Someone recently asked me how my family was doing, and my answer was “I suppose they’re doing well”. You see, I don’t really talk with my family – not out of animosity, but rather out of a lack of effort. I think the best way to describe it is like this – in the movie “My Best Friend’s Wedding”, there’s a scene where Julia Roberts is chasing her “best friend”, Dermot Mulroney, while he’s chasing the girl of his dreams, played by Cameron Diaz. Each wants to tell the one they’re chasing that they love them. While this is happening, Julia’s talking to her boss and friend, played by Rupert Everett, trying to gain reassurance that what she’s doing is the right thing, when he says “he’s chasing her, you’re chasing him, who’s chasing you?”
You see, to me, it seemed that I was always “chasing” after the family relationship. I was the one making the calls, sending the e-mails, etc. until one day it dawned on me – “who’s chasing me?” So I stopped and waited to see who’d pick up the slack. Who cared enough that, once I stopped, would take the responsibility and “do the chasing”? And guess what – nobody did. I guess my want for a relationship was pretty much that – “my want” – one-sided. And that’s why my answer to my friend was “I suppose they’re doing well”. And it’s been pretty much the same with friends – once I stopped, with the exception of a few, nothing came back.
Now I know I left everyone and everything behind when I moved to The Great White North, and sometimes it’s difficult to maintain a “long distance relationship”. But in todays age of communications, what was once an “I miss your face” is now a Skype or Google + moment away – at least it is if someone’s “chasing you”. Or at the very least, reciprocating. I guess for me the hardest part was the pain and embarassment I’d felt. Pain at not having the people you’d expect to care the most really care, and the embarassment – not just of having placed such a high price on those relationships that, as it turns out, were only valuable to me, but the embarassment of how foolish I must have looked doing it.
And you know, some people are happy doing the chasing all the time. And some people are afraid to stop – afraid to see what happens. But that’s the price you pay when you open yourself up to the world. As for me, I think I’ve come away that much stronger for it. I’d never had to stand alone in my lifetime, and knowing that I can is a great feeling. And I think of all the other people in the world that have to stand alone, for what ever reason, and I give them my admiration. And we will all move forward together – unafraid.