Saturday, 15 August 2015

Of Friendship and Feet

 I’m not sure how to say this without it sounding like a pathetic cry for help… or an attention seeking teenager’s lament. It is neither. It is what it is. And it’s something that’s been bothering me for a while now, gathering momentum, growing obese and knocking other stuff around as it travels. So I’m setting it free. For it’s own health.

And mine.

I’ve never had many friends. I was never one of the popular kids, never a cool girl, not someone to be seen hanging out with. I’ve never been part of a sporting team, or one of the arty crowd, nor even queen among dorks. I don’t think I’ve ever had a tribe.

Like most people, work-me and social-me have often blended. Work colleagues have become the people I socialise with, and some of them have come to be what I might call friends. That’s usual, right? Because most often it’s those with whom we spend the most time that become the source of our circle of friends…. Isn’t it?
Is it?
Is it a truism that our friends are drawn from the group with whom we spend the most time? And that who we have as friends, therefore, changes as our life-situation changes? 
Is friendship transient?
Or do friends meet in unexpected ways? Untold spontaneous ways? 
And stick.

Like when you comment on a blog that speaks to you from another part of the globe, and you end up connected to someone you’ve never met. The way pen pals used to be connected. The way women once wrote to random soldiers just so they knew someone at home was thinking about them. 
Words connecting lives through space and time.

Over the past few years, I’ve been consciously reaching out to people who I
once called friends. People with whom I spent a great deal of time. People with whom I shared many experiences, thoughts and conversations — one I spoke to almost every day while our children were young, another loomed large during our adoption journey, a third was once a regular companion on outings. And there are others. People who have known me for decades. People I thought would always be my friends.  

Almost all of them have dropped away.

They were pleased to hear from me… or seemed to be… when l reached out to try to reconnect. I believed they were happy for me to travel to their homes when I asked if I might do so. And travel I did. But that was where the contact ended. My visits were followed by silence. 
The same nothing.
And I find myself damp with the fug of rejection, wondering just what friendship looks like.
Then dampness chills to brain-freezing realisation that the common denominator is me.

But I asked someone I don’t know if she’d knit me a pair of socks as a physical reminder of the unfathomable way in which words can connect lives. And she said, ‘How big are your feet and what colour do you like?’

And better still, she knitted herself a pair too.
In the same colour.
The colour of friendship.


  1. Wendy.... your post went straight to my heart. Before the Internet, life was different, or so I thought. But human relationships, especially friendships simply adapt to what is. Much of the equation is rather dynamic. I remember thinking, many many years ago, that I seemed to be the one always reaching out. I used to feel bad about it. Soon enough, I pulled myself up and stopped "keeping score".

    Sometimes, even close friends, or those I considered close would go for months without connecting. I'd freak out because it looked to me like they were fine with how things were. It's funny, isn't it? Yet, I am still in touch with a few of my classmates and there's one who's my absolute best friend, my soulmate. When I think that we've grown up together since grade 5, my heart swells with happiness. Over the years, as we grew geographically apart but stayed as close as ever, we've both gathered friends, and have wondered why people are great when we come in contact and then just don't seem to bother to continue to keep in touch, responding only when we reach out. We've stopped wondering long ago. :) Nevertheless, it makes one feel bad.

    I'd like to send your friend who knitted you the socks a big fat hug. And a huge double for you, too.

    Love, Vidya

    1. What a beautiful, and true, post. You have spoken what is often in my heart about work friends, or friends out of similar circumstances (like raising children). But there are those rare ones that last - and ones, like ours, that have developed over common interests and perhaps something more profound like karma, or fate.
      I am so glad you like the socks. I am so glad we are friends.

    2. I happily accept Vidya's hug!. Feels so good.

    3. Thank you. You are wonderful ❤

    4. Vidya, thank you for your , as ever, sage contribution. You are so right in so many ways.
      I too have one genuine long-time friendship, since school, upon which distance could never make on impact. But I have really been saddened lately and I guess I've always known it's easier to dislike me than to be my friend. I annoy myself a lot of the time!
      And Mary-Anne thoroughly deserves that hug. She is wonderful. And knits like a machine!
      I love hearing from you. You can always put such a positive pitch on things.

    5. And Mary-Anne... I had a feeling that this was a post that might speak for and to many other people. I hope it didn't come off as a whinge, coz, as I said, that was far from my intention. But as you know, I often untangle the threads inside my brain by writing.
      And I'm glad we are friends, too. You give me hope.

  2. That was such a beautiful and heartfelt post-Wendy. I too can relate to the work 'friendships' and not being one of the popular crowd at school.
    Blogging however, has brought some wonderful people into my life that I am proud to call my friends, even though we have never met. You and Mary-Anne were there right from the start and have stayed constant and true. I love your matching socks and the friendship that they symbolise.

    1. The blogging buddy is a special breed indeed... I do hope we can all meet up one day. I often wonder where that might be... And I'm still waiting to see the yellow dice... Xx

    2. Ha Ha! It has been abandoned for a while as I am trying to knit the shawl! :-)

    3. Wendy, I consider you to be a TRUE friend and there is almost nothing that you wouldn't do for that friend. So, if there is anything anytime that I can help you with, PLEASE do not hesitate to get in touch and if I cand assist, I will!

    4. Thank you, John... I feel the same way. Ours has always been a friendship characterised by distances in time and space that melt away when we get togteher.

  3. Oh I can so empathise with your post. Must be something in the name as I have also never been part of the "in" crowd and often felt I was the one making the effort all the time until the point of giving up. One thing I did conclude was that sometimes the people I was always making the effort with had enough going on in their lives that they didn't necessarily need to keep in constant contact hence they weren't the instigators. That didn't mean however that their friendship was lost to me. One of my best friends isn't always the one reaching out but I know that I'm never forgotten and when we do get together the time gap just disappears. But blogging can and often does bring us into contact with like minded people and I value the contacts I have made and look forward to their posts be they daily, weekly or sporadic. You're included in that list :)

    1. That's lovely to hear... Thank you..
      And your observations are spot on.