My Friends Really Care

[Author’s Note:

If you don’t like that I sometimes say things, or write things, that are disturbing, don’t read this one.]

I spent much time
In this past week
Being very much afraid.
And very much concerned.
That I’d done something
Once again.
That would drive everyone
Away from me.

That I would end up
Once again.
Being thrown away.
Being abandoned
By everyone I knew.

I’ve learned something though.
In these past few days.
Something very important.
About who I really am.
About the people
I know now.
And the people
I knew then.

And I find myself asking
Why the people I knew then
Were so very much afraid
To care for anyone?
Because I don’t really
Understand at all
The way they were.

And I know that how they are
Is what caused everything
That happened to me
In those days.
All because
I just wasn’t like them
At all.
And didn’t understand
Any of their ways.

Let me try
To explain.

There were two events
In the place
Where I used to work
That triggered
Everything that happened
In the past year.

The first was when
The person that I call,
And always will call,
The Lenten Rose
Began her battle
With cancer.

This is when I learned
How very much I care
For the people
That I know.
The people around me.
It was this one event
That woke me up.

The second was when
The person that I call
The Princess of Laughter
Became very depressed.
For I knew then
What depression is.
And the hurt it brings
Into a persons world.

And I’d already learned
How very much I cared
For the people
I worked with.

I’d learned too
That I’d stayed there,
In that place of work,
For so very many years
Longer than I should have.
And that doing so
Had already
So severely injure me.

I  was still standing.
But only because
Of my sense of honor.
And my sense of pride.

It wasn’t the work I did
That had wounded me.
It was the environment
That the work was in.
That was what had wounded me.
And in the year
That is now past,
I was to learn how.
And why.

For you see.
I did what I could
To show my two friends
In the place I worked
How much I cared
For them.
And wished for them
To be OK.

I wrote of dreams
And wishes.
Because I realized
That if I did,
The words I wrote
Helped them.
Sometimes,
They would smile.
Sometimes,
They would laugh.
Sometimes,
They could close their eyes.
And dream.
And sleep.
If only for a little while.

It was because I did
Exactly what I did
For the two of them
That my own injuries
Came out.
And the aching of my hear,
And the tears
That my soul cried
Became visible.
To everyone.

I have always wondered
How people would react
To a person that they knew,
If that person
Became so very ill.
In the way I did.

They called it,
“Personal problems”.
One of those sanitary names
That people invent
For things
That they don’t want to face.
Don’t want to admit
Are real.
And can happen
To someone
That they know.

I always wondered
How people would react
When someone around them
Became mentally ill.
Developed disorders.
What would people do?
How would they deal
With a person that they knew
Becoming someone
That they couldn’t trust?
Someone that behaved
Very strangely,
And frighteningly
For a time?

I found out.
Did I ever.

And I know
As I sit here
Writing down these words.
That I will never hear
From any of the people
That I used to work with.
Even from the two
That I cared
So very much about.

It’s not my fault.
This much I know.
For the problems
That I’ve had to face
Are problems
That could happen
To anyone
I have ever known.

All it takes
Is a single event.
Like the two
That triggered all of this
In me.

For after everything
That I’ve been through
In this past year.
I can’t help but see
How close each one of them is
To facing the same problems
That I’ve faced.

And that’s one reason
That none of them
Will ever talk to me again.
Just by talking with me
They would have to face
How very easily
Any one of them
Could become so very hurt
In the way that I did.

There are so many people
That I worked with
In that place
That I know
Absolutely hate
The work they do.
And the environment
That they are in.
That they hate it
Every bit
As much as I did.
And some of them
Hate it
Maybe even more.

It was a place
Where the only thing that mattered
Was the work.
Where everyone proclaimed
You were their friend.
When what they meant
Was that they worked with you.

It was a place
Where when the work day ended
Everyone went home.
And forgot everything
And almost everyone,
Until the next day
That they had to be
In that place.

The only reason
I can figure out
Why they did
The things they did,
And behaved
Like they cared
For each other
In that place
Was because
Each of them understood
They way that the environment
That they worked in
Hurt them.

And it seems to me
That they stood together
In the way they did,
As a way of coping
With they pain
That the environment
Put them in.

And the difference between
All of them
And me
Is why none of them
Will ever talk with me
Again.

I stood alone
In that place.

I was not one of them.
I didn’t stand with them.
I didn’t share with them
The secret behavior
They all seemed to know.
Of how they were in pain
In that work place.
And grouped together
To defend themselves
From the reality
That they had to face
Every single day.

They were not there
For the work so much
As they were there
For the paycheck.
And they did
What they could
To help each other
Through the day
In that awful place.

And that’s another part
Of what happened
To me in that place.
Because,
Just like I’m doing now,
I spoke the truth.

I declared that none of them
Cared at all
What happened to
The Princess of Laughter.
And the pain
And hurt
That she was clearly in.

And the truth was
That they really didn’t.
That they all knew
Her behavior had deviated
From the behavior
Of the group.
The behavior that they used
To just survive
In the place they worked.

And she wasn’t helping them
Get through the day.
And they couldn’t help her
As she tried to cope
With the nasty place
That the place we all worked in
Really, truly was.

After all,
We all knew,
Even all of them,
That every one of us
Was expendable.
That if anyone got sick,
Or had an injury,
That prevented them from working
For too long.
The place that we all worked in
Would replace the wounded one.
So that the work
Would ALWAYS get done.

For to that place,
To that land of work,
The only thing that really mattered
Was the work itself.
And if a human resource
Became hurt,
So what.
There were plenty more
Human resources
Available,
To get the work done.
And you just replace
The broken resource
With a new one.

Like they did with me.

I also broke
Some unwritten rule
That’s one of those things
That my ASD
Causes me to miss
Completely.

See.
I spoke out
About how everyone
Was behaving
In that place.

And that’s just something
That you flat don’t do.
Because they all know
What’s going on
Anyway.
And they don’t want
To talk about it
At all.
Because it bothers them
Too much
To admit that truth.

That’s back to the reason
Why they all behave
Like they are friends.
And like they care
For each other
In that awful place.
When they really don’t.

It’s just a mechanism
That they’ve put in place
So that they can help
Each other
Through another day
In the hell
That they all work in.

And because I wasn’t
Part of that type
Of behavior.
And did not fit in.
And pointed out
Time and time again
How they were’t really
My friends
From the way that they behaved.

I had to go away.
For no one in that place
Could trust me any more
After how I had behaved.

I’d violated
The social behavior rules.
And thus broken
Any sense of trust
That they could have had
In me.

And they couldn’t work
With someone
That they couldn’t trust.

It’s been a painful thing to learn.
But I’m better now
Because of having lived
Through such a thing.

And I know,
And can plainly see,
That the people
I know now
Are not at all
Like the people
I worked with
Back then.

For the people I know now
Have bonded to together
As true friends.
And they really do
Care for each other
Like friends do.

And the fear I had
Of not fitting in,
Of upsetting them.
And being abandoned once again.
As I was
By the people
I once worked with.
That fear
Is now gone.

Because the friendships
That have already formed,
And the people
I know now,
Are not playing that same game
Of helping each other
Get through another day
In the land of work.

They help each other
Get through life.
With all its trials.
With all its joys.
With all its pain.
With all its smiles.

That’s what I tried
So very hard to do
With the two people
From that place of work
That I once called
My friends.

I didn’t know at all
That in the place I worked
Doing such a thing
Was completely wrong.

It’s because I’ve learned
So very much
About this life
That we all live in
In this past year
That was filled with hurt,
And pain.

That I understand now
The fears that I’ve had
In this past week.

And they’re only fears.
And it’s OK
To be afraid.

Just by accepting me
The people I know now
Have helped me
When I needed help.

They showed genuine
Concern
For me.
And my family.

And that’s the way
That friends
Are supposed to be.

That’s why I returned last night
To the church I’m going to.
Because I’ve learned
That the people there
Really do care
For each other.
In the way
That friends are supposed to.

And that’s a priceless gift
From life.

And much to my surprise
I’ve learned
That somehow, and someway,
I’ve started to care
Very much
For them.

And that’s something
That’s completely new
For me.

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