I've hesitated publishing this. I know there is a difference between the God's honest truth and how we perceive things with our fragile, broken hearts. And my heart is particularly fragile. . . and broken.
Look, it's been something that I've known, but haven't wanted to admit aloud. But little by little it has been moving closer and closer to the forefront. So here it is.
I don't think I'm a very good friend.
Fun thing to admit, eh?
I've done my best, but my best hasn't been very good. We moved here four years ago, 8 1/2 months pregnant. Had a baby, he started grad school, had another baby, and finally finished school. Every bit of my energy has been spent keeping my tired head above water.
But here in the wake of it all, I realize it wasn't enough. And her I sit, alone. Now we have time but no one to share it with.
No, that's a lie. It's a lie I am telling myself. I do have friends. I do.
But not only have I not had the time to invest in them, in our relationship, I haven't had the emotional strength to invest. I've guarded this battered, betrayed, hurt heart. I've covered it up. Boarded it up. Guarded it. Hidden it. the hurt it endured was so painful that I shut down. And when another relationship hit a rough spot, I boarded up shop not able to fix it.
So here, in this new place, I've kept my distance. So exhausted. So scared.
And in all this talk of circles, levels of trust, I realize I don't have many to fill most of those spots. The spots where you become vulnerable and open.
There are people I care about and I know they care about me (thank you for being those amazing people who love me despite me). But we aren't sharing life together in the way in the way we could be because I haven't been around, both physically and emotionally. It's on me. I know. But it still aches.
I posted to some online friends this question:
Do you ever wish you could disappear and return as a new and better version of yourself?
I feel like I am just looking in from the outside.
And they all said yes. That we go through life thinking Junior High will end. But it keeps coming back.
Then a friend said we should call or Skype.
I don't even know how to talk on the phone anymore.
I'm back in Junior High. Feeling so alone. Unpopular. Scared. Awkward.
I'm at some horrid dance and I can see others having a good time. I know who they are. They say hi, but they came with other friends so I sit there. Frozen. Wishing I were somewhere else.
And can I tell you? I know I'm not alone on this one. I wrote this out a week ago and since then I've heard another half a dozen people I care about compare the blogosphere to Junior High, so I think I'm on to something here.
So there. I've laid it all out. I'm a tired, scared, and crappy friend who wants friendships - the kind where you share the deep, scary, uncertain parts. The kind where you encourage each other. Pray for each other. Kick each other in the butt.
The kind where you stop by for coffee and don't care that the house is messy. The kind where you swap out kids. The kind where you can sit on the couch together and just talk and talk, and don't notice the laundry in the corner, the little girl crawling around, and the loud voices of a gaggle of girls because you are lost in conversation and coffee.
Online friendships where those "ahead" of you take you alongside. Encourage you when you are on to something good. Tell you the truth when something just falls flat. And most importantly, makes you feel like you a part of it all, that you won't be looking in from the outside forever.
But I don't know what to do. I'm just an awkward teen stumbling around. Lost.
Have you found your friendships have changed over the years? Any tips? How do you navigate online friendships in a world where it can feel like one giant clique?
I wrote this on Saturday from a very vulnerable place. Sunday I signed up to go to a women's conference at my church and found some friends to "sit with." Then on Monday I met a friend from the blogging world for a playdate. Over the past few days I have talked to friends who share much of this, even if coming from slightly different angles. It feels good to share this and let it out. I feel like I'm growing. Just a bit.