Sunday, March 4, 2012

Making friends...

Moving away from “home”, not once but twice in my life, taught me so much about who I am. It showed me that to be “me” away from all the preconceived notions and opinions about who I had always been, I had to decide for myself just who that person is. When not surrounded by those who had formed solid impressions of my role in their reality, I was faced with the challenge of creating my own existence, my own reality.
The funny thing about it is for all of the security and comfort that comes from being “home”, there was also always a stigma attached to who I was in relation to my environment. Who I was in school, who I was in that small town microcosmic universe. What mother was I? What friend? What person??? There are an infinite number of childhood insecurities that accompany us into adulthood. Being tossed out of my comfort zone and forced to face those insecurities head on was/is one of the most extraordinarily cathartic experiences I have had to date.
Meeting new people, making new friends, finding common ground in uncommon situations taught  me to see the commonalities we all share as human beings. It helped me to recognize that EVERYONE feels inadequate sometimes. Everyone feels pressure to live up to some imaginary idea of normal. We all question our thoughts, our choices, our beliefs and our desires… Is it alright that I am this way or that way???  Does it matter if I “fit in” with this group or that group? Should I pretend to be something I’m not in order to feel acceptance?
I began to really ponder what matters most to me. What makes me happy and what I can do without. What I found is a sense of “soul” integrity. A wealth of internal knowledge about just who I truly am, and more important, who I am not. I moved back to “small town USA” with a newfound confidence in my capacity to relate to others from that place within myself where I connect with them. That place in which I realize that we are not so different after all and that all the external preoccupations are simple distractions from the truth. That behind all the status symbols and fashion trends, behind the money debauchery, and class distinctions, we are all the same. We all want the same thing. To love and be loved.
Making new friends has become almost like a benign and joyful addiction of mine. Connecting with others at a deep and meaningful level, letting people see me as fallible and alright with that, is like a badge of honor. I feel like I have figured out a great mystery. I have discovered a wealth of compassionate reciprocation. And truth be told my interactions on the whole are 99% of the time rewarding and pleasant. Seeing the world as an endless opportunity to build heartfelt relations is exhilarating and feels truly rewarding and purposeful. I am a friend. I am your friend!

1 comment:

  1. I want to share my experience with you just because it's completely opposite of how your experience was and you know that we learn by sharing. :) As a child and a young adult because of my life experiences, I grew up in solitude and without friends, always a lot awkward and striving to find my own sense of self. Because of this awkwardness, I stayed in the category of "weirdo" and pretty much was labeled a kind, sweet person, but often goofy, aloof and not very outgoing. Because of my need to belong as a child to SOMETHING, I would often get burned because I would open myself up to everyone, sharing everything about me to them, offering advice, being the listener, but never developing true friendship until I learned a little about the person I am. Loving and knowing the person I am has given me the confidence to pursue those people I came into contact with that I felt a connection to while protecting myself. For me it's still a learning process. I still say a little too much or react on emotion rather than setting the proper boundaries. I trust my instinct of connection and knowledge of my own love for myself to pursue friends. I am still socially awkward at times, however, I'm grateful for the connections and the friendships I have made since I've come out of my protective shell. This lesson for me is only a few years old and the friendships I've gained are life long ones and it was an important one....for me, meaningful friendships didn't come until I fell in love with myself, until I gained the knowledge and the confidence within myself to allow people into my world and to also share what I have to give to the world with others.