Sunday, June 22, 2008

grits and friendship

Sometimes, I just feel like an afterthought.

Not to any of you guys, mind you. I've been feeling really lonely and insecure again lately. I just don't feel really established in my friendships here, and sometimes I feel like I just get invited to things when its convenient, or later, as an afterthought. It's probably not true, and it's certainly not true of every one here or every situation, but it's just how I feel at the moment so I'm being emo and blogging about it. Anyone else ever feel this way, like you're just someone's afterthought?

I guess that's one of the great things about dating. For a short period of time, you know that you're in the forefront of someone else's mind, and that's a really neat thing, to have someone always thinking about you and you're always thinking about them. Until they break your goddamn heart.

I'm just really frustrated because I feel like I've been trying really hard to develop friendships here, and to be honest, I don't feel like I'm a whole lot closer to anyone that I was two months ago.* I don't think it's anyone's fault, summertime is just weird, people go out of town a lot, and I know that most of these people I'm trying to establish friendships with have lived here for years and already have their set friends, but they're really inclusive, and seem to like hanging out with me, and invite me to do stuff, but they already have their close friends, so they're not trying as hard as I am. They don't really need me like I need them. God, I'm just getting exhausted.

My friend Heather is amazing at coming up with metaphors, and the other night, she told me about this scene from My Cousin Vinny when they ask a guy on the stand how long something had happened, and he said, "I don't know, only five minutes, I made some grits, and they were done, and it had been five minutes." So the lawyer turns to the courtroom and asks every else how long it takes to make grits. "Twenty minutes," they all answer. "Wow!" replied the lawyer, "So you're telling me that for everyone else in this courtroom, it takes them twenty minutes to make grits, but your grits can soak up the water and get cooked in only five minutes?" Heather told me, "You can turn up the heat, you can stir the pot, you can do all you want to those grits, but it doesn't change the fact that it just takes a certain amount of time for the water to soak into those grits for them to be cooked." And this is really great way of saying, "It just takes time," which is what almost everyone else has been telling me, but finally, someone just illustrated it to me.

So, my grits are soaking. I can try to turn up the heat, but it's probably not going to do anything good, it would just make them burn. There are times when I feel like I'm spending so much energy on building friendships here that I'm going to burn out if something doesn't move soon. Several days ago, I recognized that it would probably be good if I shift some of this energy that I'm putting into building these relationships here into other things. Like school, or my relationship with God, or reading good books for fun. I've also been learning a lot about myself lately, which has been really good. I wanted to blog about that, but this came first.

And I am a likable person. I'm approachable and open and caring and friendly and fun and interesting and those are all things that we want from a friend. So, I'll let these grits soak, and stir the pot every once in a while, and pretty soon, these grits will taste really good.

Thanks for listening. I really need a hug. I might just start taking hugs from people even when they don't offer them. I could be one of those super-huggy girls, which weirds some people out, but most people are just like, "Oh, she's the girl that gives all those hugs."

*That's somewhat a lie. In the past two months, I've gotten to know another family from my church better. The father is a psychologist, the mother is an occupational therapist, and they have three kids, who are really smart and fun and well-behaved and awesome. Today I really wanted to go swimming, but none of my friends my age could go, so I called up this mom, and took her two oldest kids swimming. It was really fun and I'm glad I did it, and I'd do it again. So, I've gotten to know this family in the past couple of months, I guess that's something. And in five years I'll be a licensed psychologist, so it's good to get to know another psychologist who's not my professor or supervisor. And kids will never say no to swimming.


if walled in climb up said...

Oh, Kelly, I'm so sorry you're feeling lonely. I wish that I could give you a hug and go swimming with you. Heather's completely right about the grits. These things just take time. It usually takes me about 1&1/2 to 2 years to feel happy with my social life. I bet by this time next summer you'll have some awesome friends! And, like I've mentioned to you before, it doesn't hurt to be a little more aggressive about making friends than you might normally be. A lot of people are nervous sometimes to invite someone new to hang out, but are flattered when you take the first step. Hope things take an upward swing very soon. I love you and think you're a fabulous friend that anyone should be proud to have! : )

Martha Elaine Belden said...

love the grits analogy. perfect.

crackers and cheese said...

I'm glad you guys liked the grits analogy. I'll be sure and let Heather know :) I've heard other people say that, that when you go to a new place, it takes about two years to build friendships. So, I guess I'm halfway there, hurrah!

Also Britt, I appreciate you last semester encouraging me to more aggressive about asking people to do things and making friends. I've been doing a lot of it, and I will continue doing it, but sometimes it's just tiring. This entire month, I've been trying to host a sleepover. I call people and invite them to lunch or shopping or swimming. Friday night, I called 8 different people trying to find someone to do something with that night. I had resolved that I would probably spend my night at home, but someone who earlier in the evening had said they were tired because they'd just gotten back into town changed their mind and decided they wanted to go out and called me. I'm working really hard at building friendships, honestly, perhaps harder than I've ever worked at this, and it's not for lack of trying that I'm feeling as frustrated as I am.