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Friday, October 07, 2016

Friendship - writing prompt

I'm participating in an online writing group hosted by Ann Dee Ellis. She gives a prompt and encourages 8 minutes of uninterrupted writing. Here's the most recent exercise:

I often feel like a terrible friend. I forget to check in with other people and see how I can help make their lives better. I go too long without offering random acts of kindness, or inviting someone else's kid to my house for a play date. I unload my problems on others and neglect to keep my mouth shut long enough to be the listening ear. I have a bad habit of being passive-aggressive and I've been working on that.

Living so far away from my parents, I rely a lot on the friends who graciously forgive my faults and stick around. I'd be lost without the friends who offer to help me with my kids for whatever reason. I don't have the same luxury that some of them have to live near retired parents who can step in to babysit. I appreciate the truly genuine people I've encountered in my life, even if it was brief.

Having moved a lot while growing up, I had to make new friends often. It wasn't easy for me. Before I realized I was depressed, and could find medication to help me adjust my brain, I would often feel so resentful and judgmental of the new people I met. I couldn't process things rationally because of the despair that I felt separated me from them. Why did their lives look so much easier and happier than mine? What was I doing so wrong? Why couldn't I make things work like them? Well, turns out I couldn't because my brain worked differently and part of my misery wasn't actually self-inflicted.

As I've matured and tried harder to be less selfish, I hope I've improved as a friend. I wish it was easier to be friends with all the people I've left in different cities, but distance proves to be a real hurdle for me. I wish it wasn't so. That's something I'll continue to work on as my kids get older (maybe if they EVER slept in the car...) so I can nurture friendships I value.

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