I have spent the majority of my life alone. I have found my friends in my head and in my imagination. Conversations were always between the right side and the left side of this absolutely insane brain that I have been given. I have always been content with this truth about myself; still am.
If you asked my therapist or the numerous tests that I have to take, I am an introvert. In case you live under a rock being an introvert means that you don’t want to have companionship not that you can’t. Being an introvert has a side of choice that very few people can understand. Do I like parties? Nope, rather read. Do I like going into strange places that I have never been? No, much rather stay at home in my little world.
I have and can exist in this world rather spectacularly. I have held down numerous jobs with the Federal Government and even performed the duties of a Chief Financial Officer. You don’t get the corner office by not being able to communicate with those around you. You get the corner office by being able to speak intellectually and to work with the myriad of people who are in this world.
When I moved to this new city I didn’t believe anything would be different. And there was nothing upsetting in this observation. I have always believed that my life is simply that: life. It is unique because of the disorders I have, but it isn’t ever going to hand me the incredible beauty that so many people can see. I have always believed that somewhere along the way, through all the trials and all the heartache I was destined to live a silent and oftentimes black and white world. I have since been taught differently.
In moments of weakness it is hard to find peace. In moments of darkness it is hard to find strength. The two simply do not go together. There is harm in these realizations but there is also truth. We walk this earth alone, whether we are married, have children or anyone else in our life. We are born naked and innocent, but most importantly alone; and when we die, while we are rarely innocent or naked, we are alone.
But if you are lucky there comes a time in your life when you find out a secret: you can exist and survive anyway that you choose. There is no guide-book to life, there is no direction that must be taken. Life is simply a series of steps that gives us the breath to continue even in the darkness of night. If you are lucky you will have someone teach you that wanting is as important as having.
This journey that I started so many months ago came upon me suddenly. I am not sure if it was begun with this incredible therapist I now have, if it was God, or if it was my soul saying that it was time to learn some important truths. I don’t know and I don’t care. On this journey I have learned so many things, earth shattering things not only about myself but about the world around me. Some I have spoken of here, some are my own private realizations that are too important to put in a few words.
One of the things I am learning on this journey is a simple truth that most probably know, but it was new to me. I am learning that there is this thing called friendship; a simple relationship that redefines your life in a way that you can’t get back. Friendship is a concept that gives more than it takes, and once you see it you can’t go back. You may change friends but you can’t change the knowledge of those loving friends.
I don’t know how I made my friends. I suspect it was them pushing me rather than the other way around. I imagine that these women were sent by a higher being and without conscience thought made sure that I became one of them. I became a part of a group of people in a way that thousands take for granted but I find myself simply and silently so grateful for.
And they are different. I have the shy friend that for some reason thinks that I not only have it together but that I hold answers that make sense in her life. There is the woman who lives a life with the details that I share, yet is so different from me; her life, her marriage, even her priorities. There is the woman who is as crazy and beautifully joyful as anyone I have ever known; while she constantly crosses lines I don’t have it in me to do, she does so with a grace and sometimes in her zeal a little awkwardness. Then there is the woman who is the mother – the one who keeps us together. The one who knows heartache and yet finds herself holding on to those who love her for the strength that she needs and the strength she gives. She loves to take care, and does it with a perfection that brings tears to my eyes.
I am nothing special. In fact, if we were truthful, I was made to be that wide-eyed little girl in the corner learning but never teaching. I don’t deserve friends or pals. There is too much darkness within me; too many times when the disease takes precedence over the connections that are so important to me. There are too many times when the beauty of these friendships are overshadowed by the very real disease that I have. Today, I learned how important these kind of connections truly are.
Whether it is from the medicines, the dry mouth, the lack of nutrition, or simply genetics I am quickly losing all of my teeth. It is a fact I can not escape and while part of me wish it was different, there is also a part of me that likes the idea that soon there will be perfect dentures in place of my imperfect teeth. My teeth are literally disintegrating within my mouth.
I lost a tooth today; right in the middle of my front teeth. I look like a homeless addict who has had a bath. It is embarrassing, upsetting and unbelievably unfair. To top it off my dentist is on vacation for two weeks, and next week I too leave for a cabin far away from anyone I know. I don’t want to go knowing this is how I look – not because I will know anyone I meet, but because I am not very good at handling other’s opinions.
However, something spectacular happen today. I told you I have never had girlfriends, certainly not a group of them. And yet today I learned what I have been missing these many, many years.
I didn’t know a group of women could find out about my tooth and immediately get on their phones to tell me how beautiful I am. I didn’t know a group of very busy women could ever think of me beyond the time I spend with them and give me the support and confidence to be the person I have always wanted to be. I didn’t know there was that kind of love. I didn’t know that someone believed that I deserved that kind of love.
There are realizations in this life that once learned can’t be untaught. There are truths in this life that are so far beyond our innocent comprehension. There are moments of perfections in the darkest moments that while not deserved can give you the strength and confidence to for the first time ever, believe in yourself. Have I ever believed in myself like I do in this moment? Have I ever realized that losing a tooth is not worthy of anything but the taking of steps to get it repaired? Have I ever realized that there could be a group of people who would come out and find me, love me, and allow me the times of darkness and hurt that comes with the package.
My tears began today because I thought that I had loss something big. My tears at the end of this day is because I believe that no matter if I have a tooth or not, I am more than what is in my mouth. I am more than what is on the outside. I may not be worthy, but I am worthy of a group of girls that will live in my heart for all time. Simply because they taught me one day how beautiful this life can be.