I remember when we first met. It was a very short, simple meeting; he tripped, I checked on him. Back then, I wouldn’t have guessed that he’d end up being maybe the best friend I’ve ever had. A brotherly figure, who’s been there for me through the bad times and rejoiced in the good times. A friend who knows me better than anyone else, and still wants to be friends.
Acceptance is a hard thing to come by. Rejection just seems to be the easier thing for people to do. I dreaded (still dread) being asked the question, “How are you?” My default, like it is for most people, is, “Fine.” In my experience, if your answer is anything but “Fine,” rejection or worse will be waiting on the other end. Sometimes it happens quickly. That’s a mercy; some of the worst heartbreaks I’ve ever suffered came when people would act like they accepted me only to reject me later.
I wanted to be accepted and loved so badly. I wanted someone to know even my past and the current issues that came from it, and respond, “You’re still good. I still love you.” I tried to deny that desire, isolating myself from others. I rejected them first, hoping to save myself from more heartache. In spite of it all, there is still that one friend, those few people, I still talk to because they consistently accepted me.
That one friend would not only listen to me, he’d go with me into that hurt. He never treated me as a threat, even on my bad days; he’d stay with me as I cried so I didn’t have to cry alone anymore. He listened to my anger and hatred, and calmly challenged it. Sometimes, he even opened up about himself to show me that I’m not alone.
Always, he reminded me that I’m still good, and we’re still friends. He knows my deepest, darkest secrets and still says that. This kind of unconditional love is a very strange and rare thing. It’s also what helps me heal the most.
I still think, “How long will it be until he, until they reject me, too?” But then, I think, “They haven’t left yet.” Because he and those few others accept me, I can then think the unthinkable: “This world is still good. Love still exists.”
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