The latent violence of toxic friendships

Groups. Deceit. Lies. Defences. Biases. Cover-ups. Truth.

What do you think of when you think of a friend? All the good qualities in a person that you chose to be with, I suppose. But do you ever stop to wonder if these “good qualities” that so are prominently visible in your thoughts actually exist in the friend/ group of friends you think you’re close to? Do they reciprocate the sharing of naked truth that you so staunchly indulge in? Or do you think you could see through the façade if only you looked close enough?

Aristotle said Human beings are social animals. But then why do a lot of us feel deeply unsatisfied despite being included in multiple social groups? It’s almost like the more friends we try to keep close, the more webs we keep getting tangled into. While friendships are certainly desirable, certain problems are inevitably attached with these desires. You could strip down to your darkest thoughts of self-loathe and turn completely vulnerable before another person, but would that make them a friend? Would your actions define your relationship with someone else? As I grow older, I realize how caught up everyone around me is, fighting their own battles and eliminating anyone who doesn’t fall perfectly into their carefully charted plans.

Shouldn’t calling an individual your “best-friend” come with certain responsibilities? The way I look at it, calling X a best-friend would mean that you are volunteering to share their happiness and more importantly, their despair. It should mean that you would laugh heartily with them, but hold them closer when they cry. It would also sometimes require you to overstep your inhibitions and do things you wouldn’t normally do. But what happens when X does not reciprocate your actions, physically or emotionally? Theoretically that would constitute a one-sided, toxic and make-believe magical friendship. But practically we’re usually too consumed in giving/ receiving to really think about whether the constituted friendship remains truly mutual or not. Either way, this normally ends with one party feeling the wrath of emotional hurt. So here’s a story I’ve been meaning to publicly tell for a while now. If nothing more, I hope it makes a good read!

As I lay next to him, a drop of sweat finding its way to my right breast, I realized how we could never truly be friends. I had known him for a few months now. I’d held his hands a couple of times before we shared stolen kisses, away from the circle of friends he had closely woven together. It was exciting, I must admit, to be desired by him. But as the rays of sunlight lit up our hotel room, the darkness of lust that had perhaps blinded us, found its way out the huge windows. Promises of the night seemed illusionary. The tag of friends with benefits that he had wanted to bequeath upon us now lay around ignored. Words that followed the night contained painful silences that begged to be filled with truth.

As days went by, our conversations turned redundant, meetings were forced and the truth was never told. The group of friends turned hostile, as sides were taken. And our time together was no longer talked about. In an attempt to erase history, he started distancing himself from me. He no longer desired to be the best-friend, a word he had casually embraced earlier. I was no longer included in the group dinners. On confronting him, I was told how time plays an important role in solidifying friendships and short intervals of close relations don’t really matter. While friendships do get stronger gradually, does time provide you with a base to undermine people’s emotions on? So I did the one thing he’d asked me to not. I told people. I told them about us, about our shared desires and the consensual sexual relations we’d shared. The truth, however, wasn’t sufficient for the group of people to snap out of his captive sorcery.

I will perhaps never understand how friends can turn away at the slightest of inconvenience caused. I’ll never really figure how relationships can be objectively calculated in proportion to time. But if you no longer sense the mutual respect and desire to stay friends, it is important that you leave (regardless of the time and energy you’ve spent on them, since spending anymore would only make it worse). While I learnt the fragility of promises made in closed spaces by people, I do hope that someday he realizes how the girl wasn’t actually crazy but merely just another person he’d conveniently discounted when she had the audacity to wander away from his deceitful tactics of handling life. And I wish you to never be trapped in similar situations that only make you fall deeper into sticky facades. Latent violence of such toxic friendship can seep in to do more damage than most other relationships.

So here’s the post-script: We were friends. We were best-friends. We had sex. There were groups of friends involved. Lies and deceit were valuable assets. Defences were thrown around and biases tried to cover-up this truth that needed to be unfolded.

I hope this made you think.

Have a good night folks!

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The truth about “forever”… Is the very non-existence of it.

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Only you can be your forever ©V

Tell me something, what does forever mean to you? Does anything ever last forever? Does your ‘forever’ last forever? If so, how long is that? Surely it’s not going to last until your dying breath, is it? How is it that each time we promise a forever, a part of us knows about the terms and conditions that come attached with? Unconditionality of a forever is a utopian façade, imagined into reality by our insecure and scared minds. We tend to believe that things are bound to last, people are meant to stay and relationships definitely flourish for as long as our forever entails them to.

It’s rather silly, to be honest. How many chances have you given to that friend of yours, hoping that their last fuck-up was the last one? How many breakups have you been through that were truly mutual? We’ve all believed in a plethora of excuses, wrapped in make-believe reasonability. I’ve done it too, more times than I can even recall. While it’s beautiful to believe and dream of a forever, I have come up with a new realistic theory. I call it, “the theory of phases”. As you might have guessed by now, it revolves around the only uncertainty that my brain can seemingly accept: Everything that happens to you is merely a phase. So this makes life a long account of multiple phases sewn together like the billion basepairs found in your genome. Every second you feel, every emotion you endure constitutes a phase which, by extension, makes all of your relationships with other humans/ objects, nothing but a phase as well.

While my theory sounds like it’s the most obvious thing you’ve read today, is it really that obvious? Because the flaw here is our ability to recollect phases and strive to relive them. You see, by the very virtue of their existence, phases are supposed to come and go, without a trace of messy residuals. But when we love, connect to or hurt a person, we feel varied emotions every single time we think of them. They consume us, overpowering the short lives of our lived moments and mess up this comforting theory of phases. We get stuck. Like that little silkworm trying to break through its cocoon, only to realize that its life actually ends with being put in boiling water to loosen up its silky creation. We don’t care about the worm, we just want the silk. Just like we don’t care about moving past the phases, we just want what we’ve already lost.

Of course the difference here is, if the worm had a choice, we wouldn’t get the silk but when we have a choice with our lives, the comfort of past and familiarity is so overwhelming that we don’t want to break out of the miserable cocoons that we’ve spun for decades. This inevitably leads to us waking up in our own pot boiling water, usually after most of our life has already been lived for someone else. I’ve recently realized that most people you meet are supposed to be phases. They’re supposed to serve a particular purpose, teach a particular lesson and move on. But when you keep throwing chances around, you mess with the natural course of growing and gradually end up becoming your own nemesis. So even though it seems difficult at first to let go of phases, especially the delusional “happy” ones, you need to realize that each phase requires an end for the next one to begin. The more you keep spinning a cocoon around yourself, the harder reality will hit you when the time to take down your adhesive wall finally arrives.

Never forget the two golden axioms: The only certainty in life is the uncertainty of it and the only truth about forever is the non-existence of it.

What’s the prettiest mask you ever wore?

Hello Stranger!

Rain, Coffee and Silhouette Photography ©V

I know you’re intrigued by the title. I really like that about you. Well I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, which is perhaps why I haven’t written in a while now. How are you doing? I know you have been a little confused by life. This isn’t really turning out to be your year, is it? I think we’re on the same side then. As I sit here, listening to classical piano music with a mug of coffee beside me, I can’t help but think about the numerous times I’ve been in this position before. This moment, right now, is my solace and I want you to picture it too.

Who are you? Have you thought about the various faces to you? The various phases you’ve been through to get here? Have you thought about the people who pushed you to become this person? Yes, it’s best not to go there again. It’s interesting to note how, many a times, we end up being the people we staunchly disrelish to the people we deeply desire. Why do we do this? Is it fear or are we just unequipped to deal with anyone but ourselves? We’ve all made promises that remain unkept till date. We’ve loved those who couldn’t love us back. We’ve angered ourselves about things we had no control over. People always came and left and chapters got completed so abruptly that now we almost look forward to the endings.

I’ve stared at the skies long enough to realize this is just who we are, so completely and naturally flawed. I have tried to keep my promises but the older I get, the more I understand my limitations. All of those beautiful stars I grew up gazing upon, remain the same, and yet your masks change every single day. How am I to know which mask is the real you? Is it when you smile oh-so-softly that your eyes light up? Is it when I can’t stop looking at you as you speak because every word you say breaks my heart into pieces I strive so hard to collect? Is it the diabolically carefree one you have on with everyone else? Or is it the one you put on while your head rests on my breasts with your eyes shut and your lips slightly parted, in your deep slumber?

Perhaps I do the same to you. Perhaps I’m too scared to know what’s behind that mask of yours, so I put on a new on too, every morning. I think I wear mine to hide the hurt so you don’t ever see me cry. It changes with the person I’m with, of course, just like yours do. These conventionally pretty masks keep my latent desires away from your scrutiny, so no one can ever touch me. But don’t misconstrue their complexities of being, for they are only trying to save you from yourself. Maybe if you take them off, you wouldn’t be so spectacularly strong. Maybe you’ll realize that you and I aren’t very different. Maybe someday your masks will strip mine off layer by layer, so I wouldn’t ever need another one. And quite honestly, I am looking forward it, for when that happens, I’ll know how right I was to love you the way I did. So let’s begin with a simple question, what is the prettiest mask you ever wore?