within the last few months, i have met several new people who are now friends or near friends. these new people and i, i have found, seem to have many things in common - not just your typical things, either, but tiny, almost-random things that you would never expect to share with someone else. many differences come up as well - different backgrounds, different viewpoints, different beliefs. and, within the discussions of similarities and differences, within the discussions in general, i find pieces of me. others in my life might not have hit on these particular things (other people in my life bring out other sides of me), but these new friends are helping to highlight (i'm watching) new and different parts of me.
these new friends know it takes a while for me to open up and a while to get to know me; they know i'm just as silly and random as i am quiet and full of thought; they are learning my past and what has brought me here; they know i eat incredibly slow and drive a little too fast; they know i'm passionate about music (notice the foot tapping), writing and nursing; they know i can handle being picked on; they know i'm always thinking. they've been there.
my family knows i'm hard-headed and that when i make up my mind about something, it's next to impossible to get me to reconsider; they know i keep to myself a lot but, when i get to a point of opening up, i'll talk and talk and talk; they know i don't enjoy talking when i first wake up and that i'm moody; they know i'm a constant worrier and that i play with my hair when i get upset; they know conan and kristen wiig and home movies and dinner conversations make me laugh until my stomach hurts; they know how i have to have my diet coke; they know i have to keep the radio volume on an even number and how obsessive-compulsive i am about hand-washing. they've been there.
my friends know that i laugh excessively when i'm embarrassed or put on the spot; they know that club-type music makes me nauseous; they know i can take a joke and pick on me about being mathematically and directionally challenged and queen of the bedpans; they know i'm a smartass; they know i love taking pictures; they know talking about guys makes me blush; they know i'll always choose blue and sweet tea and that i'll almost always be wearing a cardigan. they've been there.
my family and friends - they've picked up on these things for years and have shown me how i am. i've found these things in them (they've shown me), but i didn't find these things in them (they're mine). (i hope that makes sense). and, lately, along with my newest friends, they have shown me that i'm coming back.
after going through what i did last year, parts of me shut down, parts of me were lost, parts of me were found.
in losing pieces of yourself, you not only find new, different pieces, you also realize what parts you can let go of. i'm almost beginning to think that what was lost was not really me. the parts of me that "survived," and the parts i'm finding these days - this seems to be the real me.
those "surviving" pieces come, in a large part, from my family and friends who i have always known. the new, different pieces i have recently found (or rediscovered) - they come from the newest additions to my life.
although i have known and found a lot of myself in the people who make up my life, i have learned lately (i've been learning) how important it is to know yourself first. in the past, i walked into a relationship hoping to find myself, looking for me in them, relying on them for me. given this, you can imagine how lost i felt when a relationship ended. i lost myself. at least, i thought i had. really, i had just lost who i thought i was and who i was in that relationship.
"i used to think someday i'd relax a little and be more like you. then i realized how silly that thought was. i needed to stand in my own shoes."
now, i'm walking into new friendships with people in an altogether different way - knowing myself first (or, at least, getting there) and bringing me - instead of looking for myself in someone else. and what i've found lately in new friends are the things i already knew, on one level or another, about myself. they, just like my family and friends, just bring out those pieces of me. i'm no longer looking. it's just there. they've been there.