“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.” – Rita Mae Brown

For the last 6+ months, my social community has been disappearing. People fall into categories and they seem to all be dwindling.

You’ve got the every day friends – the ones who know the ins and outs of your life, who you don’t need to “make plans” with – you just show up, or call, or have last minute dinners together, and it’s just assumed whatever is happening this weekend involves the other.

Then you’ve got your peripheral friends – the ones you’re acquainted with who you probably chat with on Facebook or maybe even see in real life at a party or gathering a few times a year.

Then you’ve got the long distance friends – the ones who live thousands of miles away, but who you can pick up the phone and talk to at a moment’s notice like no time has passed.

You’ve got the I’m-always-there-for-you-in-an-emergency friends. The ones you could call if you got a flat tire or call if you were in the hospital and they would come, but it has to be an emergency need. They’re not available for regular, every day friendship. You can’t call them for a coffee date or to chat really.

Then of course you’ve got your family.

And lastly – your work friends.

It’s interesting because I don’t have any family really, and I am entrepreneur so I don’t have the work friends – the ones that you see in the office every day by default.

I’ve got a few people that are the emergency friends, and that’s great, of course.

My long distance friendships have faded. I was trying to revive one the other day and on the phone my friend said, “Oh, but you seem so happy on Facebook.”

How creepy is that? I pointed it out to her – how social media is not real life.

But it is to most people.

They hit the like button or type a quick comment and feel like they’re maintaining a friendship. They see your photos and feel like they know what’s going on with you.

The conversation progressed and I shared with her how I was struggling and just trying to stay in the moment and know that it will pass.

We spoke again a few months later and she again assumed everything was hunky dory because of a photo of me smiling on Facebook. I expressed I was still in the same place, just practicing being present and ready for a shift.

That seemed to annoy her. Just like with grief, it seems there’s a time limit. You’re supposed to be over it by now. You’re supposed to have moved on. You should in a different place. You’re still there? What’s wrong with you? You must be missing something or on the wrong path

I was talking to a soul sister friend about this and she shared that she had gone through something similar as the precursor to a metamorphosis – all of her friends disappeared.

We shared how it seems people just don’t want to hear it. Even the pseudo deep and evolved people – they are just quick to shut you up and remind you to be grateful.

It occurred to me that these two things can exist at the same time: discomfort and gratitude. Dissatisfaction and gratitude.

Just because you’re sharing a real tidbit from your multifaceted life and it is not the shiniest bit – doesn’t mean you’re not grateful.

But we’re uncomfortable with people being uncomfortable.

We don’t want to hear it.

It seems to be a common thing for friends to hear that things suck and invite you out for a drink.

First of all, I don’t have any money, so I guess – maybe, but only if you’re buying.

Second of all – what is it with drinking? Why is this the American standard answer to a problem? I don’t like drinking. I don’t like how it makes me feel and I don’t like substances that alter my reality.

I like it here. I like feeling all the things and I don’t need an escape from my life, even if it is shitty right now and your M.O. is to hide.

I want to be present for it all.

But that’s the thing too: we act like the ultimate evolved state of being is happiness.

When really: it’s presence.

Presence through it all.

Good
Bad
Uncomfortable
Delightful
Hard
Soft
The worst day ever
The best day ever

All of it.

When we reach the point where we not only fully embrace our happiness and success –

knowing full well that we are deserving of all the love and beauty in the world

But we also embrace the dark moments instead of trying to

shift them
change them
fix them
run away from them
numb them
forget them
hide from them

That is the ultimate state of being human.
Being fully here.
Fully alive.

And just fucking soaking wet in all of our humanness. The blood, the piss, the spit, the cum, the tears, the sweat, the unexpected sharts, every last drop.

I don’t have anything that’s forbidden. There’s nothing about myself that I deny or hide, and I think this is the ultimate trigger for everyone I come in contact with.

There are very people it seems who can just be with me. When in reality – I’m the least judgmental person you’ll meet. You don’t have to be anything for me except exactly who you are.

I had a guy answer my roommate ad once and he pretended to be vegan. He thought after reading all of the green living, sex positivity, outside the box shit in the ad that he needed to prove he was worthy of living here. So he faked being vegan.

How fucking WEIRD is that?

In the absence of any hidden secrets, I seem to trigger everyone in some way.

My relationship triggers them because they’re in a bad marriage
My travels trigger them because they haven’t seen anything
My work triggers them because they sit behind a desk all day.

Where are my people? Where are the ones that don’t view life as a competition? Where are the ones who don’t see things in black and white only? Where are the ones who believe you can be all the things? Where are the ones who through the rule book out the window? Where are the ones with no more fucks to give? Where are the ones who can still think for themselves?

You can plan for a home birth and decide to get an epidural
You can support local, but still fucking love Target
You can eat healthy, but not be above enjoying a drive thru burrito
You can be active and outdoorsy but still spend a weekend indoors on a Netflix bender
Your tits can be for milk and for sex
You can be into “hippie stuff”, but still want to make loads of money
You can be polyamorous and still feel weird after they have sex with someone else
You can be a minimalist and still enjoy material things

It’s liberating to be real with all of it. And to apologize for any of it. Even if we anticipate judgement from everyone else about it. To own our feelings and impulses, to be curious enough to investigate every feeling out loud – this leads to true freedom.

Sam – Katie I love everything about this, every message within this. There were too many lines to quote because I just kept thinking to myself, Yes this! Thank you so much for sharing your perspective on people/relationships/happiness/all of it. I think you’re awesome.

Katie DiBenedetto ❤ ❤ ❤ Thanks, Sam!

Katie DiBenedetto This ended up being my favorite quote. I might make more though.

Daniel – you know, Katie, you wrote a fine piece telling your exceptional acceptance of life as it is and people as they are….and it is very fine to see/hear this written: “I want to be present for it all”….people do run away from life, from contradictions, from living in the present….you express that reality very clearly and honestly, i’d say….

Jena Schwartz “I like it here. I like feeling all the things and I don’t need an escape from my life, even if it is shitty right now and your M.O. is to hide.
I want to be present for it all.
But that’s the thing too: we act like the ultimate evolved state of being is happiness.
When really: it’s presence.”

^^^^^^^ Brilliance.
Before I’d even seen that this what you pulled out, too, those words landed in my lap like a meteor from a planet I’d like to live on, or better yet, a message from the planet I DO live on. Like permission, like affirmation, like truth, like real life. I love this so hard.

Denise – Loved you putting this out there. Wanting to be present for all. Owning everything. We are everything indeed. I can feel your frustration with how people perceive you. I quit my job more than 2 years ago and been travelling and exploring new creative avenues and it really challenges a lot of people, they don’t get it. They want to know when I will “get a job”. I see life a whole lot differently then I used to and have changed. The circle of friends has changed drastically too.

DeAnna – I appreciate your not trying to force things to be positive and great. Ugh. I am so tired of the pretend. No real relationships come from trying to appear happy and positive about everything. I have someone in my family who is a life coach and if I get the positive speech again I might hurl. First, as much as being happy is wonderful–it is not all there is as you state. I like the textures of feelings. Some of them are hard and I am sure we make life harder on ourselves with our outlook–but happy happy is boring boring. That which we deny ourselves absolutely has power over us, and I wish for all of us to create a space in the world where we can show up every day just as we are.

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