My last spring break ever. The next few blog posts in the coming months will probably feature a lot of lasts, as I approach my graduation date for the last degree of my life. I decided to do something memorable these two weeks that i had and decided to fly to Istanbul. This wasn't as spontaneous as it sounds, as it was a plan that was conceived in my head since a while - there were two Turkish exchange students in my program over the fall semester with whom I had become really close, and when they were leaving to come back home to Turkey, we couldn't bear the thought of not seeing each other infinitely so I said ill come during the spring break. Little did I know, I'd actually do it.
I asked a friend who I know loves to travel if she wanted to go with me. She put her apprehensions of not knowing these two friends of mine well and we booked our tickets over the christmas break.
Having spent 26 years of my life living with my parents and subsequently having moved to the US for my MBA, making trips like this makes me feel alive, energized and keeps me going. I've traveled a LOT in these last 1.5 years on my student budget, but this was by far my most memorable trip so far.
First of all, theres something to be said about Turkish Hospitality. G, my friend whose house we're staying at drove about an hour, picked us from the airport and has been exceptionally wonderful even though we're staying at her house for 2 weeks. its a lot of time to have guests stay over. Her brother who lives with her over the weekends has moved to her cousins house for these two weekends so we girls can have the house to ourselves. I feel so bad, but at the same time they're such wonderful people that they make it seem as though they're doing whats right, and this shows how truly warm, caring and generous they really are.
A, my other Turkish friend actually studies in Stockholm - but flew down for these two weeks to hang out with us. Another thing I'll always feel wonderful about - he didn't have to, and as a student, with budget and time constraints, he fit us in.
Everything is PERFECT, except one teeny meeny thing and I guess tis bothering me so much that although I wanted to document my first week here I constantly find myself reverting to the same thoughts. Two days ago, the friend I am here with, J - one my of really good friends from school had a giant outburst. She was switched off from the previous night and was snapping at my all evening and woke me up the next day saying she's going to make me breakfast as she wanted to talk to me. I woke up immediately as I dint know what was wrong and tried talking to her as she made coffee with no response. I should probably back up here and say J has had similar outbursts with me before and they've centered around her insecurities, her negative self perceptions, weight issues etc, I've spent a fair amount of time over the last year awake all night listening to her talk about this, and most of the time she projects this onto me by not talking to me for a while, or just snapping at me randomly. I tend to always compensate for this by saying its a phase and I've never held it against her, but now I feel as though I've crossed my threshold... considering I'm a very relaxed person, even reaching my threshold is hard enough let done crossing it.
So this outburst was triggered by being in a bag shop the previous night. we were surrounded by enpensive branded bags and its a weakness of mine. although i went into the store with no intention of even looking around [ g wanted to buy a bag for her mom ] I ended up asking for wallets in the first few minutes that i entered. this basically meant the 3 store owners showered me with prada and gucci wallets and apple tea and small conversation about where I'm from and how pretty my hair is. Apparently, no one showed J any bags at the time [ she dint ask for any ] and this upset her. I had NO clue. I spent a few minutes fawning over the $1500 wallets decided I'd rather pay my rent and once the store keepers decided i was a lost sale turned ALL their attention to J, who bought 4 bags. She was upset that wherever we go, people gravitate to me, that we were staying in Istanbul in my friends house, that A's mom loved me, that I am very popular and she feels like my shadow and doesn't know how to be more like me and she tries so hard. this was the gist of the conversation that went on for 3 hours with about 2/3rd of it spent crying on J's part.
This has angered and upset me for more reasons than one. Firstly, i would assume that a 28 yr old rational thinking person would know that salespeople in a store are not interested in how nice you are, and only in how much they think you can spend. I clearly come across as a lovestruck fool when surrounded by Prada and Ferragamo and look like a easy prey. It was a terrible feeling to hear one of my best friends in the MBA say 'Everyone just automatically loves you, i don't know how you do it and i hate it' - I hated hearing her say that as though I follow an algorithm that makes people like me. i felt even worse knowing that someone I love so much harbors such negative feelings towards me.
Secondly, all this boils down to insecurity - I've reached a point where Im tired of having her negative self impression projected onto me as thought its my fault. I've been there for her on many many occasions listening to her talk about how she feels and now I've reached a breaking point.
if she has such a low self esteem, she needs to do something about it. she has major weight issues and keeps talking to me about how fat she feels - I've offered to go to gym with her, diet with her, be her calorie counter - whatever support she needs, but she hasn't taken me up on anything. Theres a part of me that truly believes that if she were to lose weight, and find a boy who adores her, she would feel differently about herself. I have run out of sympathy for someone who has correctly diagnosed what her problems are and refuses to do anything about it.
The thing is, having outbursts like the one she did two days ago is a vicious cycle. By saying all these things about how she feels about herself and me, G and I spent time trying to validate what a great person she is. BUT this doesn't help. because its a temporary bandage - its a cry for attention and then when that need is fulfilled by people saying how awesome she is, she no longer feels the need to work at anything until its been a month and she suddenly feels like she needs more attention.
I know if I re-read what I've written there are parts of me that are being brutally nasty right now, but I stand by what i think. I am truly tired of feeling bad about her having to deal with these problems, but at the same time, Im sick of putting myself out there so much as well. I can't not be who i am, and I am a loud, talkative person who loves making conversation with people and if that endears me to them, I don't see a reason why I should feel guilty about it. I have been being awkward and conscious around her since the last few days and i DONT want this to ruin my trip. I almost feel like a terrible friend, but she's talking about planing a trip to Europe next and I know for CERTAIN - I won't be on it with her.
A few blog posts ago I wrote about how we need to be our own advocates, how it is so important to love and respect the person you are and to comfortable in your own skin and now more and moore I think I am thankful to my upbringing and my life experiences that have made me who i am. You need to believe in your accomplishments and your character and know that you're the best you can be - if not, work towards it. I believe a life without self actualization, without a constant quest to be better and do better, without a feeling of reaffirmation from within is an empty life. i also think that your self perception should be driven by what YOU think about yourself, not what someone else thinks about you. too many people spend too much time trying to get a group of people to like them by doing things out of character, superficial gestures.. when that time is better spent just being you, just letting go of 'Trying' and just 'Being'.