I can’t believe how close I came to losing real friends just because my mind convinced me that I was expendable.
After a month of avoiding him, I finally talk to C. He deserves the truth. I’ve brushed him off so often, but he didn’t let it prevent him from reaching out again and yet again. Friends like him are gold. Giving him up would be pure stupidity. So we drink beer in a cozy bar and I order a pitcher to make up for being late. It takes a while till the alcohol makes me brave and I’m able to tell him about the elephant in the room.
He looks at me with expectant eyes, waiting for answers. On why I’ve been acting strangely, dodging him, pushing everyone away. Deep breath, I’m so damn nervous. I thought I was about to be abandoned by you guys. So I preferred to cut the ties myself. One of my greatest fears. It sounds ridiculous now, but back then, I was sure about it. So sure I decided to leave my beloved shared flat, my safe harbour, my home.
Opening up saves our friendship. He listens and simply says: ‘Even though we barely talked last month, you still belong to my closest friends. It didn’t change anything about our friendship.’ Do you know how everyone tells you not to believe everything your mind tells you? I never understood that cryptic advice. Till that moment. Suddenly it made so much sense. Either you leave people or they leave you. What if I’m wrong about this?
Telling him the truth cuts off my escape. I can’t run away anymore. But it’s okay, I don’t want to. I finally stop giving in to my irrational fears. It’s time to live again, to be brave and fight. Instead of taking the easy way out by hiding behind my fears.
April was painful, but it taught me to be honest with myself. There were many ugly truths about me that I couldn’t accept. But last month I talked to others, shared my dark secrets and realised that I wasn’t alone with my monsters. However, in contrast to me, the others aren’t afraid or ashamed. They don’t fight it. Instead, they accept it as a part of who they are. Neither good nor bad, just human. And knowing that it’s okay to feel that way I do, that I’m not evil for having flaws that hurt others, changes everything.
You stop doubting yourself and people’s relationship with you when you make yourself truly vulnerable. When you admit all the horrible things you feel and do. Because when people know about your worst sides and still stick around, you can be pretty sure they’ll stay for good. Complete honesty makes relationships more intense, gives them the possibility to flourish.
I used to be afraid of being too open, too clingy, too boring. I constantly worried about telling too much about how I feel and scare others away with it. But this is over. Lately I get to spend a lot of time with people with whom I can be me. The weird, insecure, affectionate, laughing me. And I realised that I shouldn’t be afraid of telling my truth. Where’s the point in hiding who I am and how I feel? If everyone did that, we’d never see each other for who we are. Wonderful, flawed, human. It’s time to stop making excuses for being who we are.
I’m so grateful for this confidence brought to me by supportive and loving people (including you guys, my dearest readers!). We can do this.