Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Flashback Central - Three Stories of 'Friendship'

Today has been a weird day I think. For some reason I’m remembering moments with friends where I feared I did something wrong, or, where now I recognize what they did was wrong and I let it happen. All this tends to make me physically dizzy, and, to some extent with a rumbly tumbly.

I think I’ll go scenario by scenario.

#1 – College, Senior Year.

I had gone down to the soda machine in the basement and it ate my dollar – no soda. No refunds either as I recall. So about a week later my roommate asked me to go down and get her a soda, and I agreed. Well, wouldn’t you know the machine spat out two bottles? (I swear- she and I were the only ones who got the ginger ales anyway.) So I went back happy saying, “oh look, it finally gave me my bottle!” but she said because it was her dollar that got the two sodas it was hers. In the end I did get the soda, as ‘her gift’ to me.

Well that was the first memory, and I wondered about the ethics of it. Was it really her bottle as it was her dollar? She knew I lost the dollar earlier, and had I been in her shoes I wouldn’t have questioned the claim that the bottle belonged to each of us. After all, she had intended to get only one bottle of soda with her one dollar, and I had lost one earlier. There was no difference in standing than when I left the room. So was I being presumptuous in claiming that bottle as my lost one and had my act to get her soda, originally an altruistic deed, turned into a motive of profit and/or theft? Was I stealing her soda? Technically, this time it was her dollar.

I spent entirely too much time trying to figure out the ethics of this one. The machine owed me a soda, and I got it from the machine. But did I do so at her expense? Honestly, I’m at the ‘let it go’ point. There was a valid claim to that drink.

#2 – College, Junior Year

A friend who I would have to write multiple posts about, R, and I are going on what is my first vacation. I have done all the booking, put it on my credit card, and planned it all out. When I finally go to the ATM to get out 150$ spending money, the machine gives me 300$ instead. It is late at night so there is no one in the bank. I tell my mother and she immediately wants to drive to the bank and get a withdrawal, thinking it’s free money. She tells my brother and he calls his friends. They all go to the machine. Meanwhile, I call my bank to check my balance – there is only a 150$ difference.

My family comes back dejected – the machine is out of money.

So I tell my friend about this and she suggests I call the bank. I do, multiple times, and finally they say that there is no record of me withdrawing any more than 150 and that ATM is now out of service. I will not be charged more than 150 and since there is no record they cannot accept cash from me except to deposit it in my account. So, yeah! Extra money for my first vacation.

But, when R finds out about this she insists that half of this is hers because we are going on the trip together. It was my account, my worries, (and remember, I made all trip arrangements anyway) but she insists that as my travel partner I give her half, especially since it will cover most of the bus fare up there. I say no again. She then tells me that God sent me the money to do the right thing – split it with her. Again, and this time aghast, I tell her no.

Now, I know she was in the wrong with this one. She was an extension of my mother, one I got rid of a few years before my mother, but equally as controlling in many respects. So after the trip I fill out all the paperwork to get my tax refunds for the hotel and she insists on half. She did pay for half of the hotel, so fine. But it turns out the total is something like 52.35. Since half of that is 26.175 she decided she should get the extra half a penny – 26.18. She argues the point incessantly, and I, being the me at the time, give her the half a penny rather than argue.

#3 Twelve Years Old, Sunday School

This one also involves R. At Sunday School they had this treasure chest and the minister had a bag full of keys. Every Sunday he made a show about putting in a new shiny toy. There were fire trucks, my little ponies, princess castles, a Crayola backpack that I wanted, etc. You could go up and pick a key each week for remembering your Bible verses from the previous week, being picked by your Sunday School teacher, or one key for each new friend you brought to church. So I brought R. and won! I was so happy, the backpack and the princess castle were calling my name.

Now, I had fully intended to share with her as she was my friend. For so many weeks I had remembered my Bible verses and tried lots of keys. Of course, the Sunday school teacher asked me which toy I’d give my friend for helping me win. Then R. decided it was an equal share, because without her I wouldn’t have won. There were at least 12 toys anyway, so I was fine with that. We’d take turns picking out toys. Then she says she gets first pick. I didn’t like that. But she insists that it’s only right in God’s eyes that since it was through her coming I won. She starts to get mad. Did I mention she and my mom got along super well? Lol, my mother considered her the daughter she wish she had had. Every time I had wanted to stop being her friend my mom sat me down and had a talk with me about keeping her around.

Anyway, in the end I acquiesced and she took the backpack! I was so friggen upset. I still got the Princess castle that did special thinks with a magic ‘key’ and other stuff, but not the backpack.

So as I’m thinking over all these things I begin to feel distressed. I berate myself. “Why the hell did you let her walk all over you?” I asked myself. “You were such a f*cking wimp. What the hell? Couldn’t even stand up for a ½ a penny, let alone your backpack. You earned those Sunday School toys, why did you let her take them?

Then I started to feel lower and down on myself. Then the internal dialogue begins. There is the one me berating my childhood self, and the other recognizing that I was so beaten down by my mother I did what I was told. R. was an extension of her and the fact that I stood up to her in the college scenario shows progress and a development of self. I shouldn’t insult myself for actions that were deemed necessary to avoid conflict – something I lived in constantly anyway. It was my feelings of self-worth and like I was ‘undeserving’ for everything that let her have the backpack, not me.

It’s all so exhausting, to have to talk myself up after each little memory sneaks up triggering others and they just keep flowing and flowing. Then I have to talk down those feelings of powerlessness that come up. Then I berate myself for how petty this all must sound, a backpack, a soda and ‘found’ money.

Photos taken from the following sources:


Amel's Realm said...

Ahhhh...yeah, I can see that R is the extension of your Mom. And when you wrote that she and your Mom got along VERY well, I nodded and nodded and nodded.

I understand what you're saying here. Sometimes I also think I think too much on "trivial matters" (that bother me so much). The internal battles are always the weariest one. However, I think lately I've just begun to let them fight one another...all those voices inside me. Sometimes I shout out SO loudly to them to stop whenever I need to sleep or focus on something else.

I totally dislike the way R linked God to have what she wanted. Disgraceful!!!

But hey, you stood up to R in college. That's GOOD! And you've gotten rid of her now. That's EXTRA GOOD!

I can understand your wish to contemplate these cases, though, so IMO it's NOT petty at all. At the end of the harsh dialogues, don't forget to embrace yourself, Vic.

Whenever I have your kind of thoughts, I've always reminded myself that God only asks us to do what we can do with what we know at the time of incident, not with the knowledge we have years afterwards. Even sometimes with the knowledge we have, it's hard for us to apply that knowledge. Now I'm rambling again...but anyway, HUGE HUGS from me again!!! :-D

Btw, you DESERVE every good thing in life, including the backpack!!! :-D

Victorya said...

Amel- as I mentioned previously, I was very religious. A lot of people abused that or used it against me, left such a bad taste in my mouth!

I think fighting the voices inside is so much harder than those outside, itsn't it? Yet you do come across as so positive and strong and self-assured!

Amel's Realm said...

I know what you mean. My Dad's been tricked and trampled on by the so-called religious people (for money!!!). The very people that "should've known better". Sigh...seems that religion really doesn't make people better, especially if they have forgotten morality or ethics just to get what they want. But they'll sow what they reap anyway. Karma rules!

INDEED fighting the inner voices is the hardest of all. Positive? I try to be. As I wrote in my previous post, I used to be a pessimist until I read Norman Vincent Peale's book.

Strong? I think YOU are strong for facing your past. I never really thought of myself as being strong as I had been pretty safe in my entire life. There are my weak and DARK moments too (as I said in my previous post I had wished someone dead twice in my entire life), but I've been learning to love myself despite myself and maybe it's working now? He he he...I sure hope so.

Self-assured? Hmmm...dunno. I just try to hold on to all the good things in life, including God's promises. I've never been too religious due to above reasons, actually, but lately I've been trying to build a relationship with Him. Sorry if my comment on God there made you feel "sick". I TOTALLY understand that.

Victorya said...

Oh my! your comments in no way make me sick! God is important to you and i see you as the way I felt christianity should be - love shines through, not judgemental.

"And they shall know us by our love" or something like that, wasn't that the phrase?


Amel's Realm said...

Ahhhh...glad to hear that then. I just wanna make sure you didn't get me wrong he he he...