I have always been somewhat of a wall-flower, its a default setting. I find myself watching the world go by.
I watched others make friends easily at school as I found myself in the company of the other misfits in class. If I could go back to my younger self in school, I’d let her in on a secret, that no one goes through life feeling like they always fit and that its OK. I wish she could know she had everything to be amazing instead of seeing herself through the flawed thinking of others, that she was less. We have to stand apart on our own but we are not alone, we have ourself for company. Be your own best friend.
I learnt to be more comfortable in my own skin during university and made friends, but couldn’t keep many of them. I tried. I’d make the effort to maintain ties so I wasn’t forgotten.
My Dad would remind me often: ‘have they ever come to see you?’ I wasn’t concerned that they didn’t visit, not that I really invited them. Then again I invited myself into their lives. Life outside home felt better. I’d even drive 3 hours to spend time with them, enjoying the freedom of the travel, grateful that I had somewhere to go and people to meet. I watched how other family’s functioned but couldn’t implement them in mine. My friendships were based on me fitting into their lives and spending time with their family.
Only, it did dawn on me, the people I called friends wouldn’t drive 3 hours to see me even if I did invite them nor did I have much to show them for their efforts, if they had visited. I felt I had neglected my family by not valuing what I had, as broken as it might have felt, they’re the most important people in my life. I’d go back to my younger adult days and tell her the place you fail to value is the very place you’ll learn the meaning of friendship – home. I’d tell her that many friends will come and go or become quiet observers of your life on Facebook, but family will stay and participate in your life. I wish that I had spent more time being present with family than weekends running around, in my own head. I’d also tell her, unfortunately we have to rank relationships, since not everyone is a friend with your best interest at heart.
Truth is, many do not deserve primacy over your own wellbeing or your time with family.