Feeling Low

Today isn’t really going very well so far, I gotta say. I’ve barely slept, Brody didn’t poo before I left this morning, I’m supposed to be doing a radio play tonight after work, but at the moment have zero cast confirmed so will likely have to push it to next week.

And I’m upset.

I think maybe hurt and/or angry is what I’m feeling most, but I’ll file it all under the umbrella term of “upset”. That’ll work for now.

I have a friend, who has a friend, and sometimes I look at their connection and think it’s closer to what I’m looking for in a friend. Not all friends; just one good one who I feel like I can trust and count on, and talk to about pretty much anything, if I want to. The connection they share isn’t quite what I’m looking for, either, but it seems closer than anything I’ve got going on myself. From the outside, at least.

Anyway, my friend mentioned her friend’s name during the conversation, and I commented on how her friend was a good friend for her. She responded that I am, too…which is great, but we weren’t talking about me. Then she said that they have being single and straight in common, and to me that felt like a punch in the face. It’s not the first time I’ve been singled out for not being straight, but again – we were not talking about me.

I mentioned that a comment like that would seem to disregard the connection they have, as they have way more in common than that. What I didn’t add is that, to me, those two things are very surface and/or inconsequential factors upon which to base a friendship. I don’t really look for people who are single and not straight to be my friends. I choose people I like – as people. Not relationship status or sexual orientation. I get that it was just an off-handed comment meant in jest, but it bothered me a lot. Still bothers me now, obviously.

Once again, I feel set apart, and for something that has as little to do with my ability to be a friend as I have control over it. Sorry I’m not straight enough to fit in, I guess? Only I’m not really sorry. From what I can tell, in general, men connect with other men on a different level than they do with women, and likewise women connect more deeply with one another on an emotional level than they do with men. When they aren’t trying to compete with one another, of course. But the potential is always there, so that’s what I’m referring to.

So in that sense, I feel kind of sorry for straight people, as they won’t ever know or truly understand that level of intensity and complete intimacy that comes with same sex relationships. Theirs will always be a little off balance. Though on the flip side, they also won’t know how it feels to never really have your relationships be socially acceptable and “normal” (ie not stared at nor commented upon). Nor will they know the shame and humiliation that comes from having a homeless guy yell “shut up dyke” and then spit at you as you walk by with a friend, for example. You know – there’s a trade-off.

What has actually upset me about an innocent little comment? I’m not sure. When I was getting ready for work this morning I texted that being single probably felt much the same no matter what your orientation was. If love is love, then no love probably feels similar regardless of who’s not loving you. She responded that she hadn’t intended to make it sound different.

And that’s the thing. Obviously she didn’t intend to hurt or anger or umbrella upset me with it – and yet it did those things, anyway. I guess one thing, aside from setting me apart as different yet again, is that it seemed to not only diminish their connection, but to also suggest that ours is even less than that, because we don’t even have straightness in common. That sexual orientation came up as a factor even in jest…bothered me. Maybe because I don’t really think about it anymore. It kind of shocked me, I guess, that she apparently does; that she sees it as a difference between us even if I don’t. And worse, that she might even see it as a difference that makes me less-than when compared to her straight friends.

Now, don’t get me wrong – there is a lot of love coming at me from this person, and while I struggle to figure out where I stand and whether or not I’m pulling my weight in this particular friendship, this also isn’t the first time a comment has been made which sets me apart from the others due solely to my perceived sexual orientation. I think this is just the first time it’s really bothered me.

Maybe it’s just because I view their connection as stronger than ours already, or more valuable to her than ours, and that I wish she and I were closer than we are. So when it’s pointed out that they are both single and straight, and that’s two of the things they have in common (and the only two mentioned) – like, I’m single, too. For coming up on 8 years now. But I’m not as straight as they are, so it came across to me as one of the main differences between us – and one of the main reasons why my connection with her isn’t as strong, nor as valuable, and why we are not closer than we are.

And fortunately or unfortunately, it’s not really something I can fix.

So while I understand that the vast majority of the above is all in my head, it doesn’t make much difference in how low I feel today as a result. Reality is subjective, after all, so knowing none of it is intended to make me feel this way…doesn’t mean I don’t still feel it.

Girlfriends

Went Bowling For Kids Sake last night, in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters Toronto, and had even more fun than I could have possibly imagined! Beyond the two teams I was there with, there were some familiar faces – more than I’d been expecting to see, actually – and everyone seemed to have a great time together. SO much fun!

Of course, I am much more hungover today than I’d been planning, as well, so there’s that. Still worth it, though.

On the way into work yesterday morning, I was talking with a coworker friend about the fact that I’d be bowling that evening (I think that was my first time with the big balls, too, actually), and she started telling me about how she used to bowl in an Italian Women’s League years ago, and how much fun THAT was! Apparently the women had all known one another for years, and they’d get to telling stories and laughing a lot, then go out for drinks after and tell even more stories, and make each other laugh all the harder.

It got me thinking about how women should do things like that much more often in our general lives. Spend time together in a group and just be silly together. My team last night was all girls, and even though everyone didn’t know everyone else at the start of the evening, we all still had an amazing time playing together. We also talked about how cool it would be to make a semi-regular thing out of it. Maybe bowling, maybe something else, maybe incorporate a few different things. Just to go out and be goofy and not subconsciously be trying to impress anyone else the way we do when there are other kinds of relationships around. Family, work, romantic relationships – they all have different dynamics than just straight up friendship, and even the dynamics between men and women in platonic friendships are usually much different from what men have with other men, or women have with other women.

There are of COURSE exceptions to all of that, but what really got me thinking was about the kind of friendships that can develop between women specifically, and how I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced it first-hand. I have seen it with others, and have caught shades of it in my own life, but not nearly to the degree that I was thinking about yesterday and last night.

Not like an Italian Women’s Bowling League.

I’ve been trying (and largely failing) to nurture stronger one-on-one friendships with other people recently, but this group dynamic was suddenly just as fascinating to me. It’s different somehow, in a way I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s a kind of release, when there’s less of a need to keep one’s guard up. It’s so habitual I wouldn’t even say I notice it until I’ve let it down without even thinking about it or trying. Suddenly I’m just a little bit more myself, and it still feels safe. For the majority of the evening last night, I’d completely forgotten there was another entire set of lanes on the other side of the room! All of those people just ceased to exist all together. As did the others bowling on our side, save for the 3 other teams I was there with.

With whom I was there. Haha

And while we all went back and forth to visit and chat with people on those 3 other teams, it was still my particular group that made me feel the most like myself, including the ringer I had to deal off to one of the other teams because mine had too many. But she spent enough time with us that she still felt like part of my team, anyway. She was part of that same dynamic in a way that none of the others were.

I’m curious to see what prolonged exposure to feeling more like myself would do for my public presence overall. To my sense of self. Would I start being more me all the time? Would I ever let my guard down completely in a group like that, and just not give a flying crap about trying to impress anyone else (thus making me all the more impressive)? Would that feeling extend back to closer one-on-one relationships and let forge stronger connections that way, too?

There’s something there, for sure. Something different. Something fun.

Something that makes me want to be an old lady giggling with my old lady friends and making everyone who sees us together jealous of our unique friendship, and wonder what the hell we’re laughing at.

That thought alone makes it worth taking a shot, don’t you think?

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