Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Uncertainty of the Unknown is Hard…

It really is.

Good news is of course always welcome, but when it comes to bad news, it is even more welcome than the uncertainty of the unknown.

When you just do not know it is so hard.

The unknown is frustrating, because when you do not know, you really don’t know how to feel. And that can only tend to bring about a sense of being scared, worried, or just plain frustrated.

I know several people right now that are looking graduation in the face and they can not look at it with a sense of excitement for themselves because of the uncertainty of the unknown. What’s next? It will be here before I know it and I have no clue what my next step is.

Of course, if they knew they had a job lined up with so-and-so business awaiting them upon receiving their graduation there would be no sense of uncertainty. Even if they where given the bad news that upon graduation they were going to have to go back and take another course or two to get some special certification for some job position they have longed for for so long, even THAT bad news would be more appealing than simply not knowing what awaits them and what is next.

It is that unknown that is just so scary. I have never had anyone I was real close to go through an extensive surgery, but I bet that is a good example of this. I bet those hours while the surgery is taking place are the toughest on the family as they wait in the waiting room. You are stuck in the unknown. You do not know what is going on, so there is that uncertainty. You do not even know how you should be feeling. What emotions are there? You don’t know because you are in the unknown. At least when the surgeon reappears to deliver the news, whether good or bad, you are at least brought into “the know” and allowing you to know what emotions to express—joy or sorrow.

I went through this start of the uncertainty of the unknown to like the extreme for me during the summer of 2000. I had just graduated high school and refused to make a decision about college. I had NO interest in going ALL the way to Texas and to leave all my friends to go to ACU where my parents wanted me. I wanted to go to the state school in Missouri. It was a hard time for me. I was uncertain on what to do, which left my future in the unknown. Even once I finally “gave in” to the going to ACU decision, only a couple weeks before I was to be there, I still had the uncertainty of the unknown of not knowing anyone and not knowing what it would be like going to school there. Once again….it was still hard…

Luck for me I had a best friend in St. Louis that helped me through that summer. There’s no doubt in my mind that I would not have been able to get through that summer as “sane” as I did had I not had her there for me. She of course was encouraging me to go to the Missouri state school, as that would have been closer to home, so I would have gotten home more to see her, but she still “acted” happy for me when I breathed that sigh of relief after having made it through the “decision” to go to ACU.

As most of us all know, I made it through the uncertainty of what life and college would be like at ACU. And as many have heard me say before, going to ACU has definitely been one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

So with that uncertainty in the past, what brings this blog up today?

[WARNING: this is where this blog gets long and you might have no interest in reading it, but I’m still putting it here because it is heavy on my heart right now and has been for several days, for sure]

I’m frustrated with the uncertainty of the unknown again, and it relates to the best friend that helped me through the first time of the unknown….

I’ll admit, as expected, over my 4 years away from St. Louis while I went to ACU the closeness of our friendship feel off. We still kept in touch, but the contacts got less and less, mainly during the last two years. I take my share of responsibility for that. No doubt. I realize I could have picked up the phone as easily as she could have, but I just didn’t, that often.

But while we might not have talked as often, I still held that friend very close to my heart! She was definitely one of the closest friends I’ve ever had; even to this day.

So where is the uncertainty, you ask? Well this summer she called me randomly to get my mailing address to send me an invitation to her wedding. There was no way I was going to miss that wedding; and I didn’t!

I went to her wedding on August 6th. It was GREAT to see her, especially as she was so happy! Unfortunately, that is the last time I’ve talked to her. But this time I am not taking responsibility for this lack of communication.

Since August I want to list out my attempts to connect with this friend:
--I know I called her AT LEAST once in August (got her voicemail, left a message)
--I know I called once in Sept. (got her voicemail, left a message)
--I know I called twice in October, because it was her birthday (got her voicemail, left a messages)
--I called around Thanksgiving (got her voicemail, left a message)
--It hit me hard one night and I got up late outta bed and typed her a long 3 page letter and mailed it to her. I included a self-addressed stamped envelope asking her to PLEASE either write me back or at least just send the envelope back empty so I would know she got the letter and read it. (still haven’t seen that envelope again)
--The night I got into St. Louis for Christmas I left my house after having only been there for 30 minutes and went up to her place of employment (no sign of her)
--The next day I went to her place of employment (no sign of her)
--The next day was Christmas eve and then Christmas, so I didn’t attempt to contact her.
--On Christmas I even saw her brother-in-law at church and asked him if she still worked at that place and he said yes
--On Monday (the day after Christmas) I went to her place of employment (no sign of her), then found her new apartment and knocked on the door (no answer). And while I’m not positive, since I don’t know for sure what she drives now, I THINK her car might have been parked out in the parking lot, but I do not know that for sure. But then she could be gone with her husband too of course.
--I drove around and went back to her apartment in about an hour. Still no answer at the door. I went out to my car and called her (no answer—left a voicemail).
--I went back to her place of employment (no sign of her)
--Later that night I went back to her place of employment one final time—no luck. So on my drive home I called her from the *67 (or is it *69…I always get those two confused), whatever, I called her “private”…still no answer.

So last week I guess it was, I decided I can’t just quit. I will become annoying before I will just give up!

So I started calling her daily, normally twice a day and leaving voicemails every time. And yes, my voicemails have begun to get sarcastic, though not mean. You know, stuff like, “oh, it’s your voicemail again. Your voicemail and I are getting to be really close now…” but I would still close the voicemail with something nice like, “well, I was just trying again to get you, but I guess I missed ya again. Maybe I’ll get you tomorrow.”

So believe it or not, on Tuesday I guess it was, for some ODD reason, she called me at 8:25 in the morning. The phone woke me up, and since I assumed it was work, I didn’t jump out of bed to get it. I waited and when no voicemail came, I REALLY thought it was work. So as I drug myself out of bed a few minutes later and saw it had been her I about died!

Now, I suppose most people who had been trying to get ahold of someone as much as I had would have immediately called her back. Don’t worry, the thought did cross my mind, but then I thought, “ you know what…I’m suppose to be going to work…I’m not going to be later to work because of her and I’m not going to be at her beaconing call after all that I’ve gone through to get in touch with her, ESPECIALLY if she isn’t willing to leave a voicemail.” So I got myself ready and went to work with the intentions of calling her on my lunch break.

Well, at 10 AM I got a “PRIVATE” call and though I do not know for sure, I have pretty good reasons to think it was her, as I answered it and I was hung-up on immediately. Interesting. So when I called her at lunchtime and didn’t get her, that was when I began the twice a day calling last week and called for Tuesday, Wed. and Thursday—all no luck.

So this is where I stand today.

I hate the unknown. I really just want to know what happened. Is she mad at me? Did I do something? Is she afraid I’m mad at her because of the guy she married? Was she mad I wouldn’t go stand in the group of girls when she tossed the bouquet at the wedding? Is she still upset that I “left her” when I came to Texas? I just don’t know….

It’s so hard not knowing. Even knowing she hates my guts is better than not knowing, to me. I wrote this in the letter to her:
I’ve enclosed a self-addressed stamp envelope that you can respond back in. I can’t tell you how much a response back to me would mean to me. Even if the whole thing is to tell me that you can’t stand the thought of having to talk to me anymore after what I’ve done to you in our friendship, at least then I’ll have an answer to my question; the unknown just hurts too much. Once again, I just ask for your complete honesty, no matter how harsh you may feel it is to say to me.

So here are my thoughts…

I know by now, if you’re even still reading at this point, you are probably thinking I’m a sick stalker. That’s okay, at least I’m not stalking you! HA! No really though…

I can’t just let this go. With the value that I place on friendships, the not-knowing in this friendship eats at me constantly.

So I discussed my next moves with a friend at work and she gave me another GREAT idea, so I want to share them here and see what you think….

I want to mail a letter to her daily. I could probably continue the phone calls too I suppose. HA! But the letters I feel is a lot less confrontational and she is DEFINTELY not a big fan of confrontation, which makes it harder for me, because I don’t really have much of a problem with it. HA!

I also thought about mailing a copy of the letter I originally sent her to her parents address (addressed to her though of course), but that’s incase she isn’t getting the letters at her apartment (I have possible thoughts that her husband might be involved with her not getting to communicate with me, though this is all suspicion). I know her parents well, and I’m pretty sure they don’t have anything against me (as they did send me a Christmas card this year, though probably in response to mine…HA!), so if I send it there, maybe she would be more likely to get it, IF she isn’t getting them at her house.

And finally, this was the idea from my co-worker, and this one brings one of those wicked little grins across my face when I think about it. I thought it was so funny when my co-worker suggested it, but she said I should send her the letter certified mail. HA! That would mean she would have to sign for it. But then I have the thought that she might not sign for it, but still, it might be worth it. HA!


Am I a stalker? Do you think I’m insane for pursuing this as I am? Do you think the daily letters or the daily calls might work? Do you think they might annoy her into communicating with me? HA!

I will probably do the calls and letters anyways, no matter what anyone says, just because I am that passionate about this, but I still love to hear what you think….HA!

I realize this has been really long...but I needed to get it out. It has been really weighing on my heart and I suppose I really just want to know that I'm not crazy for feeling the way I'm feeling about it...

It would be so much easier if she would just tell me she doesn't want to talk to me ever again. Just hearing the words would be a certainty...


Holly said...


I don't think you are crazy for sending all those letters. I agree that it does sound quite stalkerish and I guess it might scare some people away, yet it also sounds like a good idea as well since you truly do care and are wanting to get to the bottom of things. If she knows you well enough, she will hopefully view it in that way. In the end, if nothing works best for the both of you, it's whatever you think works best for you.

Also, perhaps the importance of the issue (the seemingly dwindling down of your friendship) may not really hit your friend until she actually stops recieving any form of communication from you. Maybe she'll awaken one day (if things don't get better soon) and say to herself "Man, what was I thinking. Who was I at that time? I've really blown something precious."
For now, it seems communication is not important to her (for whatever reason -- whether it's you or something else going on in her life).

The unknown is scary. Scary for you. Scary for me. Scary for everyone at times. And maybe, perhaps, it's scary for your friend as well.

What we don't know can either hurt us or heal us.

Let us know if you decide to send the certified letter!

Slagle said...

I don't blame you at all for doing what you are doing. Even if she is mad at you or whatever the case may be, she could at least answer your call and say hey, leave me alone, or I've been really busy, sorry I haven't talked to you in a while. She owes you that much at least. I think you are doing the right thing and are going about the whole situation very well. I'm not sure that I would be as patient as you are being. Maybe she'll decide to reply sometime. The whole situation seems fishy to me. Keep us posted on what happens.

Jennifer said...

Are you a stalker? Technically, yes. Do I advocate stalking? Most definitely. It's just that I prefer to stalk cute boys. And I guess my definition of stalking is just driving by their house. But still. I know you well enough to know you're not a scary stalker.

Weird situation. Hmm.

FeedingYourMind said...

I decided I actually want to comment to this myself...HA!

I think the only part I did that would be really considered "stalker-y" would be all the trips up to her place of employment, because a friend calling a friend, really no matter how many times in my opinion isn't stalking, nor is going to her house to try to see her, in my opinion.

Here is my reasoning behind the going to her job...I figured if she WAS doing everything she could to avoid me, she can't really run and hide that well when I show up at her job! It was basically the only way I could think of that would make her HAVE to talk to me, assuming I found her there, but I wasn't that lucky, apparently. Of course it is a big department store, but I walked that sucker over and over each time I was there...HA! I guarantee if they go and look at their survalence cameras over that week's time, I looked like I was either a thief or a killer looking for someone the way I walked through that store repeatedly without ever getting anything...HA! Fun times!

Mark E. Lopez said...

"The uncertainty of the unknown" is also a reason people turn to Religion.

The idea of a void of literally nothing after death is too frightening to accept.

FeedingYourMind said...

Yep! I totally agree, Mark. I've believed that for a LONG time.

I've always believed many turn to God for a sense of "certainty" for a LOT of things. But that's for another blog (if not already covered in some of my previous "religious" blog posts). ;)

FeedingYourMind said...

UPDATE: On Thursday, Jan. 19th I called her at 11:55 AM....the call went directly to her voicemail, so I left a message. Called once more at 4:20 rang and rang and then went to her voicemail, so I left another message. One of them ended up having a little sarcasm attached...I think it was the latter one, but I don't remember...HA! Oh well...I think it was something like, "Sometimes I feel like it is like playing the lottery when I call you...I never seem to win, but one of these times I hope to get lucky." Tee hee hee! But, like always, I end it with a geniune message like, "Well, maybe I'll catch you next time. I hope you have a great day." =)

GITCHA said...

The uncertainty of the unknown and religion go hand in hand.....aka Faith.

Kim, use some Applied Behavior Analysis on her complete with positive reinforcement. Looks like you are in the beginning and hardest stage.....getting her to buy into it (your friendship). Once you do that and start giving the positive reinforcement you will have it made. However, seems like she is getting positive reinforcment (your calls, letters)without having to do anything. This will not effectively change her behavior. Also, you can be negativly reinforcing the situation (This could be interpreted as: If you take my calls, letters I will stop bugging you as much). This may get you one phone call, but it will not change her avoidance behavior. She will expect just as much calls, letters, next time before she responds. How do you get her to buy into your friendship you ask? Set the standards low for her to recieve your positive reinforcement and increase your demands in slow increments. Mabey the phone conversation or just a response verbal or nonverbal is too high of a demand for her. Once you get her to buy into it and you start giving alot of reinforcement in the beginning you should start seeing results. At this point, slowly start to remove the reinforment a bit, but not completely. In 6 to 12 months you should start seeing changes. From the handbook of Friendship Psychology.

FeedingYourMind said...

UPDATE: On Friday, January 20th, I called her at 4:10 PM....once again, voicemail, so I left a VERY polite and friendly voicemail wishing her a good day.

FeedingYourMind said...

ACU35....being the psychology individual that you are...I hate to argue, but I sense some issues with your point...

One...getting her to "buy into the friendship." I'm confused...I suppose I don't know everything from her end, but I saw us as "friends" already...i mean she DID invite me to her wedding...and yes, if she is viewing us as "not friends" then something obviously happened that has "upset" her with our previous friendship, so if THAT is the case, whatever that happens to be (which is what I'm TRYING to purpose behind the constant attempts for communication), it will always be there on her end if I don't know what it is on my end to try to "fix-it", so she probably has no intentions of "buying into a friendship" with me.

Point number two...yes, after I rethink it, it IS positive reinforcement she is getting each time I call; however, I would argue that what it is inforcing is her avoidant behavior...but I'm looking at it in the sense that I hope it is playing on her conscious...a sense of guilt...assuming she has a conscious and has any sense of "care" left for me, I would think she would eventually begin to feel pretty guilty. And if that isn't the case, at least the constant nature of my attempts at communication will at least be constant reminders of the situation...with that being the case, it will constantly be brought to her conscious state of being in her mentality. Having said that, if I keep it up long enough, she'll be thinking about it so much, she'll be dreaming about it! Nice, nice! ;)

I will say this though, I do realize that the more she ignores my calls, the harder it will seem to finally MAKE that call to me, because she will get to that point where it will be hard to know what to say to me, either because of guilt or shear fear or intimidation, and yes, I do believe intimidation is involved in this situation. I can explain that at another time! ;) (she is a couple years younger than me)

Point number three...I did start in increments (as mentioned earlier in the started off a call a month...or two a month...then I laid off the calling and tried the letter....then gave that about 3 weeks, with no attempts to reach her, and then started back with attempts, such as the visits (since I happened to be in St. Louis) and now back to the phone calls. Sorry honey, but the slow attempts at first didn't get me anywhere, and if anything, it is a lot easier and less guilt on a person to avoid a person's less frequently occuring attempts at communication.

Finally, I don't know if I can make this into a 6-12 month process! It's already been since August that this has been going on and I've been wondering what has happened between I said...I'm to the point that it is really eating at me and I am wiling to do everything I can think of to get to talk to her...I'm tied of waiting...HA! And yes, I know that is not a healthy and "right" way to look at it when thinking psychologically...but oh well! ;)

Having said all that...I truly am going for the annoying state right now. HA! We all have breaking points right?!? ;) She'll either get so tired of screening her phone calls or she'll get tired of having to check her voicemail and delete all the messages I leave her! HA!

NOTE: It is late and I'm so tired right now when i wrote it very well might not make much sense...HA!

FeedingYourMind said...

NOTE: It's funny but, I've gotten to the point when I call her, which a LOT of the times is while I'm driving in my car, that I don't even turn my CRANKED up radio down when I'm calling because I just KNOW she isn't going to answer, I just listen till the voicemail comes on and THEN turn down my radio to leave ANOTHER of my LOVELY messages! HA!

It is said, but it's like I've given up on her ever picking up one of my calls. Normally, when I'm calling a friend to talk about something serious with them, I normally have to call planned out like what I want to say and where to begin, but I've even given up on that with her. Honestly, if she WAS to pick up one of these times, I honestly don't even know where I'd begin...and i've thought about that, and I just don't I mad? Do I jump into it all immediately? Do I ask why she is just NOW answering one of my calls? Do I ask why she hasn't responded to my letter? Or do I start off just asking how she's been and what married life is like for her and act like nothing has happened?

Gosh...maybe she is as clueless about how to talk to me as I am with her, so THAT could be why she doesn't answer or return any of my calls....

FeedingYourMind said...

UPDATE: I reprinted the letter I had typed her back on 11-29-05 and mailed two copies of it this morning, both with self-addressed stamped envelopes inside them with a post-it note stuck to the letter saying, "I didn't know if you got this letter the first time I sent it out since I never heard back from you, so I thought I'd send it again.

I sent one copy of it to her apartment again, and the second one to her parents house. That is with the thought that if her husband refuses to give her the letter, that maybe she will get the one that goes to her parents house.

FeedingYourMind said...

UPDATE: 1-21-06 I called and left another message on her voicemail at 4:10 PM.

FeedingYourMind said...

UPDATE: For Sunday, 1-22-06, I gave her the day off...

Sunday = the day of rest ;)

GITCHA said...

HA! I didn't mean for you to take me literally on my post. It was just a lot of Behavior Mod stuff that you can use to analye and change behavior with.....Well, mabey exaggerated a bit just to get some laughs, but the positive and negative reinforment is true. I use negative reinforcers everyday (mints,cokes, gum, umbrellas) so I know all about that. But yeah, you do have to get your client or "friend" to buy into the program before you see results (a.k.a.-Journal of Behavior Modification) Good read!