April 28, 2013


Five Iron Frenzy 2: Electric Boogaloo
Five Iron Frenzy 2: Electric Boogaloo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It would be easy to be bitter about this. And I have been bitter. I have been cynical and angry and built up walls. I have stopped myself before I even started. About two weeks ago, at the monthly womens' ministry meeting, I stood up and read part of Five Iron Frenzy's song "Kamikaze".

i am so slow to commit 
i have wasted years on fences  
is is really true the shoes don't fit?  
is it only my defenses?  
what if i don't measure up,  
don't listen well, don't smile enough?

I've never entirely understood what made me a target, even as far back as preschool. One of my earliest fuzzy memories is of being slapped by a girl at her birthday party, back when you were obligated to invite everyone in your class. I'm not sure what I did to anger her, though I suspect that it was insisting on being included in an activity from which the majority had decided to exclude me. 
One of my best friends, who lives in another country and was a bully herself back in the day, acknowledges that friendship can be incredibly awkward. The fact that we can discuss that and most anything else is one of the reasons she IS one of my closest friends. 
Perfectionism is my enemy in all areas, including friendship. In some cases, I think female friendship is just as, if not more, idealized as romantic relationships. We expect it to come easy, with a prepackaged group of friends who are all equally close to one another and who will always stay in touch. We expect to experience the defining moments of our lives with them. We expect them to defend us and know us perfectly and give us epiphanies. 
But most of the time, I don't think it's like that. Sure there are exceptions, but they're exactly that: exceptions. When we expect perfection, we give up too easily. We get angry. We stop taking chances. We get cynical and wall ourselves off from the rest of the world. But when we do that, we're wasting our time. To go through life like a zombie, dead and hollow, is pointless.  
We're all scared. Scared to open up and be rejected. And we will be rejected. We will be betrayed. We will be abandoned and dismissed and ignored. I guarantee it. Even animals will eventually die and leave you heartbroken. Which is why we are slow to commit to anything, especially when there are setbacks. It's easier and safer to hang back, constantly weighing our options, not rushing into anything. There is a place and a time for all of these things. But eventually they just become excuses. 
There is also a place and a time for distractions, for jokes and movies and games. But they can become too distracting, they can keep our relationships surface and safe, giving us the illusion of real relationships. 
We are also afraid of not measuring up, of not being what people want us to be, what they expect us to be. It is exhausting to constantly try to figure out what people want and become that. I constantly question whether people genuinely want to be around me or if they are just being nice. I assume that I am little more than an annoyance. The past and the present both wound me. The awkwardness makes my skin crawl and makes me want to run home and hide under the covers sometimes. I often question why I bothered to come to a social event or plan one. 
English: Zombie walk in Pittsburgh
English: Zombie walk in Pittsburgh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But I think it's worth it. Because I don't want to be a zombie (except at zombie walk). I've tried that and it was draining. I want to keep taking risks. Even if I'm disappointed, even if I'm hurt. Even if I cry and feel like taking scissors to my arms. Because some days I laugh about scandalous ankles, some days I have friends over for dinner, some days I get surprise birthday presents. And because the very act of loving one another, makes us better, makes us alive. 
I'm going in, like a kamikaze. 3,2,1 I'm going in.
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