We used to be friends

Yesterday, I read a blog post someone wrote about her friend.  It was her friend’s birthday, and the post was a lovely tribute to a girl who means a great deal to her.

I read the post and smiled because everyone needs to have a friend who deserves to have lovely things written about her.  Then I forgot about it, until this morning.

Facebook – aah, Facebook – reminded me that today is her birthday.  If I had been cognizant of the date, I would have remembered.  But these days, each day is so much like the last – one day it was June 2nd, and now it’s Nov 7th.  And it’s her birthday.

If things had been different, this post could have been my tribute to her, much like the post I read yesterday.  Except we didn’t meet on a train, like in that story. She and I met before I even have real memories.  She was just always there.

She was in my life for 14 years.  She was my bestest friend and I loved her dearly.  Girls can be fierce when they are teenagers, but she was my compadre.  There were other friends who came and went, but she and I were always together.  We were a team.  If one of us was there, the other was always nearby.  More than friends.  She was my sister.

It was so long ago now, I don’t even remember what happened or why our friendship ended, but losing her was hard on me.  We connected a couple of times over the next few years, but there were other fights, other falling outs, and then for years, there was nothing.

And then Facebook.

A reconnection – one face-to-face – and then the sporadic connection here and there online.  But of course, not like it was before.  And how could it be? She’s a totally different person now, and so am I.  And we didn’t become these people on parallel paths.  I have no idea how she came to be who she is today. I’m sure she’s still a beautiful person, but she’s not the beautiful person I used to know.

Our friendship truly ended 17 years ago.  It has been over longer than it lasted.  But still, I remember – and I’m grateful for – the sister she was to me.

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Storytelling

We all have stories we tell ourselves about the people around us, about the lives we’ve lived, and about what our futures will be.  We create tales based on things people said, things we did, things we saw and things we want.  But of all these stories, the most powerful ones are the ones we tell about ourselves.

We tell ourselves stories about our worthiness, our intelligence, our abilities, our looks.  We make up stories about every single part of our lives, and then we live those stories out.  And too often, those stories suck.

We tell ourselves that we didn’t work hard enough.  We tell ourselves that we didn’t try hard enough. We tell ourselves stories about all the things we could have done and should have done and will never do.  We make up stories – and we believe these stories – about things that have happened in our lives, and then we spin those stories so they ultimately cast a dark pall over us.  Then we hide under this cloak of  stories for fear of what would happen if we came out and stood alone under the sun.

But what if we told ourselves new stories?  Stories that don’t say thinks like “I should have”, but rather, “I tried my best in that moment with what I had.  And that’s good enough.  And I can do it different in the future if I choose.”  What if, in our stories, we were always good enough. What if we were more than good.  What if we were great?

What if our life stories weren’t filled with doubt and judgement and shame and fear, but instead were stories of triumph and effort and heads held high even in defeat.  What if our stories were stories of love – for others, and our lives, and ourselves?

What if we took a chance to stand alone under the sun, faces upturned and smiling?  What if every story we had for our futures started with “I can” instead of “I wish”.  And what would our lives be like if we believed them?

It’s time we start telling ourselves new stories.  Stories where we are the winners.  Stories where we live with love and joy and overcome obstacles with grace and dignity.  Stories where it is okay to make a mistake – or ten – and where defeat doesn’t equal a diminishing of your worth or abilities or future prospects.

Tell yourself a new story about your life.  A story that starts and ends with you being wonderful and perfect and doing nothing wrong.  A story that is full of lessons and possibilities rather than mistakes and missed opportunities.

You will live the story you tell yourself, so tell yourself a story of love.  And believe it.