May 22, 2006

Met the Ghost of Stephen Foster at the Hotel Paradise

We are all madly gyrating, a multitude of hula hoops whirling about our hips like electrons circling the nucleus of an atom, each hula hoop representing a social circle in which we travel. If we stand too close to one another, our hula hoops are deflected by the chance blows of our neighbors' hoops.

My hula hoops are falling at my ankles, folks.

Now, before I get accused of being all whiny (which, I'll admit, I am from time to time), I'm just thinking out loud here. Well, thinking in type. (Of course, I type kind of loudly so it could be argued that I'm thinking out loud, I suppose, but that's neither here nor there.)

Let's lay some background... I live at point Alpha, my sister lives 300 miles away at point Beta; our social circles do not overlap except for casual acquaintances from growing up and for family. When my sister was visiting, I introduced my sister to a good girlfriend of mine. They seemed to get along well. My sister visited again for Thanksgiving and I invited the girlfriend to Thanksgiving Dinner. I found out about a year later that they communicate (emails, phone calls) and, to my discomfort, discuss (presumably among other things, please God) me and my mental state. (I found this out through a chance remark by the girlfriend.) This weirds me out a little bit and I decide that, well, if they're going to discuss me, perhaps I oughtn't discuss my mental state with either of them as I'd really prefer they not be comparing notes as to how "off" I am. (Which, of course, leaves me without the two people with whom I discussed things.)

Fast forward 6 months. My sister is inviting the girlfriend to her "very small" wedding. Worlds just are not supposed to collide like that. I mean family is family and friends are friends. I expect to see my family and my friends at my life events and my family and my sister's friends at my sister's life events. This sharing a friend thing is more than a bit peculiar.

Of course, I absolutely recognize that she has the right to invite whoever the hell she wants to. Absolutely. No question about it.

For me, though, there are a couple things going on here. (1) Usurpation of a friend. She used to do this when we were small too. My friends all wanted to play with the cute younger sister. (Common enough, I know.) (2) Usurpation of a sister. I feel like I'm being put at the same level as my girlfriend in my sister's life and nothing more. (3) Frustration. I had hoped to use the wedding weekend, et al, to socialize with the family and family friends that I don't get to see enough; now I have to spend it entertaining a friend and her jerky non-boyfriend that she only keeps around for sex? (4) Guilt. Lots of it for being so selfish. But, damn it all, why am I always the one that sucks it up and makes nicey-nicey for the sake of other people?

Fortunately, it's a wedding, there will be booze. Unfortunately, (a) my mother will be there and (b) we're not made of cellophane.


Blogger Jade said...

This is an interesting collision... like George's fiance hanging out with Jerry and Elaine. "There's friend George, then there's relationship George"

I wouldn't worry about entertaining your friend at the wedding... you aren't inviting her, your sister is. Socialize with whoever you want to!

As to being talked about... one way to look at it is that they care about your well being enough to discuss it with each other. If you are uncomfortable with that you might suggest that they keep your conversations in confidence, even if that means not talking to each other about it. If you need another outlet to discuss your mental state, you have your blog! I promise I won't talk to your sister or your friend about you!

7:06 PM  
Blogger graymama said...

It looks like this is rubbing you the wrong way because it brings up feelings from the past when your sister, in your view would take away your friends. I thought on how to respond to this for a long time, placing myself in your shoes.

It seems to me that you want 2 things here. 1) A sister. A real sister, who has a "blood is thicker than water" relationship with you, and friends that are yours and yours alone, both are not too much to ask!

I believe everything happens for a reason, so maybe this experience will open the door for you to talk with your sister about how to build a closer relationship (remember I am doing this with MS right now, myself). Also, you have given your sister the gift of a good friend. You brought them together, and the least she could do is respect your wishes and refrain from discussing you personally. I have a good friend. We connected through someone who is no longer a friend of mine. We make it a rule not to discuss her.

I agree with Jade that you don't have to entertain the girlfriend at the wedding. Just enjoy yourself!

I hope this helps. Re-reading this, I am not sure if my point is coming across.


10:05 AM  
Blogger peppypilotgirl said...

I'm glad to know I'm not nuts or really wacked here. I think you're right; I'll just socialize as I please and so be it.
I think I will also try to find an opportunity to mention to each of them that their discussing me makes me uncomfortable. And I also think I'll make sure that neither has my blog addy!

Thanks for the support and feedback on this issue, ladies. I really needed a different perspective than I was getting on my own and your thoughts were very helpful and welcome. I'm lucky to have such friends!!

10:00 PM  
Anonymous harriet said...

I don't think your reaction is at all unreasonable. Actually, I'm kind of on the other side of something like this (although the parties involved are not as close). Some friends of ours have had us over a few times along with another couple. We really like this other couple a lot and would love to hang out with them sometime. But I've felt weird about calling them because I think it might make our original friendship weird.

The world's colliding thing is a different kind of weird. I have a number of friends from Chicago who are friends with a college friend in NY because I introduced one of them when one of my friends was thinking of moving there. College friend ended up helping them find an apartment, just to be nice, and said apartment ended up being a few blocks from College friend's apartment, so they got to know each other. Ultimately, I like the feeling of life integration, but it's weird at first. I don't think they spend a lot of time discussing me, though. I'm sure they have better things to do. That definitely seems to be crossing a line.

As for "Gaudeamus Igitur," no, it was not at the ceremony. But I did teach it to AJ at bedtime. This kid's been getting Latin lullabies since infancy. Perhaps he'll learn the language by osmosis.

10:18 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

I guess I didn't see this when you first posted it but I remember you mentioning it to me.

With the way I feel right now, somewhat sick, I think it would bother me too but I'm a bit possessive with my friends. Then again, it's not like you are sharing a friend with another friend. You are sharing a friend with your sister. I might feel robbed. The age span between my sister and I doesn't lend itself to mutual friends. The physical distance between us is a factor now.

When it comes right down to it, I wonder if Friend worries at all that you and your sister are discussing HER. My dad used to say that blood is thicker than water. I suppose everyone's dad or mom has said that.

As for the wedding, go and enjoy yourself. You are not responsible to entertain anyone except maybe Katie. ;o)

Remember you still have us. Egg and I. I don't think we will trade you for your sister. I know we aren't 3D friends but we are here fer ya. You are smart, funny, talented and driven. You are even willing to befriend me! I love you for that since we aren't exactly in the same age bracket. LOL

I'm sure you will find other 3D friends and perhaps they will even be better than Whatshername. As for me, I'm still working on finding a 3D friend. I'm closer than I've ever been since moving here.

Keep that head up and smile. It makes people wonder what you've been up to.


2:08 PM  
Blogger Willow said...

This was helpful for me to read. I agree it is a bit of a sucky situation for you - and I think you've gotten some good advice here (and will get no more from me - alas).
I will be going to the wedding of my very close friends older sister in a month. I don't think my friend has any issues with this - I'll spare you all the details, but basically I don't think it is an issue that I was invited to this wedding. HOWEVER, since it is an out-of-state thing and will predominately have a ton of people I don't know except for my friend, the bride, and the brides parents, it is good for me to keep in mind that I should make an effort not to just stick by my friend the whole time. (not that that was my plan, but i didn't really have a plan...) She'll have friends and family to mingle with. Maybe I can offer to help wrangle her 3 kids (one who will be only a month old if it ever gets out of her uterus to begin with) so she can enjoy her time there. I can nag her to give me more attention some other time :)

10:33 AM  
Blogger peppypilotgirl said...

Sounds like a plan to me, Willow - have a good time at the wedding!

It's always sort of odd and I've had situations like Harriet's where I've wanted to follow up with someone I'd met but didn't because I wasn't sure how the first friend would see it. Or even how to go about it. I'd feel funny calling up out of the blue inviting them over for tomato sandwiches or something.

Hang in CSue... It will get better!!

3:33 PM  

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