It may seem strange that one of my most clear memories from the last year is after a night of drinking. I was with two friends after what was one of the biggest let downs ever (Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but that’s not the point.) We were sitting in the car and one of them looked over and asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t have an answer – I think I was afraid to give any kind of an answer.
I avoided answering that question for as long as I could, but it kept coming back up. Finally, when I said that I wanted my writing to go somewhere, to mean something, to make a difference, that I wanted to do something to help people – these friends didn’t laugh. They didn’t make fun of these aspirations. They actually encouraged and supported me in them.
I haven’t had something like that in a friend before. I haven’t had a friend that I’ve felt genuine support from or genuine compassion from. I haven’t had people enter my life before that I felt were authentic with me. My guard has always been up and I’ve always been afraid. Before that night, I was a little afraid. I was a little worried about everything and my guard was slightly up.
We talked a lot and I realized that with these people I could be my most authentic self. I didn’t have to hide anything, I didn’t have to fake my way through an awkward conversation or five just to fit in. I didn’t feel that I needed to be someone else in order to get them to care. I felt the care simply from the fact that they took their time to listen to me. They took their time to build me up and make me feel like I was worth something.
By the end of that conversation, I felt that I was worth something. That’s not a normal feeling for me. It’s not something that I feel on a regular basis. I bow down to others and put them on a pedestal but with these friends, I felt like an equal. I think at that moment I realized that I was worthy. I was worth having genuine friends. I was worth having people that genuinely cared about me- that could see something past the damage, past the trainwreck that I feel that I’ve become.
These people made me feel like I was something important, that I could be something important. I’ve written about having real friendships before and I found them to be a struggle. I didn’t know what else there was to do. I saw everything through rose-colored lenses. I’ve always had a struggle of trying to see the good in people, and trying to pick people up off the ground and build them back up to where they can feel safe and happy – it always comes back to bite me.
I feel that in that moment though, I realized that I had true friends. I had people that genuinely cared for me and my well being. They weren’t asking the question in a berating way, it was as if they were asking it in a way to see if they could help me get there. I remember that night that I put my guard up to try to shut them down – I was afraid because I’d never felt someone care that way before. I was also afraid because any time I start to think that it’s safe, it’s ripped away from me.
I don’t feel that way with these friends. I feel almost as if just by asking that question, by a few texts that are thrown out on random days and just overall being there when I need someone, they’ve shown that I’m worthy. These people are easily some of the most talented, kind hearted, interesting, funny, and compassionate people that I’ve ever met, and I know that I’m lucky to know them. I can say that losing friends is what taught me to appreciate friendships, but in reality, it’s friends like them that have caused me to know, love, and appreciate what a real friendship is.