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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The First Amendment is alive and well in my house

I am a freelance writer. I don't make a great living at it yet but the work has been picking up and next year the IRS will be thrilled to know I'll make a profit. As a freelance writer, it astonishes me the number of people who think they have the right to tell said writers what they can and cannot write.

Case in point:

I had the great fortune in life to shed some dead weight from my life a couple of days ago. This dead weight was in the form of someone who was supposedly a friend. I say supposedly because, in hindsight, she was never really a friend. This girl has tremendous emotional problems for which she refuses to seek treatment. I didn't realize this until recently, which is why it took me a year to come to my senses.

See, this overgrown teenager uses her emotional problems to control her world, forcing everyone in her life to alter their treatment of her based on how she's feeling that day. Also, she likes to retreat into her cave. This is really okay because everyone needs a break, sometimes, from day-to-day life, but with her it's different. She is "in her cave" probably five days out of seven and the rest of the world suffers for it. She won't answer her phone, she won't respond to text messages, she refuses to look at her e-mail; it's all about her and the morass of despair from which she is suffering in any particular hour. Her kids have prettu much taken over most of the mundane household chores. Her husband is in the inenviable position of always having to take care of her needs, her wants, her whims, her desires. He gets almost nothing back from her in the way of emotional support. Don't get me wrong, she truly does love her husband and there would be no doubt this is true to anyone who remotely knows them. However, she relies on her husband for the most basic of emotional supports. I can't come up with anything off the top of my head but she is very draining emotionally and is what I call a "toxic" person. To know her for any length of time means she sucks the life out of you.

Now, most recently, I finally decided I couldn't be in a "friendship" that required a greater emotional effort on my part than the other person was willing to give. I believe that in any relationship the give and take is 100% on the part of both parties. If even one of the persons in it are unwilling to do this, give at LEAST 50%, it's time to cut your losses and move on.

And before I am accused of being a heartless person towards the disabled, I'm not. My husband suffers from mental issues and I've been with him for 16 years now. The differences are that we are married and he is aware enough of his issues that he is not only taking meds to counter them but he is in therapy to alter his awareness and behavior to a more acceptable level. This former "friend" of mine is absolutely aware of her issues but she refuses to do anything to change them, choosing instead for the rest of the world to alter their behavior to match her craziness. While she does take meds for an unrelated health situation, which I give her a great deal of props for, she refuses to address her emotional problems. Once she said to me, "You know I'm not great at the social thing." Um, yes I am, and so are you but you refuse to do anything to change it, causing a great deal of problems for those who love you.
I am a firm believer in making change when necessary as it is far better to make the world a better place than to be a blot that overshadows everything around you.

Anyway, it is now in the past, at least for now. She has some expensive items I "lent" her almost a year ago. I put lent in quotes because apparently loaning her something means, "Um, I know I'll probably never get this back so..." And I say for now because the things she has are things I use in my daily writing world to look for work. It has been a tremendous hindrance for me, not having access to these things and I found myself resenting her for it, which is part of the reason I had to cut her loose. I had been asking her for the stuff back for months, to no avail. This Monday, I find myself in the inenviable position of having to file against her and her husband in small claims for the replacement value of the items in question. While the dollar amount is small, just over $100, I really don't have the money to replace them and I shouldn't have to.

Now, here is the part where the First Amendment comes in... In one of her final rants, which she is extremely delighted to do as she is a MAJOR drama queen, she said something about my not being allowed to post anything negative about her. Um, what? I think I can write whatever I want so long as malice is not involved. I think her name was left out of this entirely so no one outside of she and I know who I'm talking about. I am permitted to vent however I want, so long as it doesn't violate the rules laid forth by the Supreme Court and believe me when I say, this doesn't come close. I've had other people try to tell me what I can and cannot write, as though they and they alone are responsible for all public forums, seeking out entries that are deemed "acceptable" by them.

I believe a friend is there for you when you need the shoulder to cry on, the need for a solution to a problem that could come from a friend or just to let you rant about some injustice in the world. I believe my "friend" was only available when "she" needed these things and the rest of the time she was holed up talking, e-mailing and chatting with her on-line friends; you know, the ones with no real emotional involvement beyond lines on a page. These are the safe friends as they live in another world and she isn't required to have any real attachment to them. In short, they are just as shallow as she is, not wanting any real friendships to form as those come with an expectation of involvement beyond a glowing computer screen.

I wish this child well and hope she can evenatually obtain the peace of mind and wellness she needs to become a productive member of society. When she was "there", she was great. She could make me laugh in spite of myself and she had better than average intelligence, which was a welcome change to the idiocy that is prevalent in today's society. I'll miss her for that but what I won't miss is her cavalier attitude towards anyone who isn't her, her passive aggressive nature and her using her emotions in a P/A way to feed her need to control her world.