Last night a normal, routine work email that I sent out marked a significant moment in regards to the Schmoopy Superstorm of 2017. When I sent that email last night, it brought me full circle. My friendship with Schmoopy began when I sent out final holiday reports last year. Prior to that he was a stranger of sorts. I’d seen his name on emails, but that’s the extent of what I knew of him. When I sent that email this time last year he sent a response saying “I bet you’re happy to have that behind you” or something along those lines. That was it. Innocent. Uninteresting. Not intriguing in the least. Still, I responded with something that was probably sarcastic and that was that. The one or two sentence email communications continued. They turned into longer emails which turned into phone calls. We became friends. He was one of the nicest people I’d met in a really long time and he instantly become one of my favorite friends.
Honestly, being back to the exact point that symbolizes for me where it all began has left me with a sad feeling of emptiness today. I feel like I’ve been transported back to the months following “the incident” where emptiness was normal and isolation felt comfortable. It won’t last and I know I won’t stay here long, but in this moment as I reflect on all that’s happened over the past year I feel a heaviness in my heart. It’s just another reminder that healing is a journey, not a destination.
I wonder what our friendship might look like today if I hadn’t completely given in to my insecurities? It was a familiar feeling even though it was one I hadn’t experienced in 15-20 years. I didn’t know what to do with it. I just knew I had to extinguish it. Insecurity was a feeling I said goodbye to a long time ago and I wasn’t about to let it consume me again. I fought the emotion hard and I did it all wrong. My insecurities came out looking like an insane amount of neediness mixed with some hateful, crazy, desperately flailing idiocy. (For examples please refer to content posted here, here, here, here, here, here and well…pretty much anywhere on this blog).
I wonder what our friendship would look like if he had been able to see past my egregious flaws? What would have happened if he had felt strongly enough about our friendship and the potential it had to brighten both of our lives to press on and walk through my feelings of insecurity with me? I laid it all out bare before him. I explained to him that by disappearing the way he did it had left me feeling incredibly vulnerable. I told him I spewed venomous nonsense out of fear. On my birthday week I remember begging him to just exist with me. We talked on the phone for hours that week. His unexplained distance had left me feeling broken and I wanted the reassurance that I had mattered. I was so frightened he’d slip away that I simply wanted to know he was on the other side of the phone breathing in and out with me. The only thing that brought me comfort was his presence. He knew my secret; he was my secret. As long as he was present, I could justify how much of myself I allowed him to see and how far I had let him travel into the depths of my heart. I know now it wasn’t a need, but it felt like it at the time. It was my issue and he definitely didn’t owe me friendship or a pass for my actions. He owed me nothing. But what if he had freely given both anyway?
There’s a small voice inside my head that is whispering to me now, telling me I’m pathetic for caring so much and for even taking the time to think about these things all these months later. It mocks me for actually letting these words flow from my brain to my fingers and onto this keyboard right now. It whispers reminders of my lowest moments and of so many things I spoke that can never be taken back. It whispers lies, but unlike before, I’m unconvinced. Back then those lies partnered with fear and I allowed the detestable duo to stoke the fires of insecurity inside of me. Before I knew it my emotions were out of control. Like wildfire, I was untamable, roaring, unpredictable, crazy, and destructive. I will never be that way again. Not ever. I want to be remembered for building up instead of burning down.
I can quiet the sound of the whispers now. I’m in control of my feelings and emotions. Truth reigns supreme. I’m lucky to be loved so fully and completely by the people who are in my life. . Days like this have become few and far between, and for that I’m grateful. But the reality is that some moments I still struggle and I still hurt. And the thing is, just because you don’t talk about your feelings doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
A full 360 degrees later,
Currently playing in the soundtrack of my mind: Wildfire by Michael Martin Murphey. Yes, that old song about a horse because, well, Wildfire obviously. I hope it’s quickly replaced by something else. A little wildfire goes a long way…
In completely unrelated news, the picture above reminded me of a poem (see below) written by my favorite poet, Erin Hanson. You can see more of her amazing work here.