Maybe we are the way we are because of the people we’re with, or maybe we just pick the people we need. However it works, when we find each other, you should never let go. (Gloria, Modern Family)*
One of my closest friends apologized to me the other day. It wasn’t something like “Sorry I missed your call,” “Sorry I didn’t take the trash out,” or “Sorry for being a weirdo.” It was an apology for not responding to my life situation (okay, let’s be real: singleness—which, okay, is only one part of my life situation) the way she thought she should have. That’s a big one. Of course, I had by no means been waiting for an apology from her—I have never felt misunderstood or wronged by this friend. But she still felt she had messed up. Her apology was one I could gratefully take in not because I wanted the apology itself, but because she was so beautifully humble in saying it. When that sort of reality between friends happens right in front of your face, you hold onto it. You let it teach you something.
And I’m learning that I mess up, too. (Duh. By learning, I mean figuring-it-out-the-hard-way-again.) And I need my people to be there still when I do.
(I’ve started calling my closest friends and family ‘my people,’ as if they’re this army of support surrounding me. It’s what it feels like, anyway, and I am so undeserving of their love. But it’s there. And I just hold onto it.)
If I know anything about post-grad life, it’s that it can make you feel lonelier than you ever thought possible (or perhaps lonelier than you ever expected you would have to experience personally). There have been times in the past year when I’ve paused just to look around my apartment, weirded out by the fact that all my people are far away from me. (Okay, I know I should just get some more people in Nashville. I’m working on it, I promise.) Sometimes when I feel extra-lonely, I can be a little overzealous in communicating with them. And that makes for some awkward, cool-it-Anne conversations. And feeling like I’m too desperate. And figuring I should just get used to being alone.
But the thing is, my people know who I am. They know where my anxiety over plan-making comes from. They know I mean well. They know to take care of my heart. Just when I feel most alone because geez-I-can’t-even-act-normal-with-my-people, they reassure. I am convinced that I will mess up and be weird and send too many text messages and get nervous when people leave and continue to be the when-I-feel-emotions-I-feel-them person that I am—but I am also convinced that those things, when they cause me to mess up, can be, and are being, redeemed. I need only to be still.
Oh, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away. (George Eliot)
*A post about shows-I-am-obsessed-with will be on its way. I have been watching so much Modern Family, and I love it. It has a good heart. (Can I say that a TV show has a good heart? You know what I mean, right?)