I’ve been quiet for a long time. Yes, I’ve been busy, like everyone, but that’s not really my reason. I think I have just been processing. It’s time for a check-in. The challenge here is that the more content I become, the less I feel inclined to share the journey, but I have had so many kind words from people who say that reading about my story has helped them that I kinda feel like it’s important to keep sharing.
One really lovely thing about growth is that it just keeps going. You don’t get to a certain point and just stop. I thought that I had uncovered so many parts of myself that there could be nothing left hidden, but I was wrong. Lately I have found myself in new awkward and uncomfortable head spaces; feelings that I wanted to get away from. I stuck it out, though. Rode through a bit of pain and discomfort, then became aware of another self-destruct pattern, and am now ready to swap it.
Have you worked out who your cup-fillers are? I thought I had. I knew which people made me feel good, who saw eye to eye with me, and understood my ramblings. I thought they were the people who inspired me and lifted me up. I actually feel somewhat embarrassed to admit that, actually, their approval was what was making me feel good. Now, these are beautiful women. They are intelligent, honest, holistic, and they have integrity that I admire. I have laughed with them, cried with them, and thought that they were my people. But here’s the thing…
Whilst I have quite literally driven through bush fires to be there for these people, I have finally realised that this dedication is not reciprocated. I’ve spent so long striving to be a good friend, that I didn’t stop to be sure that I had a good friend. I am SUCH a good friend. I sacrificed parts of myself to be one. I waited like an adoring puppy dog to be either needed or acknowledged, but not once did someone call me and say “come on over. I want to see you.” Any time I see these people it is at my request and organisation efforts. I even reached out on a couple of occasions when some big things were happening in my life, but none were available. Seeing these words makes me feel ashamed, and uncomfortable, but I’m going to push past that, and I’m going to grow.
Another thing that I am a little uncomfortable about is the fact that I have always envied other people’s close friendships. I know people that have the same group of friends in their 60s that they have carried from school. I compared my friendships to theirs, and felt a lack. I felt like a bit of a loser because no-one wanted to spend time with me. That was the story that I played in my head, anyway. It’s the story that made me try so hard that, really, it pushed people away. One of these people actually said to me once “you were just a little too much for a while there”.
I have been reading @glennondoyle’s Untamed. She talks a lot about how much time women spend being “good” versions of themselves – the good daughter, the good wife, the good mother. We cut off pieces of ourselves to fit into this little box that society has deemed appropriate. I had long ago identified this “goodness” as bullshit, and thought I was done with martyrdom and self-sacrifice, but it seems there was a frontier that I had missed. But, if you’ve read my other entries, you would know that I have been a people-pleaser my whole life, so I guess it’s not such an enormous surprise that I missed this aspect of my life when I did the “end of good” stocktake.
So, I’ve found another part of my life to rebuild. My first step was to say to myself, “who would be there for me if I really needed help?” Of course, my family would be, but somehow it’s important to me to have friends who don’t also have family obligation. I could only think of one. It made me feel so low and lonely for a couple of days that I kind of shut down and had a pity party.
It didn’t last long. Of course I have other people I could call on, only they haven’t played a big role in my life. This whole thing made me realise that I need to put my heart into those people. I need to nurture those friendships, because they are the ones where we build each other up and bring out the best in each other. I think I will just be lonely for a while until I find my people proper. And that’s ok.
Who are your people? Do you build each other up? Or do you come away feeling a little disappointed, neglected, sad, a bit yuck? Like a strong tree that just keeps growing, we need to drop the parts that are sucking up nutrients, but not really contributing to the big picture. It doesn’t mean cut them out of our lives, it just means remove them from our inner circle. Funnily enough, just because I had placed certain people in my inner circle doesn’t mean that this is where they saw themselves.
Whenever my husband prunes the trees around our garden, I feel that he has gone too far. The yard looks bare and lifeless. He always promises that it’ll be back, stronger and more beautiful than it was before, and he is always right. He hasn’t killed a tree yet. This is what I need to remember.
So, there is nothing wrong with being a little lonely for a while. I can just hold onto that tiny group of loved ones and wait for regrowth, knowing full well that it will be spectacular and wild when it arrives. There’ll be some grief over the loss of what I have held onto for a long time, and perhaps there will even be a shifting in the energy of some old friendships and they’ll come and meet the new version of myself with their hearts open. Whatever the case, the loneliness is temporary; just a part of life that can be hard, but, as Glennon says, we can do hard things. I will rebuild my community, my inner circle.
Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the last time I’m going to realise something about myself that I’m uncomfortable with. Each time I go through this, though, I move through it a little faster than last time. I know myself better. I trust my instincts more. I think that we remain blind to things only until we’re ready to look at them, so we have to be patient with ourselves as our eyes are gradually opened and veils are gradually lifted.
I’ve been writing this for a few days now, constantly changing my mind about how to say what I want to say. I don’t want it to sound miserable, because, really, it is far from it. Just since letting go of previous expectations, I have connected with a few of my real cup-fillers. We’ve made plans to catch up, and I’ll nurture these relationships so that they are a healthy part of my world. I have also become aware of the possibility that maybe friends don’t seek me out so much because I always appear to be so confident and in control. They might not think I need them. So, as I fertilise my garden, I will be sure to remain open, and show vulnerability where appropriate.
If you’re reading this, you are most likely on your own journey. My hope for you is that you feel loved and supported in everything that you do, and that you feel worthy of people’s time, love and affection. Because you are. You are worthy.