I don’t pretend to know everything. All I can do is take little lessons from my various experiences and create this sort of infrastructure that shapes my moral compass and thus, guides my life. One thing I’ve struggled with since childhood was the concept of friendship. If you think I’m a shy person now, you’d think I was a mute if you met me as a child. While I was goofy and loving with my family, becoming familiar with others was quite the task for me and I often used my siblings as barriers to any unwanted interaction. I could count on them to interpret my facial expressions and body language for anyone that threatened my watchful solitude. I was indeed an observer. As an adult I’ve learned to quickly decipher between good and not so good people but as a child this process often took me hours to complete. I’d watch interactions; I’d stare really hard which in most cases prompted a snide remark or eye roll. My attention to detail has proven to be my gift and curse but I had to make sure the coast was clear. Then, and only then, would I begin to ration out bits and pieces of myself. I can recall a few incidents when I didn’t take this precaution and it resulted in a feeling of flat out rejection. From my experiences throughout life, people will hate you without knowing you, the real you. I wasn’t too keen on how or when to say things or even ways to start a conversation. I was socially awkward with new people and I think it’s fair to say I would rub them the wrong way. Knowing this, I would sit back and allow myself to be sort of recruited into a friendship or in most cases, a group.
Some of my best times were spent with ‘my girls’. I’ve been a member of a few cliques. There are my hometown girls, the ‘Fab Five’ of Wilson High, ‘XBL’ of Blount Towers, ‘Unbreakable’ of Alpha Delta and last but certainly not least my coworker cliques. I’m not the type to dominate a group but I’m even more ill-suited to be a follower. With the exception of the ‘Fab Five’, I found that cliques in my younger years tended to have a leader and followers. Being that I’m neither, I found it hard to exist in these groups without rebelling in some way shape or form. And then there was my love life that always seemed to be my most pressing of concerns. I was the girl that was always boo’d up, barely went out and partied with my friends and would probably have passed up a trip to Cancun just to spend quality time with bae (Oh wait, I did that). Mistakes we make when we’re young, dumb and in love.
Anyway, I was never the one to place great emphasis on friendship. Often times I didn’t think I was missed or that it mattered if I showed up to things or not. I’d forget birthdays, forget to reply to texts, cancel plans and miss important life events. I was pretty much in my own world. Don’t get me wrong, I was always there to give advice, you could always come hang out at my place, I’d feed you, I could keep a secret, I’d fight for you, was always down for some adventure and would even egg someone’s car with you (yes I’ve done that) but I was lacking in a lot of ways. It was only through the loss of a few friends that I loved that I realized just how important the friendship relationship was. Through these losses I’ve learned that friendships need nurturing just like any other thing in life. You work in your career, you work in your spirituality and you work in love. Why on earth would you not water the seeds of friendship?
You don’t get to choose your family but you have the God-given right to choose your friends. I’ve recently begun to take advantage of that and in a city of 20 million people; I have a close knit family of friends that I cherish dearly. How’d my brokest years end up being my happiest? Because I’m rich in things untouchable. I come alive with my friends. I recognize the need for that ‘life’. They give me life! I’m just living and learning, y’all. I’m better than I was last year, last month and even last week. It’s something I’m doing on purpose. If you’ve ever struggled with friendship I hope this post goes to show you that you’re not the only one and there’s still hope for you to ‘get it’. Don’t wait forever though. Lol.