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Sticks and stones

“Solitude is impractical and yet society is fatal.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
The past three weeks? They’ve been some of the most stressful I’ve had in a long, long time. For different reasons, but for the same reasons, too.
First, there was drama with the For the Love of Blogging week Katie and I ran. Then, there was drama with a co-worker. Now? There’s drama with my online mom group.
The drama with blogging? Gone once the blog week ended. The drama with the coworker? Gone once we had a face-to-face conversation. The drama with my mom group? Still very much alive and well and rocking more people’s world than just mine. 
What’s the common denominator here? And no, it’s not the word “drama.” And yes, math geeks, I know what a common denominator is. 
I’m the common denominator here.
Introspection sucks. But this afternoon and this evening? I’m working on it. Because I recognize it as something that needs to be done.

I don’t have many friends in real life, and the ones that I do have are fairly spread out. We’re separated by geography and uncooperative schedules and being in different places in our lives. Some of us have kids, some of us don’t, and some of us are thinking of trying. Some of us are already working on our second!  Many of my friendships with the people I know personally–tangibly–are conducted and maintained through Facebook and Twitter and email.

But there’s a group of women I call friends that I don’t know (most of them at least) in a tangible, real-world way.

About three years ago, a group of women who met on a national message board came together, formed a private message board, and started posting. We’ve celebrated new births. We’ve had trouble getting pregnant, and suffered pregnancy loss together. We’ve talked about what to cook for dinner and how to make a budget. We’ve shared things with each other that we don’t feel we can share in real life. 
These online friendships? They don’t make sense to a lot of people. But for the last three years, these women have been part of my lifeline. When I had issues nursing Joshua, I went to them. When I knew that something just wasn’t quite right, I went to them. When I’ve had a fight with Dan, I’ve gone to them. When I’ve needed an opinion, I’ve gone to them. I’ve shared good, bad, up, down, high, low, and everything in between with them.
Right now? This moment? My heart hurts at the thought that there’s a break-up on my horizon.
This week drama has gone down that has caused me to think about myself. 
Basically, the conclusion I’ve come to is that I’m a hypocrite. A big, fat, juicy hypocrite. Ripe and ready for the stomping.
I broke a personal rule of blogging this week when I went off half-cocked on Monday night. I won’t delete those words because that’s just not my style. You can’t take words back, you know? Once you say them, they’re always there. Forever. And ever and ever. So deleting them now? Doesn’t take back the fact that I said them.
I’ve had my feelings hurt recently over words that someone said to me without ill-will or malice behind them. I confronted this person, didn’t hear what I wanted and instead of walking away? I let it fester. I held a grudge. I got bitter. Because they weren’t what I wanted to hear, or because they weren’t said in a way that made them more easily received, I’ve been hurt. And in that hurt, I’ve done the same to others. I’ve caused heartache for women I considered my friends for the better part of three years.
I’ve been mean. But not mean-spirited. If it’s possible for that statement and truth to coexist. 
(Oscar Wilde once wrote “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” So yes, they can coexist.)
But it seems I’ve been a bully.
(When three people call you mean in the same day? It kind of means you need to take note. You’re probably not the one who’s right. Unless they are all in collusion which, in this case, is improbable.)
I owe a lot of apologies to a lot of people. And so this? Is an apology to all of them. To all of you. To the people I’ve hurt, or who’ve felt bullied by me? 
I’m sorry. From the bottom of my heart in the most public way possible for me, I’m sorry.
That’s not the sort of person I think I am or thought I was. It’s certainly not the person I want to be and in some ways, I can see how I’ve become that person. I don’t like it.
Thank you for helping me see the bad in myself. The parts of myself that hide behind doublespeak. 

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

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