Niki Helfer
What Friends Are For
The hardships of friendship
Nicole Helfer
13 April, 2007

Some days I think why are we here, why do we have to go through so much just to achieve happiness?

But then I get to thinking if we didn't have hardships, then we wouldn't know the real definition of true happiness. Just recently I've been going through some major hardships, not just with me, my family as well. I'm finally coming to the realization that sitting on my butt and doing nothing only gets me more depressed and doesn't help the faucet (the faucet effect is the constant flow of thoughts that you can't turn off or STOP).

By the end of the summer which is my deadline I will have made a huge decision, whether or not I will be living here and what I will be doing as far as school and work go. I was talking to my friend yesterday, and after listening to him I realized that I need a push, I've been sitting on my butt of almost a whole school year not doing anything but collecting disability and going out with friends. I need a push to get me started I'm so use to not doing anything, its not like I have lost determination but for so long I have depended on people to do things for me.

I also let what people say effect my decisions; for example I had met up with some old friends of mine that I had went to elementary school with, which I haven't seen since before my accident. They called me and to let me know they were outside, and my sister helped me out to the car and there she was. She quickly moved to the back to allow me to sit in the front. I haven't seen her since last year, as she and I had struggled as friends ever since my accident.

Anyways, I moved to Keswick, and barely talked to her; she always made sure she had my phone number whereas I didn't have hers. I remember asking for it and she would just quickly change the subject. She would call me so many weeks and then it just stopped for a month then she would call, I call them "courtesy calls" (you know, the calls to make sure your doing OK and just to catch up on all the gossip).

She did come to see me once and she brought my drug of choice with her; you know when someone is really your friend when they bring you the drug you were on when you were hit by the train. Although I was still doing drugs, I didn't need her to bring that to me. She was with me when I was hit, and I thought she would try and help me get clean, but she only made it worse.

After we chilled, she went home and I didn't speak to her for another few months. Just last year in September, I had moved out of my mom's house and moved to my aunt's house in Malvern. She made an effort to come and see me. After moving back to my mom's, she went back to the usual way, so I just cut her out of my life. I don't need someone who is just going to call me when THEY feel it's best for THEM!

I'm not a selfish person; I love to give, give, give. I don't need negative things in my life!

So when she was in the car with my old friends, I was shocked, I didn't know what to do. I was thinking "maybe I should just let them go home and I'll give them gas money", but something in me was saying "go with them, you don't have to talk to her".

I did say hi just to smooth things over for me, and make me feel comfortable. As the day progressed, I felt stupid and they made me feel like an idiot saying things like:

"You're so cracked out" or
"You've smoked yourself stupid"
"We thought you were all better, we thought you could walk, run and jump",
"How could you get hit by a train?"
"How do you think your friends felt, they didn't even know what to do".

After I left them, I felt like crap. They only put me down, I didn't hear them say anything positive.

Later during that week, I talked to them and they were saying things like "You shouldn't act distant towards people because they will only act distant towards you", which is true and I knew my ex-friends was filling their heads with crap. The reason my friend said that was because she had said something about that, if I don't want to be friends with someone I don't need to, so I stop talking to them.

Another opinion that was expressed later on was "If I were you I would walk normal again and tell all those people SCREW YOU". I can walk it may not be what most people call "normal" but I'm just happy to be able to walk somewhat; to be able to walk to the washroom.

I asked him if he was disappointed that I couldn't walk "normal" and he responded "I'm not disappointed you can't walk, I'm disappointed that you aren't trying".

"Aren't trying", do these people get that I wouldn't be in the position I am right now if I didn't try. Rehab and whatever didn't get me to where I am today, I DID. I did not sit on my butt waiting for a miracle to happen. Doctors told me I would never walk again and I said there is no way that I'm not walking again. So I tried and tried and here I am. People like this make me think negatively because, in a way, they are right. You know I can't walk normally so why would someone want me to work for them people; these people are going to look down on me or be judgmental.

When people criticize me like this it really makes me wonder why I have even tried in the first place, if there is still people out there that are just going to look at my disability. Like they say for every ten steps you take forwards, you'll be taking fifteen steps back. Why try, when people are just going to judge and belittle you.

I need a push I need to start making decisions, because then when I meet up with an old friend I can say "I'm happy with myself" not that I'm not now, but instead of them asking me what I do and I say nothing, I can proudly say "I have a steady job" or "I'm going to school".

My true friend says I don't need people like that in my life, I need the people who will support me no matter if I can walk run or jump. There is always going to be people who put you down, but what I realize is that you have to overlook what they say and remember that it's just an opinion, that I'm happy with myself.

"You" is all that matters, and in the end you only have yourself. I am a human being, I have feelings too, and I wish people would stop looking at my disability and just look at my personality for once.

Nicole Helfer is a columnist for 148.ca, awaiting a friendlier utopia.

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