Hello. It’s the afternoon after. The afternoon after a very special day that was had.
A lot of people have reasons for not being ‘birthday’ people, but I defintiely am one. Especially loved ones. I love spoiling them with gifts in either the traditional sense of physical presents or in words or even in love (sorry for the cheese) that are personal to my relationship with them. When it comes to my own I’ve always cherished and valued a strong beautiful network of individuals and power duos (I love a good couple) around me and I’m not afraid to mix them. I’ve got people from all walks of life from different stages in my own. I’m grateful. I’m proud of these. Relationships need nurture. Like plants they need food. Room for growth. Occasionally leaves will fall off but you won’t love people any less and maybe they’ll grow back. With nurture. If not, tend to others with more care. New life can grow. Roses have thorns but we mustn’t be afraid as Labrinth sang, “deep beneath your beautiful”. I’m no ‘angel’. I’m not perfect. I’m a fan of imperfection to an extent. It gives character. It makes people who they are. It also gives a bit of lose / lose situation when it comes to expectations though. Something I know many of us (myself included) struggle with in relationships. The sooner we accept this though then the sooner we can flourish. We’ll probably have to remind ourselves time and time again about this but that’s okay.
However, people use the F word (friendship) like they use the ‘Love’ word sometimes. They exaggerate it. Do they really love – like love it/him/her? Do they say it for personal gain? When it suits them? You’re going to come across your ‘social’ friends, your ‘when they want something’ your, ‘there for the good only’, but as you get older your tastes, tolerance and patience may change.
As I said, I have huge gratitude, huge, (for no matter what’s going on) I don’t half have a circle. It’s beautiful. It shrinks and expands. It’s flexible. It gets pushed to the edge. It’s magical. When depression hits I’m partially blind to it. Vision is blurred. They may be there but I can’t see or feel them. It’s hard for both parties. One thing I noticed yesterday (my actual birthday and in the lead up) though, is how my current circle is with my mental health. I’ve been grateful for not having had many judgemental experiences with friendships and MH problems but recently my circle surpassed all possible ‘expectations’.
Anxiety often isn’t rational. It can be triggered by past experiences and dented trust but it can manifest even if you’re most confident in areas of your life. That’s why it can often be quite destructive and debilitating. My circle has had patience and compassion and are still there. Standing tall. Where recently I’ve struggled, changed plans a little last minute, not commmunicated to my best standard or in better ways, they’ve just…got it. Better still, told me it was okay. “I understand”. “No problem.” “No worries.” “No pressure.”
Now ofcourse it was my birthday so what I did was always going to be down to me but it was that empathy and the listening and the treating anxiety seriously that blew me away.
I wasn’t drinking much to begin with and my senses were heightened. I was over-aware of what was happening. Who was talking to who, had I spent time with that person? They travelled all this way for me. They bought me a gift. All things which can be ‘normal’ on special occasions stood out to me and towered over like overwhelm. When I mentioned this to friends they reassured me. “It’s okay.” “I didn’t notice”. “You’re doing fine”. Like a real network of understanding.
I had a moment later on in the evening where tears filled my eyes with happiness and emotion that so many people were with me who love me unconditionally. Anxiety or not. Better still, they impressed me with their attitude towards this.
Now unfortunatley my anxiety won’t register in my brain for me to remember this and I’m sure by the next social occasion (or on others) I’ll have the same rational or irrational thoughts and paranoia creeping in. But if I know this is how my circle operate, I know I’m in safe hands.
I always try and (re)introduce people to each other and sit with them to check in especially at larger functions or first times – where you begin to build relationships because I know what it’s like being at the party of a friend who just leaves you to it with your anxiety multiplying by the second. “They think I’m weird” “they were laughing at me” etc etc.
How is your circle? Build your circle with solid bricks. If you know someone has an anxiety problem, check in, reassure.
There’s no feeling like it.
Thank you to everyone in my circle. In my blossoming garden. Even when the storm comes, the roots hold me tightly. Insecurity turns secure.
It might get boring to keep reminding and reassuring but, you’re making a difference with your kindness and compassion.