Learning how to be a friend and not a push over

For most of my life up until high school I considered myself a pretty good friend. I had the standard friend flaws because no ones perfect right? Then I hit high school. One of the first things I noticed is that people found it very offensive that I was a cheerleader. I don't know why but once you got into high school being a cheerleader came with some pretty offensive labels. The problem I had was that it was easier to just emulate those labels instead of trying to fight them.

Along the way I met this friend Shanna. Its funny that I call her a friend because up until freshman year we were actually pretty much enemies. We met in Spanish class and got to talking about how we had slept with some of the same guys. Isn't that a clever way to become friends. The problem part about meeting Shanna is that I met her at a time where I was kind of low on real friends since I was so busy with all of my plastic pot head friends. (Oddly enough now that I quit drinking I actually miss the weed but I can't wrap my mind about it being okay to get high with a kid.) So in walks this horrible friend. Shanna once flat out told me that she would never try and be someones friend. That if you were going to be her friend you had to try. Being her friend meant being at her beck and call. She almost got enjoyment out of seeing what she could get her friends to do. One of the most obnoxious parts about Shanna is that she had become really close with one of my actual friends Katie. Shanna got it in her head that everyone could be friends with her but no one could be friends unless she was there. So behind Katies back Shanna asked me stop talking to Katie. That was fine. We were out of high school and didn't see each other much anyway and it was just easier to just do what she wanted then to fight with her. Nearly two years passed where Katie and I barely spoke and the whole time Katie never knew. Katie and her are still friends and the other day Katie asked me why I stayed friends with Shanna. I couldn't answer that. Then Katie said that Shanna never did anything mean to her. All I could think of were all the times Shanna had told me to stay away from Katie. The times Shanna got mad when Katie came to me for advice about weddings because I had already been married. The times that she had yelled at both Katie and I because we were being to friendly in front of her. I had to laugh. She considered that being a good friend. I always thought friends wanted you to be happy and be surrounded by as much love as possible. I can't believe that Katie never saw that her so called best friend was sitting on the side lines trying to destroy her support system and deprive her of having full relationships. Even when Katie and her fiance were having problems Shanna was sitting there telling her to leave him so they could party. I just sat there watching this girl be so selfish and trying to destroy lives. It wasn't until I was three months pregnant and Shanna was talking about how she thought she was pregnant and would just have another abortion if so that I realized she and I couldn't be fries anymore. Having Brandon made me realize that I no longer wanted to have people in my life who put drugs up their nose or thought getting wasted every night of the week was a good life. I just wanted to grow up and be normal. That is when I cut Shanna out.

The hardest part of my friendship with Shanna actually came after it ended. Since grade school I had my two best friends Katie and Ginger. Ginger was my life and my rock. All through high school I though things were the same. Yeah I put her on the back burner for Shanna sometimes but I just really thought she understood that no matter what she was my number one. She didn't. About two years after high school Ginger and I were messaging on AOL one day and all the sudden she kind of let loose on me that she had actually been mad at me for years. I was so shocked. I couldn't believe that I had been so blind to what kind of monster Shanna was making me. I couldn't believe all that time I was just letting this happen right in front of my nose. At first I blamed Ginger for not telling me we had problems and then I realized that a real friend would have seen that Ginger was hurting. Luckily after another year or so Ginger actually forgave me and we moved on and got over things. Ironically it was also after Shanna was no longer in my life. I like to think that she thinks of me as a better friend now that Shanna is gone.

Oddly enough letting go of Shanna was actually so much easier then I had feared all of those years. I spent almost 4 years being afraid of what would happen if I quit being Shanna's friend. After all its not like you can actually walk up to someone and say "Hey I don't want to be your friend anymore." Ha I even tried at one point to tell her I didn't want her in my wedding but she just talked me out of it and then got me drunk and tried to convince me as to why she should be my maid of honor instead of my cousin. I think towards the end she could tell I really wasn't there anymore. She came to my baby shower and I barely spoke to her. When she showed up at the hospital I was astonished. I really had no clue what she was doing there. The last time I spoke to her was on Katie's wedding day October 1st 2005. I said only what I needed to say and nothing more. I did bump into her and Katie once at Bully's in south Reno and I had to laugh because she didn't even know I had moved to this part of town over three months before I had seen her. I maybe said hi but I turned around and left after that.

Now its been over a year since I spoke to her and I've met this new friend Stephanie and my old friend Alli is back and I'm really trying hard to mend things with Ginger. The hardest thing is trying to learn how to be their friend with out trying to be the kind of friend I was to Shanna and with out going back to the shitty friend I was when I was with Shanna. Its hard for me not to try and spoil my friends or buy them things or say yes to everything they say or ask. Its hard to remember that I don't always have to agree with them or like what they like. I guess its just really hard relearning how to be a normal friend when I already spent the last year learning how to just be alone. I had kept my two closest friends but besides that I kind of just shut everyone out and concentrated on my son and husband. That was so much easier then having to worry about whether I was making some one happy or doing the right thing or the things someone else thinks I should be doing. I feel like I only knew how to be a bad friend or I was trying to buy a friendship. Its like I got so caught up in finding someone to be my friend that I didn't even realize that I had two really great ones right there. Maybe I thought ten bad friends was better then two or three really great ones. Sometimes I don't know what to do or say now when I talk to my new friends. I often find myself playing the old Shannon roll and being all gossipy and agreeing with everything. I don't know hopefully I can learn what path is the right one for me before I get myself back into a backwards friendship.

Another thing I need to try and fix is all the bridges I burned. Shanna disliked a lot of people and when Shanna didn't like someone then I couldn't like them. I have hated so many people that could have turned out to be really nice really great people just because they maybe sneezed near Shanna's boyfriend. One of those people works with Stephanie and I have to admit when she told me she worked with this girl (Sara) my first reaction was, "That bitch!" Then I stopped and realized that this poor girl had never actually done a single thing wrong to either Shanna or me and we tormented her for no reason. I feel horrible now thinking of all the people I was rude to for no reason at all. Someday I actually think I might go see Sara and just plain say sorry. Just sorry for being a jerk for no reason at all. That isn't who I want to be. I don't want my son to be that way and I definitely don't want him to grow up and hear stories of how mean his mom was because that will just teach him to be like me. I also don't want karma to come back on my son and have him be the one picked on for no reason. So all I can do is go back one by one and say sorry to those who never did a damn thing wrong.

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