The following blogpost first appeared on my friend Bonnie’s blog called edsazebra. Bonnie is such an amazing spirit, filled with joy and encouragement for others. She writes about her journey with an incredibly rare disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
I’m doing a little cleaning for the new year, at home, at work, and on my blog. I have a collection of half-finished blog pieces, catchy titles with no text, and a few posts that appeared on other blogs. Like this one.
Friendships have always been a little awkward for me. I think it stems from being an only child. I watch my two children, 2 years apart, the best of friends, playing together, laughing at each other’s jokes, being kind to each other, fighting like wildebeests together. And I get it now: I didn’t have that. I hung out with my parents. And their friends. Adults as friends have a subversive quality. A superficial kindness with a backstabbing bite. Adults smile in each other’s faces and tear each other up later. It made me guarded. Because people can really suck.
Watching my children taught me that you can have all of the above. The friendship. The kindness. The fights. The frustration. The backstabbing. The forgiveness. The make-up. And the friendship all over again. It’s a delightful ebb and flow. Give and take.
When something bad happens in life, you really get to see who your friends are. They are usually the ones you least expect. They are also the ones that have always been there. Have always shown up no matter what. Friends know how to lay it down. Forgive. Move on. When something bad happens in life and people show up for you, it really humbles you. It makes you want to be a better friend. It makes you want to show up for someone that you care about when they need you most.
Friendships were always awkward for me because I didn’t want to appear to like someone more than they liked me. I wanted to play it cool. Be a little mysterious. A little aloof. Feel the other person out a little, before I made my affections known. Because when I like someone, I really like them. They can do no wrong, until they do, and then I hate them forever! But not anymore. That’s exhausting. And really self-centered. And lonely.
From now on, whenever I think of someone, wonder how they are doing, feel the need to reach out to them, I will. I’ll just do it. It doesn’t matter if their affections don’t match mine. We don’t have to be best friends. It doesn’t matter if I’m awkward about it. It doesn’t matter if they are mad at me for something. Life is too short. That’s cliche, but it’s true. People showed me how good it feels when someone showed up for me when I needed it most. People that became friends because they thought of me and reached out. They showed up and made a difference to me. And I’m grateful.