Friend, I am stumped as to why we, as people, are so insecure and cautious around other human beings. We cradle our hearts and our minds, scared to let anyone too close, know too much, or see too far into us. As soon as we start to open up, our instincts tell us to cringe back — preparing to be struck. Afraid of the rejection we could, potentially, suffer.
Perhaps this is conditioned into us after pain and disappointment. Those we care about failing to fulfill a promise, leaving us with disappointment and heartache.
We crave connections, understanding, and for someone to love and accept us for who we are — warts, pimples, fears, insecurities, love handles, dimply butt and all. However, we don’t feel comfortable with letting someone close enough to see those things — and to accept us in spite of them.
When I was a teenager my closest friends made me hug. I hated it.
They would run up to me, excited to see me, wrap their arms around me in a warm embrace. I would stiffen up and pat their backs awkwardly in return. I don’t know why this is. It isn’t as though I was raised in a household void of hugs, but for some reason a hug made me uncomfortable. My friends didn’t let this sway them from enveloping me with numerous hugs throughout the day. Quite the contrary, they made it their mission to get me to hug without recoiling. This is one of my memories that I will always cherish, because it is an example of people not giving up on me — even when I may have seemed unlovable.
My inability to hug could have made those I cared about step back from me in an effort to preserve their own feelings. After all, who likes to be rejected? That is just what I was doing when I failed to hug back in return. No, I wasn’t consciously snubbing people I cared about, but it could very well have been interpreted in this manner. However, it wasn’t, and they didn’t. I am forever grateful for that, and so are all the people who have hugged me since and haven’t felt me draw back from them in terror (though they might not realize that they owe a debt of gratitude to my my childhood chums).
Maybe it was easier to take risks when we were young; to hug, despite knowing that it may not be returned — because our hearts were buoyant — not weighed down by prior mishandlings. All I know is that we, as humans, are weird. We want to be appreciated, accepted, and loved — yet we are so timid to put ourselves into situations where this could potentially become a reality, all because it isn’t a certainty.
The risk of being damaged and hurt just doesn’t seem to be worth the reward of being found desirable and longed for. However, this is an illusion perpetrated by our insecurities and fear of rejection.
Friend, I think if we take the time and think of the important people in our lives, the people we love and have loved, we will see that it is worth it… for all those relationships started with one step… and I bet it was a scary one.
Your Trusted Friend ❤
Friend, our existence is full of rules – all the shoulds – that never ending list of things that we’re supposed to do, or be, or have.
Gradually it begins to make us feel inadequate and lost. As though we’re wading into a pool teaming with razor sharp claws hell-bent on ripping us apart, pulling off all the hopes and dreams, the things seen as insubstantial, thus leaving us feeling small.
I am tired of feeling small, friend, of feeling that my efforts are not enough and that the things that I pour my energies into are going unnoticed or unappreciated. I want to be seen as mighty and powerful.
I want to feel like a giant, a Colossus.
However, as my legs are stretched between all the things that are required of me, and the dreams and hopes I aspire to, I can’t help but feel shaken and damn near collapse.
Even the great Colossus of Rhodes collapsed one day, shaken by a mighty earthquake.
So too, could I.
With every criticism, every raised eyebrow, with every veiled insult I feel the tremors.
Perhaps there are some who are automatically geared to want to tear people down, to test the fortitude and perseverance of the dreamers. For, while my heart may ache with the harsh words, I can’t help but want to try harder to be more.
I strive to be firm and resolute.
There is a danger therein, when one becomes so firm and resolute so as to be stubborn and unmovable.
Perhaps this is why we were not meant to be giants, or Colossus’s. For this goal leaves us in danger of collapse. Of falling under a heavy burden we are not meant to carry.
Friend, we only need to be big in the eyes of a select few. The close ones that see us and our accomplishments, though minor in the eyes of the masses, as amazing and wondrous.
Maybe this is what each of us craves?
To be special, important and worthy.
A Colossus to one.
Maybe, just maybe, I need to harken Haemon’s words from Sophocles’s Antigone and be flexible. Perhaps that is why there I are times when I feel so shaken.
Because I want to be seen as great to all.
Instead, I need to appreciate that there are people in my life to whom I am a giant, in whose lives I live large, whose lives wouldn’t be the same without me.
There is is a little one that is my heart, and to her my kisses heal wounds.
There is a girl that gives me joy, and to her I am an ear that always listens.
There is a girl that is my muse, and to her I am inspiration.
There is a girl who is wild abandon, and to her i am a trusty side-kick.
There is a girl who is strength and resolve, and to her I am whimsy and fun.
There is a family who is my core, and to them I am their pride.
Friend, we need to stop trying to live large in the eyes of everyone… trying to please and satisfy and be everything to everyone. This will leave us exhausted and broken.
Let’s be conscious of the fact that the people whom we really let see us, the people who become our friends and family, those are the ones in whose hearts we are a Colossus.
Your Trusted Friend ❤
Today I saw me.
One wouldn’t think that this would be any sort of revelation, but for me it was. Today I saw the me that I’ve left behind, the me that I used to be, and I realized with a certain amount of awe, what a stranger she has become to me.
So often I am able to see the events behind me for what they are, experiences that have become a part of who I am, melding together to form the me that I am today. It is even difficult to look back and remember that girl that I was, for I am looking through the eyes of the woman that I am today.
Due to this I’ve been able to look back on those things I once saw as failures with a new appreciation. The hurt of being left behind by a loved one, the devastation wrought by betrayal, and the sense of not being enough in so many ways, has plagued me.
However, I am constantly reminded that it is all about perspective. It all comes down to how we see ourselves, our experiences, and our journeys. This, and only this, is what determines how those things impact and affect us.
We decide this. No one else. We decide to wallow in the filth left behind, or to pick ourselves up, dust off, and move forward.
When I truly observe my past, the experiences and people that have had a hand in creating the person that I am today, I am able to look at the people around me with profound appreciation and to, also, be thankful for the former wounds.
My wounds have created empathy, common ground, shared experience, wisdom, strength, confidence, love.
Everyone has their own story. The true human experience is full of sorrow, joy, and the boring bits in between. Omit one and you cheat yourself from being made.
Our experiences make us.
My past has made me.
Now I see me, friend.
Can you, also, see you?
The miraculous ways in which you’ve grown and changed?
The ways that your former sorrows and wounds have shaped and created you into the person that I see before me today?
I do, and I am amazed.
Your Trusted Friend ♥
Failure is scary, friend, but it doesn’t have to be. For through failure and pain, there is always a lesson.
Worry, anxiety, and fear are emotions caused by either a real or a perceived threat to our well-being — often something outside of our control.
Being out of control, I think, is the at the root of many of our hang-ups and contributes greatly to our overall sense of failure.
We create these well thought out plans for ourselves, often determined by what we perceive we are supposed to do, and when things do not go as we’ve predetermined we can often feel that there is something wrong with us, that we’ve failed by some degree, or that we are a failure.
At the age of 25 I felt old to be unwed and with no prospects on the horizon. I had measured myself against the people around me. I had watched as, one by one, my peers got married. I was the last one standing. Alone.
Which was very reminiscent of waiting after school for my mom to pick me up. I’d, inevitably, be outside in the rain (it is Washington) — at first the wait would be pleasant, as I’d be playing with other friends who were also waiting on rides — however, real fear would set in as the friend group gradually diminished to just me. Waiting for my ride. Alone.
There I was, 25 waiting for my man. All alone. To remember this now seems like such a ridiculous notion. I was raised to be strong, independent, and not need anyone to make me happy. It baffles me to think that I got caught up in this desire to be wed and felt any less about myself because I wasn’t.
I did eventually meet someone that I married. I thought I’d done everything perfectly. It was a shock when, after being married for two years, I arrived home from a business trip to find that he had packed his things and left. He wanted a divorce. He’d fallen in love with with my best friend. My carefully laid plans were in tatters, and I was completely out of control of the proceedings in my own life.
My initial feeling was a sense of utter failure, and I wondered how I was going to tell the people that mattered to me. How was I going to tell my friends and my family what a failure I was a marriage? How was I going to go to work and pretend that everything was normal? I couldn’t help but feel that there must be something inexplicably wrong with me for me to be left in the way that I was.
This was one of my first adult lessons in pain and failure.
There have been many others from that point to now, but this was the first time I felt my soul ripped to shreds. Where I doubted myself and my self worth, and I seriously questioned my desire to go on and my ability to get through the intense rejection and disillusionment that I’d suffered.
With the pain, I was advised to slow down and feel it. Let myself experience it in order to be able to let it go. What I learned from pain is that for it to be worthwhile, it has to serve a purpose. Pain can force us to reevaluate our values and priorities, and help to discover strength and wisdom we’d not known we possessed.
Failure, while a bad word for so many, is really just one step along the journey. No success is gained without first failing. Through failure comes lessons. Failure can be the redirection needed to realign with the path we are supposed to be on. Failure, along with pain, teaches lessons meant to be learned. For failure to serve its purpose, we must lean into it to improve, grow, and become the best version of ourselves.
Life is a constant journey of self discovery and growth. For this journey to be complete, unfortunately, it cannot be without pain and failure.
Additionally, friend, we can survive any pain and heartbreak, even the darkest of moments when we feel we’re standing alone.
Your Trusted Friend ❤
Friend, I am going to confess something to you.
You see, I’ve not always been the suave goddess you now see before you.
I’m awkward, and not just a little bit, but full on embarrass myself on the daily, awkward.
I remember when I was young, how embarrassed I was by this fact. Perhaps, however, it would be best to provide a frame of reference for you as to just how odd I can be.
For as long as I can remember I have struggled with social awkwardness, mostly because there is no middle ground in my thought process. I either do exactly what I am thinking or feeling, or I dwell and overthink to such an extent that I spend copious amounts of time in the bathroom due to self-induced stress caused by over-rumination.
As a preteen I used to pray for a boyfriend. I really hope this isn’t unusual. Perhaps you did this as well, friend? There have to be other ladies out there that spent their evenings fervently gripping their pillows as they asked god to; “Please, please, please send me a boyfriend so that I can finally be kissed!”
So far this all sounds very Judy Blume, doesn’t it?
Since my prayers went unanswered, I decided to take things into my own hands. I developed crushes. Many of them. I scrawled their names in my notebooks and fantasized about hand holding, shared private jokes and wearing his letterman jacket. I may have had my best friend drive by one crush’s house multiple times a day, just on the off chance that we would catch a glimpse of him.
My best moment, however, didn’t happen until I was standing in line at the Dairy Queen one hot summer evening with a couple of girlfriends and in walked…. Boys…
They casually begin a conversation and one — insert surprised gasp here — begins to flirt with me. We exchange our introductions and I remember something that I heard once. I didn’t think about it, I just said it.
“Did you know,” I said, “that if you say someone’s name 10 times you’ll remember it? Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt.”
His mouth slightly opens in shock as he slowly responds, “Okay. I have to go now.” He backs away, keeping wary eyes on me. I saw real fear reflected there.
As he leaves the Dairy Queen, one of my friend’s grips my arm, “What were you thinking!?”
I wasn’t thinking. Not really.
Whatever that special ability some girls have to be mysterious and elusive as they engage in conversation with men, I don’t have that. Instead I say men’s names 10 times, laugh too loud, and — probably — ask all the wrong questions.
You see. I just really like people. I want to get to know them, and I really want them to know and like me. Goofy, silly, smart, irrelevant me. Not someone that played at games in an attempt to woo, but me.
As a teenager I thought that in order for me to be validated I had to have a boyfriend, which is really absurd. I know now, friend, what is really important is that I have to like all the parts of me, and someday there may be someone else who is lucky enough to enjoy them too.
Because, friend, I’m a gift, something really special, and for me to even think about liking a man in return, instead of running away when I repeat his name 10 times, he will laugh with me and do it too.
Miranda, Miranda, Miranda, Miranda, Miranda, Miranda, Miranda, Miranda, Miranda, Miranda.
“See, now you won’t forget my name,” I’ll say.
Your Trusted Friend ❤
You asked me today if you mattered,
and, to be perfectly honest,
I wanted to punch you in your damn face.
You asked me if you made a difference,
and I felt my body begin to shake.
For, of all the things you’ve done,
There is one thing that you have clearly won.
And that is my deepest, heartfelt respect and thanks.
You may wonder why, or when.
Maybe it was that one time
that you made me laugh through my tears.
Or when you called to assuage my fears.
So, I wonder, how is it you can look me in the face
and ask me of your place?
It’s here, though maybe it might seem small.
I hold you here, and think of you
in the midst of a rotten ass day.
So, you come to me with these stupid, silly questions
Thinking the world too big and vast for you to conquer
And, to be perfectly honest,
Maybe it is. Maybe it is.
Unless, unless, you see my heart as your world,
If so, then know, that is where you’ll live –
Like a giant encased in glass,
Because of all you give.
Friend, it would be anyone’s wish to live a life minus regrets. To reach the end of the day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime… and be able to look back and have no thoughts of what you wish you would have done or said differently.
I wish that I could say that I’ve lived a life without regrets, but I can’t.
There are times when I wish that I would have walked away, times when I wish I would have stood up, and other times when I wish that I would have taken a risk and been courageous.
These are the thoughts that make me realize just how much bravery is required to live our lives, especially to live them fully, because life can be scary, and hard, and damaging.
Living leaves us with scars. The external and the internal.
The external ones that you can cover with clothing and makeup, and the internal ones that you cover with smiles and insincerity.
Insincerity because these internal scars, the ones that damage our hearts and minds, contribute to us behaving in ways that cause us to live a life that isn’t fully true to who we are at our essence.
Once we experience loss, rejection, criticism, or discouragement we begin to second guess ourselves, and live a life with self-doubt.
Sometimes even believing that we deserve less.
Friend, I have lived in fear because of the scars on my heart and mind.
There are times when I have felt inadequate, not good enough, and lacking in some way, and this has resulted – at times – in me not reacting as I should have or as I wish I had.
A boyfriend poured beer over my head after a disagreement. I excused this behavior and took the blame. I should have walked away.
The time I witnessed a friend being talked down to and I said nothing. I should have stood up.
The times my heart felt something; hurt, love, confusion… I should have spoken up.
I remained quiet.
I didn’t take a risk.
I didn’t live courageously.
Life has risks, and they are not the ones that dare you to jump out of an airplane.
The risks come in loving someone, even though the other person could leave. The risk comes in starting a conversation with a stranger, even though you could be rejected… and in a thousand other, seemingly small, ways.
Courage happens when, despite your fears and scars, you live your life as you wish to, in a way that looking back you won’t have regrets.
You walk away. You stand up. You speak up.
You do all the scary things that life sends you way, both the big and the small.
This, friend, is to live courageously.
Friend, at some point in time we are taught to care what others think of us.
Do you remember your silly childhood antics? The way you would play without care or constraint?
I have fond memories of rollerskating up and down my driveway with the lyrics of Milli Vanilli’s ‘Blame it on the Rain’ blasting in the background, lip syncing to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” while making up elaborate dance moves that I still remember to this day, and singing into a broom handle along with “Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood.
There was also playing tag on the playground and pretending that I was 007, imagining any stick was a wand that I used to cast spells, creating a ridiculous pantomime with my best friend at the park, and getting so consumed by playing capture the flag that I invested in full camouflage and face paint.
My music tastes were somewhat suspect, but the fun wasn’t. It was pure and unadulterated.
So many of my most pleasant memories are ones sprinkled with this kind of absolute uncaring. The moments where I felt free to act and do as I pleased without the worry or sense of judgment.
At some point we start to weigh our choices and actions based upon how we will be viewed, perceived, and judged. We let the opinions of others dictate to us what we feel is an appropriate course of action… pushing our own inner voice aside.
I have allowed the opinions of others to direct my path.
There was a time when, with pride, I shared a piece of writing I had completed with a partner – hungry for his affirmation and encouragement.
He offered neither.
He was mortified by my honesty, openness, and willingness to share my experiences with others through my words. He wondered how and why I would do such a thing, as it was his belief that these things should remain private.
I felt shame and doubt and hid my words away. I let his opinions change alter my course.
Here’s the thing.
I recognize that we are all living a uniquely human experience, and while our lives can differ dramatically from one person to the next, there are certain things that are universal.
These are the things I wanted to write about, to let you know – friend – that you are not alone. That I am here with you. I understand your journey, for I am walking beside you.
How is it that as we become adults we start caring so much more about the opinions of others, letting it cause doubts in who we are and what we’re capable of?
I stopped writing as a result, but this wasn’t the only fatality.
We’ve stopped jumping in mud puddles, laughing in the rain, and singing at the tops of our lungs. There are no more dance parties, scaring ourselves with ghost stories, knee-wrestling, creating cheesy music videos, or staying up with our best friends for 24-hours just to talk and share our secrets.
Friend, let’s do these things. Let’s reclaim this part of our childhood, the part that acts freely without caring who is watching.
Your Trusted Friend ♥