I love those days when a song randomly cycles through my iTunes shuffle — a song which perfectly encapsulates the fleeting thoughts rushing through my mind. It’s happened to us all: a song on the radio, a song on a television show, a song on a commercial, etc. And for a moment, it seems like everything in our emotional scope is perfectly encompassed in a song written by another person, in another place, in another time.
During the nearly-four years I’ve been home from prison, I’ve learned numerous life lessons, but one of those lessons keeps re-presenting itself: Friendship is a myth.
I have come to the incontrovertible conclusion that humans do not possess the ability to maintain true loyalty and/or a cohesive “friendship” to anyone outside of their family (and in many cases, within their family as well). Friendship is a mythical creature — a unicorn — something we perhaps wish existed or sometimes believe exists in any number of contexts. But the truth is, with the exception of family, human beings will forsake one another for the betterment and/or advancement of themselves. Every time I feel like I have a “friend” out there, I am slapped in the face by reality when that “friend” says or does something in stark contrast to the spirit of “friendship.”
Forsaking friendship has now become the norm, especially with my “friends,” so I have come to the painful conclusion that I literally have no friends — and I’m fine with that.
The people in my life who are loyal, kind, and accepting of me are my family, related or not. Those who respect me for who I am (rather than who I was) and who do not demean me or belittle me have all of my appreciation and love, whether or not we are actually related — those people are my family. And as far as I’m concerned, all of the others only exist within the context of the purpose they must serve in my everyday life. They don’t exist outside of their mere functionality.
This may seem callous, but it is for my own protection.
I am sick and tired of being fooled by conditional “friendships.”
People aren’t kind anymore. People aren’t nice anymore. People don’t care about each other anymore. People would rather spit on others for the sake of their own advancement rather than extending a helping hand, having a bit of patience, or displaying a little humility. Therefore, I neither want nor need “friends” anymore. I, of course, based on my obligations to the social contract, will remain civil and friendly to all people, but I have grown weary of false people who speak false words in the context of a false friendship. I simply can’t play that game anymore; emotionally, I’m just too tired for that. I have a select few people outside of my immediate family who are genuinely good “friends,” so as far as I’m concerned, they’re not friends — they are family. That is how I value them. The rest are just details of life’s context and nothing more — and I shall treat them with contextual civility.
I am tired of being betrayed and undercut by the people who claim to value me as a person, yet treat me like an object. If my true family has taught me anything, they have shown me that unconditional love really does exist, and I can sufficiently survive on their love alone and not the faux-“love” of faux-“friends” whose “love” is merely contingent upon their own biased needs.
I’m sick and tired of people finding varying justifications for why it’s acceptable for them to be a complete asshole. Because guess what: It’s never okay, so any justification is worthless, meaningless, and is frankly insulting. If you’re going to be an asshole, fine; but own it like Dennis Leary did. Don’t hide behind some thinly-veiled “reason” why it’s okay to be an asshole when it’s literally never necessary. Why the hell can’t people just be genuine anymore?
So here’s a valuable life lesson: Friendship is a myth, no matter what Dionne Warwick says. So be a rock. Be an island.
Because a rock feels no pain.
Because an island never cries.