, I have also come across beautiful new friendships, ones I hope and believe will last a lifetime.
At one point this year by some greater power, I met someone who entered my heart and mind without even knocking, whose childhood and life leading up to the moment of our meeting paralleled mine and we just clicked. This person is a soul mate of some sort, a mentor, someone I look up to and who hopefully finds solace in sharing hopes and fears with me. This happened at a low point this year and I believe fate has led us together to help each other grow.
There are a few friends I have met online for whom I am grateful, who genuinely care, and our daily lives have been so similar, as moms, as dreamers, as thinkers and introverts, that I believe more than ever that good people still exist.
One ex-colleague who was merely an acquaintance at the start of the year turned out to be the dearest to my heart, whom I speak to daily and share my deepest secrets with, I feel comfortable crying in front of as well as sharing breakthroughs knowing she will be genuinely happy for me.
As I look back, I do believe that the bad experiences happened for a reason, for I learned to trust my instincts even more and to grow a backbone when it comes to confrontation. If it weren’t for those horrible moments, I wouldn’t have been led to meet the extraordinary people I’m in contact with now. I will forever be grateful, but careful.