Then the children were running around the house in the dark with a couple dozen fake LED candles and that seemed to be the highlight of the evening. The whole afternoon was just a blur of light, Christmas music and goodwill, and holiday spirit...
...then it was bedtime and suddenly everything went wrong. One minute I'm reading "Charlotte's Web" to my daughter, the next minute I'm crying and walking away to kick a cabinet because my 3 year old head butted me and gave me a puffy eyelid. You laugh, but I had to ice that thing and it still hurts.
This may be a stretch, but I think I sometimes worry something similar will happen with my friendships. When you start in on a friendship and everything is going well it is like Christmastime- it is all warm fuzzies and happy thoughts and no one can imagine anything ever going wrong. But then a headbutt happens.
I think one of my insecurities is that maybe I'm sort of tricking people into thinking I'm more exciting than I really am. (Don't ask me how I'm doing this, a magician never reveals her tricks.) And maybe one day I'll do that thing that stupid thing, like ask someone three 1/2 too many times if they want to hang out, or not know the obvious answer to that Friends trivia question, or arrive 30 minutes late to the big event, or spill red wine on their white rug, or full on yell at their dog in a moment of being overwhelmed, or forget to reply to their text, or be a little too judgmental, or have one of my stomach-bug-phobia freak out moments in front of them.
And what if I'm really being myself, or trying my absolute hardest at something, and I'm just not good enough?
I think that it is easy to keep friendships stuck in the "Christmas decorating" phase for this reason...we meet people and enjoy being with them, but are afraid to go in too deep because we might find that we don't measure up. I want to make people happy so I only want them to see my very best...but the insecurities are right there with me.
But I have at least a few friends who have seen me probably at my ugliest. And honestly, I've seen them at some of their not-so-hot moments too. And those are the friends, ironically, who I am not so afraid of disappointing. I'm not often jealous when they are with other people without me. I'm not worried that they will discard me or decide I'm no longer worth it. And maybe I'm still worried they will think I'm an idiot when we play trivia games, but I'm confident in those friendships because I've had a "headbutt" moment and we all survived. Dare I say, we are closer for it.
I suppose what I should learn from all this is that I should not fear being raw- being myself with people- even letting people see me as a little messy and unlovable at times. Because that is just life- that is just humanity- and if I can't let people see that, and allow them freedom to be the same, then I will miss out on some truly beautiful friendships.
P.S. What IS the appropriate response when a child headbutts you?