A friend of mine asked on Facebook yesterday how you know when an acquaintance becomes a friend, or when a friend becomes a best friend. It sparked a conversation about how it becomes more difficult for some – and easier for others – to make new friends as we get older. This topic really got me thinking.
My mom likes to tell a story about how I used to go up to other kids at the park and ask if they wanted to be my friend. I’d say that I made a friend when we’d only just met. I used to be very open to befriending others. I’m not like that anymore.
Transitioning into being a stay-at-home mom has challenged me to examine myself in many ways. I’ve dwelled on a situation in my life that I suppressed for several years. It was easier not to think about it than to begin the healing process. I experienced domestic violence with someone who had been very close to me. Someone whom I had trusted implicitly with every part of my life later stalked and harassed me. The courtroom experience made me tumble even further down the “rabbit hole,” but that’s a story in itself. The experience shook me in ways that I can’t even verbalize. For a while, I had a very difficult time trusting anyone at all. There are very few people in my life that I trust enough to really know me. I still have a hard time opening up to new people.
I desperately want to meet other local moms and make friends in our community. Our family and close friends live far away, and I want to feel connected in the place we currently call home. Yet, when I’m sitting amongst a wonderful, welcoming group of people, I am afraid to reveal anything about myself. Will they let me down? Will they hurt me like I’ve been hurt before?
It amazes me how deeply harassment can affect a person. It’s been over four years since this all happened, and I’m still working to rebuild what should be a simple part of life – the ability to meet new people. As I continue to heal emotional scars, I am eternally grateful for the people in my life that have proven themselves trustworthy enough for me to open up to them. My family, my husband’s family, and dearest friends, your love and friendship means more than you know.