Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Without A Friend In The World

Good friends have always made a difference in my life.  Having friends around me, friends who aren't looking for anything in return except to be a friend, makes everyday enjoyable, and bearable, and full of richness.

The first time I felt alone, when I didn't have any friends, happened in Jr. High School.  I don't know what I did, or the reason behind this, but one day, I came to school and quickly realized I didn't have any friends anymore.  I was shunned, and shunned hard.

Nobody  talked to me anymore.  People turned their backs on me when I approached them.  No seats were saved at the lunch table.  No smiles were shared in the hallways between classes.  I was destroyed.  Crushed.   Alone.

I ate my lunch in the school bathroom, then went to the library and hid between bookshelves until the bell signaled the start of another class.  I walked home as quickly as possible after school, so I wouldn't bump into anyone.  I arrived at school right before the first bell, too late to dwell on the fact that I didn't get to enjoy the socialization that everyone else was a part of.  I sat alone at my classroom desks, surrounded by people, but very much an outcast.

I constantly asked myself "What did I do wrong?"  "Why are people treating me this way?"  I still don't know the answer.  It still hurts.

One day, weeks or months later, my friends decided I was ok again, and they were suddenly friendly again.  I was accepted again.  But the sting never went away.

I decided that I wouldn't ever, EVER,  treat anyone that way.  I would like a person for who they were. I would befriend the new people in class.  I would invite the funny-looking girl over to my house afterschool.  I would sit by the lonely person in the cafeteria.  I wouldn't participate in the ugly gossip and behavior that Jr. High and High School are so well known for.

I got through school just fine.  I learned to be "who I am" without apologizingfor it.  It's why I named my blog Just Because I Am Me   I don't have to try to change who I am, for anybody.  I learned that a true friend sticks around through thick and thin.  I learned that I can be a friend to many, without the restriction of who is considered popular, or how they dress, or what their talents are, or who they are dating, or not dating, or whether they walk to school or ride a bus.  I hated cliques.  Still do.

This mentality is still with me today.  Even though I'm not in Jr. High anymore, I still get anxious that I won't have friends.  In all my moves, I still long for and desire friendship, above anything else.  Until I have friends, I don't feel settled in an area yet.  As outgoing as I may seem, I am still afraid of getting hurt. 

The biggest thing I tell my kids, almost everyday, is to be a friend to all.  It doesn't matter what they look like, or what other people say about them.  Be a friend.  Please be a friend.  Nobody wants to feel alone.

Thank you to all my friends.  Because of the many states we have lived, I have many friends scattered around.  I deeply appreciate your friendship; your advice; your love; your constancy; your dependability.  I hope you know how much I love you and thank you for being my friend.


The Girls' Mom said...

I benefited from your commitment to friendship!!! Thank you! Love you!

dippyrooroo said...

You have an amazing gift for being a good friend, and because of it, you are loved by soo many! I'm glad to know you, my friend, and love you dearly!

mickey said...

"Just Because I Am Me" exactly sums up why I lost my best friend of 30+ years last year. She did not like who I am/my choices anymore. She told me so in a two hour diatribe about everything that was wrong with my life. I had been holding in all the things I was disappointed with in her life because, after all, it was her life to live as she saw fit. Who was I to ask her to change to suit me, right? Unfortunately, she seemed to think it was okay to rip into me and demand I change. Her final words were "I want the old Mickey back." Oddly, I don't know who the old Mickey is. I am who I have become because of my life's experiences. I certainly don't want to be the person I was in high school. I've wanted to write about it for a long time but it still hurts too much, I think. I have people in my life I consider friends. But I don't think I'll ever truly trust that any of them will be a friend forever. I don't want to get close just to disappoint someone again.People grow apart. People move. People pass. Enjoy them while you have them.

Maynards said...

You are a wonderful friend Shaina, and I am sure that when you move, you will be just fine. I cannot think of a person in the world that would not like you.
Your post made me cry, because Mary is struggling so much at school right now with that same thing. It is so sad. I am still the new kid on the block as well, and some women here don't seem to like that idea. It is very hard. We had something so special in Colorado Springs. I will always cherish my friends there for accepting me for me...and you are one of them. Thanks.

Jennifer Magreevy said...

I had the EXACT same thing happen to me in 6th grade. I have no idea why my friends suddenly decided to "cut me out", and why the entire sixth grade class went along with it. Only one girl didn't do it, and she was my savior the entire year. I will admit, however, that you seem to have a better attitude about moving on and what you're teaching your children. I'm getting better about it...I'm a work in progress. :)

runningfan said...

I can certainly relate to your story...especially the part about feeling alone in a crowd.

Thanks for being my friend.

(p.s. are you ok?)

Ande said...

I feel the same way, it is hard when you feel all alone and I never want to make someone else feel that way. And the part about not feeling settled until you have some friends is totally me too, finally feeling a little settled here.

Jeff and Lori said...

Thanks for being such an accepting and friendly person, Shaina. I can't imagine you not finding friends wherever you go. I can certainly relate to the feeling of anxiety & loneliness whenever I come to a new group of people. It takes a long time and conscious effort for me to open up fully. I guess old insecurities die hard. I too have been grateful for the welcoming attitude of people here. I admire you a ton! (And not just for your skill at accessorizing) ;)

Colleen said...

It's so sad how awful kids can be to each other. I was a total bossy girl in elementary school and I remember one day, on my 45 minute bus ride to school, thinking, "I don't want to be a jerk, I want to be nice." And so that is what I tried (and still try) to do. Life is too short to think only of ourselves and be mean to others in order to elevate ourselves. Seeing the happiness you can bring others through kindness, that's what it's all about. I am so glad I met you, and that we are close friends. And even if you live far, far away (in the far reaching edges of FOUNTAIN!), we will still be friends. Love you girl!