I can’t stop the tears. I’ll wipe them from the corner of my eye down my cheek but the stream keeps flowing. “I’m sorry” she repeated. She was apologizing for double booking our lunch. For not being available and being on top of her schedule. I began to falter as she repeated the apology. I was smiling and shaking my head. You don’t need to apologize. “It’s fine”. While starting to simultaneously realize that no one apologizes for being shitty. “I want to see your story and honor your story”. “I”m sorry”. My freshman RD apologizing for not yet seeing me enough. I really have come round full circle. We made plans to drink wine together after graduation as a celebration. I returned to my room. To study. The tears met me instead. And the word trigger. Something about the way she interacted with me made me vulnerable enough to realize how independent and self reliant I’ve become. It’s been a theme lately, that I’ve been letting myself feel the pain of this independence. I’ve been allowing myself to realize that yes I am strong and to still feel the pain of not having people say sorry, not having people that SEE you. People that can look past that strength, that know you can bear it all but that come sit next to you and strengthen you by their presence by your side.
Don’t get me wrong. I have friends. They help me out. I’m not sure I have witnesses to my life. And that is probably why this RD from my freshman year triggered me so much. She knows where I came from. She knows who surrounded me and who has fallen away from me. And I am here. Still.
I was thinking the other day, looking through pictures that would be appropriate to send in for the Westmont senior slideshow. There is a certain type of picture it seems that they would want to represent your time at Westmont. Not many of my pictures match up to this. Not many of my pictures have people who ever were or who still are at Westmont. I thought of the group of girl friends that I am close to. I looked through their Facebook profiles and pondered how many pictures there are of all of them and I am only in a few. I wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact this isn’t something new. It made me remember something from 4th or 5th grade. My parents were meeting with the teacher inside the classroom. I was sitting on the tile floor outside, next to the door. It was funny because one would think that the parent-teacher meeting would signify some type of problem or discipline. I only remember the fact that Monsieur Fred told Mom and Dad that I was the only kid that didn’t pick on one of the girls in our class. All the other had signed a petition to exclude her… I never had difficulty dissociating from other’s actions. Freshman year I was yearning for something I wouldn’t have to dissociate with. I had felt so controlled my whole time growing up, now I was finally free and finally capable of truly taking advantage of all friendship had to offer!
I’ve been hurt a lot. These past years. I’ve always balanced between this disconnect and yet the desire to truly truly deeply connect and be seen and understood. The plague of Third Culture Kids. I’ve grown up away from those who were my blood, disconnected from those who would most clearly know my roots. How then is anyone ever going to know? Chemistry is a beautiful thing. Still… I think about those girls and wonder why up to this day though I know them to be my close friends, I still feel barriers. And then I wonder at those friends freshman year that I thought would be there forever and wonder as to why it all went into flames. Why we couldn’t grow together. I think of the only other friend that has seen me through it all, though we travelled different paths. How having her in Santa Barbara for the short amount of time I did brought clarity to my heart. Of how sweet it is to have someone that catches you and that you catch and push each other forward. I’ve thought about friend groups and wondered how they stay together. And it comes down to still being hurt and bruised. To being extremely thankful for the person I am today. Knowing I would not be who I am with those people still in my life but also continuing to reject the lie that I am alone, that I am ok and that no one needs to apologize.
I’ve been letting myself feel again. That is one of the blooming flowers. I really did use to numb myself so much. It can be scary. That those yearnings don’t necessarily go away. You would like to say you’ve found a way to not depend on them. To not cling, to not need. But we need each other. And it can be lonely out in the cold alone. But it is those times of cold that you stick it out and continue to smile that you might be surprised of people coming to bring you blankets. I’ve gotten so used to walking alone, though my heart is open when I don’t expect affection, generosity and love I am afraid of it. I am afraid it means something else. I don’t let myself admit that I need it. I would like it to overflow from me but I forget that I need sources of love as well. Just because I got tired of feeling unquenched. But blessings call on blessings.
I’ve been letting myself feel. I’ve been letting streams flow. I wan’t to remain true to my heart. There are many things I could think of saying still. And Ben Patterson might be right today about me thinking in feelings. I only wonder if the waters ever settle enough for me to realize where they fall or if the waves just crash and I learn how to ride them and the ocean is deep deep and I’ll never know where the currents come from.
I’m graduating on saturday! WOOT WOOT!