CHAPTER 1: YOU HAVE SOME SECOND CHANCES? I’D LIKE TO BORROW THOSE
On the 10th of January, 2019, I published ’24: The Article’. I’ve made it a custom to write an article on my birthday. In some way it helps me reflect on the past year, the mistakes, the wins and the losses. More importantly it helps me shape my hopes for the new year. It helps give me a sort of laid down path that would guide me in such a way that if I happened to veer off that guide, I could always go back and find my way to the laid down path I had already cleared for myself.
In ’24: The Article’, I was actively striving to do better in various areas of my life and one of those areas was with my friends. In that paragraph, I wrote,
“In the past year, I can’t say I’ve been a good friend. Yes, I made some new friends but I still pushed more friends away than I made new ones. I must sound like a broken record when I keep saying that I’d try to be a better friend and I’d check up on people more which I end up never doing. I know that if there was a ranking of the friendship department, I’d rank really low. The truth is that I want to be better, I want to be comfortable with calling people, I want to show up for hangouts, I want to tell them what I’m going through so they’d know, so they’d could help me, so they’d know I’m not shutting them out. I want these second chances. “… You have some second chances? I’d really love to borrow those…”
There’s this thing about faith without work(s), no matter the amount of wishful thinking one may have about the lofty heights they want to reach and there’s a mountain in your way with no way around, if you don’t strap up and begin climbing, you’d stay at the bottom and wonder why your faith did not move the mountain just so you could walk past. (I digress… winks)
Sometimes, when it comes to friendships, we tend to forget easily that just like in romantic relationships where it takes two to tango that the same applies to friendship. What kind of friend am I, if I ask for second chances and still go ahead with my old behaviour? What kind of friend am I if I keep shutting people out and not tell them what I’m going through, believing I can fix it all up by myself? What kind of friend finds it hard to pick up or return calls? It begs the question if I ever deserved second chances at friendship, what sensible person in their sane mind decides if they had second chances to give, they’d lend me (a constant borrower who never makes do on his promises).
However, I did get those second chances. I made use of some of them in ways that I thought were impossible and I squandered some like a footballer with the goalpost at his mercy kicking the ball way up into the stands behind the goalpost.
In many of these squandered cases, I realised that the little cracks that I considered minute and inconsequential had become rift valleys. Getting those seconds chances loaned out to me were only going to be the beginning of a tedious work trying to mend the rift. The same questions ran through my mind, how did inconsequential and minute cracks become rift valleys? Where did I go wrong? What mistakes weren’t corrected? What apologies weren’t offered or received? The list goes on and on.
The only thing that was certain at this point was, those second chances were not going to be of any use here.
CHAPTER 2: CRACKS (The Art form)
Here’s the thing about these inconsequential cracks, they’re not noise makers. Quiet, diligent hardworkers, going about their job of breaking down beautiful relationships slowly but assuredly. I’ve come to realise that these cracks always show up in high moments, when you’d easily overlook them, when you won’t bother because everything is seemingly fine. In these moments – those moments when everything is smooth sailing- is when you’re at your weakest and these cracks would be there to chip the little they can, until those little cracks become rift valleys that will never be easy to fix.
So, where do these cracks come from, you’re asking. You see, it’s in the little things.
Those phone calls you refused to pick, crack.
That phone call you didn’t return, crack.
The argument that remained an argument, nobody willing to yield to the other, none ready to reach a settling compromise, crack.
The issues either party has that remained unresolved, eating deep into that individual’s psyche, crack.
Long moments of silence without proper explanation or reason (commonly known as ghosting), crack.
The stuff you were going through but couldn’t (for some weird but very valid reasons) tell the other party, crack.
The apology you refused to give because ego held your tongue in a choke hold, crack
The apology you didn’t get even when you knew you deserved one, even when it was obvious they were in the wrong but they made jokes about it, making it seem you were making a mountain out of a molehill, crack.
In and of themselves, these cracks on their own would not do any major damage, but a collection of two or more over a period of time would wreck so much damage. Hence, why I call it an art form. For someone who has unintentionally made an habit of pushing away and losing friends/people, I have inadvertently become well versed in the language of the cracks. These art form like any other art form, requires a level of practice to become a professional. Take a writer for example, (Of course, I’d choose writing, did you think I’d pick painting?) if a writer desires growth, he/she needs to write more often so they create a style of their own and hone that style. Using different writing skills to perfect that style they want over a period of time. The same goes for the language of the cracks, this art form needs that much attention to details (more often than not, this attention to details is mostly unintentional). Having mastered these cracks, losing people became an easy job.
You want to ask, what do you do when you do notice these cracks. Since we’re keeping it honest, (I really wanted to write, ‘since we’re keeping 100’) I don’t know what the right thing to do is when you do notice the cracks. What I do know is that you should never ignore it. (In case you you didn’t get that, NEVER IGNORE THE CRACKS). I did say these cracks are diligent hardworkers, ignoring them, thinking the cracks would fix themselves up and everything would be just fine is a huge lie because by the time you’re back, you’d find a rift valley where there was flat and plain lands.
I’ve lost enough to these cracks. I’ve lost more than enough to know.
CHAPTER 3: WHAT THEN IS FRIENDSHIP?
“Everyone is busy with life…”
“Everyone is going through personal struggles…”
As much as I believe this is true and we’re in our twenties, trying to figure our lives out, trying to build a life for ourselves. Many people (myself inclusive) have used those excuses for being unavailable in their friends life, used those excuses as a reason to be absent while pretending to be present.
What then is friendship?
Is it just a gathering of boys at the bar to drink beer and laugh at corny jokes or girls at the beauty salons? Or is it just meeting up in church and waving holy hands and screaming hallelujah during praise? Is it just a thing of convenience where you can pop in and out whenever you feel like?
What then is friendship?
I’m confused because everyone is hiding under the guise of being busy or going through stuff. Isn’t that the reason we need our friends in the first place? To be our pillars, to encourage us when we lose, to celebrate with us when we win, to be there when we are at our lowest, to be friends through and true.
What then is friendship?
What then is friendship if these cracks have done enough to make you feel like you can leave friends because of issues that could have been talked over? Why would we let these cracks have the the last laugh, creating rift valleys here and there, rift valleys we can’t build Bridges over. Why do we easily decide to burn bridges that took years to build?
What then is friendship if these second chances I borrowed are becoming a waste?
What then is friendship?
What then is friendship if I don’t remember how to be one to anyone because everyone is busy with their own lives, busy with their own problems.
Oyekunle ‘Fikayo Oyediran.