On being “dumped” …

by tamarjacobson

Quote of the day:

Often I’ve heard that the people who become writers are those who can’t satisfactorily express themselves or have any power in real life. My desire for autonomy came out through my writing … Writing allows me to describe the world in the way that it is. That’s the thing my real life won’t allow. You try describing your own experience of life and someone will come along quickly to tell you that you’re wrong or you’re being contrary, or you’re getting on your high horse. When you’re writing … you can create a … world that expresses whatever you want to express. That allows for proper freedom, which day to day life just doesn’t. Sophie Hannah

Recently, I was given the opportunity and privilege of reading Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women, by Nina Gaby, prior to its publication date in March, 2015.

It has had a profound impact on me.

Sitting in Starbucks on the corner of Broadway and 81st this icy, wintry morning, I wonder if the timing could have been any better for me to have received the gift of this book. It speaks to me, as I am sure it will speak to women of every age and stage. Each story in this anthology tells a tale of the loss of friendship. Through each page, voices of women poignantly cry out in shock and agony at being "dumped," very often for reasons they cannot explain. Often they learn about themselves along the way: about life, friendship, awareness, forgiveness, anger, and letting go. Sometimes their pain is accompanied by humor, and all are gut-wrenchingly honest about their experiences from childhood years to high school and into older adulthood. 

Each personal story I read pulled up my own memories of friendship loss, for I have certainly had my share of being "dumped." Mostly, after I have been cast aside, I spent time begging to get back, or try and be a better person so as to be included again – even as I was mostly bewildered and shocked, not knowing what it was I needed to do to improve. I consistently experienced the feeling that I was to blame for whatever had transpired. It was a painful and humiliating process to be sure – rendering me helpless and pathetic. Many times I was simply grateful to be wanted at all. But then that speaks of the way I perceived myself since earliest childhood. Understanding the reasons why I have felt, and often still do feel this way helps. And so, I must admit that while reading the stories, I found myself confronting my own discomfort at every level of my friendship history. Some memories I had repressed years ago rose to the fore, and the most recent "unfriending-of-me" experience hurt all over again!

On the other hand, as I concluded the final pages of the book, I realized that reading about so many different women's stories had validated my own in a deep and healing way. It felt as if there is a universal support group out there, and that there is not something innately lacking in me to have caused some friendships not to work out as I had hoped. Indeed, sometimes there simply is no explanation for the things that happen. "It's not always about you!" It is complex. Each person's dreams and expectations, desires, hopes, and earliest childhood experiences are valid, and influence the success or failure of one's relationships.

Once again I realize that life is hard for me because I want to understand it all so much. I don't want to take anything for granted. I want to know why and how, what and when! That is why I love the consistent support of a professional therapist to bear witness and validate my need to uncover all this complexity and confusion. I am the richer for it. 

Just as I am richer for having read Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women, by Nina Gaby. You can be sure that I most likely will read some of the stories again and again, because in some way I have joined a sisterhood of unfriended folk just like me. At the same time though, I feel a renewed appreciation for my women friends, who have unfriended and then friended again; and for those, who have stayed staunch and true, accepting my idiosyncrasies and failings, and loving me all the more for them. 

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Speaking of guilt