that was the wrong thing to say

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the past couple years of my life have really opened my eyes to just how often people, myself being my most studied person in this hypothesis, say the wrong thing.

because the problem is in the saying.

i’ve always been a loquacious being. i talk too much most of the time. it took me a really long time, about 30 years, to learn that what most people need is for someone to listen. birth work has really helped me work on this skill. i have to say that it’s improved my marriage, my ability to help women in pregnancy and it’s starting to seep into other areas of my life as well.

my confession is that i’ve been attending a support group for almost 2 years now. in a good support group a member is able to share his or her thoughts, feelings, current life troubles and other members simply listen. no one tries to solve your problems for you. no one offers you advice. no one even really comments about what you’ve shared. people simply listen. being in this environment for the past couple of years has really helped me examine how i behave as an active listener to fellow humans.

i’ve found that when i feel pulled the most to open my mouth to give the world my answers is when i need to quiet down the most. more often than not, those are the times there is something going on that i really need to hear. i just have to listen deeper.

because when someone is depressed they don’t want to hear your advice about how they should fix it. they want you to listen. in the listening you are saying “i’m sorry you’re going through this but i’ll be here for you anyway.”  when someone is sharing a past traumatic experience they don’t want you to offer your opinion on how to process that life event. they want you to listen. because by sharing and retelling their life they are slowly doing the work of healing.  what people really want is the dignity to work through something on their own with friends by their side. it’s powerful to come to realizations on one’s own. it’s more powerful to do that while a friend’s hand rests gently and quietly on your back. sometimes we don’t know all the things we know until we have to tell them to another human being.

and that’s the kind of listener i want to be. i don’t want to be the person with all the answers. i want to be the sounding board that gets to quietly observe my friends discover the answers on their own. i want to listen with my heart and not my head. my head is that busy place with thoughts criss-crossing and hurdling over one another. my heart is that quiet place. my heart is still and peaceful and sure. i want to listen with my heart. and i want that from others as well.

 

bad friend

i’ve come to the realization that i am a bad friend.

throughout my life i consider myself to have been blessed with many, many close friendships. i find it very easy to become intimate with people. i find it easy to love others immediately. but i look at my close personal relationships at the moment and i have to say they are few. i think of some of the really strong, loving friendships i had that existed not so long ago and am just really bummed to think about how long it has been since i’ve seen or spoken to that person. i feel really lonely so much of the time now. i can check off probably a hundred close friendships that now have distance in between the other person and i.

and the common thread in there is me. i am the one that creates this distance.

sometimes i laugh, actually laugh, at the fact that i was a communication and culture major. i am so horrible at communicating! i can not be counted on to communicate or be in touch with any frequency whatsoever. i do not know why. in this day and age when it’s easier now than ever to send someone a line of communication i am more horrible than ever about initiating a conversation.

i’ve also felt, for many years of my life that i am somehow always on the outside even in my close friendships. it feels that no one has ever needed my friendship the way they need the friendship of others. i see people who can’t go a day without talking with one another and i don’t remember being that for anyone. well, this also touches on another subject which is that i have the memory of someone twice my age so maybe i did and i just don’t remember but i just have had this decades long feeling of no one ever needing me. i’ve always fit in well at large group settings but i feel that i’m not often called on for a hangout just one on one. maybe something about my personality is easier to swallow in a group. i get it. i’m a little much for just one person to handle.

so, i’m in a place in my life now of looking and taking responsibility for that. i think i’ve really come to determine that i create distance and space between myself and other people and i don’t know why. i do have lots of friendships in my current life but somehow, someway i’ve not really let myself cross the threshold to making these relationships similar to the close-knit ones i had in my life pre-darla.  i’ll be asking the universe for help on this.

now we come to the part of this post where i address the reason i am writing this. YOU are probably {maybe?} one of the people i used to be close with and have now not heard from me in a long time. i am sorry. i truly am. i’ve received so much love and support from so many people over the years and my communication and reciprocation levels do not reflect that at all.  you might hear from me soon, out of the blue, and maybe not for an extended length of time {bc another practical factor here is i have a twirling spitfire that requests my undivided attention as she showcases leaping from one piece of furniture to the next} but i’ll be there to say hello and to let you know how much your friendship means to me.

it’s come to this

i just made oatmeal cookie dough without the egg so i could eat it raw and watch game of thrones…by myself.

i just want to take this vulnerable moment to express that i feel pretty lonely here most of the time. i’ve lived in ohio for 3 years and i’m only now starting to feel like i “know” people. making friends as an adult is hard, yo.

i don’t know what alchemy produced my social composition in DC but i can tell you it was golden. this means i don’t know what is out of balance here. i can say the thing about midwesterners is… they have their friends they’ve always had and they don’t make much room for newcomers. i can say that b/c i’m a midwesterner, just not this mid….further west.

having said that, i know the true agent here is me. i’ve made lots of changes and i’m starting to see the social growth here but i still need to really put myself out there. i would like to leave with this open letter:

dear columbus,

i have tried to woo you with my feathers, fringe, sequins and all sorts of shiny. these are my usual tricks to make friends but i guess i just need to come right out and ask…will you be my friend? please?