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Don’t look at me (please) look at me.

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skyWM

“Peach, I just want you to know that I see you. I see that you’re saying everything is okay and that you’re fine… but you’re not. And it’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it. But I’m telling you that I see you, and I’m here.”

I froze on the other end of the line and sat there in stunned silence.

This meant I was failing at hiding everything that I knew would be a burden on my friends. After all, what my friends have been going through is so much more heavy/relevant/exciting than my boring things. And dammit, my other friends haven’t noticed anything was off, so how did this friend know?

Realizing how ridiculous I sounded even inside my own stupid head, I put the brakes on the negativity and figured it out.

It made me uncomfortable to be seen.

Since there was no way to wiggle out of it, I didn’t think. I just spoke whatever came to mind about how I was feeling, not caring how long I talked or what I said.  She listened until I finished and then just said gently, “see? that’s a LOT.”. I blew out a long exhale and said, “yeah… I guess it was.”.

Long after we hung up, I thought about how she knew anything was up. It wasn’t like I had let on outwardly that anything was wrong. Because oh, trust me – I have plenty of friends who would race to save me if I walked into a party with my skirt tucked into my thong, toilet paper dragging from a stiletto, and a rockin’ nip-slip going on… you bet I do. And no, I’ve never done that. Yet.  But I think it takes a special type of friend to know when you need a lifeline despite the fact that all outward appearances seem to be normal. This one brave woman had the courage to call me out my inner trainwreck when it felt like no one else gave a damn, and I loved her so hard for that.

Everyone needs friends who can see through the brave faces, the insistent ‘I’m fine.”s, and the plain ole bullshit. My friends’ gentle but blunt approach forced me to admit that I’d been shoving my own hurts aside to address the problems of everyone else, as if my own problems were of lesser importance. She made me acknowledge the value of my own needs and wants and admit that my ‘boring things’ are not boring. My things are heavy and relevant and exciting too, and she got it. She got me.

When that light bulb came on it felt like I was the toddler you discover out of bed at two in the morning, butt-naked and covered head to toe in chocolate frosting. I still felt like there was a cold breeze where there shouldn’t be, and I knew I was an absolute mess. But I was grinning anyway.

How could I not feel joy, knowing there are people in my life who love me no matter what kind of wreck I make of things? To have friends that know you better than you know yourself is priceless. Because when it comes down to it, we all just want to be seen, and heard, and truly understood. Even when it’s uncomfortable.
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42 responses »

  1. Love this. It’s exactly what I was journaling about this morning. I am a champion at pushing aside what I need and telling myself it’s not important. Time to stop. Thank you for sharing and being seen. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Yes to that crazy push-pull of “look at me, look at me, look at me” and then “stop looking!!!!”. And I can so be the queen of looking after everyone else to the point where it’s REALLY hard to let go of that.

    Lovely writing…

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  3. It is such a great feeling to open yourself up to someone and have that person accept you and love you and make you feel absolutely accepted. It’s hard to be that vulnerable but it feels so freeing when you let go. Very well written. 🙂

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  4. We all need a friend like that. My best girlfriend may live several states away, but we’ve known each other since 8th grade, and we do the niceties and the “I’m fines” to each other all the time, but like your dear friend, we always know, and we always call each other out. I love this post, and it’s partly because it is written so well and partly because it reminds me of that friend. Hugs to you, sister!

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  5. Everyone needs a friend like that. Your post made me think of the first time that I realized I had a friend who was really, truly THERE for me. Not just in a surface, “I’m fine” kind of way, but in a soul deep, “I really see you” kind of way. It is some kind of amazing, isn’t it?

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  6. I’m a champion at hiding things. It’s great that you have a friend who will listen and sees those hidden things.

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  7. This post is so heartfelt and True. It gave me a good cry (Holly Hunter in Broadcast News-style) – which was well needed. Schoenen Dank.

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  8. Thanks for the tears! This is the most beautiful post I have read in a long time. I was deeply in love with a man that could do just that. It amazed me that just from saying Hello he knew what I needed and pushed to make me get it out. You are so lucky to have this person in your life. Hold on tight! It sucks when they are gone.

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    • Jules, that’s the kind of love I’m holding out for. This gives me hope that it’s out there. As for this friend? Yeah… she’s stuck with me. 🙂 Sending you big hugs. xox

      Reply
  9. Having people in your life that really see you is so important. And it’s so awesome that you let yourself be seen, inner trainwreck and all. That takes a certain kind of strength. Great post!

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  10. What a great friend, I’m glad you have her 🙂

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  11. I once bitched about my panic attacks when my friend was dealing with her dad’s death. I apologized to her & felt like carp when I realized it but she said something I never forgot. “Yeah, but your problems are as real to you as mine are to me. Never compare your problem to anyone else’s…they’re all important.”. Sometimes you need to vent as much as you listen to others vent…

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  12. Indeed! I am so very thankful for the friends I have like this. They believe in me even when I doubt every inch of my being. I’m glad you have folks like this that are there for you … for the ugly, and the boring, and the beautiful parts too.
    I’m doing a funny female book give-away for the holidays. You can check out the details here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/notappropriate4

    Reply
  13. Peach, this is such a wonderful post! I love the writing and the message. I am sending it out to my friends who are like yours. BItches see me, thank god.

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  14. Great post. I am so happy you have that kind of friend, Peach. It’s so true that we all need to be seen. Thank goodness for the people who care enough to look beyond the “I’m fine” facade and make us talk about the truth. They are precious, indeed.

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  15. I loved this, Peach! I have a friend like this. She just knows. And it’s because I don’t burden anyone with what I’ve got going on thinking everyone’s troubles are far worse than mine (most often they are). This friend sees right through and after we talk about it, I feel such relief that the weight is lessened by her hearing me. I’m so happy for you that you have one too!

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  16. Your friend is just lovely and I am so glad that she’s there to see your naked, frosting-covered ass.

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  17. How wonderful that you have a friend like this. I can’t imagine.

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  18. Oh sweet Peachy, you are right. We all do need a friend (or 5!) like that.
    I am so glad that you were able to speak your mind and feel better! xo

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  19. I loved this so much when i read it the other day. I’m sorry it took me so long to comment. I’m glad that friend was there for you and that you have that friend in the first place. It really is so important!

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  20. I think we’d be these kinds of friends. The kinds of friends that just knew. I’m glad you have that person. Hugs to you and all your non-boring shit. xo

    Reply

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