I always feel like it’s easy to drift, to detach yourself from people is the easy option – the real test is to find your people, and attach yourself to them and let them attach themselves to you too.
I spent so long feeling like my friends didn’t see me for who I was, really. So when I stood in my best friends kitchen recently, and she just outed me with her words – knowing me all along – it was hard not to just stand there and cry.
She told me she knew, why I didn’t want to go home all the time. Why I wanted to be the Funny One, and why I guarded myself so fiercely from sympathy. Because I wanted to fight for my identity, rather than be seen as someone to ‘feel sorry for’.
I never had to say it, but she knew, and she just accepted me, and shielded me at every moment she could.
And when she told me that, I realised I was never as alone as I had thought I was.
I hadn’t attached myself to a bunch of people that didn’t think to understand me, infact – I hadn’t attached myself to them enough, and they had loved me regardless. They didn’t love me despite my hardness, they loved me as well as.
When Dad was taken away, during the Worst Month – and I had scrubbed blood out the carpet until I couldn’t see for tears. I’d lay on his bed and cried because I was alone, again. Because this was the reality of life, for me. For Tom, when I was avoiding the place. But hours later my friends came, and rallied round me and took me away from the house where it all happened.
We actually ‘borrowed’ a car, but it was worth it – to feel the wind in my hair as we sped along, roof open. To hold hands with my best friends and for them to never ask too many questions. But just accept that whatever was happening, had happened.
And I was still me.
And they loved me, just as much as I loved them.
When I left them all behind, they accepted that I didn’t want to leave them. They didn’t try to make sense of things I wouldn’t explain. They just waited with open arms when I came back for them.
Conversations have always had pointed comments, dropped in here and there. They called me strong but never told me what for. They called me brave but never explained how. They told me I was loved, but never how deeply.
But I didn’t think to accept it, until now.
Even more so now than ever, because while everything else has changed. I am more ‘me’ than I ever was.
And they love me still.
No questions asked.
And that’s why I’m lucky, to have friends like these.