April 23, 2014

Making Friends is Scary.


I’m outrageous, outspoken, opinionated and outgoing, and inside I can still be found hiding in shyness.

She wrote something about taking five minutes to write raw. “Don’t stop. No editing. No thinking.”

Other writers’ do it. They’re good. I want to be good.

I also want to reduce the time I spend at the keyboard. Never bored, but time whittling away and there’s sunshine out there today.

I want to go out and play. I want to stay online and play. Or just observe from the sidelines like in elementary school.

Sometimes I comment on elephant posts. It’s not scary, anymore. I used to worry about what they might think. They: the other writers. Better writers. Do they judge my words, my style—me? Can I handle it if they do?

I want to fit in. I feel like a misfit. I want to be liked. Am I likeable? Do I really like myself? I think I do, even with that shamed child-me inside, tentative and trembling. Fear of rejection, criticism, words–no words.

I make up stories in my mind. We all do.

It’s not the same playground. It’s a grown up world. If I want to get on this merry-go-round, I just have to step up. Invite myself in and put myself out there. Someone will ‘get’ me. Maybe.

“All my female friends have come from [my career].” I told a new girlfriend the other day.

I didn’t meet her through work. She looked at me with a confused countenance. I didn’t make the connection.

Of course, she’s the first, and the relationship is relatively new. Out of habit I recanted my comforting, old tale, and in light of her company, a fib for sure.

In truth, most of the lady friends I hold dear have been introduced to me through my job. The career I cultivated for 20 years. The one I quit. I’d gotten used to living that story.

So I ran away to big cities to make new friends and influence people. There were few new friends save those I tripped over in my immediate vicinity. (Thank you, ladies.) “I’m not a joiner” is another story in my repertoire.

But with loneliness and ample time, I finally dropped my ego and picked up my pen. I found a new voice and wrote. I found elephant journal and waves of emotional freedom. And though I’ve connected with some fellow ej word-slingers, I also found myself longing for face to face real world company with family and old friends.

But not my old life. I wanted a new life, a fresh start, a new identity. Or, more likely, simply authenticity and acceptance. From myself as much as anyone.

Now that I’ve come to terms with this new path and identity, I’ve returned home to find long-standing friendships still steadfast and new faces friendly with reciprocating smiles. Were they always here? Did I not see them before? Did this place change or did I? Maybe we both did.

I ran away and found myself.

I haven’t completely let go of the edge of the pool within the elephant journal community, dare I write family, but I am in neck deep, still holding on, but kicking my legs.

And I’m starting a new story. Starting now.


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 Editor: Travis May

Photo: Pixoto


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