People

It started in Cleveland. The demolition of my latest idea that I didn’t like being around people. Because they “didn’t get it.” And because I started to assume the rest of my social life would be an awkward dance of well-intended but terribly executed stabs at encouragement.

You’re young. You have all the time in the world.

There are other ways to have kids.

I think over the last six months or so I’ve been drawing into myself. Keeping close to my family and socializing with coworkers (out of necessity), but even inching back a little from the few great friends I have. And church? Only if Trev drags me. I can’t tell you how much I dread the how-are-you’s.

How am I? I’m the same—it’s still happening.

So it’s easier to stay at home.

Fortunately, I had all of my bitter jerk-face boundaries stripped from me when we drove across the country to Ohio for Christmas. When we rolled up to Trev’s hometown, we essentially dove into a three week hangout with his family and best friends. Our schedule was filled every other night.

This is where Cleveland comes in.

Kyle and Kaitie are dear friends of Trev—very dear. When our TV is on sleep mode, it turns into a slideshow of some of Trev’s favorite photos, a majority of which were captured during his month-long trip to Scotland with Kyle. Anyway, we planned to stay with them and their (adorable-as-heck) 1 year old son so we could actually hang out for the first time since I crooked-foot swaggered into my husband’s life.

It was the best day I’d had in a while. Cleveland was amazing and I clicked with Kaitie instantaneously. After a few hours in the city, we capped the night with tacos and mules and maybe some stellar dance moves in the kitchen before eventually making our way to the couch.

I cozied up to Trev and they started asking me how I was doing with the kind of no really how are you tone I’ve learned to take seriously. So I told them, honestly, what was going on and how it felt. Then Kaitie looked at me and simply said, “I can’t imagine,” then kind of chuckled, “I have the opposite problem.”

She joked about being one of those “sneezes and gets pregnant” types—something along those lines. (Sorry if I’m botching this, Kaitie!) I don’t know the entirety of her story, but what I do know is beautiful. Kaitie is a birth mom and now she and Kyle have a son together. We are, in that sense, opposites. She’s someone my bitter, pain-bruised heart would have flagged as wouldn’t understand/couldn’t understand. But there I was, on her couch in Cleveland in tears, fully understood and utterly at home.

Shows what I know.

And the good human interactions kept going. It happened again.Three days later I found myself in a coffee shop in Toledo knitting and nerding out on Stephen King with a girl named Greer. She’s even cooler than her name sounds and we started a long-distance spooky book club before the day was over.

I haven’t told her this, but that day reminded me that human connection is freakin’ fun. It was the second nudge out of my social hibernation. (Thank you, Greer! PS: Spooky Book Club is officially on my #SurvivalThrills list.)

One month later, back in California my sister lovingly forced me into a ladies night in my own home. Cheese, snacks, tequila, talks. And after cheers-ing in the kitchen to “new pals” and a couple silly things, I was reminded I was glad for the company.

Sensing a pattern? Yeah.

Then, just a few days ago, a coworker-turned-pal asked me about the fertility thing I planned to start in a few weeks. I told her it made me a crazy person and I wasn’t looking forward to it.

“I am!” She responded. I had to read it again. She’s 20, single, and endo-free. Our main relating points are work, Wes Anderson, Hippo Campus, and Bob’s Burgers. I’m a huge fan of hers (and her rad blog), but I was honestly surprised at her kind of bold response to my *womp womp* reservations about fertility treatment. I read her text again.

“I am!”

And in three sentences, this girl who by my bitter bratty standards “couldn’t/shouldn’t understand,” reminded me there is something beautiful and thrilling about watching a story unfold. Despite the fear and pain in the plot line—or, maybe because of it.

This is the part where Jesus elbows me in the shoulder (all in fun) and says, “See? You’re an idiot. And I love you.”

God might not be healing me right now, but He is showing me things. Like how people are great and I’m better not-alone. And sometimes I’m my own arch nemesis. (Not even endo.)

So I might not join a small group tomorrow or anything, but you will see me shimmying my way into more social situations as they come. With a smile and with gratitude for the stellar humans God is placing in my proximity.

Survival Thrill #2: People.

6 thoughts on “People

  1. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who isolates when I get one too many cheerful, “How are you’s?” even when they know I’m in pain. Is anyone out there even a wee bit intuitive and empathic? Thanks for reminding me to hang in there for the gems who do show up and love in a way I can feel it. 🙂 They are treasures and Jesus with skin on! Praying for you!

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    1. I definitely know the feeling! But I’m also learning sometimes lack of empathy is simply lack of understanding/knowledge of the thing. Unless someone has experienced it themselves or watched it tear someone close to them up, it’s hard to actually grasp the idea of literal constant pain. Though that doesn’t make it easier on the receiving end. Just a thought. And I’m really one to talk given I’m sometimes internally vicious, judgmental, and trigger-happy towards the “well meaning” when I’m in pain myself. (Jesus forgive me haha.) I hope more and more of those treasures surround you as you deal with this gnarly stuff. I’m with you! 💕

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      1. Thanks a bunch, Hannah! 🙂 That’s very true. You understand. Haha… trigger-happy… I get that. I don’t wish pain on anyone… but open listening and gentle presence are awesome gifts when I’m in pain. Keep sharing with your wonderful writing skills.

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