Sunday Confessions: Friendship
Time for Sunday Confessions hosted by Hot Ash over at More Than Cheese And Beer. Todays theme is friendship.
I am not sure I know how to be a friend.
I used to think I did.
I would buy things for people, do what they wanted, kept my mouth shut, drank myself into oblivion attempting to convince myself I was having a blast and so much more that was unhealthy.
Over the years I've realized that I was the type of friend-type of person- that gave until I was a blurry memory. What that person needed, wanted, desired-I became.
Not always in a bad way but when it eroded who I was for who someone wanted me to be that was always bad.
I felt like a chameleon. Whatever the relationship called for-a therapist, an adventurer, a poet-I became was needed.
Am I normally a good listener?
Am I a risk taker?
-Oh definitely, only recently did I become more cautious.
Am I a poet?
-Only with every breath I take.
So what's the big deal if I was only these things to these friends?
Because I am so much more than that.
I would retract my emotions, my problems, my issues into myself.
But I would make myself available at any time of the day for them.
Listening to their problems, their issues, their joys, their successes while biting back any tidbit of myself, convincing myself that I was just a quiet observer lucky to be considered a confidant for someone.
That is not a way to be a friend.
I invested a lot of my time in one sided relationships.
I was more or less the sounding board. I simply existed to hear ideas or thoughts or there to cheerlead or encourage.
When I did offer parts of myself they were shut down, giggled at, questioned.
Friends do not do that.
Friends do not question why you want to volunteer.
Friends do not harass you for being yourself.
Friends do not tear you down, they exist to build you up.
Every friendship I have had the privilege to be a part of has helped me grow. It has helped me realize who I am and who I am not.
I am not sure I subscribe to the "everything happens for a reason" theory.
I do however believe that everything you go through grows you.
Whether or not a relationship flourishes or withers is not the point.
What you learn from it, especially about yourself, is the point.
Not allowing people to be part of our friendship was my fault. Not being open and upfront was my error. Choosing to think I could save everyone from their demons was my problem.
Sometimes we just need to find someone who's demons can dance with ours.
Not accepting ourselves and protecting ourselves is cruel. It is selling ourselves short. Any relationship that condones that or doesn't allow us to be ourselves must be ended.
We have all had that friend we have fallen out with. The friendship that ended that may have hurt more than a break up.
It wasn't your fault, it wasn't their fault-it was both of yours and neither of yours.
Maybe it was too one-sided, maybe it wasn't healthy, maybe you both weren't ready for it.
Friendship is a heavy thing.
It's not something to enter into lightly.
Friendship is the ability to share your dreams and failures with someone who does not judge your past but who wholeheartedly believes in you and your future.
It is the opportunity to share your soul with someone else.
Friendship is work, dedication, good times and bad. It is pain and love and time.
Time. We get such a short end of the stick when time is involved.
By the time we realize how valuable it is we've often time wasted so much it we can make ourselves sick.
There is no time to allow negative, harmful people in our lives.
There is only time to accept those who love us, who may not understand us but who believe in us, who stand by our sides through the great times and the heart wrenching ones.
I am such a weird person.
I am okay with that label.
I love people that are in my life. Even people who are no longer in my life, love them and wish them well. That doesn't necessarily make us friends.
Some of the people I love the most hate me. I just cannot have them in my life. It's an unhealthy cycle.
But the people I consider my friends, whether real life or online, long term friends or others known only for months, love me and accept my oddness.
They do not get offended if I stop listening for a few minutes and scribble out a stanza that popped in my head.
They don't mind if I suddenly bust out into Third Eye Blind or a diddy from Oklahoma.
They won't be embarrassed if I stop to talk to a homeless person or give them my last five dollars.
They know I am going to cry if it is a sad movie or a beautiful one or a happy one. They accept my silly tears.
They accept that I want to change and effect change in the world.
I think they accept me not because I accept them but because I accepted myself.
l lied earlier.
l said l wasn't sure l knew how to be a friend.
That is bull.
I listen, love, care, confide, confront, mock, support, deny and am here when needed.
That is what a friend does.
It just took me a long time to realize that l deserved to be friends with myself first.
It took me a while to understand l deserved to build myself up as much as l build up others.
That l was the only one who could say
"no or yes" to something.
That l was the only one who would stand up for what l believe in-goofiness, goodness, kindness and love.
That l was the only one who could either let negativity in or shut it out.
To be a better friend to those in my life l had to be a friend to myself.
lt is not selfish.
It is not wrong or self indulgent.
It has been a journey and l am still on it.
lt is necessary.
The only person l am going to know my entire life is myself, so it is important that l work on loving me so l can love you, my friends, the way you should be loved.