Today is a tough task to endure.
Reading chick-lit and watching girly things like 'Sex and the City' have been comforting and all but I can't help but not completely relate. All of these women who have been left out in the cold by men they loved have had a strong network of friends who supported and cared for them, unconditionally. I couldn't say that I had the same privledges when they chips were stacked against me. I had made friends here in Paris, American girl friends who I thought were my true friends; friends who I myself had helped out in their crisis' of housing, storage, break-ups and unplanned pregnancies. Sadly, when it came to my crisis of being dumped by my fiancé, a man they all loved and enjoyed to be around with when he and I were inviting them out to drinks, dinners and parties where we were trying to set them up with his friends and encouraging them when they were feeling low; they became less than friends. I now understand the definition of fair weathered friends.
After leaving the home I shared with my ex, I needed to briefly stay with girls who I thought were people I could count on. Girls who I had helped out through many dramatic episodes and always defended. Girls who had put me to work while I was staying there? I was asked to clean up after parties, do laundry and go grocery shopping which I did as I was just grateful I had somewhere to go. I also tried to stay out of the flat as much as possible to keep out of everyone's way. I was merely buying time before my new apartment had become available and three days before I was able to get the keys I was asked to find 'another situation' because they needed their space and felt that they had helped out enough. They were the only friends I knew that had enough space to take me in; all my other friends live in studios with their significant others.
I had to fly back to New York for a few days because I really had no where else to go. When my brother picked me up at JFK, he was horrified by how terrible I looked. It was as if the walking dead was emerging through the doors of immigration. My skin was ghost white, my eyes were puffy and red, my hair in a ratty knot on my head and the expression of emotional drain dragged my face down.
The bright side was that my best friends of almost 20 years in New York heard that I was coming back under these conditions and met me at my Mom's house with pizza, wine and gossip magazines. They were naturally horrified by this treatment and advised me to forget them. Upon returning to Paris, I had learned that these girls were talking terribly about me to mutual friends and had said that I didn't deserve my ex fiancé and he had done the right thing. Ouch.
In an effort to forgive and move on, I must accept that everything truly happens for a reason and a time of trauma shows who your real friends are and who are not. I am slowly making new friends and am accepting that life works in mysterious ways. Do I want to leave Paris because of this unfortunate situation? No. Will I be more selective in the future who I choose as my immediate circle? Absolutely. Do I regret helping others who were incapable of offering the same? Never. A good heart never goes unnoticed in the bigger picture. Today is about practicing distance with compassion.
© 2011 Ella Coquine
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