Friday, October 2, 2015

tentacruel's grasp

One of the most annoying moves in the original Pokemon games was a move called "WRAP." The concept is simple enough- a Pokemon uses its tentacles, vines, or snake-like body to wrap you up. At first, the attack seems useless; it deals pitifully low damage. That is, until you try to make your next move. Instead of being able to fight back, your Pokemon is trapped, and you get the message "Enemy Pokemon's attack continues!" Your basically stuck watching your Pokemon get slowly squeezed to death (err, fainting) until the other Pokemon either misses or uses another move.

One of the fastest Pokemon to use wrap is called Tentacruel-- a seriously evil looking squid with a seriously bad attitude. I mean, just look at the guy.
what a dirtbag.

He's faster that most Pokemon, which means he'll probably attack first. He'll wrap you before you get a hit in, and then it's more or less game over. You can't hit back, you just watch in agony as your Pokemon's consciousness slowly fades away in the gross tentacles of this dirty, dirty, jellyfish. If you could just land a thunderbolt, you might have a chance to knock him out and get free.. but good luck with that.

So what, Scott, what's that have to do with anything? 

Only EVERYTHING! I mean I just saved you a world of pain by prepping you for one of the most annoying tricks you might find yourself in next time you have a generation 1-specific battle over some linked game boys on 15+ year old technology. You're welcome.

K just kidding. There's a point. Think of the last time you were hurt. Like really, really hurt. Could be a nasty breakup. Family troubles. Betrayal. Injustice. Got depression/anxiety? That works. Those hurt for no freaking reason.

Our friends, who love us and don't want us to be in pain will try to comfort us or at times even fix the issue. Sometimes we annoy our friends with our afflictions. We've all been there. No one's perfect at handling their problems, and no one's perfect giving comfort or advice. I would bet that all of us, at some point, have either been frustrated or frustrated our friends to the point where the ever magical, problem-fixing, empathy oozing words are spoken:

"Oh, just get over it!"

Lol. Yes. OK. Got it. Just take whatever emotional pain you have and effortlessly drop it from your life. Let it go, sing a catchy song and craft a dress out of ice while you're at it. 

Cause, you know, that's how emotions work.

Well, granted you have psychopathic tendencies, that's how emotions work.

The thing is, if we could just "get over it," we would. SPOILER ALERT: people with depression actually don't like having depression. The problem isn't always that we don't want to let go (though some people really do just want to hold on). A lot of the time, it's that it won't let go of us. Like a freaking Tentacruel (or Arbok in this case) wrapping it's victim, some pain just sticks and we don't know what to do about it.

Just get over it, Jolteon. Let it go.

But now what do I do? I want my friends to be happy! WHY CAN'T WE JUST BE HAPPY!?

Well, I think what we forget so often is that being a good friend takes time. It takes time to know someone, it takes time to get to love someone. It also takes time for emotions to heal, whatever the problems are. But we can be so bent on instant results that we forget the value of letting our emotions process and them heal.

And a good friend doesn't have to fix emotional wounds. You're not a failure of a friend if you can't do that. You just have to care.

My best friend through high school did this well- not by outright fixing problems, but by being part of my process in healing. You may or may not know that I lost my dad within the first few months of high school. It sucked, and it was painful. A lot of people, while well-meaning, wanted to just sort of outright fix the problem. There were a lot of offers from people who didn't know me well to "let me know if you need anything," a nice gesture, but weird coming from people who I normally wasn't talking with. My school counselor tried to help, though ended up deciding that I had depression (I was deeply sad and in pain, but depression is a different beast). 

My friend Sean on the other hand didn't pretend like he could fix anything, but he also didn't pretend like nothing was wrong.He didn't try to cheer my up with cheesy one-lined advice, but he did spend countless Friday nights playing video games with me. He didn't try to cover my problems with an overly optimistic attitude, but he'd walk/ride home with me from school most days. He never tried to counsel my grief- he just played along as I wrote ridiculous stories about us being superheroes.

Most, if not all of that is stuff he would have done anyway. But that's what I needed- not someone to fix the emotional gap that my dad left (and let's be real, that gap can't be filled)- I needed someone to be a 14 year-old kid with. 

That's what I think it is at the core. You don't have to fix someone's pain to be a good friend. You just have to see their pain as what it really is- a monster gripping them with its tentacles- and not the other way around. Care first, then you can figure out what your part is. Maybe it is to give advice. Maybe it is to cheer your friend up with optimism. Or maybe you just need to give it time, and try to feel the pain with your friend as they heal.

And why not play some Pokemon while you wait? Or whatever it is the kids are into these days ;) You're the friend, here. You know what's up.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah man! Sean's a pretty cool bean. I'm glad he was there in the way you needed, and I'm tickled pink that I got to be King Chrispy amongst it all.

    All the best, mate.