I consider myself to be an extremely loyal person. I have never been a Fair Weather friend, and will do my utmost to delight in my loved ones’ happy times and to support them when things are difficult.
The former can, at times, be a challenge. If, for example, the garment of my own life is in tatters, it is sometimes hard for me to get through a little storm of jealousy at the radiant raiment of other people – but I believe that, in a true friendship, one can make that leap from lower to higher self.
When I was a child, I often befriended lame ducks (probably because there was more than a touch of the limping canard about my own character!), championing the children others would not touch with the proverbial barge pole.
For too long, however, I have made excuses for the disloyalty of others – and this has got to stop. Either you are someone’s friend – during the good times and the bad – or you are not. There cannot, in my view, be a middle path.
A couple of months back, I came across a startling quotation about loyalty. It is rough. It uses a swear word. But it is diamond sharp true:
‘You’re either on my side, by my side – or in my fucking way…’
All my life, I have allowed certain people to choose the happy times and leave me alone when things were bad, sad and mad. I have excused their neglectful behaviour on the specious grounds that I must, in some way, deserve the negative experiences in my life.
The metaphorical clothing in my wardrobe of life has been much ripped and torn, battered and dirtied, in recent months – but, underneath all of that, I am still me, Alienora, still both standing and fighting.
Yes, I have times of very real despair and terror and hurt; but other times, I soar like a lark into the stratosphere – and I laugh and sing and delight in all the world has to offer me.
We are all composed of both darkness and light. To embrace only the light in another is short-sighted and superficial.
I am very lucky: I have found a band of utterly loyal people in my life, and I know that they will be both on, and by, my side (as I will with and for them) for many years to come.
I am, as I started this piece saying, a very loyal person – but I also have more than a hint of Sekhmet’s fiery nature about me, and I am no longer prepared to tolerate the disloyal, the judgemental and those whose friendship is dependent upon sunny weather and blue skies.
Loyalty is not always easy. Sometimes our own wishes, desires and needs seem so overwhelming that it is tempting to take the path of disloyalty, to avoid someone who is going through a hard time because we’ve got so much on, or we really shrink from that level of emotional support. Sometimes we want nothing more than to turn our backs and pretend that it is not happening, or to act upon the assumption that some other friend will come to the rescue.
The gift of loyalty, however, is beyond compare and is an integral part of the package of love (whether erotic or platonic).
And true deep love in unconditional. How can it be anything else?
If you put conditions upon love, it ceases to be love and becomes little more than a device for manipulation.