Hi. I am Chelsea (Hi, Chelsea) and I am a stage five clinger. I always felt like my friends were slightly out of my reach. They were a little too cool, a little too everything to want to be my friends. So, when I felt friends slipping away I started to hang on and hang on tight. I didn’t like when my girlfriends met other girls that they started hanging out with. I loved them aggressively. I wanted them all to myself. Helloooo…I’m an only child and therefore I’m not the best at sharing. But the more I hung on, the faster they’d slip away. I was a bit obsessive (maybe still am…working on it…) about everything in my life. My socks had to have the line up above my toes or it would drive me insane, I wouldn’t wear jeans because the inseam bugged me. I liked having the same schedule, the same people around at the same times of day. And, most importantly, I always wanted to know that my friends would always be my friends no matter what.
I wanted “friends forever” necklaces to be like a contract. I wanted to have a guarantee that they wouldn’t find someone cooler, newer and different than me. I wanted them to want me to be their friends as much as they wanted to be my friends. I would want to spend all my time with my favorite people and in the end I would often suffocate my very best of friends with love. I would come home from school to my parents utterly crushed. I’d look up at my Dad with those big brown eyes of a small deer that I’m pretty sure ripped his heart out and ask, “but Dad, why doesn’t she want to hang out with me?”
“I don’t know sweetie. I don’t know, but it’s okay if your friends make other friends. It’s okay if you make other friends too.” But I didn’t want other friends and I didn’t want my friends to have other friends either because I didn’t know what that would mean for my current friendships and that scared me. Change is scary at the best of times and in middle school when your hormones and your body and your life seem to be changing all around you, it makes you want to hold on to things that seem solid and certain. (Which at 12 or 13 is basically nothing besides your parents and in middle school it’s hard to get behind being best friends with your parents.)
I suffered from this syndrome of loving obsessively. Finally, one day in middle school, my Dad and I were driving to one of my many dance lessons somewhere in Los Angeles talking about how a friend of mine had called me clingy and told me it made her not want to be my friend anymore because I was annoying. This was completely surprising to me because I found myself to be a delight and not annoying in the least. My Dad watched me out of the corner of his eye trying to figure out the best way to not hit this landmine of a conversation head on. That was an impossibility. So he just went for it, “Honey, your heart is not a piece of pie.”
“What?” I answered, only vaguely interested and having no idea what he meant. I liked pie, I could get on board with pie analogies, but I was still not understanding why my Dad had interrupted my very important story to tell me this.
He continued, “look, because I love Daddy does that mean I love you any less?” Good point, I thought, but definitely wasn’t going to let on because let’s face it my Dad is my Dad and I am twelve.
I knew he was right. There was no way my Dad loved me less than my Daddy because he loved us both. “Every time you love someone your heart isn’t being served up like individual pieces of pie, you have to stop seeing it that way. You can love everyone you love with your whole heart.” I kept thinking, but I do love with my whole heart!! And as if he could read my mind (still 89.99% sure he can) he said, “and if you can love with your whole heart everyone that you love—that means that your friends can love everyone that they love with their whole heart too.” Gosh darn it, of course he was right…annoyingly so, might I add, when your Dad is virtually right about everything (no one tell him please).
But I knew he had to be right. I had to catch myself getting jealous because when I get jealous I get clingy and I have literally proven the fact that when you get clingy people will run from you.
I taught myself to breathe and know that the right people will come my way. (Even if it meant having lunch with my teachers sometimes until those people showed up.) The right people will stay in my life for the right amount of time.
My Daddy taught me, humans come into your life for a reason and they stay there as long as they’re needed to work out your karma and then sometimes they leave. It’s not because you love them any less, that they’ve stopped loving you or that you screwed up. It’s just that the universe has decided it’s time to learn new lessons and meet new people.
These changes are constant and fluctuating and make me nuts, but I will learn more lessons that way (oh yippee…). It doesn’t always make it fun, but it makes it easier and I go less crazy in my head knowing that I will get through every broken friendship and every confusing loss. We always want what we can’t have, but sometimes we forget that what we have is so freaking good.
PS My Dad was terrified that when I finally fell in love with someone that I would accidentally pop him like a pimple with my vice-like grip. What neither he nor I realized at the time is when it’s the right person, or people, you don’t feel the need to hang on so tightly. I trust Domi and I trusted that he was my person so there was no need to hang on so tight. Just when my Dad thought I would become the clingiest, stickiest person ever, I proved him wrong. I did just the opposite (haha…gotcha Dad!)