Ditch The Haters, Keep The Confidants

March 25th 2015

Story originally written and experienced: March 23rd 2011

 I was sitting in a parking lot eating a McChicken sandwich.

And that’s when she asked me:

“Olive, are you okay?”

Lana and I were in her 2005 Ford Taurus, water droplets

d

r

i

p

p

i

n

g

down our cold fountain drinks perfectly placed in cup holders as we sat there silently in an empty McDonald’s parking lot

a few miles away from

our college campus. Just a few months from graduation. Just to get a snack. And just to get away.

“Yeah, I’m okay. Just frustrated.”

“Aw, why…you should be so happy and proud of this.”

“I know. I think that’s why I’m frustrated, that I’m not either of those things. I was yesterday, but after everything that happened…it doesn’t feel the same today.”

Rewind.

It was one day before.

And I was sitting on a park bench eating Chipotle.

And that’s when Coco asked me:

“Have you heard back from them yet?”

“No, not yet. But…they said they would let know today.”

“Shit girl. Well, I’m crossing my fingers for you. They’d be crazy not to want you.”

Ring.   Ring.   Ring   Ring.

My stomach

                                           dropped

I looked at Coco >>                     <<  She looked at me.

“Answer it!!” she shrieked.

And so I did.

hello_yes_this_is_dog

“Hi, is this Olive?” inquired a high-pitched voice on the other end of the line.

“Yes…this is she.”

“Hi. This is Kristina from Oprah Magazine, we had a Skype interview a couple of weeks ago?”

“Yes, of course! How are you?!”

“I’m great! I was just calling to tell you that we were really impressed with your résumé, and we’d love to offer you a summer internship in our fashion department if you’re still interested.”

My eyes grew to the size of very big buttons.

For a visual.

Proof.

 

I looked at Coco.

Her eyes equally as big, as she frantically used silent hand motions and words to remind me I needed to respond.

Thanks, Coco.

Such a supportive friend.

 

“Oh wow, yes of course! I would love to! Thank you, so much.”

“Great! We look forward to working with you. H.R will be in touch with you shortly to get all the paper work squared away. See you this summer!”

“See you this summer!”

Click.

Click.

She screamed.

I screamed.

We ditched the Chipotle.

Sorry.

Sorry.

 

And sprinted back to my house together as I called everyone I cared about to tell them the good news.

Friends. Family. My college boyfriend being phone call #1.

“I feel like I deserve this,” I told him. “72 internships I applied for…72! And this is the one and only one that worked out. I’m so happy. I really am. And…and…I really don’t think this fell into my lap. I worked really hard for it, you know? I’m just so beside myself. I feel really good about this.”

He didn’t say anything.

Except.

“Okay.”

And that was it.

I shook it off and attempted to celebrate. Claire showed up with champagne. Lana and Penny begged me to go to the bars even though I told them I had homework.

“Olive, you might have homework, but you should celebrate yourself. You fucking deserve it,” said Penny followed by an ever-eloquent

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…Twist my arm…

And we were off >>

Bar bound for only a matter of seconds before Lana announced to the group that “she was getting pitchers!” while waving everyone to a table at the local Skipper’s Bar.

Free congratulatory booze was perennially endless all evening long—paired with uncontrollable blushing when strangers would approach me wishing me the very best of luck. “How did you even know?!” I’d ask them.  “Those guys,” they’d say, pointing to my closest allies Lana, Penny, Claire and Al in the corner spreading the great news that wasn’t even theirs.

Like so.

Like so.

 

I got a facebook message from Charlie. Before we were even friends. (And unknowingly future roommates and confidants in New York City) telling me that “Karma had run its course and that I truly deserved it!” I got texts. Phone calls. Tweets. From many others that were overwhelmingly supportive when they heard just the semblance of someone they knew doing well.

But just one day later.

It didn’t feel the same anymore.

I had three missed calls. All from my mom.

And 0 calls and texts from my significant other at the time.

Polished off with bitter remarks and back-handed compliments from peers who were impossibly wired to wish anyone other than themselves any sort of success.

“This isn’t a good idea, Olive” my mother told me. “It’s not writing. It’s not paid. And you need to be smarter. You need to be better. How are you expecting to survive in New York City like this?”

“I want to take this chance, mom.”

“Well you can’t.”

__________________________________

“You’re abandoning me.” he told me when we finally got to talk. “You could have stayed somewhere closer and you decided to go to New York instead. I just don’t know what to say. Is this not important to you?”

__________________________________

“Of course this would happen to you. Everything always happens for you,” said a classmate.

“Yeah…good luck with that,” said another.

“So this isn’t a real job? You’re just temporarily working for free?” asked one more.

___________________________________

 I was sitting in a parking lot eating a McChicken sandwich.

And that’s when Lana asked me:

“Olive, are you okay?”

One day after the highs and lows were settled down after I got the big news. We were sitting in her 2005 Ford Taurus, water droplets

d

r

i

p

p

i

n

g

down our cold fountain drinks perfectly placed in cup holders as we sat there silently in an empty McDonald’s parking lot

a few miles away from

our college campus. Just a few months from graduation. Just to get a snack. And just to get away.

“Yeah, I’m okay. Just frustrated.”

“Aw, why…you should be so happy and proud of this.”

“I know. I think that’s why I’m frustrated, that I’m not either of those things. I was yesterday, but after everything that happened…it doesn’t feel the same today.”

“Well what changed between when we went out to celebrate and where we’re sitting now?”

So I told her.

All of it. The conversations. The lash backs. The incredibly absent support of the people I thought I needed it from most.

“I get being logical,” I told her. “I get being realistic, I get making money, I get the idea of consequences, but I don’t get shaming other people’s successes, not being supportive of it or at the very least, not wishing them relatively well. I just wanted a day with it. That’s all, you know? A moment? Just for a second? Just really quick?”

She agreed.

And we talked about it for an incredible amount of minutes over french fries and McFlurries before we put the Taurus in drive and rode all the way home.

Chocking up my mother’s reaction to maternal instincts.

And everything else…

We just weren’t sure.

And later that night, as I was reading the   f i n e     p r i n t e d   paperwork from HR, I got to thinking and I got to thinking a lot.

About big successes. And little ones.

The supportive people. And the opposite.

How personal victories can feel so magnified or diluted depending on which people’s opinions we decide carry more weight.

How getting an A in a class. Landing a job. Making a big life decision. Or even scoring a date.

Can feel incredibly epic or wildly underrated when we pay attention to how certain people react.

And you want the personal victories to feel good.

Because happiness feels amazingly more real when shared.

But here’s the thing:

The trend continued even after I moved to New York. Getting my first job, my second job, starting a blog and gaining opportunity.

With any level of good fortune I garnered came a huge boom of support…often followed with unkind, presumptuous and unwarranted remarks from others that were nothing short of mean.

And it hurt my feelings.

But only at first.

Because then I thought:

So what?

The kind of friends I want? Are the ones who treat me to mouth-watering McChicken’s after a long-awaited success.

And the kind of friend I want to be? Is one that does exactly the same.

And as for the the people who have the inability to do any of it?

And choose to react out of bitterness, jealousy and the incapacity to practice support?

Feel sorry for them.

Hope for them.

Wish them well.

And grab a drink with the people who behave otherwise.

Because I think if you do that.

No.

I know if you do that.

The good things. The great friendships. And that grand moment you’ve been waiting for.

Will feel deservingly fantastic.

Every time.