It dawned on me the other day, after I received some sort of comment/message from someone who told me something made them think of me, and inspired them to do something, that I am often surprised by the thought that people think of me when I am not standing right there in front of them.
I have a come a long, long way from that shy, insecure girl who thought there was no point in living because no one would miss her. Yet, I am still surprised when someone likes me.
I am surprised that you call me friend.
I am surprised that you think of me.
I am surprised that I have inspired you to do something, or challenge yourself.
I am surprised when you compliment me and tell me I’m funny, or kind, or fun.
I have no idea why you want to be my friend. Not because I don’t think I am worthy of friendship, or love, but because I can’t think of what might have clicked with you.
This isn’t one of those “woe is me” moments. I am not wondering if I am good enough for anyone, or not enough. It’s more that sometimes I have this moment of clarity and realize just how surrounded I am by friends – amazing friends – and surrounded by so much love. These are all things I never thought I would have, or be worthy of, for such a long part of my life.
I was shy. I was terrified of what people thought of me. I thought myself ugly, boring, invisible. I never thought I’d have true friends. Friends who would accept me as I am. I was constantly worried that I would offend someone, or do something to make people leave me.
Then, one day, I stopped caring. As I got older I grew so tired of spending energy worrying about other people, and just started being me, and not caring about what I was wearing, or saying. I would rather choose comfort over fashion and name brands. I would rather stay home and read than go out to a crowded, loud place where you can’t actually converse with the people you’re with. I started to make my own decisions about what I liked to do and I was sure I’d be alone in my life forever.
A funny thing happened, people came to me, and befriended me. Wary at first, slow to trust, I didn’t let myself believe these friends would stick around. But it was ok. I had learned to love myself and I would be ok without close friends.
And I lied to myself for many years about how I didn’t have friends. Again, not in a “woe is me” way, but because I wasn’t actually looking at what was in front of me. I was so used to keeping my head down and not making eye contact.
There are moments in life when you really learn who your friends are. When you look up, feeling alone, and realize that you’re not alone. In fact, you’re in the middle of a circle of people who are covering you in love and support and helping you stand, and fighting at your back.
And when I really open my eyes, and look at what’s right there in front of me, I know I am not alone. And I am overwhelmed by the number of people I have opened up my life to. The people who love me, and care about me, and support me. I have a small, close group of friends that to me are family, but I have an outer circle of friends that give me extra protection from my demons. They circle the smaller circle, and they might not know all of my deepest, darkest secrets, but I know I can count on them, and they can count on me.
I felt so alone and unworthy for so long, that when you tell me you have thought of me because you saw something, or read something, or whatever – it surprises me. I felt so insignificant for so long, that when you tell me I have inspired you to do something – it surprises me.
I wonder, “Why?” Why did this make you think of me? Why did I inspire you? What did I do, that I thought wasn’t a big deal, that made you think “wow. I can try that!”. Why do you like me? What is it about me that you love?
I am not asking these questions to the world for answers. This isn’t a post written to fish for compliments or attention. It’s just a post in response to a very vivid realization I had the other day. I know I am not alone in these thoughts. I know others wonder why someone likes them, or why they have inspired someone, or why someone might find something that reminds them of their friend.
We all have insecurities. We all wonder if we are enough, or worthy. We are. We truly are. And you know, telling someone “Hey, I thought of you today because I saw this *whatever*, and it made me smile and think, *so-n-so* would love this!” might just mean the world to the person you’re thinking of. That person could be sitting at home, feeling alone or miserable, and then being told they made someone smile, or whatever, is such a warm feeling.
And I will always be surprised when someone wants to be my friend. I will always be surprised when you tell me that something made you think of me. I will always be surprised to realize how much love and support I have cocooned around me. But I will never, ever feel alone and unworthy again. I love myself. I love being myself. And I love that I have friends and family who love me for being me.
So, thank you for surprising me.