Let Me Be Me is now The Art of Friendship!
Take a look and see what you think.
Posted in baggage and luggage, childhood friendship, closest friends, emotions, gratitude, healthy friendships, joy, sadness, tidbits, types of friendships, tagged gratitu on August 28, 2012 | 2 Comments »
“Tears are words from the heart that can’t be spoken.”
I’ve spent extended time with two close girl friends from my childhood recently. We were in the preschool Sunday School class together. E and J know me from when I was loud and bossy. They made fun of me, I made fun of them, we made up.
After church, we spent Sunday afternoons together making movies and inventing new worlds. We graduated from high school at the same time, we got married and now have kids near the same age.
This last week I shared with both of them details about a terrible time in my past, when something happened to me that I cannot recover. I know it means growth in me that I can breach the subject out loud, with someone other than my therapist. I know it means I trust them and that they’re good friends.
In some ways it’s easier to write cryptically on blogs for thousands than to share privately with one friend. Do you know the feeling of sharing something terrible and being heard?
The day I found the courage to share what I know with close, trusted friends was the day I found healing soaking further into my heart.
Both E and J responded as good, long-time friends now how, intuitively, naturally, with full-hearts.
They listened with their eyes growing wide, they asked few questions, they tried to understand and then, they wept.
I do still, sometimes, cry over this, but I’ve invested enough tears and thought, prayer and therapy to not feel teary-eyed as I watched them reach for some tissues.
I sat beside them watching them cry and knowing they were entering my pain and discovering that I felt like my heart was healing with their tears. It reminded me of Rapunzel’s tears in Tangled.
Tears from friends–I believe they have God-given magical power.
“Faithful friends are a shelter. Whoever has found one has found a treasure. Faithful friends are beyond price.
No amount can match their worth. Faithful friends are the elixir of life, and those who fear the Lord will find them”
(Ecc 6:14-17 paraphrased by Elaine Storkey).
I am reading a book I highly recommend, The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown. Brown is a researcher and educator that lives in Houston, Texas and her work on shame and vulnerability is both needed and valuable. View it for yourself in her TED presentation (definitely worth watching!) or begin stepping your way through her words.
As we wrap up Let Me Be Me and transition into our new, punchy website (out in September!), this August Tidbit focuses on what it means to Be Me. Only certain types of friendships offer us safe places for “me to be me”, to say what I really think, be afraid, try new things, to disagree, cry, or admit things I am ashamed about…to be authentic.
What does that mean: be authentic? Brown makes these statements about authenticity:
…in order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen. (TED)
…authenticity is not something we have or don’t have. It’s a practice – a conscious choice of how we want to live. Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.
The idea that we can choose authenticity makes most of us feel both hopeful and exhausted. We feel hopeful because being real is something we value…We feel exhausted because without even giving it too much thought, most of us know that choosing authenticity in a culture that dictates everything from how much we’re supposed to weigh to what our houses are supposed to look like is a huge undertaking.
As many of us hope for friendships that are safe and accepting, Brown’s words are an encouraging reminder that we all struggle with authenticity, with vulnerability, with showing our true heart, with allowing someone else to see. And she’s definitely right about one thing – it is a choice.
Love as a word, as a theory, as an emotion is hard to describe, but love as it shows up in every day life is a bit easier to grasp.
Emotional Reactions expecting love from others:
As humans, we long for others to see how special we are. We long to not be forgotten. We long to be seen, accepted and valued. But when we demand it, often requiring others love us before we love ourselves, we end up polluting our own specialness.
What if, in our friendships with other women, we lessened our efforts to squeeze and seduce love from another human, and confidently asserted our availability:
“You can reach me if you but considered what I am, and you can reach me still whenever you wish if you are content to find me as I am and not as you wish me to be.”
And for others, we could love them like this:
I will try to reach you after considering what you are, and I will patiently and kindly encourage who you are, because I am content to find you as you are and not as I wish you to be.
Adapted from The Genesee Diary: Report From a Trappist Monastery by Henri Nouwen (1932-1996)
Right now, I am knee-deep into the book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. This novel was recently made into a movie starring Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks…and is one of the better books I have read this year.
The main character Oskar is a young boy who plays the tambourine incessantly and is an encyclopedia of facts..but has trouble socially. He is also deeply grieving the loss and death of his father. These words come after meeting his upstairs neighbor, an elderly gentleman whose colorful and adventurous life stopped after his wife died.
How could such a lonely person have been living so close to me my whole life? If I had known, I would gone to keep him company. Or I would have made some jewelry for him. Or told him hilarious jokes. Or given him a private tambourine concert.
Where friendship is concerned, I like Oskar’s immediate response…he does not deny his own pain or reality, but seems to just move within it, being himself in the moment, knowing he has something to offer someone in their loneliness.
While it does not hurt to be kind of other drivers on the road, the man or woman at the checkout, the barista or the surly teenager, we have the chance to move beyond “If I had known…” and work within what we do know as we grow in friendships: We are not made of steel and we could all use a private tambourine concert.
If you are not the “performing type” or are short on hilarious jokes, there are still things that you do have that you can offer others in just being yourself. These are the things that help a friendship move beyond “If I had known…” and into a relationship that acknowledges who both women are and where their own lives might have stopped.
Often on Let Me Be Me we propose that healthy friendships are built on healthy foundations. Am I taking care to make myself healthy – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and socially so that I bring my best to the friendships I am working to grow? Remember, the first person you are a friend to is yourself. And what kind of friend are you – supportive, encouraging and loving - or a tad bit demanding, perfectionistic and unforgiving?
A quick interview with Dr. Oz about his “Transformation Nation” program reveals five things the healthiest people do.
Check out his spot on the Today Show and consider what he says…and why the simple things we already know need to be personal and meaningful.
One thing I loved that he says, “There are no boundaries around who gets healthy…There is no reason for you to put a limit on who you are.”
The trend of #liesgirlstell came up on twitter last weekend. I found a lot of retweets of this lie:
“Upload pics to Facebook, comment ‘I look so bad in this picture.’”
Made me think of why Samantha Brick was condemned. She took “bad” pictures and still liked herself.
How dare she!
When I see pictures of myself with other friends on Facebook, I usually look at myself first. How do I look? Did those clothes work? Whey didn’t someone tell me my hair looked like that?
Do I look okay?
A good photo can give me a feeling of security, while a bad photo can make me wonder about how well I really come across?
I know I’m not the only one. How many of us have photos in our Facebook albums that we know look better than we really look?
Right now I have this wallpaper pic on my cellphone background. It’s of me and my son. I’m smiling a typical, non-photo op smile which means the dent in my cheek is obvious and my eyes are crinkled.
It’s a smile of pleasure, not a smile of perfection. But it’s me, that is how I look when I’m happy.
I put it up because it helps me work on the reality of what I look like when I’m not posing.
Each time I pick at my cell phone I get a little reminder that I’m neither glorious or hideous. THAT this is what I look like.
Quick, I tell myself, now look inside, what is bubbling up.
When I’m feeling insecure, the picture bothers me. I don’t want to look like THAT. When I’m feeling relatively stable I think, “Hmm, that girl looks really open and happy. I like her.”
Sometimes I want to change my wallpaper to a picture of my son. It would be easier.
When we post up a picture when we have strawberries on our teeth or one eye closed then it’s fine to say, “I look funny in this picture.” Last night during our family photos I wound up with half-closed eyes for a photo. It looked really funny.
But when we scroll through pictures of ourselves and we’re looking
like we look and our friends think it looks
and we don’t like it.
Well, if it’s an honest picture,
wonder for a bit about why you don’t like that picture of yourself.
Do we judge ourselves for looking just plain?
Do we think we deserve less love for looking less than glossy?
“Bad” pictures are interesting for what they reveal about our own tendency to hate the working body and soul God gave us.
Take a second and try to observe without criticizing your face.
Or try to giggle at your own photo for second, then notice the soul within.
You might find your insecurity melting into affection.
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb …
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
The Message, Psalm 139:13-14
The following is an excerpt from a fantastic book I just finished…and cannot recommend enough.
“I am working at my desk one day, eyes poring over something. You know how you can feel when two eyeballs are staring at you? I look up and it’s Danny. He’s a short, chubby ten-year-old who lives in the projects and is one of the fixtures around the office. A goofy, likable kid who does not do well in school. He seems to have purloined this oversized sketch pad, nearly as large as he his. He has it resting on his arched knee, and in his right hand is a pencil. He’s sketching me. He works furiously on this drawing and then positions his pencil, held up at me, as if to size up the subject of his portrait. this is a technique he has retrieved, no doubt, from cartoons. He works on the portrait and then stops and holds his thumb and pencil at me to, again, capture my essence. This cracks me up. It is completely charming and funny. So I laugh.
Danny gets quite annoyed, “Don’t move,” he says, with not a little bit of menace.
Well, this makes me laugh all the more to think it makes any damn difference if I move. I’m howling a lot now. Danny turns steely on me, not the least bit amused. He becomes a clench-toothed Clint Eastwood. ”I said, ‘Don’t move.’”
I freeze. I stop laughing, and he finishes the portrait.
Danny rips the sheet and lays the thing on my desk, revealing his obra de arte. And there in the middle of this huge piece of paper, about the size of a grapefruit, is me, I guess. Apparently, I been beat down with the proverbial ugly stick. It is Picasso on his worst day. My glasses are crooked, my eyes not at all where they should be. My face is generally woppy-jawed, and it is an unrecognizable mess. I’m kind of speechless. ”Uh, wow, Danny, um … this is me?”
“Yep,” he says, standing proudly in front of my desk, awaiting a fuller verdict.
“Wow, I hardly know what to say … I mean … it’s … uh … very interesting.” Danny looks a little miffed. ”Well, whad ya spect. YA MOVED.”
We squirm in the face of our sacredness, and a true community screams a collective “don’t move.” The admonition not to move is nothing less than God’s own satisfaction at the sacredness, the loveliness that’s there in each one – despite what seems to be a shape that’s less than perfect.”
Ch. Water, Oil, Flame
A great comment to add to our blog on female friendship, where we hope to encourage a “Don’t Move” approach to ourselves as women, the satisfaction of our own sacredness and the loveliness that lies in each one of us…
note: the title and content (minus my small note at the end) of this post is taken directly from the book Tattoos On The Heart. Authorship – Gregory Boyle.
We are hoping the readers of Let Me Be Me will weigh in on the
Samatha Brick topic!
Don’t know what that is? Samantha Brick posted an article discussing her own beauty (worth reading). She believes she’s attractive, but, as Jonalyn tweeted it, believes it “unapologetically”. The response has gone viral and people are responding strongly to her assertions. Some are claiming:
In an interview on the Today Show (worth watching and reading), she shared a few more details about the article…and we learn a bit more about this woman as a…real person.
She lives in the French countryside, has four dogs, a great group of girlfriends…and is quite surprised and hurt at some of the responses she has gotten. Is is possible she has been misunderstood? Is it possible that we have heard her spot-on (get it…a British saying…:) ) and that she should have posted an article on something a lot less inflaming?
In this blog on female friendship, Brick has given us some good material to work with!
So, Let Me Be Me readers…what are your thoughts?