I sit here this morning pondering the idea of friendship while listening to a millennial mix of trance and vocals. The kind of music that purposefully triggers one’s heart rate; the kind of music that gets you pumped. I love to play around with what may inspire me and improve my energy, especially while writing. Sometimes I have something to say, something my fear and shame keep me from saying. In these moments I seek connection with energy and focus. Something only afforded me when I’m able to tune out the constant babble in my mind. In these moments, I search and search for the right rhythm and beat to coax the truth out of me. The right bit of inspiration to allow me to overlook how uncomfortable I feel, naked, stripped of all armor and masks. The gentle rhythmic push of the perfect playlist.
Friendship & Codependency
So, I sit and allow the beats to push me as I reflect on my ability, or rather inability to effectually develop friendships. I’m not ignorant, I’m completely aware of the issue, it’s a simple one… I, like a great majority of our population, am a card-carrying, expertly-trained codependent. And codependency’s a BITCH! I don’t remember an age when I wasn’t thriving on the high of codependency, though I didn’t recognize it as such as a child. Somewhere along the way, I took it upon myself to pick up the problems of the world. First, graciously absconding with my parents’ worries, dramas, and glitches for the better part of 40 years. Then by opening the floodgates to bigger more worldly problems; problems I cannot control but still happily try to ‘fix’ in my codependent mind.
The truth is, I’m exhausted, and I truly want no part of it anymore. I no longer want to attract needy people into my life. This is not to say that I no longer want to serve my Lord and those He puts in my path to serve. No, this is to say, I no longer need to consume my mind, body, and spirit with other people’s opinions, manipulations, or dramas. Whatever that may look like, I’m done with it. No longer do I feel the need to seek my own reflection in the eyes of another. Gone are the days of seeking acceptance through servitude. I’ve shed it all, the desperate need to hide my truth and myself, the need for approval, and the need to carry everyone else’s burdens rather than my own.
The Pain of Pruning
There was a time in my life several years ago, when God started stripping me of my friends, but I didn’t see it that way then. At the time, I was devastated, and desperate to understand why people were turning their back on me. Turning, running, and judging at the darkest moment of my life. Now I look back and know that God allowed for a necessary pruning in my life, and reasoning beyond that will serve no purpose. I see now that I’ve never truly been able to manage friendships, especially multiple friendships, simply because I exert too much energy doing so.
In the past, I had a handful of women I considered friends, but honestly, they were all surface level friendships. I never allowed for more than that. I was able and willing to listen to their problems, consoling and comforting to the best of my ability, but I never shared. I was always better at listening than comforting. Hugs and tears made me very uncomfortable and sharing terrified me. I’ve always been the listener, the fixer, and the master chess player. A short list of perceived responsibilities created to avoid the truth. A set of roles used to protect me from looking within for the true and honest Aubrey.
Abandonment & Insight
People have come and gone in my life, triggering abandonment issues left and right, but these days I just don’t care. I realized recently that I’ve spent more time concerning myself with issues and relationships outside of myself and my immediate family for far too long. I have wasted so much energy trying to be the person ‘people needed me to be,’ that I never learned how important it is to lean in and love those who are the top priorities in my life. After God, Ed and Tristan are my number one priorities. If we, as a family haven’t mastered what is to live and love openly and honestly in our little slice of the world, how are we supposed to navigate the issues and burdens of the outside world? We aren’t!
I see now that people will continue to come and go, a necessary part of this beautiful journey, and I accept that. No longer will I feel slighted by the disappearance or disappointment of another, friends and acquaintances alike. I accept that people will walk away, and I will do the same. I will remain forever mindful that I need not seek an abundance of friendships nor acceptance from anyone other than God. The truth is, we cannot know who another is unless we invest the time to do so, which is a double-edged sword of vulnerability and expectation. In the end, there’s always a chance that the person you thought you could have a relationship with isn’t a good fit in your life. I imagine this to be true of a few people who have walked out of my life, and I get it. We either spend our lives hiding from the pain and anguish of disappointment, or we invest the time and energy in the relationships we see fit. I choose the latter.
No longer will I be dependent on the reflection of me in the eyes of another. Instead, I will forge ahead in this life, reflective of myself within myself, a true reflection of who God created me to be. A warrior who feels deeply, shares openly, and cries easily. A woman who will no longer be silenced and hushed for being too emotional or overly dramatic. A woman with an energy that loves deeply, something she will no longer apologize for. I will no longer hide from the pain and disappointment of this world. Instead, I embrace the journey. I embrace the pain and the beauty of peaks and valleys, the comfort and sadness of love and loss, and the raging waters of change. I embrace it all.
Photo by Tony Webster