I have been thinking a lot about my friendships this week: the dwindling, the solid stayers as well as sparkling new ones. The more I have thought about them, the more I have come to consider whether I am cut out to be a friendship type of person or whether I am becoming a hermit! I know they sound like two extremes and the answer is most certainly in the in between, but the journey of this question has been most interesting.
"A bosom friend--an intimate friend, you know--a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I've dreamed of meeting her all my life. I never really supposed I would, but so many of my loveliest dreams have come true all at once that perhaps this one will, too. Do you think it's possible?"
When I was a little girl I was lost in the world of Anne of Green Gables and cherished the concept of having that one special friend, that magical kindred spirit, who completely understands you from top to bottom, and who in return, you would give your own life for. I was in such need of that understanding, that security, that inspiration, that connection (there is that word again!). This quest has stayed with me every since. I have always had a small but very close circle of friends instead of realms of friends and acquaintances. Sometimes I feel comfortable with that, but then when those close friendships threaten to fade, it shakes my world and then I admire those people with an address book full of familiarity. Sometimes I feel down that I don’t find making friendships easy; I feel it is expected of me to reach out, to connect, yet that introvert that is me quite frankly often feels scared witless at the thought of connecting. On the few occasions I have shared this view with someone, they are astonished that I feel this way, for the outer me that I show must act very convincingly. But at the heart is a frightened girl, who true friendship means the world to, that treasures it so much that she has such fear in case she is rejected.
And at the moment there are times when I am feeling rejected, not on purpose I am sure, not because people set out to hurt my feelings, but still it makes me question myself- see how I automatically take on the blame- I am good at this.
This week my Omi ( grandmother) sent me a lovely letter containing a poem I had written as a teenager. When I read it there were tears just because it incapsulates that raw need for friendship and that loyalty that I still feel. Isn’t it funny how the universe sends you nudges? I would like to share a small part of it with you:
Friendship ( by Milena aged 14)
The promises to stay friends forever and ever,
The thoughts that occur to us both at once,
The late nights were many secrets are told,
The trust and understanding we possess,
The fact we hardly ever argue and always care,
The days we spend dreaming of what we will do when we’re old...
I know that friends come into your life for a reason and that friendships have cycles, ebbing and flowing as we grow, that people naturally grow apart as life takes them onto different paths. But I am in a place that makes me want to cling on regardless, even though I am no longer sure that I can do so with some friendships. I want to feel like that poem but it has to be right.
At this point I must write ( before I become too glum) that in contrast to these dilemmas, I am part of those solid staying friendships - you know who you are- they inspire and save me just by existing and for those I am incredibly grateful. It is in fact good to remind myself at this point how much I have much to celebrate. I am also excited that I have some amazing, sparkling friendships forming, which are reaching out to that inner girl and making her think of kindred spirits all over again. I’ve just read a fantastic description of these wonderful women in Women Who Runs With The Wolves. Pinkola Estes writes:
“They are like a fairy godmother, a mentor.... These little wild mothers guide you, burst with pride over your accomplishments. They are critical of blockages and mistaken notions in and around your creative, sensual, spiritual and intellectual life. Their purpose is to help you, to care about your art, and to reattach you to the wildish instincts, and to elicit your original best. They guide the restoration of the intuitive life.”
Thank so much my creative lovelies, it is such an honour to be part of such an awe inspiring tribe.
After all of that, on the flip side of the coin, I am discovering that I do quite like to be a hermit every now and again also. Dare I say it, I am learning to like my own company; although I am spending time alone I don’t seem to feeling lonely. On such days I don’t feel a pull to connect with others, I am happy enough to connect with myself. Such days are growing in number. I like that I am not defining myself by the number of friendships I can form and hold onto on those days, they give me a fresh balance.
Please do tell me how you breathe life into your friendships, I would love to know.