Walt Whitman on Friends and Enemies
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Walt Whitman's Word on Enemies and Friends

A wise poet's thoughts to which I can't help but relate.


In the wise words of Walt Whitman, "I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don't believe I deserved my friends."

I definitely deserve my enemies.

I deserve every dirty look I've faced on the street as I've careened into passersby and not deigned to throw even a cursory "I'm sorry." I deserve the feeling of those cold stares focused on my neck, mentally wringing it as I fail to even break my stride. My lack of sense regarding where my body is in the world should do far more to call some apologies to mind, but shocking as it is to no one, it makes very little difference.

I deserve the silent rage of strangers with hands tightly pressed over their ears as my screeching laughter and piercing voice have broken the much wanted silence of public transport, classy events, anywhere but the comfort of my own home. To want for peace and quiet and to receive chaos and loud is just insulting, honestly. Unfortunately enough for the world, chaos and loud are both of my middle names.

I deserve the pent-up frustration in response to my frequent spacing out. My oh-so-frequent spacing out. My spacing out in which I can't see, hear, or recognize the people around me, apparently. I disappear into my own head with complete disregard for everyone I've ever known as if what I'm thinking about is more important or more interesting than what is going on around me. Spoiler alert: it's not. It's not at all. It's just me and every last "my last two brain cells" meme you've ever seen duking it out for the sorrow excuse of knowledge I have left.

I deserve the unvoiced sadness of the people with whom I can't manage to keep in touch. I deserve every single bit of it. My poor sense of communication and lack of common sense have watched people slip from my life because I can't get my act together long enough to tell them I'm thinking of them. To apologize for how long it's been, for how many messages have gone unanswered. I prefer to force my shortcomings to disappear than to face them head on and show my love to those with whom it belongs.

I deserve the unresolved hatred of those whose pain I have chosen to ignore. Every single time I have spouted on about my own pain, told someone else they couldn't possibly understand, stepped on top of their voices when they tried to speak for themselves, told them that what they were going through wasn't anything like my struggles. I deserve what it means for a child like me, who often chooses not to take the time to respect others' problems, to feel the pain and anger from people who have lived through a world of trials and made it. I deserve it.

I deserve it all.

What I don't deserve is my friends.

I don't deserve the friend who made sure I never felt alone, even way back when in our fourth grade classroom. I don't deserve the ways she'd make life more interesting than it had ever been before, from the simplest drawings in dry erase marker on our desks during class to tell me made-up tales to the grandest adventures she kept stocked with secret agents, creatively breaking into her own home, and stories like I'd never heard before. I certainly don't deserve 11 insane and amazing years of friendship. I don't deserve the friend who came out of her dorm room on the first day of college just because she heard a new voice and wanted to make a new friend. I don't deserve all the days she would knock on the other side of the wall in the cross-room secret handshake we had made for ourselves just to let me know she was there, to see if I was there, to let me know I had a friend in her. I don't deserve the friend who struck up a conversation with me and never ran out of things to tell me. I don't deserve the way he not only taught me about genuine, unexplainable positivity, but also shared it with me and everyone else he came across. I don't deserve the way he stubbornly made sure I knew he cared about me, from the randomest jokes to the longest of important conversations. I don't deserve the friend who sends me random memes all the time to keep in touch and make me smile. I don't deserve the girl who checked in on me every single day during a busy time because I had casually remarked I was having a hard time finding time for food. I don't deserve the woman with whom I can have a conversation any time, anywhere, even outside of a Red Lobster for two unplanned hours during which I never stop smiling.

I don't deserve the billion other stories I have of good people doing good things for me, completely and utterly undeserved good things. I don't deserve any of the people who have kept me in their lives throughout everything.

I have deserved every single one of my enemies. But I know for sure I will never, ever deserve my friends.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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