Monday, September 1, 2014

work work work work workin' on my sh!t

(i seriously have that song stuck in my head right now.)

every relationship is hard work. not just romantic ones. not just the emotional friends. not just the crazy second cousin. every relationship. each friend, each family member, each co-worker. every person we interact with is a whole complex person that deserves a whole complex understanding.

in the past week i've noticed this theme over and over: one of my bff and i got in a disagreement over a miscommunication and didn't really talk for a few days. another bff received an embarrassing text from me that we had to work through (hell no i'm not sharing what it said). another bff (yes i have this many best friends) felt left out when i didn't get an invite out. another friend called me and worked through a misunderstanding we had. two different friends got back in touch after a several month hiatus. a co-worker broke down and shared something personal after feeling under-appreciated. ...this is just off the top of my head, but there are so many examples of how important it is to put time into each communication and each interaction we have.

the theme also popped up this weekend when i went to a few festival of dangerous ideas talks at the opera house. in a talk about loneliness and depression, someone said (my interpretation): we spend so much time being busy. busy-ness is a stand-in for fullness in our lives: if we're busy, we're full, complete. but busy-ness doesn't allow time for connection. in fact, quite the opposite. we end up rushing through our interactions to get to the next one, not allowing space for fully connecting with the people in our lives.

to fully connect with someone is hard work. it takes more than a few minutes. and it takes empathy as well. it needs time, space, compassion, and understanding.

friday afternoon i spent time with my favorite four-year-old: adi is brand new big sister; her little sister is under two weeks old. adi has been feeling a little left-out since her little sister was born, so she and i had a special "big sisters club" afternoon on friday. she and i put on shiny tattoos, went trampolining, and then spent a couple of hours working on a dinosaur activity book and coloring. adi soaked up every second of time that was fully focused on her: she didn't want the time to end and made sure we scheduled the next meeting of big sisters club before i left. "umm, how's friday?" she asked as i was walking out the door. i don't think she even knew which day it was, but she knew she wanted to get her special time scheduled in.

after i left i thought about how adi might be feeling, and i thought about my own sister and how i might have felt when she entered my life. and i thought about how much she drove me nuts for several years. and how she copied everything i did and wanted to steal everything that was mine (like when she ripped the arm off of my favorite doll trying to pull it from the crib so she could play with something dear to me).

and i thought about how my sister and i are best friends now.

i'm super grateful for where we are. but it wasn't easy; it was work. and it still is. just like every other relationship. so part of this blog is a promise to myself and the relationships in my life. part of this blog is a reminder to keep working. part of this blog is an apology for the places i haven't put in as much effort. and part of this blog is dedicated to all of those siblings; all of those co-workers; all of those ex-partners... just all of the people: all of the people who have ever felt like they didn't get the time they deserved from somebody.

relationships are hard work. but they're worth it. and they're probably the only things in this world that are worth that much hard work.

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