Go Ask Alice…Who Her Friends Are
K, so it’s spring of 1989 and I’m taking my first health course. It’s 8th grade, I’m in Mr. Brake’s class at Montgomery County R-II Middle School and I’m completely fascinated by sex ed. Who wasn’t, after all?
After sex, what’s the natural progression? Drugs! So, we’re learning about booze and pot and what’s the diff in a stimulant and a depressant, just an overview of drugs. They’re bad, Mmm K?
I very vividly remember a book being referenced in class called, “Go Ask Alice.” It’s kinda a classic in the young adult reader category to describe the horrors of drug abuse. Well, in 8th grade, I wanted nothing to do with reading. Kinda the same through high school, until my senior year when I finally started to see some of the attraction of literature. Then? A few months later, I was a certified bibliophile. And by this time, I’m in my late teens and, hey, “young adult” means kids-not me. Thus, I never took the time to read, “Go Ask Alice”…until now.
I’m older, slightly wiser and more experienced with the world. Plus, now that I have kids, I read this book from the perspective of a parent. Last night, while working my way into Alice’s drug world, I came across a quote I thought made an awesome amoung of sense:
“Real friendship can’t be built on sympathy and a hanging on to someone just to keep from drowning. It has to be built on mutual likes and abilities and, yes, even backgrounds.”
Before I got married, all I had were my friendships. I was unaccustomed to what the relationship of marriage truly was. I mean, we all have examples, but until you’ve been in a marriage, it’s all seen from outside the fishbowl.
I’ve always been someone to nurture friendships. Through social media, that’s even easier these days. But before I got married, your friends are your friends and, well, that’s whatcha got.
It wasn’t until after I had a ring on my finger did I start to understand that some of my bachelor relationships weren’t necessarily built on mutual likes and interests but on sympathy or, well, just because I didn’t know any better how to have healthy relationships with all friends. Heck, it’s entirely possible that people were friends with ME due to sympathy and hanging on to keep from drowning, as the quote says.
Now that I’m in y mid 30s, happily married and always striving to have healthy relationships, I’m a little more likely to let some relationships go. Why? I’ve moved to another fishbowl and looked in on friendships. If they’re not mutually beneficial, if they’re unhealthy in any emotional or psychological way…screw ’em. Life is too short to stay in relationship with anyone that isn’t healthy.
Who knew the “young adult” could have such insight?