Don’t look at me (please) look at me.

 

“Peach, I just want you to know that I see you. I see that you’re saying everything is okay and that you’re fine… but you’re not. And it’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it. But I’m telling you that I see you, and I’m here.”

I froze on the other end of the line and sat there in stunned silence.

This meant I was failing at hiding everything that I knew would be a burden on my friends. After all, what my friends have been going through is so much more heavy/relevant/exciting than my boring things. And dammit, my other friends haven’t noticed anything was off, so how did this friend know?

Realizing how ridiculous I sounded even inside my own stupid head, I put the brakes on the negativity and figured it out.

It made me uncomfortable to be seen.

Since there was no way to wiggle out of it, I didn’t think. I just spoke whatever came to mind about how I was feeling, not caring how long I talked or what I said.  She listened until I finished and then just said gently, “see? that’s a LOT.”. I blew out a long exhale and said, “yeah… I guess it was.”.

Long after we hung up, I thought about how she knew anything was up. It wasn’t like I had let on outwardly that anything was wrong. Because oh, trust me – I have plenty of friends who would race to save me if I walked into a party with my skirt tucked into my thong, toilet paper dragging from a stiletto, and a rockin’ nip-slip going on… you bet I do. And no, I’ve never done that. Yet.  But I think it takes a special type of friend to know when you need a lifeline despite the fact that all outward appearances seem to be normal. This one brave woman had the courage to call me out my inner trainwreck when it felt like no one else gave a damn, and I loved her so hard for that.

Everyone needs friends who can see through the brave faces, the insistent ‘I’m fine.”s, and the plain ole bullshit. My friends’ gentle but blunt approach forced me to admit that I’d been shoving my own hurts aside to address the problems of everyone else, as if my own problems were of lesser importance. She made me acknowledge the value of my own needs and wants and admit that my ‘boring things’ are not boring. My things are heavy and relevant and exciting too, and she got it. She got me.

When that light bulb came on it felt like I was the toddler you discover out of bed at two in the morning, butt-naked and covered head to toe in chocolate frosting. I still felt like there was a cold breeze where there shouldn’t be, and I knew I was an absolute mess. But I was grinning anyway.

How could I not feel joy, knowing there are people in my life who love me no matter what kind of wreck I make of things? To have friends that know you better than you know yourself is priceless. Because when it comes down to it, we all just want to be seen, and heard, and truly understood. Even when it’s uncomfortable.
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Don’t look at me (please) look at me.

44 Responses

  1. “When that light bulb came on it felt like I was the toddler you discover out of bed at two in the morning, butt-naked and covered head to toe in chocolate frosting. I still felt like there was a cold breeze where there shouldn’t be, and I knew I was an absolute mess. But I was grinning anyway.” – Print it. Frame it. Bronze it. That is fabulous.

    When I Blink December 5, 2012 at 8:57 am #
    • I am humbled. Thank you. xo

      50peach December 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm #
  2. Love this. It’s exactly what I was journaling about this morning. I am a champion at pushing aside what I need and telling myself it’s not important. Time to stop. Thank you for sharing and being seen. :)

    Kristina December 5, 2012 at 9:02 am #
    • It’s good to know I’m not the only guilty party. Thanks for understanding me.

      50peach December 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm #
  3. Yes to that crazy push-pull of “look at me, look at me, look at me” and then “stop looking!!!!”. And I can so be the queen of looking after everyone else to the point where it’s REALLY hard to let go of that.

    Lovely writing…

    Sandra December 5, 2012 at 9:23 am #
    • Yes, you get it exactly. It’s incredibly hard to let the focus be on ourselves, even when we crave it the most. Thank you, Sandra!

      50peach December 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm #
  4. It is such a great feeling to open yourself up to someone and have that person accept you and love you and make you feel absolutely accepted. It’s hard to be that vulnerable but it feels so freeing when you let go. Very well written. :)

    Anne Marie December 5, 2012 at 9:28 am #
    • Freeing is such the correct word. Thank you, Anne Marie!

      50peach December 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm #
  5. We all need a friend like that. My best girlfriend may live several states away, but we’ve known each other since 8th grade, and we do the niceties and the “I’m fines” to each other all the time, but like your dear friend, we always know, and we always call each other out. I love this post, and it’s partly because it is written so well and partly because it reminds me of that friend. Hugs to you, sister!

    closefamilies December 5, 2012 at 9:29 am #
    • Thank you for sharing your similar friend with me. I’m so happy that my words felt familiar and reminded you of her!

      50peach December 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm #
  6. Everyone needs a friend like that. Your post made me think of the first time that I realized I had a friend who was really, truly THERE for me. Not just in a surface, “I’m fine” kind of way, but in a soul deep, “I really see you” kind of way. It is some kind of amazing, isn’t it?

    Samantha Brinn Merel December 5, 2012 at 10:03 am #
    • It’s an amazing kind of amazing. It makes me smile that this piece spoke to you…that makes it so worth writing. xo

      50peach December 5, 2012 at 2:55 pm #
  7. I’m a champion at hiding things. It’s great that you have a friend who will listen and sees those hidden things.

    Bee December 5, 2012 at 11:07 am #
  8. This post is so heartfelt and True. It gave me a good cry (Holly Hunter in Broadcast News-style) – which was well needed. Schoenen Dank.

    That Unique* Weblog December 5, 2012 at 1:20 pm #
    • Oh, love that movie! Better out than in, they say. You’re welcome. :)

      50peach December 5, 2012 at 3:09 pm #
  9. Thanks for the tears! This is the most beautiful post I have read in a long time. I was deeply in love with a man that could do just that. It amazed me that just from saying Hello he knew what I needed and pushed to make me get it out. You are so lucky to have this person in your life. Hold on tight! It sucks when they are gone.

    My Moms a Whack Job (@mymomsawhackjob) December 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm #
    • Jules, that’s the kind of love I’m holding out for. This gives me hope that it’s out there. As for this friend? Yeah… she’s stuck with me. :) Sending you big hugs. xox

      50peach December 5, 2012 at 5:54 pm #
  10. Having people in your life that really see you is so important. And it’s so awesome that you let yourself be seen, inner trainwreck and all. That takes a certain kind of strength. Great post!

    Larks December 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm #
    • You nailed it. This was one of the most difficult pieces to write and post… but these comments are making me so grateful that I did. Thank you.

      50peach December 5, 2012 at 5:55 pm #
  11. Having people in your life that really see you is so important. And it’s so awesome that you let yourself be seen, inner trainwreck and all. That takes a certain kind of strength. Great post!

    Larks December 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm #
  12. What a great friend, I’m glad you have her :)

    Stacie @ Snaps and Bits December 5, 2012 at 6:17 pm #
  13. I once bitched about my panic attacks when my friend was dealing with her dad’s death. I apologized to her & felt like carp when I realized it but she said something I never forgot. “Yeah, but your problems are as real to you as mine are to me. Never compare your problem to anyone else’s…they’re all important.”. Sometimes you need to vent as much as you listen to others vent…

    galarza9 December 5, 2012 at 6:58 pm #
    • Friends like that? Amazing. She gets it, and you do too. Thanks, hon!

      50peach December 6, 2012 at 9:41 am #
  14. Indeed! I am so very thankful for the friends I have like this. They believe in me even when I doubt every inch of my being. I’m glad you have folks like this that are there for you … for the ugly, and the boring, and the beautiful parts too.
    I’m doing a funny female book give-away for the holidays. You can check out the details here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/notappropriate4

    Angela Ryan December 5, 2012 at 8:09 pm #
    • Wouldn’t you like to kick that silly self-doubt right in the face?! I would. When I can’t, friends like these rock.

      50peach December 6, 2012 at 9:46 am #
  15. Peach, this is such a wonderful post! I love the writing and the message. I am sending it out to my friends who are like yours. BItches see me, thank god.

    outlawmama December 6, 2012 at 7:41 am #
    • Thanks for the love! And “Bitches see me, thank god.” <– Yes. :)

      50peach December 6, 2012 at 9:49 am #
  16. Great post. I am so happy you have that kind of friend, Peach. It’s so true that we all need to be seen. Thank goodness for the people who care enough to look beyond the “I’m fine” facade and make us talk about the truth. They are precious, indeed.

    Kathleen (@Michigan_Left) December 6, 2012 at 9:11 am #
    • Nail head. Thanks for understanding me, Kathleen. xox

      50peach December 6, 2012 at 9:50 am #
  17. I loved this, Peach! I have a friend like this. She just knows. And it’s because I don’t burden anyone with what I’ve got going on thinking everyone’s troubles are far worse than mine (most often they are). This friend sees right through and after we talk about it, I feel such relief that the weight is lessened by her hearing me. I’m so happy for you that you have one too!

    Gina December 6, 2012 at 10:39 am #
    • Exactly, Gina! Hugs to you and your awesome friend. :)

      50peach December 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm #
  18. Your friend is just lovely and I am so glad that she’s there to see your naked, frosting-covered ass.

    IASoupMama December 6, 2012 at 11:26 am #
    • Haha! I’m so glad … she …. is… too? Wait. That doesn’t sound right. :)

      50peach December 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm #
  19. How wonderful that you have a friend like this. I can’t imagine.

    Azara December 6, 2012 at 5:21 pm #
    • It’s incredible. And humbling. :)

      50peach December 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm #
  20. Oh sweet Peachy, you are right. We all do need a friend (or 5!) like that.
    I am so glad that you were able to speak your mind and feel better! xo

    Dawn Beronilla December 8, 2012 at 9:10 pm #
    • Thank you, Dawn! xo

      50peach December 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm #
  21. I loved this so much when i read it the other day. I’m sorry it took me so long to comment. I’m glad that friend was there for you and that you have that friend in the first place. It really is so important!

    Michelle Longo December 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm #
    • No sorrys allowed, Michelle. Thanks for coming back to leave me some love. Hugs to you.

      50peach December 12, 2012 at 11:16 pm #
  22. I think we’d be these kinds of friends. The kinds of friends that just knew. I’m glad you have that person. Hugs to you and all your non-boring shit. xo

    shannon December 12, 2012 at 3:44 am #
    • I think we would be too. Hugs back at you and all your snarky-face pics. xo

      50peach December 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

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