Seattle Family Photographer | Into the Ring
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. – e. e. cummings
When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending. ― Thích Nhất Hạnh
Nice to Meet You. Here I am. Unapologetically, me.
Friends: this is an area of my life where I have been blessed over and over again – and suffered over and over again. I believe (perhaps too strongly) that friends are the people for whom you rip open your chest, and hand them your whole heart, your soul, your weakness, your strength. You leave nothing out. You go all in. If I can’t be me, really,really be the real me, for my friends, then what is the point of a relationship? All my life I have wanted to be loved for me. Just because of me and in spite of me. If I give any false pretenses of who I am- am I being loved? No. No, I am not. So the real me is who I *cough* shove into the face of anyone that wants to be my friend. I want them to know who they are dealing with immediately so they can walk away if they don’t like what they see, or they can choose to stay. At the very least, they know me at my best and worst. This approach has its own set of problems. Ask my husband. It’s intense, intimidating and raw. I have no time for people who don’t want the real me.
Over the years, I have softened. But just a little. What I have come to learn is there are some people who may not connect with that approach, but it is me who is missing out on them. Finding friends is similar to dating. The older I grow, the harder it becomes. There’s so many reasons to not connect. Or connect only briefly. Now only having one or two things in common is enough. Kindness from another person is enough. A smile is enough.
Being raw and real with people means not saying ‘I’m Fine’.
If you haven’t really disagreed or fought with me, you probably don’t know me very well. We may not be friends. Is it weird I am really proud to say that I have fought and cried with all my friends? Because I have. And I mean we really had a fight. This is a product of being a strong woman with confident and strong friends. I love it. I am honored to be surrounded by women who won’t put up with crap and know their worth. They know I am worth staying in the ring for and verbally duking it out. It creates wounds, but wounds can heal and helps us learn. We both know the outcome results in a stronger, more united relationship. That is real. That is life. Engaging in an authentic relationship with another person to the extent you are willing to fight with them over things that are important to you is so real its palpable.
What happens to a relationship after a healthy fight is a sight to behold. It is feeling like you can climb any mountain together. It is the maturation of mutual respect and honor for a person you may not agree with, but you hold them in such high esteem that you listened, and they listened to you in return. It is a truly special relationship dynamic every marriage and good friendship should have. Friends come and go. Yet every single one was worthwhile. They added value to my life, and I hope I added some to theirs. I am a better person because of each one of them.
I wish you all the chance, the opportunity, to fight with your friends: disagree, listen and emerge with the knowledge that you were both worth the fight.
Detach With Love… All of this said; sometimes it is best to detach with love. To create an environment for those around you to feel loved and accepted — no matter what they do — and they also create an environment in which you can be happy and at peace with those you love. Sometimes this means – live and let live. It is okay when a friend comes and a friend goes. They were put here in your life in a time when it was most meaningful. That clock may have run its course and that is okay. It will open the door for another friend to walk through. Saying good-bye does not have to be for forever.
Friends mark a place in your heart forever.
I recently traveled to Kansas to visit a woman, a dear friend, I admire and adore. She got a chance to see the worst of me, well, of my son, anyway. He was not himself and it broke my heart. I have not seen her in a year and was so excited to introduce her to my toddler who is kind, sweet, smart and compassionate. She and her family sadly received the opposite impression. It was a toddler fail of epic proportions. She is pretty terrific and graciously did not kick us out of her home (though she probably should have!). Friends deal with it all: the good, bad and ugly.
And they love you through it all. As for us, we are hoping for a redo. Maybe in a few years! 😉