In early 2007 I moved from Arizona to Nevada without any notice or planning. My marriage had come to the breaking point and the only place that I really had to go was to my mother’s. I could have stayed with friends, but at the time I had no job or income of my own due to a layoff (the beginnings of the housing crash were the cause) and frankly I wanted to be with my mother. She had relocated to Nevada with her job in 2003 from the city in Arizona that we had lived in since 1989. It was not an easy separation for us. My mom and I are closer than most siblings and have our relationship often compared to that of twins. The opportunities that this relocation would offer her were not something that she could turn down and although I knew it would not be easy for either of us, I encouraged her to go. She’s gone from poverty class hourly wages and living in a rented trailer to making $60,000 more a year than she was a decade ago, owning her own home, being able to save for retirement, being able to purchase a new car, and have more comforts in her life. I followed mom to Nevada because I wanted to be near her and had nowhere else I could realistically go. At the same time that meant leaving behind my friends and the few family members I associate with and a city that I truly love.
(If you’d like to understand why I have little to nothing to do with my father’s side of the family, see the entry Childhood Origins: Kidnapped, Scalded, Divorce, Molestation Accusations, & More. I have, since writing that entry, begun discussing the past concerning my mother’s upbringing and the circumstances I describe in that entry and have clarified some details, which I will update later once my mother and I finish that very long conversation. I also have incorrectly remembered some things, but they do not change the story. They are details such as that my mother did not technically have a lover while with my father. She did have interest in a man, but had never slept with him until my parents were separated. My mother’s adoptive family I’ve yet to discuss in detail here, but the story on that side of the family is just as dysfunctional.)
During my pre-collegiate school years I was not popular and had few friends. I may have had excellent grades and been extremely intelligent compared to most my age, but I was different in ways that made me a common target for bullying. I’ve been told that I was attractive in a way that isn’t typical, possessing an elegance uncommon for my age. Boys seemed to like me, but even in high school not many were brave enough to express it due to the fact that I was not accepted by most. When I had moved to Arizona from Georgia I had an accent, which also made me a target. I lost the accent quickly, but once you are targeted it often continues until you are removed from the environment and people that make your life hell. Of course it doesn’t help to go through puberty and all its awkward stages, wear glasses, be poor, or favored by teachers with these same tormentors. It took me until the last few months of high school to make lasting friendships that would carry into the following years. I’ve since reconnected with another friend from that period, but the only continuous ones were with a group of three other girls that I got to know in an advanced placement (AP) class the last semester of senior year.
*Amanda, *Julie, *Dawn and I got to know each other those last few months and spent our graduation night and the following weekend together. Not long into the summer Amanda sent me a letter in the mail telling me how much she enjoyed spending time with me and invited me to hang out. From that point until I left Arizona in 2007 she and I were inseparable. Julie and Dawn were a part of the group, but Dawn went to college in a different part of the state and Julie moved away to Texas and came back after a couple of years, so they weren’t constant presences. Amanda’s friendship is something that I’m not sure I could have lived without. I had never had the benefit of someone my own age being that loyal, supportive, and loving towards me. We spent countless hours sitting in my car talking, driving around town, going on trips around the country and to Mexico, flying kites at night, and lounging at our favorite coffee house among other things. While both working and her attending college (I had dropped out for monetary, stress, and health reasons) we would get together a minimum of three times a week, often more frequently. We would go out to lunch during the week, spent time on instant messengers during the day, go to Mexico for the day on the weekend, and meet after work. Amanda very quickly became essential to my life. She is family.
Moving to Nevada did not work well for our friendship though. We had spent so much of our time psychically together that we weren’t good at maintaining a friendship over distance. It didn’t help that we both were going through very difficult and depressing times either. I’ve only been able to see her twice since then on return visits, but she has since moved even further away. She’s gotten married and has a career. I was unable to attend her wedding due to monetary reasons and that hurts me to this day. I would give anything to have her in the same city and I know we’d go back to the exact same friendship, but ours is not one that works over all that distance. We used to know every detail about everything in each other’s lives. I love her dearly and miss her more than I can describe or impart to anyone. I cannot watch The Shawshank Redemption without sobbing because of the expression of true friendship in it. It always makes me think of her. I know what she’s up to in her life thanks to social networking (and she’s a busy woman), but we don’t directly communicate very often.
I’ve always, minus some typical teenage angst periods, considered my mother my best friend, or at least one of them. ‘Best friend’ isn’t a term I use lightly. I’m the type to have a small social group and an even smaller number of people I keep close. Coming to Nevada removed me from everyone but my mom (at least physically). The first few months here were torture. I had no job, no partner, and no friends. My mom and I may love each other to death, but it was hard to live together, especially since I wasn’t working and was depressed. My mother and I both have strong personalities, and we’d both gotten used to living apart, so the sudden change in circumstances for us both caused friction. Eventually I met someone, my ex-boyfriend James that I discussed in the previous entry What Are They Doing Now; I Didn’t Really Want To Know. He and I moved in together in July of 2007 (much, much too soon). Through him I met other people, one of which would become close to me. *John is someone that I am still very close to although he moved to the south in February 2008 to reconnect with his true love. He reminds me of a male Amanda in many ways, especially his personality. We bonded very quickly and were telling each other things that only one or two other people knew about us within just a few days of meeting each other. There was an immediate kinship and connection; we were meant to be friends. We spent his last days in the city walking around for many hours snapping photos, our favorite hobby. I miss him terribly. We keep in better contact via social networking sites than I do with Amanda. He spends more time on that medium, as do I.
Another friend I made here in Nevada is *Rebecca. The story of how I met her is quite interesting. I had gone to a strip club with James and she was one of the strippers. We had an immediate connection and she spent her entire shift sitting with myself and James. I would go back and see her frequently. We began spending time with each other outside her work almost immediately and saw each other as often as possible until she moved to Colorado last year. I can’t say that she was in the best friend category, but she was the only female friend I had in town any more. Most of the people I met at my jobs were men (I worked in the tech industry for years before becoming a house girlfriend recently), which I tend to get along with better, but they ended up mostly acquaintances. The only permanent relationship I’ve gained from the first career job I had for almost two years here was *Graham. We both left that shitty company and went to different businesses for better jobs. At the place that I was laid off from, which was where I chose to go after the shitty job, I met *Pat. Pat and I spent many smoke breaks and lunches together and still hang out as couples with our partners occasionally. He’s an awesome guy, but circumstances don’t allow for our relationship to become one like I want and need. I’m missing that best friend still.
Last night we went out with *Sherri and *Stan. Stan left the same shitty company that Graham and I did for better jobs and for similar reasons. Sherri used to work in the same complex that we all worked in. In fact, Graham had taken Sherri out on a few dates, but they weren’t compatible with each other. When Stan and Sherri got together it was very evident that they complimented each other much better. They got together around the same time that Graham and I did. When they invited us to their Halloween party this past October, Graham was worried it would be weird. I wasn’t overly concerned because I had always liked Stan at work and Sherri when I’d see her and knew just how happy they were together, just like we are. There was no reason for any jealousy or conflict between us. In fact we had a great time. When Sherri contacted me and asked if we’d like to go out to dinner with them I said yes right away. We all had a great time at the restaurant, the bar we went to afterwards, and walking around downtown. I have to wonder if she and I might not be able to develop a friendship outside of the couples category. Maybe.
It’s been difficult not having any close friends near at hand. I seem to end up separated from many of the people dearest to me, especially those in the friend category, by a great number of miles. Although the internet and social networking is a great way to keep in touch and up to date with friends and family, it is no substitute for having someone physically across a table from you or in the passenger seat of your car. My mom and I function as great friends, but she’s a busy lady that has rekindled a romance that takes up a good bit of her free time. I want that for her very much. And it’s not unhealthy for me to want a friendship outside of the relationships with my partner and mom. I truly miss having that confidant to share my opinions and feelings with while downing a tasty cappuccino or some girly mixed drink. I’m lonely in a way that is all too familiar and reminds me of the summers I’d spend as a preteen and teenager with my nose between the pages of book after book because I had no one to ‘hang out’ with. I don’t want to spend the adult equivalent of my adolescent summers that way.
* Names have been changed to protect my privacy and the privacy of others.