Over the past 5-6 weeks, I have had the privilege of taking a very good friend to her weekly radiation appointments. She discovered a brain tumor this past November and what unfolded next was a series of blessings.
When I heard the news, I immediately showed up on her doorstep with dinner and a big, fat hug. Her diagnosis was as much of a surprise to her as mine was to me. We definitely glossed over what that felt like and how surreal and quick it all happened. Ultimately, it became more about our weekly lunches and car rides because it was in those chats that we got to go a little deeper. She and I talk a lot about relationships because hers are similar to mine and we often marvel at the judgement, negativity and perception surrounding both. After one of our conversations, she paused and said, “why would anyone put someone else down for not doing enough for them”?
This has become clearer and clearer to me the more that I reconnect with lots and lots of amazing humans from my childhood. We are all, obviously, baby boomers – pushing 60 and we talk a lot about how much we have gained by this reconnection but how much we lost in our teens due to perception.
More clarity seeped in when one of my BFF’s invited me to a small dinner, last summer, with 2 other girls we grew up with. Our dinner and conversations were rich and open and raw and binding. The other two girls and I didn’t really know each other well in high school and although we were a tight knit group of 900 students, it was hard to be friends with everyone. The 4 of us walked out of the restaurant with a deep and rich love for one another which was not there at the beginning of our meal.
The next day, my BFF and I recapped the pervious evening and she told me how much her carpool buddy “loved” me. She also confessed that prior to arriving at the restaurant, the same carpool buddy was scared of me in high school? WTF? I couldn’t recall any event where I may have given her a reason to feel that way. My close group of friends (both male and female)were a bunch of super smart, funny, creative, cynical, middle class, confident, unstoppable teenagers. I never saw it as coming off as “cocky”, but I guess we were. And maybe that is what she saw? However, we were never “exclusive” and anyone and everyone was willing to hang with us – it was simply up to them to join our party. Free admission.
She was blown away by the fact that what she thought I was, was no where near what she had made up in her head. The carpool buddy and I have become friends and have had this very conversation. She and I are more alike than not and it’s amazing what we can all find out when we simply let go of the fear and ask. This has gotten all of us thinking, talking and ultimately sharing in a way that none of us ever expected. As we saunter into our 6th decade, we are all grateful that this is what it now is. That after 40+ years we are all able to release those judgements and perceptions by simply sitting in exactly who we are. And no one is making excuses for anything – we are all owning what needs to be owned.
Circling back to my friend’s “series of blessings”. She is blessed that the people around her recognized that something might be off and ushered her to the BEST doctors in Los Angeles. Blessed because she witnessed, as I did, who showed up for her in ways unimaginable. Blessed because she gets to look at life through a completely different lens and because of that we were able to have these awesome conversations about what “we are”. Going through the potential tunnel of doom, forces us to see things a little differently. And when we came out on the other side of that darkness, the light shined brighter and it was in that light that we were able to simply be okay with exactly who we were. Now accepting, that those that will continue to not take the time to really get to know us, no longer defines our outcome. And that is a darn good feeling!
What are you willing to release in order to accept yourself for exactly who you are?