We even had prizes for Christmas attire: Ugliest sweater, Most Festive, and Prettiest Sweater. Guess which person won each prize from the picture below:
I am so thankful to have such good friends.
In my first marriage my husband and I were everything to each other–just like in love songs and romantic movies–but we didn’t have many friends. Perhaps at some level we feared that if we told people what our relationship was really like, they would see how fragile our marriage was.
I believe that lessons are often learned from tragedy, pain, and hardship–particularly lessons you don’t want to learn. What I learned from that relationship is that no single person can be everything you need. And when you lose that person who has tried to be your everything, you are left with nothing.
So I vowed never to allow myself to be that socially isolated again, and I have done a pretty good job of honoring that commitment. In addition to playing and captaining all of those tennis teams, I also organize most of our social events and play the MC at the parties, making sure that our time is evenly spent between eating, singing karaoke, and playing board games.
However, I am still more inclined to play the role of therapist with my friends than friend in need. And I use all the same excuses that my clients use for not asking for help: I am a burden, a broken record, a person whose feelings may be too much for other people to handle. A person who is too needy, too demanding.
I’ve spent today the way I spend most Saturdays–tired and alone. I did text a few friends. And I talked to my brother. And I’m writing this blog post. So I’m trying to reach out. But it will always be more natural for me to help than to be helped.
Perhaps whenever I have doubts about whether my friends want to be there for me, I can look at the deranged elf pictured above and remind myself that only someone who cared deeply about me would pose for a picture that can be posted for all the world to see.