How easy it is to love. How hard it is to be loved…
At the risk of repeating myself too many times, I have beautiful friends. I really do. Amazing, kind, intelligent, supportive, thoughtful, empathetic, giving, honest, creative, awesome people. I don’t have a huge circle of friends – nor do I want a huge circle of friends. Quality over quantity is a great philosophy.
When I was a wee thing, I didn’t really have friends. I’m sure this probably bothered me. I don’t know – I can’t remember. We were always moving – a new school here and a new school there. It isn’t easy always being the new kid. I may appear confident at times, but that’s a protective shell I cast around myself at a very young age. Underneath is a really fragile little girl, who second guesses everything she ever sees, hears, says, thinks and does.
When I went to university I found amazing friends and kept them all these years. They are like my sisters. They have taught me what my family could not – love, compassion, acceptance and belonging. They taught me the value of a hug and how to say, I love you. They taught me how to be forgiven for making a mistake. They taught me how freeing it is to be honest and open. I am here today, because of my friends.
As I become more open, and public, with my mental health issues, they have reached out and become more supportive. As I share my attempts to seek and walk the path of recovery, their support has strengthened and increased in intensity. My friends believe in me. Why can’t I?
Travelling a recovery road is like being in the cross country race at school. You’re doing your best, trudging along and sweating across the fields. All your loved ones are standing on the sidelines cheering their little hearts out, offering words of encouragement and just being there. But none of them can run the race for you – not one step. I am the only one that can do it. All the sideline cheering feels amazing, but I still have to do the work. I have to go through the sweat and the agony and the pounding heartbeats of running a marathon. And I have to believe I’m going to make it.
When you first start a race, the fan club are there, but they’re fairly quiet – there’s a long way to go. Maybe they’re busy buying beer and pies and haven’t noticed it’s started. The further you get, the more attention they pay, and the louder the cheers become. My fan club have started cheering really loudly. I don’t know what to make of this. I don’t know how to find the belief they all have.
One of my oldest friends sent me an unexpected message after I signed up to my recent course.
Hey there. Just caught the post on your blog 💓🤗🤗🤗🤗Love and hugs to you. I’m excited! I know you aren’t but I hope you remember the start of the actual process is like ripping open a terrible wound. What you describe sounds very hopeful, you have to be totally vulnerable before you can accept and deal. I love you however, whatever, but I know you’ll be so much happier with yourself if you can resolve this bulimia, that’s the only reason I want it for you. xxx
Unusual for me to say this, but I’m lost for words…
Another beautiful friend sent a video tonight, reminding me of all the qualities she sees. She wants to encourage and remind me I need to keep believing in myself. I’m worth it apparently. It was so touching. I was left in tears.
Again – lost for words.
People I barely know tell me I’m inspiring. Strangers I’ve never met email me out of the blue – to say they’ve read my blog. Or they’ve walked the road I’m travelling, and think my work so far is amazing. Amazing?
Lost for words…
People really believe in me. I don’t know how to believe in myself. I want to. It is my buzzword for this week – belief.
Many moons ago, my husband and I read the story of SHMILY. It’s so sweet… And at the time, we were young and madly in love so we would leave little shmily messages for each other in the strangest places – the dust on the window sill, the tomato sauce spread on a pie, the steam on the mirror. As years went by, the messages became less frequent. Over the past year, I have been finding more and more of them. He is always reminding me in his own quiet way, that I am loved, I am adored, I am worthy, I am enough.
My husband believes in me. All these people believe I have the capacity to heal and grow, to lead a life where my dreams and aspirations are only limited by how far I want to push myself. The sky is apparently not even a limit.
In my formative years, there were no words of love and encouragement. Those things had to be worked out on my own. I was loved – I was encouraged – just not in ways that were easy to see. Now – now I am being showered with encouragement and told repeatedly that I am many wonderful things. I am being told that I am all the things I have always wanted to be. I just need to believe in myself.
I have undying gratitude to all my friends – near and far – for the faith they have placed in me. I can hear you cheering from the sidelines and I may look like my shoulders are drooping and my gait is slowing, that my resolve is starting to waver, but every cheer lifts my spirit and spurs me a little further along the path. So thank you. The gift of your love has not gone unnoticed. Lasting change is not done quickly. It is done by ever so slowly absorbing a new way of being, one painful step at a time.
To my circle of beautiful friends, and to my patient and devoted husband, SHMILY – See How Much I Love You.