Do you ever have a conversation with someone when you’re going through something that may or may not contain specific details, or even necessarily be about what’s happening that really changes your perspective?
When I was in highschool I had a male best friend. He was amazing, I had never in my life felt so comfortable talking about things with anyone else. We saw each other nearly every day and barely went a day without talking on the phone. Eventually of course, gossip caught up with us and people starting believing that we were dating. While we both denied it I think that’s really what started me thinking “hmmm, maybe we sort of are”. My senior year of highschool we were supposed to go to the fall dance together but he got really ill and wasn’t able to go. I was in my dress with hair done and ready to go when he had to cancel. I did cry.
Not long after, I became good friends with a girl in one of my classes that I only really knew peripherally before hand. We had SUCH a good time together that of course before long the three of us hung out together. Then they started dating. For real. I’ll never forget riding in the car with him when he finally made his confession to me that they had made out after a party and he really-really-really liked her. Good lord, stab me in the heart with a knife and then TWIST it why don’t you?! I was heart broken. Genuinely heart broken. I had a list of “why”s a mile long. I mean Why her? What’s wrong with me? We had such a good time together and had been that way for so long, if he’s going to chose someone to date, why not let it be me? And her! She was my friend? How could she do this when she knew I liked him?!
Then perhaps even worse than the car ride conversation was after they had been dating for a few weeks he called me up to find out why I had been giving them the cold shoulder and why was no longer friends with her. (men) Then he said she told him it was because I had a crush on him and was that true. That definitely rivaled the car conversation for the winner of my most awkward and painful conversation of my life. I mean seriously, think back to when you were 17 and how would you like to confess your feelings for someone you knew preferred someone else? Major embarrassment.
I was in a funk for a long time.
Very long. Now I had lost my best friend to my other closest friend and neither of them wanted anything to do with me.
I’m sure it was several months into this grieving process when I had a dream that helped me more than anything else. In my dream I was at camp with this boy named Matt who 3-4 years prior was my first kiss (ever, at camp, very cliché) and in the dream he came right up to me and grabbed me by both shoulders real steady and looked directly in my eyes and said “are you ok?” and I said “yes”… but in a way that sort of brushed off the question and this dream Matt gave me a gentle shake, squinted and said “are you sure?” and I briefly paused and said “yes, I’m going to be ok” as though after a brief pause for consideration I knew with certainty that yes, I would be ok.
Earlier this spring when I was at perhaps one of my lowest points in recent memory, perhaps ever, I was in the computer lab at school when I ran into Dan and had a similarly moving conversation. I came over to see how he was doing and make some small talk. I was going through the motions of life while I felt like my world was falling apart when I asked Dan how he was. Dan is a case manager for mentally ill patients and had a self-described worst day of his life. He went to make a house call to pick up his favorite patient for his doctors appointment that day and found the door unlocked. He then found his patient inside laying face down in a pool of blood. Dead. I couldn’t believe what he was telling me. He was so upset, but seemingly had it all together. Then Dan said to me, “You know, SSFB, we go through life thinking everyone else is doing fine. That everyone’s life looks good from the outside and that’s what they want us to think. Like you always look good, get good grades, and say you’re fine in passing, but no one really knows what you’re going through right now either”
I was borderline speechless and I don’t remember what I said, but I know I didn’t hang around too much longer after that because I didn’t want to cry at school, I much prefer to keep up the act that everything was fine.