What I’m about to write is what I like to call vomiting on my keyboard. These thoughts have been floating around in my head for a while now, and sometimes the only way to make sense of them is to write them down. So here we go…
For most of my life, I’ve been the one that tries to make people feel comfortable. I was the one who would help those without friends have a friend. I was the one who would sit by the lonely girl who was a little bit different than others. I was the one who would at least try to have a smile even when I didn’t feel like it. But then chronic illness struck. All of a sudden I was the weird one. I was the one without the friends. I was the one who wished that someone would come sit by me when I was lonely. I was the one who was hoping that someone would offer a smile.
See, believe it or not, I am not a naturally outgoing person. I’m a quiet, keep to myself kind of girl. Even when I was healthy, it took a lot of energy to be friendly to the sad and lonely ones. It wasn’t always the most convenient to not sit with the people I was most comfortable with. Sometimes it was awkward, but sometimes I met some really interesting people. Sometimes I made some really great friends.When I got sick, the extra energy it took to make conversations and put myself out there was no longer there. Of course at first, when I was having a feel good day I’d still try to put myself out there and be friendly and outgoing, but my health is unpredictable, which means that sometimes, all I can offer is a friendly smile. I don’t have the energy to shout over a group of loud people. I don’t have the energy to assert myself in social situations anymore. I don’t have the extra energy or emotions to start a conversation with someone or try to make a friend, and be blown off or treated as less than someone else. I hate it that I can’t always be consistent in my level of outgoing-ness. I hate that sometimes I can’t always make it to social events. I hate that I’m not always able to make the lonely one feel welcome.
What I long for, is that someone who was healthy, would see me as the lonely one. That someone would make the first move and try to be my friend. It’s a little selfish, yes. But if someone would treat me the way that I treated so many other lonely people than it would really make a difference.
But do you know what I’ve decided, I’ve decided that I can’t always sit around wishing that someone would try to be my friend. Sometimes people aren’t even thinking about being friendly, and while their behavior does affect me, wishing and hoping that they would change and perceive me differently is completely useless. So instead, I’m going to do the best that I can. I’m going to be friendly and outgoing when I can, and be quiet when I need to be. I can not take it upon myself to change the hearts or minds of others. I can only the best that I can for what I’ve been given.
For the people that have noticed me, for the ones who have looked at me and smiled, know that it means more than you will ever know. For the ones who don’t get upset when I have to cancel plans, for the ones that come sit by me and try to be a friend, you are the ones who make a difference. I remember those smiles and friendliness and sometimes they are what gets me through the week. I look back to those moments and am so so thankful for them.