People Sometimes Stay

sisterhood

For me, and I think for most people, one of the worst things about singleness is the pervasive sense of alienation. We may have happy, active social lives, but when everyone goes home and the house is quiet, we don’t belong to anyone but ourselves (and God, but that’s not the focus of this post). We are not anyone’s primary loyalty or priority. No one has vowed to love and cherish us, lodge where we lodge, or stick by us until the bitter end. When you get down to it, we’re on our own.

I’m really fortunate to come from a close family, and I know I belong to and with my parents and siblings. But I’ve never felt completely secure in my friendships. For various reasons, as a teenager and young adult, I never quite let my guard down. I always felt like the dispensable one in any relationship. I half expected my friends to ditch me at any time. During my 20s, I formed several solid, healing friendships that are still in place. Then my marriage fell apart. The foundation cracked, and some other connections that should have been solid cracked with it. Even as my head acknowledged my ex-husband’s neglect and abandonment as an isolated incident, not representative of my relationships in general, my heart kept saying, The only person you can depend on to have your back is you. Do not get too attached or dependent on anyone. People always leave. I’m thankful for the strength this outlook gave me (and still does, sometimes), but it wasn’t much healthier than my old passive insecurity. It was just the empowered flip side. Understandable under the circumstances, but not a good long-term philosophy. I’ve spent years working my way out of it.

This summer, I have finally stopped holding my breath in my close friendships, near and far. It’s been a time of growth and positive change, with hopefully more to come, and as it’s unfolded my friends have been so steadfast. I’m living more dangerously, in a good way, and they’ve cheered me on and then helped me up without one “I told you so.” I’ve been friends with some of these people for over ten years, but I fully understand for the first time that they really love me. They want me to have the desires of my heart almost as much as I want them for myself, and they believe that it’s possible when I can’t anymore. They see my bruises the same way I do – as badges of honor. We are all in the arena together, and when we share wise words with each other, they’re often followed by, “You taught me that.” (Then we all feel pretty awesome for being able to quote ourselves to ourselves.)

Yes, many of my friends have spouses and families, and hopefully the ones who don’t eventually will too. But that loyalty can coexist with other loyalties. Yes, some friends come and go, but some are with you for life, no matter where life takes you.

I don’t deserve it. But I can hang my hat on it. And it’s good to be home at last.

About Brenda W.

Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister's iced tea. View all posts by Brenda W. →
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19 Responses to People Sometimes Stay

  1. Kelly R says:

    Love this post, so much, and love it so much for you. And love you. :-)

  2. Even as someone with different “loyalties,” I needed to read this, insecurity stemming from mistrust is a major roadblock in my life. Thank you.

  3. It’s courageous to choose to trust after trust has been broken. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. This is so good. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. Although, I’ve never been abandoned by a spouse, I can appreciate what you’re saying. I particularly understand what you mean about not being anyone’s priority.

  6. You DO deserve to have those relationships and it’s so great that you’re letting your guard down and opening up to your friends. Those friendships are so vital, especially for us singletons.

  7. This post was a great read, and I can very much relate…it’s hard not to doubt other people, even when they’ve had our backs for years. So glad you’re taking more chances, and that your friends are supporting you in your choices.

  8. Carol says:

    This is beautiful. I understand betrayal (though in a different relationship) and how it can take so long to build trust back where it was broken.

  9. Sarah says:

    Wow. That really hits home. I’m at the first time in my life where I’m living alone and I struggle a lot sometimes with it. Some days I just feel so alone with it all, and I don’t know what to do. My family is nearby and yes I have some really great friends (though none of them, really, are local, which makes things tough), but when it comes down to it, it’s me and my cat.

  10. Love it! I especially love the part about quoting ourselves to ourselves. That may be one of the best benchmarks of a solid friendship. Hugs!

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