Monday, June 27, 2016

Being a Better Friend to Myself

I'm going to take a moment here and share a really delicate side of me.

But, before I do, I'm going to put a big old fence around my heart. The fence is electric and super sparky, and it has razor wire across the top and bottom. Oh, and a few mean dogs are guarding it.


Not today.

Okay, now that we have a nice wall protecting me, let me share.

When I was in middle school, I really wanted to have friends. I tried. I wanted people to love me. The girls I went to church with ran with a popular crowd, and I wanted to badly to be part of the gang. After awhile, I even felt like I was one of the gang, tagging along in the back. Then, one day I was under some stairs in a hallway, walking around to meet those friends of mine in front, and, I heard it.

What they thought of me.

It wasn't awesome. They didn't like me. It was so much mean, and they had no idea I heard it.

But, I did. And I remembered. I still feel the pain of that moment, the humiliation, the hurt.

Fast forward to being an adult.

I was the president of the PTO. We had some cash flow issues, and, I had to make the wildly unpopular decision to put a freeze on spending until we could do some math and figure out what our financial situation really was. At our meeting, I invited everyone over to my house so we could talk it out. I baked food as a peace offering since I knew I had made a call that didn't sit well with everyone, as necessary as it was.

No one ate my food.

Instead, these adult women took turns going around the room, citing everything they didn't like about me. I still remember what one woman said. "I don't know why, but, I look at you and I just can't stand you."

My husband and kids were in the next room and they heard every word.

It was one of the low points of being an adult.

The worst part was that a person who I thought was one of my dearest friends was in that room. She didn't join in with the others, but, she didn't say anything to defend me either. She just sat there and listened while it all went down. We don't really talk anymore. I'm okay with that.

Very recently, I had a moment where someone told me all the reasons they, and others didn't like me. I spent the following days categorizing all the ways I had been trying to be friends with these people and how spectacularly I had failed.

I've been a blubbering mess.

Now, I'm not telling you all of this so you try to comfort me for having a rough time. I'll get past it, I always do. I'm telling you because we've all been here. Something like this has happened to all of us, and, even though we feel so very alone when it happens, we aren't alone.

Or, at least we shouldn't be.

Let me tell you one more story.

When I was in elementary, some kids were making fun of me. I dressed like Helena Bonham Carter, even then, and school kids don't appreciate that bag lady look. I remember those kids making fun of me until I cried. Those kids laughed and laughed and I felt like no one would ever care about me.

Then, something happened.

This girl named Cassy said something. She was the most popular girl in our grade. Everyone wanted to be connected to her in some way. She was just incredibly awesome.

And, she stood up, in that room and said, "stop making fun of Kimber. She's my friend."

Just like that, they stopped. I had a friend. And, you know what? She was always my friend, particularly when I needed a friend through the years. I never forgot that. Cassy has always been the friend I want to be.

When no one would stand by me, she did. And not just that day, but for years and years.

Her simple act of loyalty changed me for the better.

So, I tell you this story to remind myself to be the friend I was lucky enough to have as a child.

I tell you this to remind you that none of us are liked all the time, and it hurts everyone when others are unkind.

I tell you this because I've realized I haven't been a very good friend to myself lately. That needs to change.

I need to remember that when I was a frumpy little girl, someone liked me enough to stick up for me, and if she liked me that much, I should do the same for myself.

Oh, and that wall I put up? It is staying up for a bit. All part of the self care I haven't been doing for myself. I can love myself enough to have an open heart... with a big effing fence protecting it.

I am different. I'm quirky. I won't always be liked by everyone. But, a little girl named Cassy was my friend once when I needed a friend so badly, and I can be a better friend to myself.

This may seem like a pointless story, and it probably is. But, I wanted to tell it anyway.

Thanks for reading.

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