Something to know about me – I have given a lot of my devotion and energy to a lot of people. Of those, some of them are the best friends I have ever had. Others are the best friends I had, but for whom my friendship was not enough to stop them from selling it up the river in order to maintain their romantic relationships with people who didn’t like me. Almost all of whom never even met me. Jealousy and love wins out over friendship, every time. But I still did everything in my power to accommodate these people because I cared and I didn’t want to hurt anyone. That was in my early 20’s. I’m kicking 30 in the ass now. I’m too old for this shit.
The story has gone down virtually the same way every time. I am getting really tight with someone. Because my own gender and mine just never seem to click, it is often someone of the opposite gender. That person is involved with someone. The person and I end up spending more and more time together. We get reasonably close. Then, the person’s significant other sees me as a threat. They come to me, and they try and make compromises. They try and make things work for both parties. But the significant other becomes more and more jealous. Eventually, the person is forced to make a decision – the person they love, or the friend that they care for. You probably know what they chose. This is without a SINGLE exception. None. But I’m not raging about that. Believe me, for a long time, I did. Go back far enough through my site and you’ll see some emo shit written by me about how unfair things were. I now realize that that was inevitable. Of course friendship loses to love. Of course it does. That’s how life works.
Rather than getting into that, let’s look at this another way. See, the story is starting all over again. This time with someone that I have recently come to know and with whom I have gotten close to incredibly quickly. The speed at which this person and I bonded is quite extraordinary. And to the credit of this story, there is at least one plot twist – the significant other who sees me as a threat is someone I have met. I got to meet the guy, and I know for a fact that there was an instance where him and I were looking at each other and we were sizing one-another up. I will likely never know what he thought what conclusion he came to. I never want to speak to the guy.
For so long, all I have wanted is someone who I could have over at my place to have movie nights, nerd out with, or just talk. This person and I got to have that. Her and I spent one truly amazing night drinking and talking. It was incredible. But the story playing out happens all the same. So, she tells me that the thing I have wanted most, and been teased with, is gone. Poof. Never to return. Thus begins the compromising stage. Not gonna lie, it hurt. It hurt a lot. I haven’t had a new friend in ages. Now here I met this cool person, and I saw a bright future of all sorts of fun. Finally putting the chair for a guest in my place to good use! Movies, pizza, and I could have a friend there when I finally get my hands on Final Fantasy XV and I am playing it for the first time. Now it’s gone. It’s never coming back. Years upon years of nothing but my lonely place, my lonely fridge, and my lonely life, and now something truly amazing was teased in front of me. You’d think I’d have learned by now that the moment things are going well in my life, that’s when it all goes to shit.
I know what you’re thinking – what does ANY of this whining have to do with the title of the post? I’m getting to that. I spilled my guts to her, explaining why I was so frustrated. The response? The simple version is – I have to do what’s best for me and (insert significant other’s name here). In other words – if it comes down to you or him, it’s going to be him. So, choices have to be made. Sacrifices. And who gets to make the sacrifices? You guess it – me. As always. It’s always me who has to accept the lesser option. Never anyone else. No one else has to give. Just me. Because I’m the friend.
Now I know what you’re thinking – aren’t you just shaming her for choosing someone else over you? Hardly. I get it. I’m the friend. As Baz Luhrmann said, “understand that friends come and go, save for the precious few for whom you should hold on to.” But love can shape your whole life. It gives the human condition purpose. I will never have love again in my life, so you can extrapolate how much purpose is in my life. At this point, I’m pretty much just a corpse that walks and talks. My connection with the human condition is so strained that one day I figure it will fade away and I will become a complete monster who doesn’t care even vaguely about anything. But I understand that when you have a romantic connection, you will do anything to fight for it. I’d like to say that in her place, I’d tell the guy to fuck off if he doesn’t like it, but given how terrible my romantic history has been, I don’t know what I would do. Meanwhile, a friendship can be established elsewhere and be made with more stable people. That’s adulthood, after all. Closeness traded in for comfortable distance to keep yourself and those in your life happy.
Which brings me, FINALLY, to the point of this post. Everyone likes to believe that sacrificing your happiness or what you want for some greater objective is a noble act that says something about you as a person. I’m here to tell you – that’s bullshit. The reality is that sacrifice doesn’t mean anything. What did me giving to all the people who eventually abandoned me do? Hell, most of them ditched in a way that I figure it wasn’t even difficult to do. I’m easy to forget. It’s one of the hallmarks about me. It’s so easy to forget about me. I gave and strove to make everyone involved happy. But in the end, I made no one happy. Not myself, not the person I was trying to work with, and definitely not the significant other who hated my guts without having ever met me.
Sacrifice is done when mature people realize that the connection they are trying to salvage is worth breaking down in order to compartmentalize it with another that they deem as more valuable. It’s a simple equation of – I value this person more than that person. So, I will let this part of it go. If they cannot accept that, then I know to cut that connection loose. It’s a logical valuation of how much one person matters vs another. A simple equation. That’s the true meaning of sacrifice. You are doing an equation of what you are willing to let go in order to preserve something else. I have chose to let all of my golden ideas go, because I want to salvage the idea that maybe I can enjoy some amount of camaraderie with this individual (situation) down the road. But I know that it’s a temporary fix. Jealousy is what it is, so I have no delusions about the story playing out any differently.
The difference is that in this instance I drew a firm line in the sand. I gave up my golden ideas, the things I have been looking for for years, and that’s all I am going to give up. If more is asked of me, I walk. It’s a simple way of compartmentalizing this whole affair into what I figure is the inevitable end, that I have seen play out a thousand times before. We’ll see what happens. Does it hurt? Oh yeah. For one fantastic night, I was given late conversation in my place, with drinks. That was a night that almost made me want to live again. But it’s gone, and I know for a fact that it’s never coming back.
Sacrifice is given an elevated platform by society, but that’s bullshit. It’s an equation that we do, valuing one thing over another and being willing to break the other thing down to make it fit in with the thing that we deem more valuable. In my case, I value trying to keep what few connections I have to the human condition over my own happiness. Hell, I gave up on that dead horse years ago. True happiness is a concept that is completely out of my reach. I don’t know what my new friend sacrificed. I don’t know what the significant other sacrificed. From where I’m sitting, nothing. He got everything he wanted, and then some. Oh well. The equation plays out all the same.
What have you sacrificed for? What were your sacrificed for? Let me know in the Comments
Until next time, a quote,
“Love is sacrifice.” – David Oyelowo