A piece for a new and different friend (written as a letter)
| I have been waiting for just the right feeling to start writing about you again, in the hopes of actually finishing a piece. I think tonight is it. I can guarantee that I won't get all I want to say and won't be able to accurately capture all the nuances of my thoughts concerning you but that always seems to be the case when writing about topics that matter the most.
We seem to have such differing epistemologies when it comes to matters of the soul. Thus, I can't figure out where this feeling of comfort, trust, and similarity emanates. I can't tap into your psyche in the ways I'm used to with friends. While I get the same connected feeling and I hear your thoughts waft in and out of my inner hearing at times, I know I can't nail your essence with any certainty like I can with others. Yet, you seem to have me so thoroughly pegged. This unnerves me, which brings me to some points about the conversation we had tonight.
I have recently come to know that my indication of my personal strength and victory over many of my inner battles comes not with being needed, but with needing. Being needed is easy. I'm the kind of person that attracts those that need. There is a sense of grandeur, power, and control that comes from having the "weak" draw on you for strength. That sounds ugly and opportunistic in a way, but if brutal honesty is employed, that fact can't be ignored. But easy isn't what makes true strength in my opinion. Needing isn't easy.
There is, of course, a difference between needing and being needy. I've been needy; voraciously needy for attention, needy for affirmation, needy for security and love. It took me the better part of my life to recognize this in myself. Once I did, I confused being needy with any sort of needing. Voila... issues with vulnerability.
I'm not yet comfortable with vulnerability, as we've discussed, but I do understand now that if the notion of doing what is uncomfortable makes you a better person, is true, I need to be vulnerable. I need to need. I have to learn to trust that I am whole enough to pick the right people on which to lean. I must be confident that when those people that I choose express their desire to be a foundation and a home for me, they have the intentions I would in expressing the same.
What does all this have to do with you? This is supposed to be about you after all. It has plenty to do with you. You are a person that I need.
I've needed some aspect of what you have to give from the start. When I first met you, I needed your respect. As I've mentioned before, I can tell you don't dole out respect like candy on Halloween. I was on new ground and I wanted to prove to myself that I could meet the standards set. Since they were your standards, I had to prove that to you too.
I thought that was all I'd ever need from you because you didn't seem "my type" of friend. Interestingly, I sensed a touch of the person you hide at work and I knew I was going to have to find out more. I waded into the water of the lake that I thought was you only to find, stretched out before me, the depth of an ocean. It wasn't long before I began to realize that you could be one of those people I could trust with ME.
I was nervous for a moment before sitting down to write this. Especially given our divergent opinions on certain aspects of friendship. If I've learned anything in life, I've learned that how I feel about people, particularly special people, doesn't make sense to many. Still, I've no longer the time nor the patience to be anything but who I am when it comes to emotions. I refuse to live in the fear of "what if they don't understand" or even worse "what if they don't like it" when it comes to important people in my life.
I can love a friend with the same fervor as a I would a lover. I can love a friend with the same dedication and steadfast loyalty as I would my family. I can love a friend selflessly and fully. As a matter of fact, I not only CAN love friends in this way, but also DO love them in this way, when the friendships are right. This is the point that I have a hard time explaining to people. I do of course distinguish between romantic love, familial love, and platonic love. They aren't interchangeable concepts. Ice cream is all ice cream, but no one would say chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry are the same flavor.
The terms I've most often heard for my style of loving are "intense" and "unconditional". Not many are comfortable with either, especially in a world where not many experience love like that. At one time or another, most of the people I've loved have balked at the presence of one or both of these qualities in how I feel for them. Thankfully, those that truly elicit love from me, wind up feeling that their lives are better because of it and would have it no other way.
I think it is because you may not totally understand these sentiments no matter what I say that I feel so drawn to try to explain them. There will come a time when I see you as family. There will be an instant when I won't be able to picture my life without you. I suspect that if I took the time to contemplate it more, perhaps these moments have already happened. I look at you as someone I want around for life.
I deem it important to tell you, or reiterate as the case may be, that you cover ground as a friend that had up until this point, yet to be covered. I dare say you are the first friend that I've had that makes me feel like I radiate the kind of aura and beauty that I want to be radiating. I know that when I spend time with you I am aware that my eyes do sparkle sometimes and that I am not unjustified in thinking I have the potential for elegant, or pretty, or whatever else.
I also want to remind you that you have refreshed my knowledge of how important "safe" is. I feel safe with you. I know that your teasing will never intentionally cross lines it shouldn't. I know you have the integrity that keeps a friend from leaving another friend alone when that isn't appropriate. I know that you know how to sense when I don't feel right about a situation.
As stated above, you seem to have me pegged on certain levels people haven't just gotten on their own without massive explanation. I can't explain some of those levels yet but I know you've got them. I am shocked at your adeptness in sensing my negative moods because I know I'm not often very clear with them. You are the first friend I've had to recognize when I'm not okay BEFORE I've had to drop hints.
My reason for telling you these things is simple. I want to let you know that I do not in anyway expect you to be comfortable with all this. I do not cross my fingers and hope you will ever feel exactly the same way. I love the way I do because that is just the kind of love I have to give and the way I was made to give it. I do hope beyond hope though, that while you may not "get it", you accept it, and that if you do not feel at ease that you will help me to find a way that works for us both.
While I've missed many areas I'd hoped to touch this evening, especially in the department of more specific observations about you, I finally feel complete with something I've written based on your role in my life. I look forward to the chances I'll have to collect more material and the opportunities to tell you how I feel, as our friendship ripens. I do love you. Take it for what you will.