Do I Have Any Friends?
Hard times will reveal true friends.
I have wanted to write about friendship FOREVER because I have such a complicated relationship with the topic, but somehow I never could quite bring myself to. How this post could go varies wildly based upon how I feel and what has happened, a juxtaposition of feelings that I can't quite reconcile.
At times, like now, I feel incredibly blessed to have wonderful people in my life. Two nights ago, mere hours before I departed for England, a small group of us snuggled up and watched Love Actually, leaving my heart full but bleeding with sadness at the sides. Sadness, to answer your unasked question, because jetting off meant saying goodbye to two of the five forever that night, a culmination of final goodbyes to friends studying away until I after graduate. When your friends come from all across the world, when, or even if, I will ever see them again becomes a painful question that is best avoided.
But, goodbyes aside, these people have become so treasured to me, some only recently. Friends who have sat through panic attacks, made me laugh until I cried, and understood and gently teased my relentless neediness. Friends who have sent me adorable messages since I landed, who send me funny articles that they think I'll like, who have given me a wealth of memories since I met them. All these the true hallmark of friendship.
At other times, though, I am convinced I have no friends. My beloved aside, I wonder why anyone wants to spend time with me, find reasons that people prefer each other to me in the most innocent of statements, and feel a loneliness so deep in my soul that it hurts. At these times, even reaching out to the only exception becomes near impossible.
How can both be true?
I've started to write after every friend-affirming experience, evidence to bat away my anxieties when they nestle into my brain with their cruel relentlessness. I find it so hard not to second guess happy experiences, but when I am at my happiest and healthiest I can see how lucky I am to be surrounded by wonderful people. Indeed I worry that statements such as "I feel like I have no friends" invalidates their role in my life, something that I desperately do not want. Even when I feel like they have no love for me, my love for them runs deep and I can see that the aforementioned feelings come from my hurtful thoughts alone (they do, don't they?). The whimpering that came from myself and my beautiful Texan friend as we attempted to find a way to express the concept of departing is surely proof enough of the heartfelt emotions that lie there?
This could become a circular post, because the second guessing never ends unless I actively tell it enough – mimicking one of my favourite Love Actually scenes – and focus on the positives. I just wanted to tell people how I feel, because perhaps you feel it too. Maybe you're constantly searching for the validation that people like you, swinging wildly from feeling accepted to feeling like an outcast within minutes. Or maybe you don't, but your friend does. If that's the case, pro tip: there's no such thing as too much validation. Remind them that you like them, because they might have convinced themselves that you don't.
So yes, I do have friends. Many friends. When times are tough they have stood with me, supporting me in ways I never thought possible. One woman in particular deserves more than I could ever give her for all that she has done. I need to stop listening to the half of my brain that says no, and focus on the moments that make me feel like the luckiest woman in the world.