Sunday Ramblings: Some things take longer to articulate…

Kitchen at the Main House, Tiger Rock, Pulau Pangkor

We were supposed to have this conversation months back but things got in the way and as Joanne expressed, some things take longer to articulate. But intangible things can be harder to articulate.

Joanne and I should have had this conversation while seated on a large wooden table in the kitchen, the morning sun creeping in slowly, leaving a trail of dusty illumination behind its glare. Because we love cosy things and wholesome scenes like that. Big wooden bookshelves filled with old books, old ladies that were filled with stories, wooden stools and the idea of being home, cooking a nice meal for the people that we love. An old wooden house filled with laughter. These were the things that made our hearts swell with happy.

Before we got here, to this cosy kitchen, we were neighbours at my old workplace. And she was the sensible one who always picked up the phones. I hate phones. They ring at the wrong time and you never know what is on the other end. We worked on a project together and had one late night going nuts with laughing. There was also a lot of eye rolling, my eyes. And then there are the girly philosophising we get to that I so truly enjoy. At one time I got a paragraph in an email:

This morning, I got to thinking about friendship. When I call someone my friend, what does it mean? It means, I will be there for you. If you have problems, I won’t say I’m too busy. I’ll say what’s up. And it’s hard to just be casual friends with someone. I mean, if you can laugh with someone over silly jokes, you should be there for the tough times too,no? And I don’t get how to differentiate friends. How to tell someone one thing, and not to tell another friend the same thing. I mean, why hide right? The moment we start talking about private things, I place my trust in someone, and it’s almost like having to throw caution to the wind and it is something I do without thinking. But then, I get hurt. And people purposely hide things from me. Only help me with certain things. I end up being mad at myself for letting my guard down so easily. But, I just don’t get it. How to have friends that you don’t completely rely on? It happens over and over again. But then along the way you meet a few gems who are for keeps. And you learn slowly about the person and that friendship is about growing together effortlessly.

From that came this conversation.

Friendship means cosy conversations on couches.

If you had to define friendship, how would you do so?

When I think of a great friendship, I think of two kids maybe ages 4 or 5, playing in the park. They’re running about, giggling and playing tag.  When one falls, the other runs over to pull him or her off the ground. 

When I think of a great friendship, I think of an elderly couple taking a walk. He has his arm over her shoulder, and she holds onto his reassuring hand. I mean after all those years of being together and they like each other (like is different than love). 

I would define it as a bond between two people, but with both a fun and serious side. Although the fun side is learning about someone else and having fun. But it also comes with responsibility. It’s saying I trust you enough to be myself around you and not be some professional bullshitter. I trust you enough to let you see me fragile, but not doubt my capabilities. I trust you enough to know that you’ll be there as best you can when I need you to be. There are so many people you interact with…in the office, in the mall, in the gym. But, do you classify those as friendship? 

Do you remember your first friend?

My first friend…I think was myself. Before you think it is ostentatious, let me explain. Growing up, I tended to keep to myself a lot (a trait that followed through my adult years). I was shy and quiet and there were things I had to go through that made me think a lot. I had a diary when I was in kindergarten, and I wrote everything in it (I spelt words out just as they sounded like e.g. typing=taiping). Of course then in primary school I had friends, but I guess that trust was always missing, and I still always loved to just be with my books and daydreams.

Has the concept of friendship changed for you in any way whatsoever?

Definitely. 

You know, I guess I used to think friends had to stick side by side ALL THE TIME. That’s what I thought great friendships were made out of. But as the years passed, I discovered which friendships stayed and which fizzled out. Those that stayed were the ones that you let grow. You nurture it every so often.

You also let the other person grow, but you’re committed to being there if they need you. Then, as you also change, you discover who doesn’t just expect you to be a certain way. You see who really see you for who you are and they adore you. 

The topic of friendship often brings us to the topic of wanting to be liked. Doing things because you want people to like you, learning to say no. Friendship, relationship is not built upon fake pictures, and pretending gives people the wrong impression, leading to fake pictures, and therefore friendships that are forced, unreal. What do you think is key to building this sort of a relationship.

Time.

That’s really the only way right? At first you’ll most naturally be on your best behaviour. It’s natural, normal. But then slowly these layers (not always fake) peel away. You see that person through good times and bad. How they react with other circumstances, etc. 

Vice versa. 

You’ll know that you’re not “forcing yourself” after sometime. Because you are who you are and a rouse is difficult to keep up. If they’re scum, you’ll eventually find out too!

I believe that people come and go – that’s life, right? They leave footprints if they stay long enough, scars to teach you a lesson, and sometimes they build a little nest and don’t want to leave (even after they seen the worst of you). That’s when you know that these friendships are the real deal. 

Joanne Nayagam is good for the soul. The lifestyle writer writes beautifully as you can see here. She also runs around a fair bit helping WritersClubKL go on…

p.s. we are now organising the next Readings and waiting for the art submissions to come flooding in for KL Stories. I would also like to introduce you to Alexandra Hemrick who will be jumping on this bandwagon by contributing to us from Atlanta on Saturdays. She might be starting out Readings in Atlanta if she’s up to it so stay tuned…

…oh and we were Freshly Pressed! How awesome is that?

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