“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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