Your People Are Out There - {Honest Thoughts}

I can't count on both of my hands the people in this world that I am able to be 100% uninhibitedly myself with. In the last five years, I've struggled with thinking that  my personality wasn't something normal, and that preferring to observe rather than participate made me unusual. There are two friendships--in these past 5 years--that I've severed completely, because no matter how many times that we addressed it, or made promises to change, I was treated like a conversational accessory, and talked over because I was told that I was too quiet. When I think of the strong women in my life right now, there is not a single one of them that would discredit my presence because my opinions aren't loud and in your face. Unfortunately it hasn't always been this way. But that's all part of the journey isn't it? Traversing through these overwhelming decisions and situations all in search of yourself.

Looking back now, from a place of acceptance, I have a hard time rationalizing why I remained in these relationships for as long as I did. Maybe I wasn't aware that friendships shouldn't be this way, or rather that I had invested so much time + energy into maintaining them that it seemed counterintuitive to walk away. Or maybe even above all else, the hardest part in justifying my reasoning to myself--and others--was because my own personal reasons for leaving these friendships wouldn't resonate with other people.

As an introvert, I can latch onto moments and/or feelings, and recall them with precise detail years after the situation has passed; most especially with scenarios that have left me feeling uncomfortable or chastised. Some times, it's a super power that I didn't wish that I possessed, yet as much as it can bring about pain and inhibit me from moving on at a fast pace, I've learned that being able to feel so strongly should never be thought of as a curse. I think the hardest part for me to comprehend, is that a lot of people aren't this way; they can say things in the moment, and forget their words (as well as the implication those words might have had) minutes after the conversation has ended. That is what these friendships were filled with: moments of unfiltered thoughts + words + jokes with complete disregard for the impact that they evoked to other people around them.

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Even now, it seems a little funny to type out that I hold people accountable for things that they've said nonchalantly in group conversation, or in the hopes of making those around them laugh at someone else's expense, but in the same breath I find it incredibly important to be present in these scenarios, and be cautious of how your words are affecting those around you. I've been in the middle of these situations numerous times; these moments where I'm the one with the quietest voice, thus they see that as an invitation to talk over me, or discredit my opinions.

For two years, I put myself through a friendship where I was seen as so-and-so's friend; never as my own entity. In group conversations, I wasn't addressed, or rarely even made eye contact with. Because our personalities were polar opposites, I was brought into social scenarios that wouldn't allow me to be myself--filled with people who had to drink to have fun and would float loudly on their surface conversations.

One of the biggest things that I've learned through this weird journey of walking away from friendships, is that you should never have to alter your state of consciousness in order to fit into a group; and any friend who tries to pressure you into doing so, isn't really your friend. I think that as adolescents, and even as adults, we are under the illusion that we have to stay friends with whoever is currently in our "circle" because that's just how life is; but I promise you that that isn't the case.

Your people are out there. 

Friends do not treat you as an accessory. Friends should never look down on you, but rather walk beside you on the same level. Friends do not make jokes at your expense simple to make others laugh. Friends do not see your success as their failure. Friends should never pressure you to talk if you feel like simply listening. Friends should never leave you feeling empty, but rather should fill you with inspiration + soul-fire.

I'm not going to lie to you, there are days that I miss this friendship, regardless of how unhappy it sometimes made me feel. There are days when I wish that I could check in with this person; but I've learned that wish isn't coming from a place of longing for their company, but rather from a place of yearning for their approval + praise. I try and remind myself whenever I need to, that the search for approval and praise should only ever come from within ourselves, not from a toxic friendship that refuses to see us for who we truly are.