It’s a lot of work to be friends with me

I find myself joking with my close friends that it’s a lot of work to be friends with me right now.  It’s because I have no capacity for the superficial.   I don’t have the energy for it.  This means I have a lot more awkward conversations.  I ask deep, personal questions.  I talk about what’s REALLY going on with me, which means a simple, “How are you?” can be quite loaded.  I struggle to skate along the mundane without diving deep into the underlying issue.  And I don’t love it.  It would be nice to return to the surface world, but for now, I just can’t.  It takes too much effort.  I am completely shattered.  Or at least mostly shattered with just the smallest foundation rebuilt.

I had a difficult conversation with a close friend last night.  I think we both needed it.  She was trying (with all of the right intention) to help me get out of pain.  She was encouraging me to follow her template for getting there.  She was (rightly) struggling with understanding me and supporting me.  I had to tell her that I didn’t need her advice.  I just needed her support and love.  And I could only say it in a way that was forceful and abrupt because of the emotion behind it.  In the end we both honored ourselves and I believe we will go forward with more love and understanding.   Being willing to have the hard conversation—that is something I’ve never really been up for. 

I am realizing more and more that what we all need as we face pain and challenge is not advice.  Or if it is advice, this is the only advice that is really worth anything:

  1. You are on the journey of a warrior.  Everything in your life to this point has prepared you for this moment.
  2. It’s supposed to be uncomfortable.  Uncomfortable doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong.  It might even mean you are doing it right.
  3. The only place to find real answers is inside of you.  That’s where God lives.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek out other voices for guidance but they all have to pass the internal test.
  4. I have every confidence in your ability to find your way through this.  You are uniquely qualified.  You are capable. 
  5. And mostly importantly: I am here. I will be a witness to your pain and your strength. I love you.

I think the beautiful thing about my friendships now is that they ARE deep.  We are helping each other carry the things we were never meant to carry alone.  We are letting each other see ourselves learning.  So when it’s hard, it’s worth fighting for and when it’s good it’s deep and nourishing.  And because many of my friends will generously read this, thank you for showing up for me over and over again.  I need you.  I love you.

7 thoughts on “It’s a lot of work to be friends with me

  1. maggierapid says:

    The writer Parker Palmer says, “Giving advice is an act of violence.” I think today you would agree with him! I love, love, love your list of how to do better. So true and so real.

    Like

    • Michelle Whipple says:

      So interesting—an act of violence. I’m going to think about that. And btw, I’m soooo guilty of giving advice. Aren’t we all? We just have to keep trying to get better at loving each other. Thanks for reading, Maggie!

      Like

  2. Bonnie says:

    I am at awww how well you can express through words. A gift.
    Your depth of realizations is proof you will overcome. Our relationship skimmed the top of us, but know that I felt your strength and admired you deeply. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

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