The Tests of True Friendship

How do you define friendship?
Are your friends the people you invite to your home for drinks and dinner and to reciprocate they invite you back?
Are they those you go out with on vacations and split the costs? Even at times it’s all on you, or on them, knowing the gesture will be reciprocated because everyone in your circle of friends has equal means?
Who are your friends and beyond having “fun” together, have you tested the depth of your relationship?

My concept of friendship and its true meaning was defined early on. It wasn’t even about my friend, so thankfully the hurt was indirect, yet, still there, as a reminder…
When I was about ten years old, my father, a violent, active alcoholic, came home late at night and hit my mother. We barely escaped his violence and made it to a public phone, as in those times the world had not even dreamed of cell phones. It was dangerous to return home and mother called her best friend. The phone rang, and rang and her sleepy friend picked up at last. I saw my mother crying, trying to explain between sobs what has happened. Then there was silence. My mother was listening to her friend. In my mind of a ten-year old I knew we needed help. We needed shelter for the night and I was certain, my Mother’s friend would offer it. After all, I thought, we spent holidays together, even lovely vacations on the Black Sea…
My mother hang up the phone: ” Coca,” Mom explained, “was asleep… it is so late, she said to never call so late, under any circumstances!”
She took my hand and held it tight. We walked slowly in the night, as slowly as possible, awaiting the sun raise and light in our lives!

In those moments, walking through the dark, hoping for light, I sworn never to allow such people into my life. I made the decision to always be there for those I call friends but always to travel a two way street.

If you are committed to someone 24/7 unconditionally, the relationship must be reciprocated to be called a friendship. Otherwise, one is the “giver,” the other, “the taker.”

However, true friendship is a fine line to walk on a journey as long and complex as life…
Many times a friend falls off the social or financial status which brought you together in the beginning. Do you abandon your friend, or she, you?

Misfortunes, illnesses, financial disaster or both, as one could, and does trigger the other, might happen to anyone when you least expect it.
Are you ready to be there for your friend and is your friend ready and willing to help you unconditionally?
The TEST of true friendship could be called THE MID-NIGHT Test!
Are you and your friend willing to help each other if one of you needs help when is inconvenient for the other and no pay back is expected?

Please share your opinions and experiences concerning true friendships, so that we all learn.
Always remember, if you need emotional support about a difficult situation in your life, feel free to contact me.
God bless.

Rodica M

The Truth About Being A Single Woman!

imageWith divorce rates at least at 50/50 percent it could be safely assumed that there are a lot of single people on our Planet at the present time. I will only share some thoughts about single women because my divorce was final in 2005 so I feel I could speak like a “pro” on the topic.

There could be a multitude of scenarios but they say to speak about what you know best.
For that reason, I will speak about the truth regarding single womanhood as I experience it!

There is a popular belief that one couldn’t forget or “heal” and place an old love on the back shelf of our hearts, unless a new Prince Charming appears in our lives, white horse or not.
Truth be told, if I didn’t have a Master’s in counseling and Psychology and years of sitting on the client ‘s chair, because how could one support a client if she/ he has never been one?
The story of my romantic relationships started early in my life, for strictly practical reasons:
I believed in love and my mother believed in being sexually active only if married! The result was that at 18, I eloped with my high school sweetheart and we got married!
Contrary the common belief, our marriage lasted about 14 years but ended tragically with my first love fathering a son with a coworker, while I was trying to find a job and bring him from then communist Romania to the United States.
This was the first time when I questioned my ability to tell truth from lies and TRUST!It took me about a year of emotional confusion and pain but then, I threw myself in the deep pond of dating in America! There were lot of fishes of all forms and ages!
My singlehood, as I define it now was rather a game of choosing my next male partner. To be honest, since my first love already divorced me and married the mother of his son, I felt kind of a biological competition, with my clock ticking strongly, as I was now in my thirstiest!
Tick tock, tick tock, after dating a few already scarred men, recovering themselves from failed marriages, I met the one, who came not on a hoarse, but in a talking car!
We dated about two years, which I believe showed maturity on our side and then we got married, had two lovely kids, several pets… We were living the American Dream!
We lived it for almost 20 years, until one day, I opened a letter from the IRS and discovered my rock, my husband holding an MBA in finances was behind paying taxes! Not a good situation and suddenly, I fell from atop my comfort zone all the way down in the arms of confusion and uncertainty!
Unlike the first time, now I had the responsibility of two teen children and several pets!
The years 2004 and 2005, described in my book, “The Gypsy Saw Two Lives,” as “The Year From Hell,” detail the Hellish situation, but the goal of this post remains to detail what truly means to be a single woman and become self- sufficient and know thyself before jumping in the pond again and repeating the same mistakes!
2005– I was divorced, my daughters moved as far from tragedy and me as the length of the USA permitted! In the minds of most of today’s adult children, as a mother, I had to be proud I raised self- sufficient, educated daughters who no longer needed my help. I was suggested to find another project since my two children turned so well, they no longer needed me! Again, the pain caused by such statements and the consequences will be the topic of other writing, and I am bringing myself back to WHAT it means to me a single woman!
This time, after my 2 ND divorce and all the education acquired, I knew I should know myself first before even considering a relationship.
What does this mean exactly?
A few practical examples first:
You have a flat tire on the highway, you call AAA not your ex.
A shelf in the house is crooked, you straightedge yourself, or you call a handyman at $20 an hour, if you find one!
You learn to mow the grass or pay for the service. If you need to go to the doctor you drive yourself and no one will be waiting worried sick about you!
Oh well, in all honesty while I was married I was still driving my self to the doctor and no one was worried! Perhaps this is why I divorced…
However, the point I am trying to make is that singlehood implies that you do not ask or expect help from any potentially romantic relationship or your ex.
To truly be ready, if ever, to trust again another human being, you have to first go through the stage of self-sufficiency and self-discovery!
However, singlehood it’s not all bad! You might discover people like you who love for who you are, make new friends and take up new hobbies.
After ten years of meditating and trying to understand my part in the relationships of the past, I feel ready to embark in exploring love, closeness but above it all: TRUST!
Let’s see what the future brings!

Are You Alone, or Are You Lonely, or Both?

It was a Friday evening and  I was alone. I decided this was not going to stop me from eating in my favorite Italian Restaurant.

The line was long enough that required the hostess  to hand vibrating devices to the guests, so they  would have the convenience to wonder in the Mall and when the device vibrated return to the restaurant.

Unlike most times, I was happy to wait, may I dare say, I was grateful at the opportunity to “kill time.”. There was no other place to rush, no one depending on me, no kids to drive anywhere, no hungry husband to feed or wash to do. I was just responsible for myself, a new odd feeling, as if it wasn’t right, as if to be in charge of only myself, was not enough. However, this was the reality of that particular evening: I was alone and lonely. I felt incomplete after years of pouring my love and focusing on others, now I was forced to look inside myself to determine if “the container of ME” was empty, and if so, what would it take to replenish it with love of self… 

This was happening after my divorce, and I was determined to not fall into the stereotype of “rebounding,” of diving head first, numb heart, into the arms of the first available male, so on the surface I wouldn’t be alone, yet feel lonely inside.This time, I was going to do it right: Get to know myself first,  take my time to understand what I really needed,  and more importantly, what I could  offer an eventual new life- partner. Above it all, I was determined to have the courage to be alone, in the physical world,  until I was comfortable enough and love myself enough to not feel lonely! 

Going out alone, on a Friday night, was a first small step, which felt huge at the time…

“”How big is the party you are expecting?” the hostess asked, handing me the “call back vibrating device.”

I breathed in, I breathed out, slowly…

“Table for one, please.” I asked the restaurant hostess.

She handed me the “call back” device hesitantly:

“For a party of ONE, the wait would be longer…”

I assured her time was not a problem and grabbed the call back device.

In time, it got easier and easier to be a “party of one.” Many times it was a game I played counting how many other parties of ONE were in a movie theater for instance, and if I were the only one, I’d treat myself with ice cream, after the show, to celebrate being a party of one and feeling better and better in my own company.

After a few months of being alone and getting used to myself, I had to admit that in the last years of my married life, I was not alone, but I was lonely most of the time.Whose fault was it? His? Mine? I settled for both. Relationships are two-way streets and the grey areas are predominant. There is no such thing as his or her “fault.” When a relationship starts to deteriorate, the key is unmet expectations on both sides.

The lesson I learned is to identify my own  unhealthy patterns, the “whys,” of my actions, so in the future I would be able to change repeating the same mistakes, into life lessons, from which  I learned and will never repeat.

Most importantly, I understood that the only behavior and attitude I have the right and the power to change is MINE, and before I’d say “I love you,” to somebody else, I need to look in the mirror at myself, say “I love you,” and mean it.

“Party of one, please, and I don’t care how long it takes!”

Today I am alone, but by no means lonely!