I’ve learned from a very young age what I would and wouldn’t deal with when it comes to whom I keep close to me. I use to run with my older cousins as a wee little Dre. We did everything together and defended each other until the end. If an outside person picked on one of us, we were all right there to defend that person. In fact, we often got talked to by our parents about leaving other neighborhood kids out of our games and what not. Once, one of the neighborhood parents told our Grandma that we had social issues and that it “just wasn’t right” that we didn’t interact with other kids but each other. There were only five of us and maybe it was unusual, but we learned from a young age what friendship and loyalty were, and also what it meant to be “family”.
When I was 12 years old, I had a gun pointed at my face during a dispute between a classmate and I. It wasn’t unusual behavior for the neighborhood I grew up in. A girl in the same grade seemed to think that the guy she liked might have liked me, so she bullied me down an alley way that day after school. It was my first (of many) physical fights. In a neighborhood like that, you either fought back or laid down to be forever bullied or ridiculed. Anyhow, after the other girl lost that fight, she pulled out a gun. Obviously I never got shot. Instead we became friends in junior high through high school, best friends to be exact. This was a big lesson in forgiveness for me.
Later in high school, that same best friend got mad at me for “judging” her and a guy we knew for doing meth and cocaine. What was I thinking right? How could I judge them for doing such things? Haha, needless to say I didn’t continue that friendship past the 11th grade. It only took a gun in my face AND drug usage to figure that she wasn’t a good friend! I remember thinking about the whole friendship afterwards and knowing that it should have been over the moment she pointed a gun at me. I realized then, that most people will show you who they are right away, you just have to open your eyes.
That same year (11th grade), I was dating a guy in whom I remained with after high school. Just like any high school relationship, we were on and off again that whole year. I was very much in love with him. Aww young love - haha. Anyhow, I also had this neighbor who was younger than me, that I had considered to be an extension of my immediate family. She was younger than me so when she got into high school, I was nearly out. She knew my darkest and deepest secrets. I wasn’t too different then as I am now, when it comes to my feelings. I held them in, locked up from family and friends, with the exception of that one person that I could completely trust - and she was that person. So, imagine my surprise when she asked me if it was okay for her to date my on-and-off-again boyfriend! I was hurt – you know the kind of hurt that makes you want to throw up! I stopped talking to her after that conversation. She wrote/called me for days/weeks after. I refused to acknowledge her from that point on. For the life of me, I just couldn’t understand why she felt that she could ask me that. Umm hello, you wiped my tears from my face when the dude and I broke up!! I took her asking me if she could date my boyfriend as one giant F-You! The option of still being friends was non-existant, I would never have trusted her again and what's a friendship without trust? This was my first encounter with cutting people out of my life that hurt me.
That next year, my cousin had a baby. I was there for the birth and I loved her as if she were my own. I was with my cousin throughout her entire pregnancy, while the father of her child was nowhere around. Shortly after the baby was born, we got word from our family that another cousin whom we didn’t really grow up with, but acknowledged, came to visit, bragging of her new boyfriend. The problem with that whole scenario was that she had claimed to be dating the deadbeat father who had fathered our cousin’s baby. She knew they had conceived a baby together, came to their house when they were together. Now, she was dating him and telling our family that the guy was going to file for custody of my cousin’s baby?!? I was beyond furious. For one, that dude had never been in my cousin’s life during and after the pregnancy. Second, that was our cousin he was dating!! That cousin called me later that night to hang out, I gave her an earful and declared she was ex’d out of whom I considered my family. I was young then, but even back then I felt very adamant that family doesn’t do that to family.
I didn’t talk to that cousin for 4-5 years after that incident. Then one night she hit me up on messenger, like nothing ever happened. Time had passed and I had taken into consideration that she didn’t have the same upbringing as we (my other cousins & I) had, so I responded. We got rather close that year – sisters pretty much. We remained close for almost 3 years after that. Eventually, she pulled that same junk with my newly ex-boyfriend as she had with my other cousin and her ex-boyfriend. I wasn’t surprised, yet, it didn’t hurt any less. In fact, she had used our close relationship against me this time. She told my family of a secret of mine that wasn’t her business to tell, but she did. I guess I should have known, most of our relationship, I had spent stressed out by her. You ever have a toxic person in your life, in which they talk you down, compete with you, have drama in all areas of their own life, and just have bad energy? It was then that it occurred to me that she had been one of those toxic friendships that I had managed to keep around just because she was a family member. I haven’t talked to her for almost 3 years. And really, I doubt I’ll ever talk to her again. I’m happy…
I look back on this life, even now in the present, and see that I’ve learned to disconnect from those that hurt me rather well. People let me down all the time and it’s no biggie. However, it’s those that commit serious offenses that I can’t tolerate. It sucks when you’ve given a select few close-up seats to your life, only to see that it hurts so much worse when they throw daggers because those daggers are thrown from a closer range and you’re most often blindsided to the attack. I also happen to think that there are those that should have “just known better”! I have had intelligent and smart friends, yet, it’s amazing how there’s those select few that lack the common sense to see how one could be hurt from their actions. This is okay… but in the end, that’s where I have to cut them out of the picture, no hard feelings. I just don’t need people like that to be that close to me, and vice versa, because really, I always forgive but hardly forget. If you did it once, you’ll most likely do it again and that I have yet to be proven otherwise. Either way, I don’t have the time to find out – life is short.
My only responsibility in friendship is that I try my hardest to be a good, honest, loyal, and caring friend - without compromising my own feelings and values. I won't stay friends with people who drain my energy or that are not supportive. I refuse to attract ‘negative’ people into my life.
And this is what I mean by: I AM Dre without apology…