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Shakubuku Part Two: Eclectic Booglaloo

I posted on the book of face recently that I felt out of sorts. The gist of it being I couldn't decide if I was hungry, horny, or on the verge of some existential shift that would lock me in closer to my purpose on this earth in this particular lifetime.

I still felt that after eating. So I know it wasn't the hungry part of the equation.  And I'm always horny, or most always. So I can eliminate that as it's pretty much a constant.

Which leaves the existential shift.

That seems more likely.

And after yesterday, I'm pretty sure that's the case.

I'm going to start by saying that part of me wasn't quite sure what to expect with my outing yesterday.  I know full well that the first part of what I'm about to say could paint me in the light of being a tremendous asshole. To an extent, this is accurate. I'm hoping, though, that the realization I achieved  by the end of the afternoon has some redeem quality.  I mean, it did for me, so there's that.

So here goes.

I spent the day yesterday with my best friend. At least he was my best friend when I was in my teens. In my teens-junior high, high school and in to college, I had a handful of friends that I would have easily considered my best friends. If you were at my second wedding, you saw them standing up with me as I was giving the vows. I couldn't pick one best man. I had three.  The funny thing is, the three men up there with me were my bestest friends and various points in my life. Childhood through teen through adult. And I would have done anything for any of those men.

But time and distance and life happens. Now they are all three still very good friends. We can pick up anywhere we left off and go as if nothing happened in the years in between.

Or so I thought.

One of the three has a chronic illness. As I have been getting to know the amazing Styna Lane who heads the amazing Sick, Tired, and Alone channel on YouTube (which you should totally check out because it's awesome), I realized something very important.

Some of the shit that I've been feeling as I've been trying to process how this friendship has evolved can be boiled down to a simple sentence: It's not about me.

There was a key phrase yesterday that brought it all home for me.

"I can feel my body about to hit the wall, so I need to maximize my time."

I realized at that moment that I had been viewing this thing all wrong. The swift spiritual kick to the forehead happened and suddenly my third eye opened.

I have no fucking clue what he (or any of my chronically awesome friends with chronic illnesses) goes through on a daily basis. I'm obese. I can fix that. I have diabetes. I can control that. I have degenerative disk disorder. OK, on that one, I'm kind of fucked, but I have staved the effects of that temporarily by having two of the discs in my neck replaced.

My hitting a wall amounts to levels of social anxiety.I get to the point where mentally I just can't deal with people anymore. But never is it a case of my body going, "Hey man...you had kind of a good run today, but we're gonna just shut down now, cool? Cool."

So here's the shift from asshole to not as much of an asshole.

My friend has this thing. He's always had it. It's genetic. It's a disease. And it's progressively debilitating. And for years, I didn't know how to deal with it.

I.

Me.

I didn't know how to deal with it.  I would see him through the years (we lost touch about 10 years back and started in the recent years to rebuild those channels of communication), and I could see the changes.

And it was uncomfortable for me. Because, at that point, I was still framing our friendship in the context of what it meant to me, for me. Me, me, me.

Man, such a dick move.

The epic magnitude of the dickishness was revealed when he said the thing about his body hitting the wall.

That was the shift.

I realized that since the day he told me, years ago, I had been framing how I saw him in context of the disease and what it would eventually mean for our friendship. And fuck me was that selfish.

Yesterday I was finally able to separate the two again. I put the thing that he has in a box and set it to the side. That thing is not him. It's a thing he has to deal with and live with, but it's not him.

He's still there. He's still my friend. And yesterday was a flashback to 25 years ago. Minus the Dominoes Pizzas and 2 Liters of Dr. Pepper the night before. But it was a day of hitting campus (or Short North), munching on some seriously delicious grub, and then hitting up shops that I didn't even know existed.

I can remember the first time he showed me Used Kids (the one in the basement). I was enthralled.  And I thought he was the coolest motherfucker ever for knowing about that place.

That happened again yesterday.  Rocket Fizz....Big Fun...On Paper...Flower Child...all these amazing stores that are in my city that I just didn't know about and I've got my own personal tour guide showing me all these amazing things. I could see it was something akin to pride that he was able to show me these cool gems.

And more than that, I have my friend back.

But..he's not really back. Because he never really left. I see that now. I was the one that left. I was the one that jumped ship and said in not so many words, "I don't know how to deal with this anymore. I'm too uncomfortable so I'm gonna just put it over here in the 'used to know' column."

I'm thankful that he reached back out to me.  I needed a second chance to be the friend he needs. I still don't know if I can be. But as my dad says, "We do what we can, Hobbes. We do what we can."


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