I’ve talked about losing friends (or not) and making new ones. Another big theme for me, as is often the case on divorce, has been rekindling old friendships, reconnecting with long lost friends, and finding a deeper friendship with people who have always been around.
I was never a particularly social being, always feeling awkward, never wanting to force myself on people, assuming they don’t like me and so on. So when I had a partner, we tended to just spend time together. In this we were helped by the fact that he had no friends. Or outside interests. He was well liked by his colleagues; he was a very likeable, easy-going chap, pleasant if unstimulating company. But he didn’t socialise in those days. I’d organise dinner parties and things, but was really a homebody myself too. Never had the inclination or nerve to call people and suggest doing things together. Never liked to assume that anyone would want to, and – pathetically – feared being mocked behind my back for presuming greater friendship than was there. And as I got more and more brittle in my marriage I think I found it all too much. I was making excuses for my husband all the time, and I was turning down invitations with the excuse that we were busy when actually we were just chronically short of funds and had been for years and it was just all so boring. We couldn’t afford the restaurant meals, taxis and babysitters. And then, I didn’t work, so that was kind of embarrassing (though most of the women on the dinner party circuit also didn’t work, I felt painfully inadequate in comparison with those who did). Finally, I was too fat and ugly, and didn’t want to show my face anywhere.
When a man leaves his wife as part of a midlife crisis or psychotic episode, just at the time he feels he is coming into a vast fortune, he soon has around him a circle of men and women who benefit from his sudden largesse. While he was flying hither and thither, chartering planes, dining out and going to the opera, I lay on the floor crying. I was in no mood for a social life, even if I had known where to find one or how to pay for it.
However, needs must, and of late I have ventured out of my comfort zone and forced myself to network a teeny tiny bit in an attempt to find work. It has been painful. However it has reaped rewards. While most of my efforts have fizzled out, and some have quite understandably just got on with their lives, others have seemed delighted to hear from me. This has created a bridge to the long forgotten person I was, at the same time forcing me to re-evaluate that person as she is mirrored back to me through those who knew me back when. Seeing the references that some of them have written for me (even knowing that nobody is going to slag me off in a reference) has made me quite weepy.
Image: The image at the top was sent to me on my birthday by one of the real stars. We were best friends in kindergarten, went to separate primary schools, became besties when I came back from Iran as a teenager, saw little of each other when we had small children and she moved out of town, and still meet rarely, but love each other fiercely.