Slowly does it but I’m moving forward. I made the move to re-engage and despite all my nervousness, I jumped in and it made me happy. Not just happy, it made me feel like I had a place in the world again.
Feeling far from my best and worrying up to the moment that I arrived. Standing outside a station, waiting with music playing in my ears and watching people go by.
These things help me.
And then helped in that moment by a friendly random who walked over and told me how much he liked my hat and how cool and beautiful I looked. That I stood out from all the people walking past. “Look around you gorgeous, can you see another person whose got what you have. You’re unique”
How lovely.
And he made me chat. First with his survey which took a couple of minutes, and then for ten minutes wanting to find out who I was, why I was there and whether I was interested in getting to know him better.
Confidence a plenty, with all the lines that would make any girl feel like a million dollars.
Especially one who felt like she wasn’t looking like a million dollars that night. Still with tired eyes from struggles and in need of a trip for a haircut hence the hat.
Fitting in all that urgently required self care is happening slowly but will eventually see me looking a little more put together.
So to still be seen as beautiful in my uniqueness was gratefully received and found me making friends with the person who loves to travel. Who shared their experience of travelling from St Petersburg to Moscow. The opposite way round from how I did it. And their shared love of Italy. A description of visiting Florence.. a place that I hadn’t managed to get to yet but is on my list.
We can go together they said.
Give me your number and let’s be friends.
Why not I thought as he typed it into his phone.
Friendship is the only thing I am interested in, in my currently crazy and complicated existence. Friends are exactly what I need. Finding a new one felt lovely in that moment of worrying about reconnecting with an existing one.
Perhaps even in my much less than finest moment I apparently was still worth jconnecting to.
“Whoever you are meeting now is very lucky” they said “I hope they know that”. And then off he wandered. “I’ll be speaking to you tomorrow”.
I laughed to myself as I thought, I doubt I’ll hear from him again. But I wasn’t worried. I have lots of random encounters in life and they provide something lovely in those little moments. And in that moment he gave me the little extra I needed to be able to talk. To be the friend that I wanted to be. I was looking forward to seeing my friend and didn’t want to be a total let down in not being the proper and full version that they liked being around.
I told them of my encounter when they arrived. It gave me at least one interesting experience to share even if it had only been 2 minutes before.
But I was so happy to see them. And I had been primed to be a little more chatty in my unexpected starter to the night.
Initially just wanting to know what their life was looking like. Feeling happy in seeing how well they looked and how wonderful their world was looking. Along with their happiness and confidence that had come with all their experiences. I could not have asked for more for someone I love.
And I would have missed it had I waited to be in a better place. I would not have wanted to miss sharing their moment of them flying really high.
And as I skirted round the details of why I was not quite myself right now I found myself just sharing what it looked like. Shaky at first. In all my nervousness in how they might judge, and the embarrassment in how I might appear in not being able to rise above such things. In not being successful and amazing in my life and back to a place that had been familiar when I first knew them. Going backwards.
That I might be so much less than the sort of person that they would want as a friend. The sort of people that now inhabit their world and are probably so put together, confident and have it all. But I am real and I do have a really good heart I thought.
And yet despite all my worries and as I tried to turn the subject back to their adventures and updates, I was given a much needed cuddle that has never been so required. And it was taken so gratefully and left me feeling like it was ok to be just what I was. I was still worth being around. That I was still me even though I’m a me trapped inside all the mess that I have fought so hard to deal with and am still trying to deal with.
A cuddle that I can give out so very easily but I have found so much more difficult to find.
And it meant a lot to me. Give and take is the basis of any relationship for me. Without it I’d rather be completely on my own. Luckily I have it in a few and I feel so much more confident in reconnecting with some of those others now too.
I’ve always been discerning with those that are closer to me but recently I have learnt even more about what is real/genuine and what is show. The difference in their value and how easily each are able to stand the test of time.
Show works forever in the party and the success but disappears very fast when they disappear.
But real and genuine, Well they survive the lot. They don’t give a shit whether it’s good or bad. They want to be there for it all.
I read something the other day about friends. It made me laugh in some descriptions but it made me think a lot about who really matters to me, who I really want around me, who makes a difference to my life and let’s me try and make a difference to theirs.
These are the friends. And then beyond that are the acquaintances.
The good time crew who come in and out but rarely remain beyond the moment or the party.
When I woke the next morning I thanked my friend and a little later in the day I received a very enthusiastic message from my new acquaintance.
I saw my birthday in on a bus for one stop with my friend. I spent the day with my wonderful clients who fill my world with real and beautiful, I heard from all my immediate family who never usually message me (I’m guessing my little bro may have spilled), the lovely L who of course was all over it and weaved throughout my day, messages from other friends that remember birthdays ( I’m not very good at that) That I only see every now and then, but on my birthday is the moment they remember me and then a quiet evening of fish and chips and Merlin with my girl. Quiet, simple with my sunshine.
Couldn’t have been a more perfect start to my new year if I had tried.
A new year in which I am going to try and be even braver. Perhaps I cannot change everything in five minutes, but if I do have a plan,  it is to try and reach my next birthday being just me in a place that I choose. And I feel like I’ve been helped on a road to that.
The tortoise finally put her head out of that shell and might still be moving very slowly but she is getting somewhere.

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