Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Self-examination...and NO, not a breast examination!

“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves -regret for the past and fear of the future.”

By Fulton Oursler

A few months back Nicholas and I were having a conversation which led to his statement: ‘I have all the friends I need!’

Really? I wondered how at twelve years old a person could so confidently express that sentiment because here I am at fifty two (well, almost) and I’m contemplating opening myself up for that proposition. I’m in the process of self-examination. A good thing, right?

Yes, but only if I’m truthful with myself which I plan on being; honest with you and honest with me. If you’ve read my blog long enough you know it is well chronicled within the wall of words that my past has been anything but uncomplicated. However, I don’t chose to hover in that place for prolonged periods; life is too short, but I do believe we can learn from the past and move onward.

People make choices for which the consequences ripple to those lives surrounding us. As a result, I think it’s our responsibility to look in the mirror and be honest with ourselves; what regrets do I have? What would I have done differently? Where do I need to go from here?

I am so excited about traveling to Ohio, beyond that of my book signing appointments. I have an array of people planning to attend from early childhood friends, high school, college as well as work related. Exhilaration is an understatement!

Sadly, I find myself comparing friends I had in Ohio to the ones I have here in North Carolina and I’m slightly embarrassed to declare I have few. I’ve been here for three plus years and the true connections I have are limited to a handful.

Surprised? is my own doing…I have withdrawn from the prospect of friends – Staff socials/ events; nope, don’t attend. Lunchroom conversations- nada. Informal gatherings or get together invitations? They are shunned as well.

I have become lonely. It is with the anticipation of traveling to Ohio that I’m realizing the valuable strong connections with people I have, the precious friends in my home state. However, my bravado of wanting the people in my life to believe I am fine or I am happy has truly hindered the honesty with self. But then again, that has been my pattern throughout life for fear of rejection.

So it’s an occasion for self assessment, and with this comes a forging ahead with uncertainties but also honoring-I am who I am. I’m not a social butterfly; I am fearful and anxious in big crowds therefore, I prefer small intimate gatherings. I’ve rejected offers since trust was lacking that anyone could truly want my company; what could I possibly offer another individual? I second guess myself and question motives. I know, shame on me, huh?

I will also pass this along to those I’ve shunned with a bit of luck I’ll make amends and allow my vulnerabilities to be visible. What’s more, I’ll also forgive myself for past actions and recall this quote made by an anonymous individual:

If you don't learn from your mistakes, there's no sense making them.”

Thanks Pooh for helping me out here...


Cathy Kennedy said...

Friends are wonderful. Mingling is fun. I'm like you, I don't like big crowds. I prefer quaint gatherings.

I've become...rather aloner to a degree. I feel well content to have my DH to be my closest and dearest friend. I don't feel an over-whelming need to spread my wings past this point.

My daughters live on their own, but I have a teenage son at home who I am very cloes to. He's my other pal.

Socializing through my blog or Facebook has given me an outlet for friendships new and old which fits everyone schedule. There's no special planning to get together, you just do when you can and I like that.

I do understand the need and desire to bond face-to-face, though with a good friend. I wish you the best of luck in making new friends in the Carolinas and rekindling old ones when you return to Ohio. I wish you well on your book signings, too!

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I started a post today about friendships and how you lose more as you grow older for whatever reasons. But I did not finish or publish the post. Then I read someone lamenting about not having friends as she has grown older on her blog today. Now your post on your friendships.
Hmmm....we are all on the same wave length and path it seems.

Another great post.
Congratulations. I must have missed where your book was published. How did i do that? YIPEE. well deserved my blogger friend. :-)

Ginny said...

Sounds like you have very low self esteem, and are protecting yourself from being hurt. The only way to banish lonliness is to put yourself out there, hard as it may be. I KNOW because for the first half of my life, I suffered from SAD, Social Anxiety Disorder. But I do find as I get older, I say what I think and don't care as much about what others think of me, the world doesn't revolve around me and it's not all about me. It's about others, and being a deacon really helped me to get out and not focus on myself anymore, but help people in need. Take them to the doctor, bring meals, go shopping, listen and councel. And I have made some wonderful friends this way. I am so glad that you are making an effort!!! You have so many blog friends, you will make plenty in the non-blog world, too!

Sylvia K said...

I do so relate to your post for the day! I've pretty much been a loner most of my life and I rarely if ever feel lonely. I do have some close friends, a number of who feel the same way I do. Maybe it's why I love blogging -- I've made friends all over the world and enjoy each and every one of them and that is friendship enough, along with the relatively few I have that I see/spend time with here in Seattle and Portland, OR before. I'm certainly not lonely, just grateful that the people I do see and spend time with feel the same way that I do.

Congratulations on having your book published! That's awesome and definitely well deserved! Enjoy your day/evening!


TexWisGirl said...

i can relate. since leaving the work place 2 years ago, i've totally withdrawn into my own little isolated world here. good luck with your trip to Ohio! and don't beat yourself up too much!

Old Kitty said...

I say it's the quality of the people around you rather than the quantity. I don't make friends easily but the ones I do make I keep - they were worth making the effort for.

I hope you have a great time in Ohio!

Take care

Kittie Howard said...

First, congratulations on your book signing, and I hope you have a great trip! Thank you for the depth with which you shared your feelings. I, too, don't think you should beat up on yourself. You've written a book (a solitary experience), have work obligations (constant interactions) and a 12 year-old at home - not to mention housework, grocery shopping and all the little things daily life involves.

I'm a born and bred Southerner and have known 'outsiders' who've moved into the Southern culture, a very open and active culture, but who have felt lonely. It doesn't matter how long you live in NC, you're always going to be 'the gal from Ohio.' This isn't a negative thing, just a thing that is. But this thing can make one feel excluded, on the 'gal's part. It's not meant to exclude. Because the South is so open, in-your-face friendly the culture often overwhelms. Suggestion: When you return, take a look at your social options and select a direction that appeals to who you are as a person. Fast walking? Bridge? Church activities? If you zero in on what will enhance your growth as a person, I promise you friends, warm friends, will materialize. Good luck!

Fuzzy Tales said...

Oh, my goodness, your second last paragraph could have been written about me, word for word. Huge trust issues, and even at 47, self-esteem issues.

Mind you, I find time and again that I prefer the company of my fur family to the company of most humans. :-)

And that's okay!

Have a wonderful trip and best of luck with the book signings!


Anonymous said...

Friends are what make up to some extent, most of my life, beside my family. I love having friends and must say, I've been blessed with having lots and lots of friends. I have my 4 High School friends who live 1 and half hours away. I have lunch with them once a month or 2 months. Then there are my Here friends, my beach friends, my club friends, my horse friends, my work friends, my dog friends, Bob's friends, our Happy Time Gang friends....I could go on for a good while but know you'd get bored or crazy reading about it. Yes!! you need to get some friends. They make life so much happier!! I love all my friends and especially my Blogger friends!!!! ...debbie

Out on the prairie said...

we sometimes forget to look at ourselves deep enough.

Kim said...

Self-reflection and turning inward are good for the soul. Lots of love, Kim

Courtney said...

I always connect to your posts! I, too, was raised in a challenging home, so trust is shaky at best. I long for intimacy with friends, but fear connection. Everything can easily become a criticism. I started blogging to fight my way out of that rut. It's interesting to hear that others have done the same. You are always so brave to share these feelings...which many of us are feeling! I believe that our feelings are our what feels joyful...small gatherings, blogging, pen-pals...there's no one way to connect.

Lin said...

Don't be so darn hard on yourself! Maybe the reason why you haven't made a ton of friends is because you haven't found the right ones!

I don't like crowds either and I certainly don't need a bunch of friends to be happy. I think you need just one or two good ones--wherever they may be in physical relation to you. If your best friend is in Ohio, so what? It still counts.

If you are feeling lonely, then put yourself out there. Join a class or get to know a nice mom at your son's school. You don't have to join the PTA to find them--you just sorta talk to them at Open House or room parties.

I have found that good friends sorta find you. And once you open your heart to meeting some new people, a new friend will show up. And you won't have to force it--you will just know.

In the meantime, don't beat yourself up. I think you are really, really hard on you sometimes. Hugs, pally.

And can count me as a blog friend. :)

Dawn said...

Pooh is a genius, and your post an inspiration:)

Julie Harward said...

I think all of us feel this way at different times in our lives. Sometimes I am 100% social and other times more to myself. I think the key is to just love others and put them before ourselves, that always helps me to feel happy. ;D

Jeanie said...

It sounds like your self examination may be leading you toward finding those few new friends who are the right ones for you.

Linda Reeder said...

I can relate too. I know I don't have many or enough close friends. And yet I get impatient after a fairly short time if I am "trapped" in a social situation. I am soon ready to get free and on my own. I guess that makes me a loner, and it does worry me.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Tracy, Friends are important for all of us.. I have childhood friends, and friends in other areas where I have lived...

The only place where I don't have any friends is where we live now... When George and I got married, we became each other's best friend... We don't need other friends --or thought we didn't... We moved here to Fairfield Glade in 2003 ---and other than our neighbors and people we see in church, we don't socialize with anyone here...

I don't like that now---but I'm lucky because I have tons of friends I communicate with regularly. My best friend lives 2.5 hours west of here ---and we communicate every single day.

I also have some very very special blog friends whom I communicate with regularly on a personal level.

Friendships are important ---but I do agree with you about crowds. I hate crowds ---and that is one reason that George and I prefer each other to socializing with groups....

I'm rambling and don't have answers for you... Like I said, I'm lucky because I do have many special friends who mean so much to me...

LTM said...

learning, growing, finding ways we can give to others. Sometimes just being a good listener is huge. Great, thoughtful post. Thanks, girl! :o) <3

Daisy said...

Pooh is a wise bear. :-) Good luck on your trip to Ohio and your book signing. I wish I could make the trip to see you there, but I have to work that day. I hope it goes well for you.

Ann said...

Deep, dependable friendships are the best type of friendships, and if you can count those on the fingers of one hand you are blessed.

Your Ohio trip sounds so exciting. Enjoy!!!

Theresa Milstein said...

I just found you through Ann's link on Facebook. I try not to regret the past and fear the future much, but I often do it, especially because my past is leading to my uncertain future.

Mamma has spoken said...

I oh so know what you are talking about! I'm the one who sits back at work and watches the clicks, but I don't do anything to 'join in' on any of them. It's just not me, nor my style. I do have some good friends at work and at home, but not into finding more friends.
Now that's sad....

Corine said...

Now, Tracy, it is my turn to remind you... we are only human. ;)

PS. Were I in your neighborhood, we would sit and chat together, and call each other "friend." You can count me in your short list of friends if I can count you! ;)

Happy Thanksgiving, "Friend!"

Corine :D