I haven’t been very open in regards to friendships in the early years of my adult life. It is a hybrid marriage of a strange side effect from depression in my early twenties and the fact that I am just a homebody person by nature. It got very bad, being “blatantly anti-social” my boyfriend called it and I just agreed and continued on. I hid behind the busyness of school work and deflected the fact that I have no social friends because I had work friends and that was enough.
But there was no life.
In an act of triumph against my depression I made one social friend, and he is an awesome friend. Tony will forever be a piece of my life, and has inserted himself as family. It also helped that he could be a homebody himself, and our personalities like all great friendships were not the same but compatible. He was the first step into finding a new version of myself, one that is not awkward and uninviting. It was much easier to be in a social setting with a friend to do this with. You never think about it like that until you literally don’t have a girlfriend to do things with. I should mention that Tony is a gay man and loves himself as I love him just the way his is. Getting my girl time back allowed me to realize just how much I was missing it. Not only was I able to slowly come out of my shell in my own time, but pushed to break through it as Tony saw fit. Pulling me out of my comfort zone as girlfriends often do, and allowing me to realize things about myself that I didn’t think were issues. For me those issues were being social, and not just being social but actually liking being social.
I carried my progress with me to new jobs and sporatic new acquaintances until setting at a job where I’ve been for a few years now. This job has allowed me to gain more friends that have not been pushed into the “work friends pile” in my social setting. I find myself remembering what it was like to have people to confide in, to laugh with and have inside jokes with. I haven’t had that in such a long time that I had become lost in the secluded world I had created for myself. And it wasn’t easy on their part either, prying into my personal life, creating space for themselves into my daily happenings with the interest that only friends have.
And I unbeknownst to myself I allowed them in.
I slowly but surely found myself in the middle of friendships. Without even trying. That’s what makes it easy doesn’t it? The fact that it is effortless? And I hadn’t realized what happened until I found myself sitting in an essential oil seminar on a Saturday morning before my work shift. Sitting there allowing a stranger to spray me with Peppermint oil (“for cooling purposes”) I had a friendship epiphany. Not only was I there to support a friend who was holding a class, I was there so my other friend wouldn’t have to sit through an oil seminar alone. I was being a friend to two people at once. I must admit that I blacked out a little during this seminar to really take in what was happening around me. It could have been the oils, it could have been the fact that the Peppermint oil was placed somewhere around my temples and my eyes started watering but I almost lost my composure in front of a stranger and cried at where I had found myself on that Saturday morning. I had found myself being a friend.
Everything that I had been missing with close friendships I had found, but I hadn’t really understood that by doing something for them, I was doing something for myself. If they were friends to me then I had to be a friend back, and I hadn’t been a friend to anyone including myself in a very long time. But that’s the great thing about friends right? You don’t know what they do for you until you actually do something for yourself. You don’t know how cooling Peppermint Oil is until you let a stranger spray you.