I always felt “wrong." I didn’t even realize it until I was well into adulthood. I was constantly guilt-tripping myself into caring about things I didn’t actually care about. Into doing things I didn’t really want to do. Into believing things I never really believed. I felt so out of place and I assumed it was because I was doing something wrong. I believed I just didn’t understand the world around me and I needed to work harder to do so. It was exhausting.
It wasn’t until I met Tyler that I learned it was actually okay to be different. He is a little quirky, so he made it okay for me to be a little quirky, and when I realized that he was attracted to the quirky instead of turned off by it, a whole new world opened up for me.
I’m going to use a Grey’s Anatomy reference here and say that he was like needing glasses. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch this clip. It’s actually a really cool analogy. For the sake of clarity I'm not coming out as a lesbian. There was just no way to cut this clip after the leaves part and play only the relevant section without violating a bunch of Youtube rules.
Meeting the man who is now my husband changed me, for the better! Tyler and I are similar in some ways, but for the most part we’re pretty different. He has worked to understand me over the years (and vice versa). At this point he can sometimes tell what I’m going to do even before I know it (and vice versa). He knows me so well. And I love him, and I really think he’s amazing (and hopefully vice versa, right?!).
But Ashley is my soulmate.
I had a conversation with my mom the other day. I expressed concern over a mutual friend's constant thanking me. I told her I thought it was sad that he felt so grateful for actions I consider to be simple, basic, and exactly what he deserves. I don’t believe thanks are required, and it hurt my heart that he felt the need to say it, as if he didn’t believe he deserved my time and attention. Mom told me I was overthinking it. She was probably right. She said that saying “thank you,” for everything, is simply this person’s preferred way to share his feelings of appreciation. Makes sense. (Moms are really good at putting things in perspective. Especially mine.)
In passing I mentioned this person to Ashley, and I told her that he thanked me for doing something I deemed an obvious “duh, of course I’m going to help you with that,” kind of thing. She commented EXACTLY as I did. That’s so sweet, but it makes me sad that he feels he has to thank you for it.
Nobody, not Tyler, not my mom, not any of this person’s other friends thought about it like that. But Ashley did. It made me feel so…relieved, pleased, less crazy?? I don’t know, exactly. Actually now that I think about it, I do. It made me relax.
She knows what I’m going to do before I do it, not because she’s worked to understand me, but because it’s what she would do, too. Do you know how refreshing that is for someone who feels as though she has always had to explain herself to everyone?
With this friend, for the first time in my life, I feel truly understood.
That is not to take away from all of the incredible people in my world who have worked to accept and understand me. Or from those for whom accepting and understanding isn’t work at all, it’s just how they roll. It’s easy for someone who thinks the way I do to get on board. It’s harder for someone who sees the world differently to be there anyway. So there’s something very special to those relationships as well, and I truly cherish them.
But for someone like me, someone who seems to have a take on life that’s slightly off-center, someone who looks at things a little bit differently...it’s like I’ve found myself in finding this friend. Meeting someone else so much like me has grounded me, built my confidence, and helped me learn to trust myself. These are things I kind of knew I needed in an abstract way, but never understood the power they would wield until I felt them first-hand.
Here’s another cool thing - feeling more grounded and being more confident has allowed me to just be myself. No facades, no going with the flow just because it’s easier, no pretending to care about things I really don’t, and no guilt about all of the above. (Okay, okay. Less guilt. Because old habits die hard. I’m working on it!) And you know what happened as I made that shift? I was able cultivate even MORE friendships with people who make me feel grounded and confident instead of the opposite. It’s a beautiful thing.
Perhaps if I'd had a sister, or just one friend on the same wavelength as me when I was younger, meeting Ashley as an adult wouldn't have been quite so impactful. But that's not what happened. And I'm here now, making it seem like friend is my lesbian lover. Which she's not, for anyone who's curious. Sorry if that disappoints you. She's simply my person and I can't imagine life without her.
So here’s to soulmates. I hope that everyone reading this has at least one of them. ♥