I have a very distinct memory of one particular conversation with a school friend while I was in college. He was telling me about some stuff he’d been going through and about a “really good talk” he’d had with a mutual friend of ours. I asked him what was so good about the conversation and he said, “we talked about, like, feelings and relationships and stuff”. … Wait… as opposed to what? I was dumbfounded at that moment because I couldn’t conceive of what you’d talk to your friends about besides your feelings and relationships. Was this the first time he’d had this kind of conversation?? It would have been pretty condescending of me to ask, but that was certainly the impression I got.
This moment made me realize how incredibly lucky I was that I’d had really close, intimate friendships that revolved around talking about our inner worlds since I was a child. I remember getting together with my two best friends when we were around ten and each talking about our parents’ divorces. We talked about how it felt to watch our parents split up, our relationships with our step-families, the perks and inconveniences of having two homes. In later years, these conversations would evolve to cover other topics, some lighter, like friends and crushes, and some much heavier, like tragedy, mental illness, and abuse.
These conversations were what my friendships were (and are) built on. We spend our time exploring our emotions and each others’, engaging with and challenging each other along the way. And this isn’t trivial. This means that we are better equipped to understand ourselves, support each other, and develop genuinely satisfying relationships. Not to sound dramatic, but this is what really gives my life meaning.
Until that moment in college, I had taken this all for granted. I couldn’t imagine what else you’d talk about with your friends. That’s not to say that everyone should be talking about feelings all the time. I’ve actually learned the very real value of not doing that, too lol. But the fact that growing up I had a space to deeply interrogate my own emotions helped me develop the skill to do so and become more comfortable with facing some of the darkest parts of who I am.
That’s not to say that I don’t have lots to learn. I am continually awed by the wisdom, compassion, and humility of my friends. I would say that my skill lies mostly in understanding what is going on in my head; I’m farther behind in understanding why it’s going on and what to do about it. I especially want to develop these skills now because I’m realizing how much anxiety controls my life.
So, what about this blog? I’d like this blog to be a place for me to explore thoughts, feelings, and relationships in a setting that gives me more structure and demands a higher level of accountability than my personal journal. Plus, I would love to hear responses from readers, learn from your perspectives, and feel connected in this virtual space.
So please join me as I explore the messy, weird, and hopefully sometimes relatable world inside my head ❤