Open Letter to my Friends
This has been on my mind the past little while and I have tried to do what I normally do and keep my irritation to myself. It is not working though because I feel as if you are finding it hard to know what to do or say to me as I work my way through a tight spot.
I cannot bring myself to criticise any of you so I am writing to you as a collective, even though you are each distinct and do not know one another. Some little bits of what I will mention apply to different ones of you on different days.
- I am out of work – I am still me; my job was not my whole life. You are not responsbile for this and I don’t hold you so; I am glad that you have your jobs at a time when good jobs are hidden like the proverbial needle in a haystack
- I am allowed to make choices; whether good or bad – I appreciate when you offer me insight so I can make informed choices but I am less happy if you suddenly assume you know what my choice should be
- I will have down days and good days – I have always had down days and good days and for most of my life the good far outweighs the down; if I am having a down day please just treat me the same as you did when I had a down day 6 months ago
- When I mention to you, openly and honestly, my financial situation – I AM NOT asking for money; I am responsible for myself and for getting myself back on my feet. Your open and honest empathy will be most welcome as usual
- If I should refer to an outcome of my financial situation, I AM NOT asking for money; I am not ashamed of the lack of luxury in my life just now (it will probably do me good for a while) and I am not in the habit of being deceitful with you
- If I choose to spare you some worry by not sharing or I request a little space – I haven’t stopped caring about you or trusting you; I don’t need to be checked up on like an infant who might have quietly woken and be climbing from it’s cot
- I am aware I am not the centre of your worlds, you all have your own problems and worries to address, your work to go to, your families to care for and your own joys to celebrate; but when you say you will call or catch up with me and don’t I do feel sad. Not least because whatever my worries and hardships I love to catch up with your life too.
- You cannot protect me from the rest of the big bad world forever more …
- I miss the random conversations and encouragement of strangers … but most of all I miss the encouragement of my friends who seem to be too scared to speak with me in case they say the wrong thing.
I always try to slip your shoes on for a moment or two or try to look through your eyes … but I am not certain that you are seeing a woman who has dealt with a tough six months, who feels mentally strong, who is trying to be physically well and healthy and who, most of all, is confident in her future and the longevity of her friendships. That is what I would like you to see because it is who and where I am.
If you see something different then I am very sorry that I am not appearing to you as I truly feel I am … so please just tell me what it is you see rather than tiptoeing around me while we both get more confused? However I cannot apologise if I am not appearing like the stereotypical person without work and limited resources who sinks into a decline … I might be almost middle aged but I am not washed up with the flotsam and jetsam on life’s beach just yet you know!
I grew up loving the JRR Tolkein novel The Hobbit; it has an alternative title “There and Back Again” and like those pleasant little Hobbitses … I am still on the “There” bit of my journey and counting on my friendly elves, wizards and dwarves to help me out and see me through …
I cherish true friends more than almost anything else on this earth; so I am writing to you from my heart to yours with a small plea for you to treat me just the same as always please. I love each of you and hold dear the part you play in my life.
Your (unemployed but with plans) friend