21 Oct two of the most important words in the world
I have a friend with whom i share a great love of Grayson Perry (enormous artistic talent, huge wit, great frocks), another who, at 16, i bonded with over our mutual appreciation for Ethan Hawke (so thoughtful, those eyes…!)
I want friends with whom I can enjoy the experience of the “me too” moment.
This might start with very superficial things, but if in my friendships I don’t continue to find ways to say these two words, the relationship struggles to grow.
I have a very lovely friend who has trod a similar path to me this past few years. A couple of months after my diagnosis (to read about this see here) he turned up at our house out of the blue. I was having an okay day and because of that I was able to articulate to him where I was at, quite candidly. He didn’t look surprised, and his face bore the signs of someone who ‘got it’, who understood where i was at. A couple of weeks later he called me; “me too” he said.
There are times when you can feel like you are the only person in the world to be experiencing what you are going through.
And these two words make the world of difference in this situation.
Since i started writing this blog and in particular the series on mental health, I have been amazed at the response I have had. It has been an honour to receive the messages and texts people have sent me as they have identified with something I have been writing about.
Having someone who gets where you are at, especially when you are at the bottom of a hole and don’t really understand why or how you got there, is massively comforting.
CS Lewis said:
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:
“What! You too?
I thought i was the only one.”
I want to be clear. I don’t think you need to have experienced the same stuff as your nearest and dearest to be able to empathise.
Really I think what we are all looking for, is people who are willing to put down the masks, and give up the charade that they are a-ok. To quit pretending that we have it all together.
I know the societal pressure to appear ‘together’ is huge (and of course there is a time and a place!), but I believe it is when we are honest about how we really feel that we truly connect with others. To acknowledge our shared experience of brokenness, disappointments, our screw-ups and failings, alongside the carefree, celebratory, pinch-me-is-this-really-happening, moments.
And this sharing of our pain,… of our humanity, is a joyous thing. It is not a woe-is-me, lets wallow together thing, This is an honest – i am not alone – thing.
I wonder if what people are really looking for when, in vulnerability, they offer their pain, is not a solution, not a four point plan to wellness, but first and foremost they want a “me too”, (the other stuff can come later).