Sometimes a tragedy (or two) has to happen to really open your eyes to something. It’s so unfortunate that this is the case but I try to find the silver lining in shitty situations.
Recently I attended a friend’s memorial service. I was anxious about going because leading up to his ceremony his brother and I were not getting along very well. This is someone who I have always admired and cherished as a friend and so being at odds was not a comfortable situation especially when going to honor his brother—there was no way around interacting with him. It didn’t matter though, anxious or not, I would not let something like that stand in my way of doing what I wanted to do, which was celebrate my late friend’s life. Later that night, not only did things get smoothed out between me and the brother but he said many things to me, about me, that let me know that he actually pays attention to things I do and say. As sad as it sounds, this concept feels foreign to me. A friend, a male friend no less, remarking on my state of mind, likes and dislikes, and showing genuine concern for how I was feeling. I was trying to brush it all off because after all, he had just lost his brother. No need to put attention on me. However, his words and actions meant so much to me and represented exactly what a true friend is all about--thanks Dave.
Fast forward just one day to the day I received some horrible news. An employee of mine, who I had also become extremely close to, had passed away over the weekend. I am completely beside myself over how much the loss of her hurts. Not only is my friend gone but I have to deal with the employer side of things and that just really sucks. I want to go crawl in a hole. But of course, as adults, we can’t do that can we? So I must keep going. I have been crying off and on and knew getting through my Tuesday morning workout was going to be a struggle. It’s true I’m a morning person and I love to workout. However, right now I feel SAD. Truly, sad. I am not one who hides her emotions well so I knew that when I was asked, “How are you today?” the tears would probably start. I was so pleased that for this workout I got Coach Chris. He immediately saw through the bullshit of my response of, “I’m okay” and said, “No you’re not.” I broke down in tears and told him what had happened (he is the owner of the gym so he understands that dynamic as well). I mentioned that I wasn’t sure why I’m taking it so hard and he simply said, “I do, it’s because you’re all heart.” Yet, another statement from someone who pays attention and makes me feel okay to be me and that I’m a good person.
I often catch myself apologizing for being “me”. I label myself as difficult, weird, emotional, and exhausting. I’m not entirely sure why I do this. I guess because I probably give too much of myself to people who truly haven’t earned it/can’t handle it. When I over explain myself or share something with them thinking it will be a nice bonding experience it’s because I value them as a friend. However, when they don’t reciprocate (or just get freaked out) I should take that as a sign and not do it again unless I get more general input from them. Instead what I end up doing is apologizing. I think I apologize out of fear of losing the friendship. However, as I’m typing that out, it seems ridiculous. No one should ever have to apologize for being themselves. Either people will appreciate who you are, value you, and remind you how special you are, or they won’t. And if they don’t, perhaps you shouldn’t invest as much time into them. That is my take-away from all of this. It’s not easy though, and it hurts when people let me down…even when they don’t mean to. I know that I build people up in my head to be more than what they really are, so I’m definitely just as much at fault.
I have many more friends than just the two I mentioned here that do what I described (and it probably goes without saying but John as well…always). I mention these two though because both were so recent and both were men (who I seem to have a hard time trusting and getting respect from). And those who do respect me usually don’t verbalize appreciation for my friendship or why. Even though, I could easily do that for them, and probably do. More shit for me to work on I suppose.
I am going to try really hard to:
A) Not build people up to be more than what they are or are capable of being
B) Be more cautious who I invest time into
C) Stop apologizing for being ME