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The world needs to see brokenness.
In high school, I struggled with being honest.
People would ask me "How are you?" and I would give the mechanical answer of "I'm good, how are you?" instead of saying, "Honestly, not too good."
I did not keep things from people because I desired to lie.
I honestly did not want them to see the brokenness that I carried and felt. I thought that if I kept things to myself, then I would not be a burden. I thought that if I told my friends about the brokenness, that they would walk away. However, the crazy thing is that we as people are created for community.
We need people in our life to walk with us and lift us up when we cannot lift ourselves up.
One of the things that I learned in my first year at college is that being in community is good. When you are in community, you are no longer walking alone. You now have a whole army of people around you who can lift you up and help you lift your burdens. I know that this is counter cultural for so many of us.
Trust me, I was there.
If I'm being honest, I still find myself there sometimes. It is so hard to show up to your community and it is even harder to be truthful about what is going on in your life. I want you to know how freeing it is when you do begin to let people in to see the brokenness. There are not enough words to describe the peace that comes with letting others help you carry the things that hold you down. Don't hide from the world because you think that you're a burden.
The world needs to see brokenness.
Too often, we are so bombarded with pictures of perfection whether it is on TV or on social media and the realty is that nothing is as perfect as it appears. Let me tell you there is not one person in this world who is not broken in some way, shape, or form. If you don't have a community I would encourage you to find one. Find a safe place where you can truthfully share what is going on in your life.
Be honest with those around you. I promise you will be a better person for it.
This summer was not by any means exciting, but it was what I needed.
This summer was not by any means exciting.
It was made up of long days of working at a mall and sleeping into the afternoon when I could. I did not get to the beach like I wanted, nor did I have that movie-like summer road trip with a group of friends.
The most exciting part of my summer was the late night drives to Taco-Bell or Arby's.
Like I said, my summer was not amazing. But, it doesn't mean it was a waste of a summer.
It may not have been the break I wanted, but it was the break I needed. Within the span of a few months, I have changed so much.
For the first time, I have met a part of me that I didn't know existed.
She is a lot more social and has this dedication to meet strangers. She styles her clothes based on what makes her feel the most happy. She is this ever-growing part of me that yearns to meet the sun.
She is like a flower blooming from the ground with each passing day.
This part of me has developed because there was no reason to tie her down. It was the first summer where my only focus was on myself. There were no worries about the people around me and there were no responsibilities to be concerned about.
I had the summer to just grow.
I will admit I am not finished growing. I know the years will go by and changes will occur. But, in this moment, this newfound part of me is the most exciting yet.
Never in my life have I felt the need to let such a part of me out into the world. But, the excitement that fills me as I begin to learn more about who I am is the perfect reason.
A soulmate can come in the form of a friend, too.
We go through life meeting new people, making memories with them, and learning difficult lessons because of them. While the lessons and hardships can really bring us down, some of us are lucky and fortunate to have friends right by our side to weather the storm with us. Although this is definitely something needed in a friend, there are other ways to tell you've found a great friend and maybe even a friend for life. Here are 7 signs you've found a lifelong friend.
1. No matter what, you always find something to laugh about.
This is probably my favorite sign that I've found a great friend - when we make each other wheeze and we end up having a laughing fit with tears in our eyes. Our sense of humor grows with us, and we eventually understand each other enough to know what makes the other laugh.
I will say that there are also times where our humor becomes "spur of the moment" where we end up laughing until we can hardly breathe. I honestly believe being able to share a good laugh often with your friends can be a sign of a good and long-lasting friendship.
2. Silence doesn’t feel awkward with them.
I feel like most of us know how it feels when you've just lost words and have nothing to talk about when you're with someone. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes it can feel a little awkward or uncomfortable. I think it's great to be able to talk about things and let the conversation flow naturally and endlessly, but I also think it's cool to have a bit of silence and even see how each of us react to it - panicking and racing to find questions or just enjoy the time and being with them, letting questions and topics of conversation come and branch off to more conversation with no rush.
3. You can comfortably tell them when you need space.
Like I said, being able to hold conversations with friends is great, but sometimes we need space and time for ourselves. It's not necessarily because of the other person or that they are overwhelming or boring. Everyone is different and mental health boundaries should be respected. It can feel like a weight is lifted off someone's shoulders when a person understands and respects their need for space; it shouldn't have to be something that feels cumbersome or troubling when it comes up. Sometimes space is necessary for people to be closer.
4. You can tell them anything and everything that is personal and know that it will stay with them.
We all have something that should never even see the light of day, and that's why we confide in the people who keep our private treasures locked in the vault. It's so stressful coming home after hanging out with some friends and overthinking about something you said, asking yourself, "Why did I say that? They won't tell anyone else, right? What if they do? That'd be so embarrassing… "
Thankfully, I've never had anyone prove me right about those thoughts, and people have kept any private information I've shared with them between us. I hope the same goes for you.
However, if your "friends" do abuse your trust and tell other people what you've entrusted and confided only in them, they are not your friends. It's one thing to ask for advice and have another person's take on a situation, but it's another to blatantly go around sharing other people's business that wasn't meant to be shared with others.
Regardless, even if you are going to genuinely ask someone else for their input or advice on the situation, at least ask for permission first; you don't always know what it takes for someone to take down a wall and trust someone in a moment of vulnerability.
5. You can let your guard down around them.
I honestly think this is one of the best things you can feel and experience with someone, whether they're your friend, family member, or significant other. Again, I feel like this can hold moments of vulnerability where you can trust the other person to not say anything to anyone as well as not feel judged. This establishes a safe space between you and this person and you don't have to worry about what they think. You know they'll listen and do their best to support and be there for you when you need them.
6. You can be your “authentic” self around them.
Okay, we all have our personas we put on in front of others at school, work, or anywhere else where we need to function normally as people. But, everyone - yes, I do mean everyone - has their personality they hide below the surface, the one that comes out with inside jokes, weird dances and stances, and suspiciously perfected quotes from movies, TV shows, and videos found on the internet. I love not having to feel like I'm sucking in and locking up the real me that's inside; I can be my weird and sometimes cringey self when I'm with my close friends and not feel judged… especially since we all end up being weird together.
7. Whether there’s distance or time between you, it feels like you’ve always been connected.
You don't lose touch with each other, even if it's been a few months (even years) or if you're oceans apart. I'm very happy to say that I have amazing friends that when I'm with them, it doesn't matter if we don't talk every day. When we do meet or catch up with each other, it feels like not a day has passed. In this sense, friendship remains unfaded and to me, it feels like I have a space I can share with them in which nothing else matters and I can genuinely smile and enjoy being with them.
However, I wanted to say one more thing - just because the following seven signs highlight positive and even "happy" characteristics of friend/relationships, this doesn't automatically mean that if a person does one or two of these things then they are a "friend for life." People can and do make mistakes, and people can manipulate and twist things around to benefit them; one should always look at the big picture and understand that sometimes we don't know what happens behind closed doors. You are in control of how close people can be to you; don't let someone stay just because sometimes they can be nice while other times they can drain you or drag you down.
It's now come full circle.
One thing a teenager never will admit is that they are cold.
Of course, their mom told them to bring a jacket and they didn't.
I'm sure once in your life you have been told to appreciate what you have. Most likely, you heard it from your parents as they denied you getting another pair of expensive jean shorts. As you get older and start using your own money, you'll understand the concept of outfit making. The truth is you really only need one pair of shorts and three tops to match them.
Boom! Money saved.
With most stores today, you are actually paying more for less clothing. If your mom hasn't made you change your outfit to go out at once, then you are either dressing like a nun or she isn't in the loop at all.
The truth is that we need these outfit-stopping-at-the-door or sleeping-through-alarm wake up calls in our life. These aren't things you can learn on your own though. As much as we all wish we could, it's just not realistic. You need someone to show you what shoes look "ridonculous" with your dress and someone who will actually use this crazy vocabulary on you.
There are more things that we can learn from our moms that I'm willing to admit.
I heard someone use the phrase "For every eye roll you get, you are doing something right." If anyone gets dealt the eye roll card, it's moms. I would say the majority of dads today are pretty good at securing the fun card in the family. This gives them a free ticket to being a good cop and saving the day.
In reality, you need both ends of the spectrum. You need someone to tell you to drink water when you won't admit to not having a single glass. You need someone to show you how to use a calendar so that you can stay organized. You need someone to tell you that if you wash your nice white clothes with your dirty jeans and sweatshirts, you will not come out with nice white clothes.
Most importantly, you need someone who will leave you notes in your lunch boxes and know what every look on your face means.
The one thing you can't deny: nobody will do that better than a mom.
Most adults say that when they turned 23, they admitted to it. They came full circle and truly appreciated everything that their mom had done for them. I don't know if I can say the same for the future generations, but I hope it's for the best because being a mom is more than a full-time job. They work and take care of you all year round and they get one day and a last minute card made celebrating them.
If you truly looked in between the lines, you might find that there's so much that you can learn from your mom.
Take it from someone who couldn't admit they were cold and now remembers to always have a jacket.
1. Brittany Morgan, National Writer's Society
2. Radhi, SUNY Stony Brook
3. Kristen Haddox, Penn State University
4. Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook
5. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign