Making friends post grad is a heck of a lot harder than it was in college. In college, I had roommates who listened to my bleeding heart with kind ears, who held up my heart every night even if that meant simply sitting together in silence, the glow of our phones in our faces. Encouragement felt like the tin overhang that framed our window when it rained. In those four walls of our living room it was a comforting kind of loud. The kind you curl up next to. College was together, hair unwashed, sweatpants on. It was safe. No one had to know who they were, they just were or they were figuring it out. Safe.
Now, starting friendships feels a lot like pulling teeth. It's a consistent reminder that you’re growing up and moving on. They don’t just happen anymore. You aren’t thrown into a room with scared written on your face and finding out that everyone else is just as scared, the scared a sort of glue that holds college students together.
Now you don’t run into friends on the sidewalk on the way home from class. You have to schedule time. And scheduling time has this kind of formal attachment to it that translates into dressing up, sipping tentitive coffee. Now you deal with the fact that people may just not want to be your friend, they may just not want to make commitments, they may just not seem to need it which only makes you feel needier. You may not be in the same life stage and the common ground feels forced.
And we don’t support each other anymore. There’s this barrier between you and her that no one talks about. Chalk it up to comparison, but vulnerability feels forced and scarce. Like it doesn’t exist anymore. Like it’s a threat.
I’m lacking in friends who show up. And it hits at my self-confidence like a hammer slowly chipping away at my definition. I put my worth into a construction zone to be deconstructed by strangers. And I’m finding myself handing over power. Letting something else reshape me. And when people don’t show up. I don’t show up.
This week I spent time with one of my friends from high school. We sat in the car, with the car turned off, and talked. And we were honest. Deeply honest. The kind of honest where "how's your relationship with God" doesn't feel like a challenge, it feels like an open page in a journal, it feels like safety. And it felt right. It reminded me that this season called twenty-something is the wildest and very best and I want to show up for it. Because that’s what makes life. Showing up.
Because it’s a brave thing to be you. It’s a brave thing to stand there, in that spot and look directly into the world. It’s a brave thing to take it all in, the mess and the broken, to put yourself somewhere you will get hurt, to give someone the power to make you doubt. It's a brave thing to speak up, to fill your space, to let yourself be seen.
And I’ve always longed to heal hurts. To press flowers into the rips of the world. I’ve always wanted to stand up and scream that we can all just stop hurting each other.