I had this moment tonight where I looked around and thought, “I have no friends here. These are my sister’s friends, not mine.” I don’t *think* this is true…but it feels as if my heart sometimes believes it.
Rachel still feels like everyone’s first choice. She is affectionate and encouraging. She is comfortable with herself and puts others at ease. Meanwhile, I feel like I’m giving everything I have just trying to be present. I want AUTHENTIC connection with others but I don’t seem to be very good at it, and working on that makes me feel even more awkward and difficult. I become inarticulate and clumsy. The leap of the heart that even friendship seems to require doesn’t just feel distant – it sometimes feels impossible.
All I want to do is leave. I want to run away from everything. I didn’t used to be like this., but I lost my resiliency in my developmental years. My relationships, from family to friends to boyfriends, seemed to emphasize just how unacceptable I was, as is. I wasn’t meeting the conditions required to be loved.
I started putting distance between others before they could choose to distance themselves from me. This became a habit of my heart, which whispered to not get too attached because nobody would stay, which then became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not enough? Too much? The common denominator was me. And so to protect the little pieces of my heart that I had left, I would further entrench myself in habits of flight, rejection, withdraw and distance.
I know my problem isn’t being in the shadow of my sister, or standing in comparison to the billions of amazing women out there. My problem isn’t my roommate or my parents or my ex’s or my dog. The problem isn’t men, or culture. The problem is me.
That’s why running won’t help. That is why I have to stay and stand there and be more awkward than not. I must slowly build new habits of sitting in the uncomfortable, of risking rather than rejecting. To notice when I push people away and instead, to draw them closer.
This is not easy work, but it is powerful. I make dozens of choices each day over these past months to do the uncomfortable and it’s slowly changing me. I’m hundreds of small choices in, and know that in the process, new habits are being formed. I am doing it imperfectly. I’m going to take some losses, make some mistakes and probably continue to embarrass myself more than I would like. But years of running hasn’t gotten me anywhere. So it’s time to try staying where I am.