About a month ago I had a breakdown before bed. (I’ve had a few of those lately.) But during that particular one, I said these words to Marc: “I think I’d rather go through those horrible high school days when I had no friends than have to deal with having all of these relationships!”
Think about the significance of that. Grade 10, as you will recall if you read this post, was the worst year of my life. It was truly horrible. I thought I was ugly and that nobody wanted to be my friend — because why would they want to be friends with someone like me? I could not imagine any other reality than me being alone.
And yet, I would really rather go back to that than be where I am now — surrounded by many, many wonderful people, good friends with whom I connect and can be myself? Yikes. I think I only meant that sentence for about a day. But it has been significant for me to explore its meaning.
It is hard to be alone. Yes. But it is also hard to be with others. To be with others and talk to people and say the wrong thing and do the wrong thing and experience them say and do the wrong thing. To go from someone who didn’t have one close friend to in my adult life having had so many meaningful relationships really, truly feels like a miracle. But it is not easy. And that night it was not just the friends but so many other stresses that factored into me saying such an overstatement of where I’d “rather be.”
Today, however, was not one of those days. Today was a good day, filled with many different people and friends. The day started with a trip to the chiropractor in the next town with my friend, then the mom’s group, then another friend and I ran into the city to get groceries for Easter dinner. After school the kids and I went out and played soccer. I snuck out of the house for a bit after Marc got home and talked to a friend and had dinner with her at the caf. Then I chatted with another friend as I was biking (I also got to steal her twin babies for a little bit, which was a very nice treat, too).
A day of people, but I know I will go to bed not overwhelmed.
Today I was a friend. And I didn’t make an idiot of myself, which — if I’m really honest — is what usually makes me panic and get overwhelmed with friendships.
So I continue to give up the idea of always needing to be the perfect friends who has enough time and attention to be there and say the right thing at the right time. And I also continue to give up expecting that of others. Instead, I want to see all of these friendships as gifts. They are big. They are small. They come in many shapes and sizes. Some are short. Some are long. But they are all gifts which I can receive and offer back freely.
Tonight I go to bed seeing my friends as gifts which I am honoured to recieve.