This may be by far one of the most random things I’ve ever done.
Back in high school, they took a bunch of “average students that weren’t working up to our full potentials” over to the ROTC. I went because my best friend went, but really for me it was never going to happen. I was a college girl with below average grades who was raised in the suburbs but didn’t take school serious. So as I’m being the obnoxious teenager that I was and walking from classroom to classroom, I remember peeking my head into the dental hygienist office and seeing the other girls in there being like “hmpt that’s kinda cool, I would do that” but then quickly sticking my nose up in the air and being like, nope college is better than this and that is where you are headed sister friend. All C average you. (Um girl what?) I’m not proud of it, but I know God has a sense of humor and here we are almost 20 years later embarking on the path that finally feels right. It feels steady. And I think what I like most about this journey other than it feeling like a solid plan (for once) is that I still get to go to school. I’ll still get that degree that for some reason means so much to me. I am excited and willing to do whatever it takes to see this process through, I would love to have a career by 40.
I’m not sure of the path God has in store for me, but to say that I’m not scared is also an amazing feeling. Kind of like fighting moving to Phoenix and then falling in love with it.
I wrote this in a hurry. I needed it to be documented. The decision. So forgive me for the grammar mistakes and feeling like one big cluster of words.
I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die. (Jeremiah 10:23–24 NLT)
In California I always had a thick circle for friends around me, we were the kind of friends that were untouchable and unfiltered. I’m use to handling my friends a certain way. We talk, we gossip about celebrities, guys and other people in our circle, not in a malicious way just in a blah blah catching up, kind of way. It’s how it’s always been. We all talked about one another, we all knew who in the circle could and couldn’t be trusted with certain information but for the most part we all told each other everything. These are friendships I still have to this day, these are friends that I love and care for deeply. But these are friendships who I’ve had to love from a distance while I’ve been in Florida, and so I’m very rusty in how I do life with friends at 36 years old. I have friends in Florida that I can have these unfiltered open ended conversations with as well but there have only been a few over the past 12 years and so in the last 3 years I’ve relied solely on the friendships I’ve made from the church to fill a void of girlfriendness.
It. Is. Not. The. Same.
These girls I love, but they’re all southern girls, who I’ve met as adults. I am different from them, they are different from me. We do not share the bond of college, we did not meet as kids, and to be honest with the exception of Jesus there’s not a whole lot that we have in common. Some yes, but honestly not a lot of things to break bread over so how do I fill this void with the ones I’m very comfortable with. Gossiping. It’s a way to connect, and feel connected and share a common thing over. It’s something I’ve wanted to stop doing for a while, so after some Youversions devotions and prayer, I’ve managed to get a grip of my tongue in the workplace.
Well that brings me to something that recently happened. I have one friend in particular who I enjoy vastly. Like I really love this girls energy and I hope it’s a friendship that last a lifetime. However, recently I fucked up (sorry there’s no polite way to phrase it). I’ve been listening to Jen Hatmaker’s podcast and it’s about friendships and ya’ll know how I feel about those and I guess without even realizing it whenever I’m around this friend it’s spent talking about other people, (cause again I’m trying to make those deep connections like in the podcast). And this is mainly on my end not her’s. I mean we’ll both bring up people, but I realized the other day during a text conversation of screenshots that maybe I had pushed the limit. Her reply to me about a shared friend was very negative. And I thought “did I cause that?”, did I cause this “infraction of irritation from one person to another?” I was so blown away with guilt that I didn’t even reply back to this friend and have not since talked to her.
I’ve had other friends tell me that they’ve needed breaks from their other friends because whenever they talk to said friend they’re always negative. Well have I just become that friend? I’m so nervous that this friend will put me on a friend-break. But if I’m being completely honest with myself, I would completely understand why she would. I don’t mean to be a gossip girl, I just don’t know how to do the small talk thing. It takes me months if not years before I can be comfortable with someone and having the chemistry of connection. I just am not good a building those deep connections, I’ve never had to do it. California friends were easy we grew up together that was the bond, but in Florida I’ve been so secluded and often times cut myself off from the world that sometimes I break the line in these friendships. I don’t want to be known as the neighborhood gossip and the friend no one can trust.
So now I have to fix it. I have to come up with ways to build these connections (new and old) on a deeper level. Here are a list of questions found on Ashley Beaudin’s website via Pinterest (every girl’s friend). I can promise you, out of even the women I consider my best friends, I don’t know even half these answers about them, so maybe..let’s start here, and in the meantime I’ll be praying for God to not only fix my mouth but my reactions, gossiping is fun but now I can definitely see how it can snowball into something else and that’s just not a problem I want to have inside of me.
Thanks for reading, I hope I’m not the only one who struggles with this.
1. What makes you feel most alive? During worship, uncensored laughing with friends
2. When do you feel your most vulnerable? Getting to know someone
3. Are you more afraid of death or not really living? Not really living
4. What do you think makes me smile? (friend answer)
5. If you could do anything for the rest of your life, what would that be? Own Let’s Meet
6. Do you think you’re brave? No.
7. Do you feel deserving of care? Um, yeah
8. Is it easy for you to show yourself love or speak kindly to yourself? Yes.
9. What annoys you the most about people? Lack of common sense, inconsideration, rudeness
10. What are you doing when you lose track of time? Sleeping lol
11. What makes you feel super loved? Taking the time to get to know me
12. What do you want people to feel when they’re around you? Joy
13. What do you keep apologizing for in your life? Nothing
14. How do you want the world to see you? Passionate
15. Who do you want to impact? Do you feel like you can? Women/Yes!
16. What is a dream you’ve never said out loud? Let’s Meet
17. What do you lie the most about? “um, I’m good”
18. What do you use to cope when you’re feeling uncomfortable? Silence
19. What makes you feel unstoppable? God
20. How do you see me? (friend answer)
21. Do you feel invisible or seen and known in the world? Yes but only because I like it that way.
22. What emotion do you experience the most? Hope mixed with fear
23. What scares you the most? Not doing anything with my life
24. What is more important to you — status, power, or money? Honestly, money.
25. Is there anything you see inside of yourself you’re not sure of? Huh
I recently had a conversation with a friend the other day, her very recent boyfriend decided to end things because he was possibly feeling things for his ex. (insert eye roll emoji). As the conversation proceeded she also told me that he had said she had all her life stuff together and I guess he didn’t really feel needed my the Independence of my friend and the life she has created for herself. Now my friend is about 6 years younger than me and she does have her “life together”; she has a BA degree, she owns a home, car, works from home, no kids, amazing body. My girl is amazing. And to me that read as a pathetic excuse to basically run back to his pass and with that being said she was better off without him, but whatever she’s over it so on to the next.
Now, being that I am older than her does, that make me feel some kinda way about myself, sure, but not in an envious way. More in a I need to push harder and be better than I was before, I want to be just as elevated as my friends, which led me to thinking about other friends I have and that proceeded to the tweets below.
You know I was just very inspired by the people I’m around; obviously I have other friends I didn’t mention, and actually last night I realized that most of the friends I didn’t mention are all mothers. My friendships with my single moms is very different than my friendships with my singles with no kids. I’m a little more guarded with my kid-less friends, I’m not as open with them but I enjoy the freedom of being friends with them a little more because of the actual freedom of us being friends. You know when you have friends with kids, (for great reason) their proprieties are different, they can’t make plans the same way, and sometimes my single/kid-less drama doesn’t seem as important to them so I choose to not burden them with my problems because you know, they’re just over there living life trying to raise a human being in a tough world. With my single moms, I am much more open with them, I’m not sure why, maybe because they’ve been so open with me about their life stuff. My kid-less friends seem to take more caution in opening up. And if I’m being all the way honest, I’m an very private and I don’t share a lot of myself right away either. I’m peeled in layers.
One thing I love is that I have a very open range of friendships, I have people I tend to connect with from different circles, and when I see those circles intercept I smile, because sometimes when looking from the outside in it looks more like they would be the connecting friends and I’d be the outsider but nope, I’m that thing they have in common and I love it, not just because it’s nice feeling needed, but just connecting and being intimate in your friendships and bringing two people that may not have necessarily connected before together.
I’ve been listening to Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love podcast and I absolutely love it. I don’t know if the whole podcast will be geared towards friendships but the first two episodes were absolutely about “doing life together” and as someone who can’t wait to start their own small group ( a small group or life group is a group that’s usually formed through a church and meets inside or outside the home) and I just want to do it right and meaningful. I’ve been apart of two small groups and they both had their pros and cons but if we’re walking in Christ together I want an intimate relationship, I want to build a strong home team and I probably cherish that more than that of becoming a wife. Here’s a small excerpt from the transcript from the first episode with Shauna Niequist:
Jen: Absolutely. I would say the exact same thing. Our moments of joy are where so many of our delightful memories come through. But it’s really in the hard moments, I think, that a tried and true friendship is truly forged. I heard you say in an interview once that some advice that you wish you’d have given yourself when you were younger, was to invest really deeply in friendships and make memories together and take risks together. I love that! I love the wisdom that the older us would love to go back and tell the younger versions of ourselves. Are you doing that right now? What does that look like elsewhere in your life?
Shauna: I would say one of the things I’ve learned along the way is that friendship is one of those things that has like an unlimited positive return. The more you put into it, you get exponentially so much more out of it. It’s like a formula that I don’t screw around with anymore. I put a lot into my friendships because they’re that important to me. Of all the things I do with my life and my time, friendship bears out. It’s worth it every time.
So, we did that last week. I’m so thankful for friendship and I’m thankful for the way it carries heavy things. In this season, this is not a particularly heavy season for me in those ways. But it is for her, and I want to be the first one in line carrying heavy things, because she’s been there for me one million times.
Jen: I like your wisdom in that. You’re probably like me; I have women ask me a lot about friendships. I’m fully in team Shauna here. I am in your camp. I invest very, very deeply and heavily into my friendships because I cannot envision my life without them. I hear from women a lot who struggle or they’re lonely or they’re craving the depth of relationships with other women and don’t quite know how to find them, or secure them, or keep them. The truth is, and what you just mentioned, it takes work. It really does. They don’t just magically find their way to your doorstep. It’s not sorcery. It is picking up the phone, it is getting on a plane sometimes. It is taking that time out and, really, I think maybe time is the key. There’s no shortcut to it. It is hours and lots of them and over lots of months and, ultimately, lots of years; and what you get on the other end of that is just, absolutely, as good as gold.
I learned so much from this 40 minute podcast, and can’t wait for more episodes. I felt such a relief because on one part she said “we’re all busy doing life” and sometimes you can’t just be there for your friends in the way they need you to. I loved that! It’s a relief to know that you can still be friends even if in the hard times you aren’t able to be their physically for one another. I also loved how she knew how her friends affirmation. I am totally for handing someone a Myers-Briggs test and love language test upon meeting so I know these things up hand, or just show me your certified laminated results (Ross, F.R.I.E.N.D.S.). I can’t trust for you to tell me what you think you are, too many times we think we’re one way and then we take these type of test we prove to be something else, we end up resonating with those answers we could’ve sworn we were nothing like five minutes ago. I want to how you need to be friended, what are your boundaries, how deep in this friendship can we go without it become weird, how can we serve each other and inspire each other while on our walks with Christ. Because trust me I’ll let you know my boundaries if I know you’re sticking around long term.
Obviously there are tons more, but these are definitely my top favorites, these are the ones that if I’m watching I feel that pang of jealousy but hope that one day I’ll have it. It’s been years since I’ve had that one on one everyday living life together friendship. I think that’s why I’m striving so hard to learn all this stuff about friendship and being a better friend, so that when I get to Phoenix, I can go right in and create those bonds I’ve been praying over a decade for. I definitely plan on writing more on friendship at a later date. I want to touch on, how just because you’re in fellowship together with other women that doesn’t necessarily mean a friendship can be built there. I think that’s been a very sobering lesson I’ve had to learn since attending First Baptist. We may love the Lord together, but that doesn’t mean we have to be in the trenches and go to dinner and drinks together (my perception).
Friendships should be like a rainbow, beautiful because of the sun but reflective of the storm that just passed.
13 Reasons Why is a Netflix series about a girl who commits suicide and leaves tapes for people who were involved in her decision to die. If you haven’t already seen it, I advise you to. I advise you to show it to your friends and to their friends and to their friends and then to show it to teachers, counselors and high school students.
This will not be a long post, as I am so firm in my opinions on this subject if I talk about it too long I will become passionately upset. For all those who say the series “glories suicide” I have only one thing to say you. SHUT UP! You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Nothing can “glorify suicide”. Suicide isn’t something people WANT to do, suicide is seen as a problem solver, as a way to end emotional pain. Life is hard, and regardless of what someone is going through you do not always have to be “depressed” to be suicidal. Sometimes you’re just fucking tired of life. It’s hard to explain but that’s what it is. Sometimes it’s ruled by selfishness, other times you think you’re doing everyone around you a favor. Everyone’s hardship isn’t the same, you don’t necessarily need to understand this in order to know someone is hurting.
In the series 13 Reasons Why, there is bullying, loneliness, rejection, manipulation, ostracization, disappointment and rape. There is nothing glorious about any of these things, there is nothing glorious about feeling these things everyday for months at a end. Also multiply all of these things by high school emotions as everything is more dramatic in high school. Imagine the coworkers you spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week with making you feel like this. You may not commit suicide because of outside responsibilities but what if you are a teenager with no responsibilities who thinks this is the only way out. At that age, you can’t see anything pass a few years, you know your parents won’t understand and you tend to question “who’s really your friend” on a regular basis. Stop telling people they shouldn’t watch this series, they should. And then they should talk about it with their love ones and then they should talk about it some more. It only takes once grace of human connection to make someone feel connected to the world. And no just telling someone they matter doesn’t help, because you don’t understand the intensity of what they feel. 13 Reasons, gives you an inside look at up close as to the pain of what someone is feeling. You find yourself only being able to imagine what Hannah Baker is actually going through. And then you look back and realize, “oh yeah, this is only a show”.
People who have ended their lives “because” of the show, didn’t end their lives because a Netflix drama. These people already had a deep seated sadness in them, and they just used the series as a platform to get others to try to understand their pain. They would have done it either way, I’m sorry to say that, but not watching this series was not going to prevent someone from ending their life. I know it’s easier to place blame, and you can’t yell at the person whose life ended and so you need to point fingers else where. But how about instead of blaming a television show, that parents should be aware of their child watching anyway, you talk to your kids about bullying, rape and suicide. You talk to the school and become aware of the problems that these kids are really facing in a social media age. It’s like the argument of, “if I don’t talk to my kid about having sex, they won’t have sex” sounds stupid doesn’t it. One thing could prevent a life and the other could prevent someone from taking theirs, so what are you afraid of? You’re not advocating for a Netflix show that millions have already seen around the world, you’d be advocating to find the true source of the problem (everyone’s is different) and try to end it. It’s your choice, but saying that 13 Reasons Why does not glory suicide in anyway. Take it from someone who contemplated suicide before.