It’s no surprise that I was named Miss Sensitivity in my Junior High Homeschool Co-op. I could, and did, cry at the drop of a hat. And I cried for three hours after being given the award. No one ever bothered to find out why I cried so much. And, truth be told, I couldn’t tell them anyway. I was in an impossible situation and learned that it was better to just shove everything into the deep, dark recesses of my mind and focus on other things. And I did eventually start to forget, but the symptoms of disease are still evident even if a child’s brain has used a form of protective amnesia. But I had spent a lifetime making and losing friends and the pattern continued for almost two decades. I either befriended the right people and ended up pushing them away, or I attached myself to the very wrong people and ended up hurt. As I aged, it didn’t seem to get any better. I read books about my issues. Relationships, bitterness, perfectionism, people-pleasing, body image, and on and on. I made New Year’s resolutions every year to make myself a better person. A better daughter, friend, volunteer. So when I started to remember unspeakable things, I didn’t know who I could turn to and I was scared of the reaction I would get. I was finally having some healthy relationships, and now I was going to wreck them. Once you tell someone, they can’t be untold. You have burdened someone with your truth. And talking equals crying which equals the Miss Sensitivity Award over and over again. But the truth also sets us free. All the failed relationships started making sense. Befriending toxic people made sense. Pushing away healthy people made sense. Crying, feeling fat at 110 pounds, getting only As for 16 straight years. It all made sense. 2014, the hardest year of my life, now presented me opportunities to shine light in the darkness. And I quickly learned that friendships fall into one of four categories: people who relate to your nightmare and love on you, people who relate to your nightmare but choose to distance themselves, people who don’t relate to your nightmare but love on you, and people who don’t relate to your nightmare and choose to distance themselves. I can’t control people’s reactions, and I don’t blame them for the black-out period during this time. In the past, I would’ve cried for hours and hours trying to understand why someone didn’t love me or didn’t want to love on me. Now, I understand that everyone has their own dark corners and stuff to process and time will either heal a friendship or two people move across some imaginary line to acquaintances. And 2014 taught me that God placed amazing people in my path for such a time as this, but not a one of them was meant to replace Him. Only He knows every single detail. The ones I can and can’t remember. And only He knows how to heal this broken girl who was robbed. But He gives me friends as a gift and reminds me that crying is not always a bad thing. That Jesus wept. And tears are bottled. And being sensitive isn’t a bad thing. And I am equipped to sob with someone else walking the same path. Or walking a different path. Because part of good, life-giving friendship is being able to mourn with someone when they mourn. Even if your only words are, “I have no words.” Thank you to the friends who stayed by my side in 2014. The hardest year of my life. You kept me going as I dispelled darkness with scary, scary truth. And did brave things. And discovered that I am more than the symptoms or the disease. And that God can heal a heart and memory. I am God’s daughter. And He has set me free from myself. In many ways, 2014 has actually been one of the greatest years of my life.
What I Learned About Friendship in 2014