I decided that every weekend I’m going to try and call two people whom I haven’t talked to in a while and wish to remain in touch with.  Since the injury I have felt hurt at times when I think about certain people whom I used to be friends with and seem to no longer be acquainted.  Early on in my injury I felt like I was the one who was hurting so I was the one who should be reached.  At the time, the assertion was correct in my point of view and it was not my responsibility to get in touch with all of my friends, although I did in a way by sending out mass e-mails.

Many, if not most of my friends from my pre-injury days have faded from my life which is really to no surprise.  The time before my injury was a different life, a life I find very hard to coexist with my new one.  I am the same person I was then, I have the same identity but along with my injury came a rebirth that has sent me down a different path.  For a while I thought that maybe I would eventually go back to that life, that once again everything would be the same, but it is not possible.  My experience has changed my life forever and things will never be the same.  When one says things will never be the same, it seems to always carry a bad connotation with it, but it needs not.  It turns out that I’m not going to live a normal, average life which blends into the mainstream society.  Instead, I’m destined for great things, great things which will not come easy but will inspire a growth of the soul I would not have had a chance to experience otherwise.

Back to my point of friends, I have decided to take on the responsibility of maintaining contact with friends who I feel destined to remain close to.  This includes friends from my past life, friends I have made in my new life, and extended family.  To maintain friendships it takes an acceptance of responsibility to want to maintain that friendship.  A simple phone call and a short conversation is all it takes to keep a relationship strong.  There are friends out there who I want to stay in contact with, not really knowing exactly where my want comes from.  Mostly my desire endures because they energized my soul upon meeting them and their souls shine brightly in my eyes, or maybe their faithfulness overtime has proven the friendship.  These are the people I’m going to call each weekend, even if I am calling for the second, or third, or even fourth time with no reply.  I suppose I will give up eventually and view it as a friendship which was not meant to be.

This past weekend I was able to get in touch with my friend Mike from college.  Why do I want to stay in touch with Mike?  Because every time I see him my spirit increases, my soul expands, my heart lightens, and my mind is at ease.  His personality is infectious and his joy for others seems to know no bounds.  We seem to have grown closer since my injury even though we have only experienced a few phone calls and a couple visits.  His heart is always open to all I have to say and our conversations range from subjects of extreme immaturity to serious topics of spirituality.  Jumping from subject to subject the affirmation of who I am grows stronger, something all true friends should do for one another.  And as I hang up the phone another friendship lives on, one among many that should not be so easily forgotten. 

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6 Responses to Friends

  1. Patricia says:

    Hi Colin – I so admire your reaching out to old friends. Friends are an amazing part of life and following my accident I learned that amongst all the things in life -friends and people and loving them were among the most highly valued in my opinion. I truly love people. What was difficult was that although I had this realization -I expected others to have it as well. That was confusing. I felt frustrated often. On the other hand this is where our injuries differ to an extend. My brain injury changed my personality in ways that I am unable to discribe this evening but maybe sometime in the near future will reflect upon and write about. My injury also changed my values deeply and that made things harder still. In addition, several of my friends have gotten married. I have also moved first to Maine and then to where I am now. Time and distance has payed a toll. I knew several old friends from this town which made the transition from Maine to here easier. My reason for not going home was that many things had changed including the spreading out of my family to different places and the sale of my childhood home. I had gone through much of my injury, as I said, rather alone – close friends were busy and meeting their spouses. I was and am still surprised by the way that many of my friends have married rather dominating personalities. They have changed in many ways, as I have. Appearances of success in many forms are a part of the region where I grew up and I find myself mythed at times by the conversations and changes in my friends. In this way I can better understand how I must myth them -thus I have a lot of forgiveness and understanding in my heart and still love them all. As far as contact goes I have found many friends both old and new. I cherish my new friends as they are remarkable people. I cherish the old ones whom actually find that they like my "new" personality better! I cherish the certain few friends that have been constant both pre- and post injury and love them so much my heart could bust. I also found that there were some friends who were not necessarily in my close knit of friends but more on the tight outskirts who I was mere acquantances (sp!) – that I suddenly found I had a lot in common with for some reason- maybe they had certain values that I did not realize until I had changed. Calling these people up was a reach for me and a pleasant and delightful surprise. The most important thing that I learned was to not hold on too closely to the ones that made me feel less than who I was following the injury. There were a few whom I found were manipulative and unfriendly in small but powerful comments. I was smart and am proud to allow myself some distance from them although it was heart breaking. Being around them made me feel worse about myself and was self-defeating. I found myself beating myself up after time spent with them and it took me awhile to let go, love the memories for what they were and focus my energies towards people who were less critical. I tried for a long time to be the person they wished I could be and it ended up really messing with me. The other thing that made making friends interesting was my new found disinhibition to make new friends in strangers – I met one of my new best friends completely randomly at the store. Photography helped me to realize the many differences and similarities in people and a special place in my heart for finding out about them and getting to know them. I also have an inability at times to think before I speak, leading to a sometimes humorous honesty that people either love or dislike. The honesty is never critical, rather I will tell people straight up that I like them -this is disarming to people and freaks some out. I don\’t mean to freak them out – the words just pop out of my mouth in conversation – "I think you are great, I really like you." I also hug people when I see them even if I barely know them! Yikes! This is particularily strange for them as I am a single woman and I am sure they are trying to figure out if I have ulterior motives – which is a shame. I meet many people at events and photograph them and my boss gets a tremendous kick out of how many family parties I am later invited to after meeting people for the first time. She also can\’t get over how people will open up and tell me things almost upon meeting them. I think they sense that I love them almost right away -I think they know that I am not intimidating in any fashion -nor do I treat anyone differently. I had a personal conversation and asked questions to a well-established old man in town at a recent event. Everyone is intimidated by him and if I had listened to them better I probably would have been frightened to even introduce myself. As it ended up I asked him alarming questions about how he became successful and what was important to him and in the end he thanked me profusely for showing an interest and has metioned me to others which is embarassing but kind of him. The saddest thing is that because of his success he is isolated in some ways due to people tip-toeing around him. This was sort of an interesting lesson. The thing is, is that friendship potential is more abundant than I ever thought possible even before the injury. I have learned this by faux-pas in talking to strangers and the way they open up and soon become friends. I do have special favorite friends. Some old, some new, who are like family to me now. They are independent and open minded and completely shine in my mind. i have rambled. oops. I find myself constantly proud of you – I think that connecting with old friends is great – you encourage me to do the same. I feel that if people act and operate from their heart that they can never go wrong. Even if it is strange or ackward and doesn\’t work out – it for some reason doesn\’t hurt when it comes from your heart. i have learned much from not being able to trust my brain as much -i have learned the power of the heart and its huge capacity, and I also notice it in others. For this reason, i can easily laugh at myself when i mess up, tell people -"oops I said that wrong" – and though many will find me eccentric for this – I don\’t mind anymore -it has led to more good things than bad and seems like a much more furfilling way to live from the heart- even when the heart is goofy at times. I have been reading Tolle rather slowly -which is rare for me – normally I rip right through books, but I really want to learn and I find that I can do so best in small chunks. I have some questions at times and maybe I will start to write them down. i have had a rather nice quiet week and have been able to learn during it. i\’m constantly learning though and at times it is overwhelming. oh my gosh this is long. please feel free to delete it after reading it. I didn\’t mean to go on so much but did. As always my best – how are things going with Adam? You haven\’t mentioned him in a bit. How is Bob? Do you like having a bit more independence? Do you miss the time spent with your dad? How\’s rehab? Do you like your doc\’s? Are you going to Shepard Rehab -was it Shepard that you were going back to in a bit? I\’m being nosey -so sorry if these questions are too personal – patti

  2. Patricia says:

    oh my !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is more than long! That is a freakin chapter, no a book – gosh please delete after reading! I\’ve completely clogged your blog! -patti

  3. Unknown says:

    Okay, if there\’s such a thing as a "BLOG HOG," it\’s Patti!!! ;0PColin, I\’m glad you\’re making the effort with friends, old and new. Some people think that friendships should just happen, but like any relationship, they need maintenance! Keep it up and your friendships will flourish!Take care and have a great day!

  4. KATIE says:

    Colin,I think its awesome you are reaching to those you feel are quality people/friends! You have a great spirit and those around you should feel very lucky to be apart of your life!!Continue your amazing journey!!~Katie

  5. Shannon says:

    Hey Colin!Good friends are so hard to hold on to…if only more people would look at things the way you have. I have numerous friends who I tried to stay in touch with and just got tired of carrying on a one sided relationship. Im sure what you are doing means a great deal to those people. Take care and hope you had a great holiday!Shannon

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