My friend has been going through a hard time lately. She doesn’t talk about it much, I am not sure if she knows how. It has not been easy to see her like this; so tired and worn out, just sort of going through the motions. Stuck on autopilot. She thinks she’s passing, and maybe to some people she is; maybe some people actually believe the facade they put up to hide how truly empty they feel. But not me. I know them better than anyone.
My friend is one of the most ambitious people I have ever met; they have so many goals and dreams and plans. They give themself such a hard time when they make the smallest mistakes. She expects too much from herself. I’m not even sure if she realizes how many of the expectations that she puts on herself are ones she doesn’t even want to carry, she just holds onto them because she feels like she has to. She never stops to ask herself where the hell these heavy expectations came from; she just keeps bearing the weight, even as it starts to hurt. They have never known how to let things go.
My friend tells me that she recently got her heart broken. She is devastated. I tell her to move on and they tell me they can’t, not when they still need to see her around. She says it feels like each time she gets close to forgetting, she sees her face and it all comes flooding back. She says it is like she cannot remember the memories they shared, yet all the while she is praying to God she’ll forget.
I wish i could remember/i wish i could just forget.
She doesn’t talk about it much. She has a hard time bringing it up, but I can tell it still weighs on her, even months after it abruptly ended. She goes quiet when people start talking about relationships. Her face sinks when she hears her name. She does not talk about her future partners anymore, as if they do not exist. Sometimes I hear her up at night, alone in her bedroom as she cries heavy sobs into the tiger stuffed animal she clutches to her chest. She mumbles through her tears, telling God how much it hurts.
It hurts so fucking bad.
This happens to her a lot. She meets someone and instantly falls in love. She will swear that this time is different; she will not rush it or hold on too tightly; she will not be the one who cares too much.
But I know how much she cares, even when she tries to play it cool. I know that after acing their big class presentation, they still sat in the corner and cried because no amount of applause mattered from anyone else to them except that from one shallow, selfish woman, sitting in the corner of the classroom. I don’t know why out of all the voices, she always chooses to listen to the meanest ones.
My friend tells me about how weak love has made her feel. Like she does not have the capacity to open herself up to it again. Life has given her too many heartbreaks and all way too close together. She tells me that she will never fall in love again; she had it decided. I indulge her for only a moment; I know how real it feels to her. I give her a moment to vocalize her deepest fears.
I am so afraid i am going to be alone forever.
I let her sit there for only a moment before I remind her that she is worthy of love. No one deserves love more than she does. Ever since I have known her, they have been trying to pour love into everyone they meet. She usually thinks of others before she thinks of herself and she has a tendency to underestimate her own needs. I tell her that when she goes to fill others cups, not to forget her own and not to forget to fill it to the brim.
My friend has no idea how brilliant she is. She apologizes for talking too long and always worries that she is not making any sense. She thinks her words are little ramblings like thunder from a rainstorm. She has no idea her words are like hurricanes. Powerful. Destructive. Awe-inspiring. And little girls were not supposed to be hurricanes. For most of her life, she was told to make herself smaller, more containable. She forced herself into a box where she could not be in anyone’s way. Slowly, she tried to make herself disappear from everyone.
I think she still believes to be invisible.
She goes about her life being afraid of her own power. Terrified of being seen.
I wish I could show my friend all of the beauty that is inside of them. I wish I could tell them to have courage; that the world needs what she has. Her love, her compassion, and her creativity bring such beauty to life, even her tears will go on to water the flowers that bloom in their gardens. My friend, who thinks that she will be swallowed up by fear, radiates bravery and strength to everyone she passes.
I think she is the bravest person that I know.
Her life has never been easy nor as she ever expected it or wanted it to be. She thrives off of challenges and never gives up, even when it is hard. She has overcome chronic illness, unemployment, heartbreak, homelessness, depression, anxiety; her world has ended a million times and each day, she still finds the strength to get out of bed, even when it feels worse than pulling teeth. Not only does she show up, but she brings all of herself every time. Her pain, her sadness, her joy, her doubts; she wears it all on her sleeve. Although she has been faced with a sea of hurt, she steps into her life with her arms wide open, ready to embrace whatever comes her way. She knows love takes courage and vulnerability and the willingness to get your heart splattered all over hell again and again and again.
My friend is strong yet soft. She is gentle. They are fierce. They are indestructible.
She is me.
I am the bravest person that I know.