This is a much more personal blog than I usually post. While I know that I don't really need to explain myself to any of you, I do know some of you that have followed me for a while noticed a recent shift not only on here but also on Facebook. While I feel like I am going in a new and positive direction that I am excited about, I have also been experiencing more heartache than I ever expected to.
I have been going through some serious growing pains connected with my writing; as I know all people who put themselves out there do. One thing I have learned is that people’s perceptions definitely influence what kind of friend they will be to you. I am really beginning to understand why well known people can feel really alone. Since they exhibit some amount of strength they get viewed as almost superhuman. As if they are strong… invincible… have most of the answers... and being there for everyone else is just a price they should pay…
Let me digress a bit here… This past fall I turned 40. I really thought I was going to be upset about it but I wasn’t. I felt great! I thought I had a great handle on a lot of things in my life. I have had so many experiences in my short 40 years and I have learned so much from everything and everyone. I know what’s important and sometimes I forget that other people don’t think the same way I do. In hindsight, this was actually the beginning of when I really noticed something was different in my life.
For my birthday, my husband decided to plan a party for me since I had never had one before. I was a little nervous about it at first but decided I needed to let go for a change and let him plan it. He planned it right down to the guest list. All I asked of him was that he kept it small. He knew I’d have a hard time if I were the center of attention with a lot of people. I know that sounds ironic considering my latest post received over 2500 views in 24 hours and it doesn’t bother me!
Anyway, it has always been really hard for him to surprise me but he did! I had been dabbling in raw food for many months, close to a year actually, and had recently started getting together with some friends for raw food pot-lucks. He surprised me by having two raw food chefs come to the house to cook for my friends and I! It was perfect! Or so I thought…
A few days later I was with my family visiting the House of Seven Gables for the first time when I glanced down at my phone to this giant, scathing email from the only friend who decided not to come to my party. She then spent the next week sending me email after email ripping me apart! Why? Because my husband decided to ask her and another guest if they would mind leaving their children with a sitter; and to this day I agree with his judgment on this. This particular friend’s boys are pretty rambunctious and my husband wanted to make sure everyone had a great time. The emails were so over the top though that I still really don't understand where they came from.
Her hurtful behavior towards me culminated in her blocking me, not my husband, on Facebook, so he could see the interaction she had with my mutual “friends” that she wasn’t even close to but I was. On top of it she stiffed me for concert tickets she had asked me to buy for her months before. (She did attempt to get them covered with a Craigslist ad but no one wanted to pay more than half of the cost of them. So her exact word was “Tough”!) This event still overshadows what was supposed to be a very special time for me. Every time I look at the pictures from my party or the Seven Gables day, I think of how hurtful she was. This whole situation was my first indication that something I wasn’t used to was going on! Obviously I didn’t get it yet though!!
Not three months later, I had another really tough rude awakening with someone I thought was a friend. This is why I took the month of February off from writing all together. I took the fall for approaching her over something she did that I didn’t agree with but couldn’t not say anything anymore because I had so many people coming to me about it because they were afraid to go to her. (Notice I did say “afraid” so that should have been an indication of something.) In reality it bothered them more than I. I just know that her mistreatment of me for daring to tell her that what she did wasn’t cool has resulted in a couple more lost friends. I guess what choice did they have when the lies being told about me are pretty convincing? So the short lesson in this, people, is to not let friends come to you again, and again, and again complaining about something that a mutual friend is doing. I just truly thought that my friendship with this person was valued by her more than it really was.
I have been trying to figure out what has shifted to where I’m dealing now with this whole new paradigm. I have never had anything like this happen. I finally realized that it was people’s perceptions of who I was that did. I have always had friends that knew I never thought I was perfect, that I made mistakes and that I always learned from them… that I think imperfections and quirkiness make life more fun. And yet I always still seemed to be the go to person for problems – not fixing anyone’s issues but in helping them find a different perspective.
Very soon after we moved back to New England I started blogging on a semi regular basis. I had no idea how much people enjoyed what I wrote and I even questioned the validity of my traffic statistics. It wasn’t until people started introducing me to other people and mentioning my blog as part of the introduction that I realized that I was making more of an impact that I had ever intended to. I think because of this I am now perceived as being a super strong, leader and someone who has all the answers. To top all of this off I have also had a fan stalker and a couple of people going out of their way to pick at me to the point that when I called them on it they stopped and apologized. But you know, these couple of things I can take.
I don’t know exactly when this shift happened but it apparently did when I wasn’t looking! The truth is that the past six months have been incredibly difficult in the “newer” friend department. The truth is I am heartbroken. The truth is that I am incredibly sensitive. The truth is I am human and don’t have all the answers. And the truth is that I now realize that when you do what I do, it is all too easy for people to think they know you and the truth is that most often, they are putting their own perceptions of who THEY are on you, good and bad. They see exactly what they want to see. They don’t see “you.” I can’t tell you how many people tell me that they feel like they know me when they meet me for the first time because they read what I write. (I do put so much of who I truly am in my writing but it's really not ALL of who I am.)
The first indication that there may be an issue, I know now, is when someone calls you a good friend way too fast… before they have had the chance to really get to know you and they latch onto you solely because of what you do for them. A healthy friendship is ALWAYS reciprocal. You shouldn’t be always supporting and encouraging the other person and never get it back. I think somewhere along the way I forgot that. I know that I will never repeat the mistakes I have made again and I have learned some incredibly valuable lessons that I can pass on to my kids, if not also to all of you.
I will leave you with this. I posted this on my Facebook page the other day and it resonated with a lot of people: “Something I hope to instill in my kids: As you get older you realize that real friendships aren't popularity contests and trying to be "friends" with everyone. They are about true connection and support for one another. While you may not be able to choose family, you are fortunate to be able to pick who your friends are. Choose wisely. The company you keep matters! ♥ Have a great day everyone!”
As a Parent Coach and Mentor, my passion lies in empowering parents to make the best decisions they can for their children and their families as a whole. As a well-trained coach, I can be your facilitator and accountability partner for long-lasting, meaningful change that has a permanent, positive impact for your family. By focusing on the values that you hold most important in your life, I can help you create and maintain the type of parenting relationship you want to have with your children, now and into their adulthood.
I am a homeschooling mom of four children in Massachusetts. I am also the author of a book called The Herbal Beverage Book, which can be found on amazon or directly on my website. When not coaching, writing or spending time with the family, I enjoy Hayao Miyazaki films, new and classic Dr. Who episodes, anything related to American history and a great glass of mead.
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This blog is a collection of thoughts, articles and perspectives I have at any one time. While I am pretty consistent in my beliefs, life changes and evolves along with experiences. You may feel a connection with me through my writing yet I never want any of my readers to misunderstand that the connection you feel is with a perspective I have shared and not me as a person. I am continually humbled that I am able to connect with my readers, and I hope to continue to be able to for many years to come, but it doesn't make us connected in any way beyond this. If you connect with what I write and know me as an acquaintance, this in no way reflects that I have any knowledge of you, your situation in life or that I am writing with you in mind. It is merely that I have shared a human experience that most likely very many others have had has well. This also goes for anything I post on my Twitter account, Facebook Page and Facebook personal page. I wanted to make this disclaimer as clear as possible so you know that any misunderstanding you choose to have is not my responsibility.