Wooden Ships and Steel Ships and Best Ships and Friend Ships

A kid got punched in the ear for not sharing his crayons on Thursday. That was my 10:03 a.m. moment. We were coloring possums. It hurts to not share.

The rules of the classroom and playground haven't changed. Once upon a time, you played with friends that didn't want to murder you. Now when you get your feelings hurt, instead of kicking someone or calling them a butthead, you just stand there and take it and feel like you got punched in the gut or it just started raining and you're frozen in it and then walk away and post a lyric to a Tom Waits song and go to bed early. Everything just gets watered down into strange adult emotions that don't ever really get resolved. No wonder we're allowed to drink, because if we didn't, I don't know how people would deal with all this emotion. Maybe some people pray or move rocks around a plate of sand. I just get sad. How do you deal with people hurting your feelings?

I am a notorious non-believer, planner, doomsday prepper of my emotions, unofficial hoarder of scraps of paper that used to mean something but I forgot what that meaning was but I keep that and the crayon to go with it just in case a trip to a flea market in Florida will spark my memory of the scrap and the crayon. I am slightly paranoid of not remembering, or not remembering the good stuff and remembering all the bad crap. If my memories had the ability to be organized, I fantasize about what labels I could come up with. "The First Three Days of Spring Break 2009" "One Out of Seven Dances But Only the Ones Without a Boy Date" "Good Hair Days When It Was Long".
And then you could just leave out all the bad stuff that makes you scared to trust any human again.

Which is why I doomsday prep for the worst. Friendships since high school have all been forged on the scary fact that one day they won't like me anymore. One day, crayons or no crayons, I'm going to be blindsided with a punch in the ear and no more friends. This is a problem.

I see my kids interact everyday. One day, Jessie likes Jalen and they play Uno together at indoor recess. They laugh and tell jokes and high five and walk to the bus together. Next day, Jessie plays with Alexis instead of Jalen because Alexis has two new colored pens to share at free art time, so Jalen gets so hurt that he writes on the dry erase board, "I HAET JESSIE!" and cries on the walk to the bus while Jessie and Alexis giggle and laugh and tell jokes and high five. And here we are as adults, perceiving lost phone calls to be inconsideration, cryptic voicemail messages as a sign of a wavering friendship, while photo posts on Instagram with a group of your "so-called friends" gives you an empty gut feeling when you're home by yourself on a Friday night. We all feel like "I HAET JESSIE" but we just react passively because that's the grown up thing to do. What a weird concept. The grown up thing to do is nothing?

No, it's pretending that it doesn't hurt us. We have come into these adult-sized bodies with the ability to erase all negative emotion and our brains deflect mean people's words and actions. I think that's how we're supposed to act. Like we're above it. But I think the alternative is to just not let anything affect you; kind of like a real-life robot with the ability to drink soda and tell lies.

But the reality is that it does hurt. It still hurts to feel left out. It still hurts to know someone doesn't want to hang out with you anymore. It still hurts when someone is insensitive to you when you need someone to care. All of that is how humans relate to each other. And pretending that all of that is just for kids is kind of ridiculous. It just cycles into a big mess of misunderstanding and weird passive aggressive Facebook updates.

Let's just be honest. Let's just talk about how we feel, like when our teachers made us "talk about it" after I kicked my "crush" in the junk in 2nd grade. Let's talk about how his actions made me feel and why I reacted how I did. It always made me feel better. Let's try. I'm trying. I know. It's uncomfortable. Fortunately, I have realized, after announcing our move, that I have made some really amazing friendships.

I have a league of females to read books with, laugh with, cry with, puzzle with, every single week. I have a club to eat/make supper with in the middle of the week that always make Tuesdays better than most days, providing beers and fried pickles when the week has wore me down. I have a cousin that is more like a sister. I have an ordained minister friend that is more like a brother. I have a best friend that sends me tiny packages of toothpaste and a bootcamp therapist buddy that always wants to feed me and make me laugh. I have a grad school yoga friend who is an hour north but never feels less than 15 minutes away. I have a mountain family waiting to help us transition into a brand new chapter. And I have a husfriend, whose silliness, kindness and unconditional love has never ever failed.

I am beyond lucky. I have an incredibly full life of amazing people who I have been hurt by, who I have hurt, but have never and will never punch me in the ear.

And I'm fairly certain that not a lot of people can say that.

Let's not be safe anymore. Let's just love all the good ones with every bean we have and take lots of pictures and make lots of jokes and trust that we are going to hurt each other but trust that we also love each other. We're all just doing the best we can. And doing the best we can is good enough.