Thursday, August 30, 2007

The past year.

This past year has seen a lot of changes - not the least of which is the bathroom reno that I now leave. Of course there's another bathroom reno at the other end of the move and probably more of the same in the future! Tiles? I can tile! And grout. And paint. And don't forget the shopping!

I've lost friends and regained some old friends. S for example - we're both downtown and tend to go out for coffee at least once a week. R is gone from my life. The decision is mutual, however I think she believes otherwise. Sadly, I shouldn't have let her back into my life the first time, but I thought "what's the harm, it's not like she lives here or anything."

Shortly after, I was asked to be in her wedding - I agreed. I was asked to be maid of honor ("old maid" of honor was my joking title) - I agreed. I drove to Calgary to shop for dresses. I drove to Calgary to attend wedding shows. I spent time online looking at dresses. I picked her up in Sher. Pk and spend the day dress shopping with her. We discussed flowers, issues around her parents and her birth mom at her ceremony, having to change the venue, etc etc etc. I was reminded why I'll elope next time around!

She asked that I drive to Red Deer for bridesmaid dress shopping. Fine. I can drive to Red Deer. The problem was that both of our lives were so busy that there wasn't time - except during the week. So I was expected to drive 1.5 hours after work to shop for bridesmaid dresses - not exactly what I wanted to do after work on nights I wasn't curling (admittedly, there weren't many of those last year.)

I was expected to be in Ontario several days before the wedding and it would essentially be a minimum of a weeks vacation time for driving and wedding participation. Hair and makeup were added to the list. Travel costs. A dress and shoes. Hours spent driving from city to city for shopping and whatnot. The reality that I'm not a size 6 and won't be any time soon.

Last Dec. I was in a car accident. At the time, I was driving to a Christmas party she was having in Olds. She felt bad that none of her friends from Edmonton were going, so J and I were on our way down there. I know how it feels so I didn't want her to have a disappointing party. My car was written off. Both J and I spent months and a lot of money recovering from our injuries - the other driver was likely going 65-70 on that piece of road and never hit the brakes! I still have to see a massage therapist regularly or risk back pain and horrid headaches. I never used to get headaches or have back problems.

About a month ago, I joined Facebook. I clicked through the "find friends" screen not realizing her name was in the list. Hers and my ex-husbands - lol. He managed to be civil about the whole thing and we were on each other's friends lists until I realized it was affecting me too much.

She, on the other hand, replied with an email about how selfish I am and how she's glad she asked me back into her life because now she sees me for who I really am. I'm paraphrasing - but I'm fairly certain that's almost her exact last line in the email. On one hand, this bothered me. I don't want to be considered a bad person. The reality of that time in my life is one that she clearly is unable to comprehend so I'll forgive her that. Today, I'm still working on my personal budget. May brought huge changes to my relationship with J and a lot of stress. Work is finally getting itself straightened out. My back - well, let's just say I'm happy to have a massage appt for this weekend.

In the past year, I've had rising mortgage rates take a bigger chunk out of my bank account, a car to buy, and renos I've completed - with more on the way. I haven't received an insurance settlement for the accident so my line of credit is still inflated because of the car I'd hoped to have paid off by now.

I made the decision in February (I think) to back out of the wedding. My life was such at the time that I knew I couldn't act as a maid of honor should. The entire situation was driving me crazy and simply adding to the inordinate amount of stress I already had. I made the mistake of letting R know via MSN. First because I didn't want to talk myself out of it. I've spent my life trying to please other people and given time, I would've chickened out and gone ahead with something I couldn't handle. Second because I was at work and in cubicles, that isn't a conversation I want broadcast. By her reaction, it was the right decision.

At the time, J and I were trying to plan a vacation somewhere warm. We ended up settling for Kelowna - a trip we could afford at the time. There was a lot of pressure placed on that trip as at the end of it we were planning to move in together. Obviously, that move didn't happen. It was postponed and will now happen starting tomorrow. I was told that her wedding was more important than any vacation J and I wanted to take. Yes, really. I don't even want to get into the things she said - she's rather vicious when angered.

Most people consider me a good friend. Sure, I've been "downsized" a time or two (*snicker*) but for the most part, I'm a good friend. The problem is that in the past 3 years, I've gone from doormat determined to make everyone like me to someone who is worried about my own happiness just as much as the happiness of others. Those who knew me before, may not like the person I am now because I will stand up for myself. In this case, I suspect that's the cause.

I know a wedding isn't an easy time, and having a member of the wedding party drop out is stressful. The reality is, I tried to give her as much notice as possible. I told her as soon as I made the decision. The moment I made the decision, huge amounts of stress lifted from me. Enough that any vitriolic emails made me laugh rather than upset.

The decision was made in February. The wedding takes place in Sept so it wasn't a last minute decision where she has to struggle to find someone to fill a spot. Tuxes weren't rented. Dresses weren't purchased so the option to NOT fill the spot is there.

Do I regret the loss of a friend? Of course. I'd be heartless not to. However, in the end, her behavior made it very clear to me that she wasn't concerned about me at all. She never asked about the car accident or our injuries past the first phone call. She was unconcerned with my search for replacement vehicles. She just didn't care about me at all - only herself and her wedding.

Keep in mind, there are two sides to every story and this is simply my side of this story. My reasons for doing what I did. My musings on the changes that have occurred in my life and the affect they've had for me. Am I sorry I had to back out of the wedding? Yes. No one ever wants to do that to a friend. Was I uncomfortable in the role of "Maid of Honor" uhhh yes. I didn't feel our friendship warranted that - especially given the other falling outs that we've had.

Well, that's enough about that. The great change in my life in the past year is J. Someone I never would have met without the last idiot I dated - bathroom reno already started in the form of shopping completed - and one of my best friends T (Yay T!)

It started with wings - I'm not crazy enough to let some strange guy into my house! According to T, she felt like she wasn't even there. I remember it differently as I felt out of place and like a 3rd wheel, but hey... It was a tumultuous time in my life with the last relationship turning into an on again, off again, bad situation. It was like he'd want me back just to make me feel horrible again. Hellooooo back seat of the truck with the kid who didn't make it on the favorite list. Good God, the emotions I was going through at the time. It's a wonder I managed to be a normal person while out with J.

It progressed from wings to a drink. Still remember that night - a claim that he wouldn't date me because I was just coming out of a relationship. *smile* I was stunned since I hadn't thought we were talking about dating, I thought it was about a bathroom reno. Then a kiss in the parking lot when he walked me to my car (yes, I'm THAT irresistable). The next morning a request from T to give J my MSN address. The rest, I suppose is history. Mere steps on the path to what we have now.

A relationship that's grown with respect and love. Sure, there have been problems, but I haven't had to tiptoe around anything at all. And problems are to be expected - especially given the external events of the year. We've fished together, traveled, camped, spent numerous weekends with each other. He's there when I need him. He's curling in my work league this fall and taking me shopping in Paris and Las Vegas. I know I can count on him. My cats even like him and I'm sure Tigger's going to appreciate the warm chest to cozy up to. For some reason he doesn't feel the need to keep J up all night... odd. He is the right one, I've never felt that so surely. I don't have one doubt about him.

I'm happy with who I am and the decisions I've made to bring me to this point. Now, I'm going for a walk.


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