Growing up I never fully felt part of “the group.” Even in college surrounded by friends that were handed out like a jar of candy, I never fully felt like I belonged and ended up pushing people away. This is something that is hard to admit, write, and share as I spent the entire first part of my life pretending the opposite was true.
After college, my life turned around for the better. I made some financially risky decisions that paid off with some hard work, I had several groups of great friends, a home, a career, a yard, somebody who would do anything for me. But it wasn’t enough. I pushed it all away and left for the other side of the country in search of something more. A newer bigger home, a perfect partner, a sunnier climate, an even bigger group of friends.
I found that group of friends. I found them at 3am on Friday nights cuddled up on the couch with 6 others laughing. I found them at weekly dinners, movie nights, birthday parties, and countless nights out. It defined me. They were who I was. This is who I wanted to be.
For about 5 years my life revolved around being a part of “the group.” When something or someone threatened it, or even took it away from me I became outraged. The anger would consume me for months on end. I felt wronged. But I would find another group. It became this cycle of needing to be surrounded by this collective of people who embodied “fun,” and needing to be a key player in that group.
But the thing with these large groups of ‘friends’ is that collectively, they will always take the path of least resistance, the path that takes the least amount of “fun” away. So at the times in my life when I really actually needed a friend, the group was not there. The group was doing what the group always did. I slowly started to realize that if I wanted real relationships in my life, if I wanted the kinds of people that could peer into my soul and really see me, that would support me no matter what they saw, I had to completely change my surroundings. These weren’t bad people, in fact they were amazing people. But they were clouded by the same cloudiness I had. They needed the group to feel whole. They lacked an individualism, a drive to truly live their purpose instead of hiding behind the group, doing the same things day after day as the years passed by.
Before I moved back to the PNW I had many days not knowing if I’d ever find what I was looking for, thinking that real relationships were impossible or that I wasn’t deserving of them, or that it was too late for me to find them. I made a drastic move, a return to home, and a return to my purpose and desires. I know what I want, and what will actually make me happy. If staying in to read, paint, blog, or work on my business is what I need, I no longer feel a fear of missing out like I used to. I no longer feel the need to say yes just because a group of attractive, fun, like able people ask me to hang out. I no longer feel like somebody will “steal” my friendships if I’m not there to protect them. I’m showing up as me, and sometimes that means not physically showing up at all.
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