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Being What I Am

December 5, 2007

My eye started twitching every time I came to this subject to write.  I started at least three times and I realized the truth, the ideas I was espousing were fake, no not fake, just not what this Hump Day Hmmm, topic made me think about initially.  I have to thank Julie Pippert: Using My Words for making me think and Emily for suggesting the topic.

So…Fake that’s how all the others felt.  Like I was reading a story from a fairy tale book and they all lived happily ever after.  Fake is a word that says a lot about my friendships, mostly the old ones.  As far as the new friendships they are teaching me the something I need to keep learning again and again.  So I would label my old friendships as, not real, pretend, imaginary.

I have, people that I grew up with, playing super hero, stick ball in the street, swinging on swing set, riding bicycles and in general just being outside with them.  They were playmates.  We had fun, we were creative.  I always wanted to be the lead singer in our Front Porch Band and they allowed it.  They were the first to hear my atrocious foreign language skills, which consisted of beginning every word with sch and ending it with one of the vowels.  I say they are my playmates because when the games and play stopped, I stopped.

So much of who I wanted to be was tied up in this idea and so much of my training to please others obscured my view when I tried building friendships.  I didn’t go deep.  I became superficial, shallow, standoffish, a snob.  How do I know?  My friends told me, or rather they became the same way.  Those people that happened to be there at the time.  This was a never ending story that started to change in the summer of 2004.

The people that I applied the label of friend, all happened to be there at the time.  I mean, I didn’t keep in contact with anyone that was not within walking distance.  I didn’t maintain the pen pal friendships. I didn’t properly cultivate friendships outside of the circle of people that happened to be around me.  I cultivated a penchant for short term, immediacy at church, school and in my neighborhood.  I never reached out and tried to maintain contact for long with anyone that was outside of my immediate surroundings.  It was too hard when I couldn’t see them.  I didn’t know what sort of fake to be with them because I certainly couldn’t be ‘me’ with them.  I wasn’t able to read between their lines, see their subtext and determine if my role was pleasing them or not.  I didn’t have any guide to follow or goal to achieve if I didn’t have the context of what they wanted me to be to show me.

I have always had the ability to interact with others and that interaction was always fake, until the last few years.  I would make up fantabulous stories (lies), thinking that people would like me more or I could shock them into liking me more and I could please them.  I could be their concufriend  You know their concubine and therefore their friend.  I could be ScheherazadeScheherazade and provide pleasure, so that in turn I could have their like and they could give me life.  They had to like me, they just had to or that meant that I wasn’t trying, doing, being enough of what they wanted me to be.  It became my fault that they didn’t like me, since I obviously wasn’t what they needed me to be.  It became a constant search for my life outside of myself.

It was a strange place to find myself or the fake selves that I had been handing to everyone and wondering why everyone kept handing them back to me.  I am learning, ever so slowly, that being a friend to others means first knowing who I am.  Second it is knowing that a real friend, a true friend, will remind you of who you are, when you start to blur the line.  So, out of the people who just happened to be there, I have a real friend, an old friend that I won’t promise to remain in constant contact with, just authentic contact and I have a new friend that is allowing me to practice this new found skill, this new lesson.  And you best believe she calls me on it when I try to tell her a fantabulous story.

I am learning that who I am, is worthy of being a friend and having friends and I only have to ever be me, right where I am, at the time.  I am learning it is ok for me to allow the people who are there right now, to ebb and flow through my life.

We gently draw from others what we need most and courageously give what they need most in the best of friendships.

We, I, no longer believe that I have to be any different for anyone.

My eye twitched as I wrote that last line and stopped as soon as I noticed it’s twitch.  Does that mean I finally know this lesson?

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6 Comments
  1. December 5, 2007 3:37 pm

    I suspect it is a long learning curve, as it has been for all of us. THis was a strikingly honest post. Thank you.

  2. December 5, 2007 5:00 pm

    Absolutely fabulous post. Strikingly honest indeed, and insightful. I think you described the friendship growth process that we all need to go through…and painful as it can be, so necessary and valuable.

    Julie
    Using My Words

  3. rialudy permalink*
    December 5, 2007 5:38 pm

    Emily/Julie,

    What I realized only after posting was that, it really means that I now see the lesson I need to keep practicing.

  4. December 6, 2007 7:17 pm

    There was a time I could have written this post, too. Thank you (really!) for writing something so honest, so raw, that it actually speaks volumes more than you could have written in a blog template. Brava!

  5. rialudy permalink*
    December 6, 2007 8:51 pm

    Thailandchani,

    I am thankful for the past tense in your comment. It gives me hope and courage to stay on this path.

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