Yesterday was difficult. More difficult, in fact, than anything I’ve had to deal with in quite a while. Sometimes it seems that just when I’ve reached some kind of understanding and acceptance of the world, when I am at the very peak of happiness, something comes along to knock me over, to force me to begin the climb all over again. Sometimes when my ducks are all finally in a row, one of them flies away.
It happens. It’s life. I understand that. It’s just that the understanding doesn’t help ease the pain.
What does help is friendship. What meant the world was being able to immediately ask someone if I could come over for a hug, and for him to respond “of course.” What saved me from coming home to wallow was sitting in a kitchen with four phenomenal people and getting to talk and listen and share. What got me through the night is the knowledge that I’m not alone.
It is difficult to ask for help. I’ll admit that I’ve never been very good at it, or any good at it, for that matter. Not so long ago I would have kept this to myself. I would have hidden away and allowed these feelings to consume me. I would have convinced myself that I just needed time to process things on my own before sharing them with anyone else. I would have been wrong.
What I have slowly, perhaps too slowly, learned is that talking helps. Sharing helps. People want to help. They want to be there for you. They want to be let in. Slowly, perhaps too slowly, I am learning to open that door.
It is a process, of course. It will take time. It’s not as simple as writing “from now on I’ll always ask for help when I need it.” Life doesn’t work that way. Still, it is a step. I am hopeful for the person I am becoming. I am grateful – so, so grateful – for the people who have been, and continue to be, there for me during this wonderful, terrifying, devastating, beautiful process of growing up. I am grateful – so, so grateful – to never have to feel alone.
Friendship is a remarkable thing. Last night I listened to a group of friends speak candidly about things that were difficult to say. I listened to them share the kind of honesty that can only stem from love. I listened to them pour out their thoughts and hearts and opinions. I watched as they tried to save their friendships and their friend. It was gut wrenching and heartbreaking and sometimes uncomfortable. But it was also admirable and commendable and brave. It was beautiful and honest. It was important and real. It was what friendship is all about.
And I thought of this later, leaving the house of my own friends, who sat and listened and shared with me as I tried to process that experience. I thought about how sometimes love is just about being there, how it is as simple and complex as that. I thought about the climb back to happiness that stands before me, and the way I had already taken a step by reaching out. I thought about how short the distance to the peak could be with friends like these by my side. I thought about friendships, and the ways we work to save them, and the way that, more often than not, they end up saving us.