60% incredible friends, 40% selfishness

At the beginning of this year of university I made a promise to myself to focus primarily on my own wellbeing, not doing things just because they are something people would expect or want me to do. Even in the light of recent unpleasant events, I'd say that the 'Project me' has carried out quite well. At the moment, I'm feeling about 800 times better than I thought I would when I was writing the two previous blogposts last week, and I am sure that this fast recovery is thanks to, about 60% of my amazing friends and mum, and 40% of me paying attention exclusively to what I need. So, in a sense, some amount of selfishness seems to help in times like these. And also, having the absolute best best friends in the whole universe being awesome via Facebook chat, Skype, phone, and in person.

But let's jump about ten years back in time. I was 12 years old and (I hope that I have the timeline somewhat correct) had a rather stormy relationship (as in a platonic friendship) with my best friend (who's still my best friend, mind). I don't remember much of how I felt at the time or what exactly was going on this time of year, but I do remember that we fought a lot in general. Anyway, sometime in the early 2004 (alarming how long I had to think about this), possibly in February, we kind of broke up. Well, technically she left me. Why? I guess it's all a big, hazy mystery ball that was only crystal clear for the 12-year-old us. Obviously, I was extremely upset about this for a while, but then I got other friends to spend time with, and in retrospect, our less than a year's separation was probably crucial for the continuation of the friendship.
Nowadays we like to make fun of these early years, but even so, there's no denying that our "break up" did have a huge effect on me. I don't know if I've always been paranoid about being abandoned, or worse - replaced, but after this occurrence something like that has been budding at the back of my mind.

Now we skip to the late 2009 when I'm an 18-year-old synchro skater whose career has been pretty much an on-off battle for the past 3 years.
Undiagnosed panic disorder, practically nonexistent self-confidence, bullying, backstabbing, contradictory expectations from coaches - just to name a few, had been part of my life in varying combinations, and my general performance was terrible as you would expect from someone who's practicing about 80% of time in a state of sheer panic. Not surprisingly, I was always dismissed from the group of 16 who performed in competitions - you don't want a neurotic bitch to mess up and cost you a medal.
Anyway, I finally got to skate in our first competition of the season 09-10. I was a mental wreck beforehand, but the skating felt good, it felt great, and I was so happy doing it at that moment, performing in front of all the audience and judges; mostly my coaches to show that I could do it. But of course I made a mistake - I fell. It was a clean, quick fall that could've happened to anyone. Only it didn't. It happened to me, and that fraction of a second sealed the course of my fate in that team for the rest of the season. And I new all of this in the fraction of a second it happened - I knew I had blown all of my chances to ever compete again. The worst however, was ahead, and I was not prepared for it.

In the first practice we had after the competition, I was, if altogether possible, even more nervous than before the competition. And I only remember this: we were all standing in a half circle, listening to our coach say a few words about the weekend and what we are going to be working on until the next competition. At some point, I become the centre of attention, and my coach says to me: "I really wanted to give you this chance Anni. There were a lot of people, who I'm not going to name now, who came to me last week and wanted me to swap you with someone else. They didn't trust that you could pull it off. And truth is, if you don't trust yourself, how can your team trust you? I had to make that call, to give you a chance to earn that trust." Something like that she said to me in front of the entire team.
I assume all of you can somehow imagine the magnitude of pain I endured in that moment. How much I wanted to run away then but couldn't. I had to stay there, in the team, with the backstabbing cowards whose definite identities I never got to know (I have a bunch of good guesses though), for the following 6-ish months knowing that no matter what miracles I performed, I would never really be a part of the team again.

There's still more.
At the end of the season, we had a goodbye party where it is traditional to cry a lot because some people are quitting and others have been promoted to the next level. The fact that in that party, which was finally the end for me, I still had the need to please. And so, I thanked everyone for all the fond memories we'd shared and all the support that I'd had during my time there. I technically apologized for having existed in the team as the regular pain in the ass. I even emailed my former coach at some point to offer my gratitude for all the years I'd spent in her guidance, or command. I wanted to be accepted, remembered in a good light - hence I crawled.

I don't regret doing it like that, for at the time I couldn't have done otherwise.

To say that these two major relationship traumas haven't influenced the way I've been handling the ongoing situation would be absurd. First of all, at the time of our initial break up, 2,5 years ago, I had already made myself both the victim and the reason for everything that had lead to where we were. I guess it comes from my experience of dealing with some 20 girls in a competitive team sport where I'd learned to accept the role of a general scapegoat in public, not being entirely sure what my sin actually was in private - you know, whatever it is, it's probably my fault so better feel anxious about it just in case.

I guess what all of this looking back at previous traumas has made me realise is actually twofold. For one, past experiences, even as we think they are strictly in the past, forgotten, have a major impact on how we act in certain situations later in life. Which is kind of obvious but let's just appreciate the fact that it is there.

The other thing that I've got out of these ponderings is what these two specific memories represent to me, at this moment. The way I see it, there are now two ways that relationship trouble can go: it can evolve and produce an even stronger bond; or it can go badly. As a sidenote, for someone it might seem a bit farfetched to compare a pre-teen friendship, group dynamics and a romantic relationship, but in this instance it is the depth of commitment that sets them on the same page in my books.

They say that a clean cut, although more painful at first, heals fast and good, whereas, and these are my own words, covering a deep wound with a bandage only postpones the inevitable amputation of the whole limb. Getting very metaphorical here. But I have to agree with this wholeheartedly.
Whatever it was in our friendship in primary school that made my best friend upset enough to write me a letter and finish the whole thing all at once, wasn't after all so severe as to keep us from ending up back together and creating a bond that just keeps getting stronger.

With the skating then, and how things were handled - and not handled: I suppose the only possible outcome for me was its utter removal from my life - an amputation. For a while, I still kept visiting ice rinks to watch my former team mates practice or compete, but it's gotten more and more rare - and I hardly ever put skates on these days. And I'll forever remain bitter to my former coach and the mean girls - mainly because no one ever admitted that they'd treated me wrongly, or apologized for anything for that matter. I was just the unfortunate, crazy bitch.

So, what we've learned today - or in these 22 years - is that in relationships, any relationships all the actions have consequences; the funny thing is that also inactions have consequences. Everything has consequences, and no relationship can ever be a oneway street, ever. And talking about one's feelings has never killed anyone (the consequence of those words however, may have at times been a murder, but the words themselves can only hurt, not kill). And if you're treating your friend/teammate/partner like shit, or if you feel that they are treating you like shit, you should always find out why either of those things might be happening by having a verbal conversation where both parties are honest and sincere and can have their say. You can even have multiple conversations because most things are too complex to be solved in one.

Also, accepting that sometimes things may be too broken to be fixed at once - or at all.
And that sometimes a complete separation until further notice is the only way out.

And that there are probably several billion other ways that things can go right or wrong, and that there's no way of knowing exactly how your actions at one point will affect anyone or anything in the future. And it's always easy to be smart in retrospect.

To finish off, I just want to say that I'm really fucking done with insincerity, with secrets, with reading between the lines, and with trying to figure out what this and that person thinks about me and what did they mean by saying or doing such and such things. I'm tired of trying so much to do right by others that I forget what is right for me. In fact, I'm so tired of all this that I have decided not to give shit about what people might think of me, because if they're not going to tell me anyway, what's the point? And I will try to do this to my best ability, which is probably not very impressive as I am very self-conscious but at least I'll try.

And yes, I am unspeakably frustrated with the current situation and that's why I have an unsatisfiable need to rant.

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