To Somebody That I Used To Know

To Somebody That I Used to Know,

Sorry to be another person to use that damn song title, but I couldn’t help it, it’s just so perfectly fitting. And I mean it quite literally; I used to know you and now I don’t. Unlike the song (which I happen to like a lot), where Gotye is actually talking about someone he used to love. Gotye’s poor ex, being the person he is nonchalantly referring to. Where is the credit for her putting up with such an emo-hipster-musician for a boyfriend? Anyway, I digress.

It’s best that you know now rather than later that you’re not just one person. There are a bunch of you, so I’m sorry if you thought you were special for the first paragraph of this letter. You see, I have this uncanny ability of growing incredibly close to people incredibly fast. You could say I’m a connector. I loves a good connection, I does. Or I used to, until I got sick of having so many ‘old friends that weren’t friends any more’ and decided to start collecting some long-lasting, forever type friends. Such a romantic notion, which I think I’ve successfully achieved. I have a spectacular inner circle of friends whom I love dearly. Tick. Now, back to you.

As I mentioned, you’re many people. Some of you I really fancied the pants off of (not literally, I was much too frigid for that). Which yes, means that a good portion of you are male. Of which another good portion just stopped talking to me, and quite abruptly. Ouch. Guys tend to do that, or is it just young guys? I don’t know but it rather hurt. Until I wrote to one of you years later, a hateful and angry email that felt great to get off my chest. The response was hauntingly obvious and helped me understand; guys don’t do ‘friends’ if they actually would prefer to date you. They want all of you or none of you at all, and I had my rule of being single until I was 18. I wanted you to wait for me, I wanted you around. How utterly naive and selfish I was.

Right, that’s one of you out of the way. But you were the first and there were many to follow. No boyfriends, just emotional, coy and flirtatious flings. We liked each other a lot, and talked/texted/hung out, but never dated for one reason or another. However, lets be clear on one thing: I was never a wild or promiscuous teenager. In fact I wore the title of ‘Virgin Mary’ among my school friends, not so proudly but definitely with dignity. There was the year that I went a little bit overboard on the meaningless kisses though. Like I said, I was frigid for a long time. But it seems I then discovered the art of kissing at 17, and I just took off! Making up for lost time, maybe? I don’t know but it’s funny when I think about it now. My point is that from the age of 15-19, there were a few of you that I absolutely adored. You could say I was an ’emotional harlot’. I wore my heart on my sleeve. I wanted love and I was looking for it in you young men, the wrong people. I’m so glad it didn’t work out with any of you. Though I am still single now, it’s all worked out for the best. Most of you are happily married now, which is nice.

The rest of you somebody’s that I used to know are friends that didn’t stay friends. We changed. I know, another cliche, please forgive me. But we did and you really do need something in common with friends for it to work. Whatever that may be. I do like to think some of you were around for a special season, that maybe God blessed me with you then took you away again. You were good to me and had great impact in my life, at the perfect time. I hope I returned it adequately. I was sad when you left my life but not willing to chase it, because it was obvious it wasn’t meant to last. I know I sound like I’m talking about a romantic relationship, and not just regular girl friends, but I’m a little bit lesbian like that. I take all relationships in my life very seriously. All that matters is people, which makes this letter quite ironic. Oh, life.

We may have spoken recently, old friend, on Facebook. I’ve been reconnected with a few of you and its the darnedest thing! To see how you have grown up and who you have become. That some of you have even had children! Facebook aye, the site where everyone is ‘friends’. But we’re not friends anymore, are we? It’s a weird and awkward thing to navigate, friendship. We would still call eachother a friend, it would be harsh not to. But the fact of the matter is that we aren’t friends any more and that’s okay. It’s mutual.

Whoever you are, friend or flame from the past, I pray that you’re happy. I truly and genuinely hope that your life is swell. I also hope that you remember me, for one reason or another. I imagine it will be a particularly embarrassing reason that will keep me alive in your memory, that would be fitting and is fine with me. Just remember me, okay? Because I remember you, all of you, even though I don’t know you anymore.

May the Lord’s face shine upon you,
Micaela

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Empty Words

The other day a beautiful friend left a comment on one of my pictures. We haven’t seen each other for years, due to us both leaving New Zealand. She said ‘I miss you, and I genuinely mean that, I’m not just saying it’. Well, didn’t that just make my day!

These days, we’re all guilty of being fake. I remember when someone who I had barely conversed properly with (but we had loads of mutual friends) said she missed me. I was totally perplexed and frustrated, because HOW THE HELL could she miss me? Um, she didn’t know me. I know it’s not a big deal, but it got to me. Empty words.

“Mean what you say and say what you mean.” -Dr. Seuss

I don’t know will.i.am personally, but I massively fancy him and have made a few assumptions while watching him on The Voice UK. My bestie and I agreed that he doesn’t say a lot, but what he does say, he well and truly means. We could be wrong, but thats the impression we both get and it’s refreshing. Genuineness is hard to come by these days, especially in the media.

Heck, if you know me at all, you know I talk a lot and am preaching to the choir here. I do this thing where I repeat myself just in case you didn’t get my point, usually without realising it. I don’t stop talking until I feel that you have given me the right amount of affirming sounds (‘yeah’, ‘uh huh’, ‘mmm’) because I’m worried you may just not understand. I want things to be communicated the way I’m thinking it in my head, juuust so we’re on the same page. I’m doing it now, aren’t I? Oh my gaawwwd, somebody save me from myself.

It’s a little bit like the boy who cried wolf. After telling everyone and their mother, ‘I miss you… and you.. oh, especially YOU!’, those words took on a whole new meaning when I really, deeply missed someone. Don’t get me wrong, I did miss these people to a degree. Anyone who’s been away from their home for a long time will know how it is – we are constantly missing someone. But then came the day when those words would not justify the pain I felt from missing someone. Let’s be intentional with our words and give them power.

My new goal is talk less and have more impact with what I do say. I want to touch people’s hearts with just a few, genuine words, instead of talking and talking and talking away the value of my words.

How about you? Can you relate – do you struggle with talking too much, or is it the other way around? Leave a comment. 

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No Condemnation, Only Grace

Today I’m excited to be featured over at Prodigal Magazine with a story of how I had to experience God’s grace before I could extend it to others.

After reading my article there, you should check out the rest of the website. They tell hard-hitting, beautiful, real life stories that we can all relate to.

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A couple of Sunday’s ago, we sang Amazing Grace at church. I’ve always known the words to this beautiful song, but I’m used to singing it on special occasions or at Christmas. This time it was just on a normal Sunday, but for the first time it really meant something. This time I knew the Grace I was singing about.

Jesus is Grace personified, and we are all guilty of forgetting that. We’re all guilty of setting high standards and recreating laws that Jesus came to redeem. We’re all guilty of condemning others and ourselves when these standards aren’t met.

And I’m the guiltiest of them all.

Continue reading at Prodigal Magazine.

Are you a Good Friend?

I am so blessed; I have many beautiful friends that I’m incredibly thankful for. There are enough to enrich my life but not more than I can handle, because I’ve given up on having a million ‘acquaintances’ – it just isn’t attainable. I’ve gone all ‘quality over quantity’ with my friendships and it’s working out a treat.

My small circle of close friends are scattered around the world. Some are wiser than others. Some are funner than others. Some I laugh with more. Some I cry with more. Some I am more honest with because they let me be. No two of my friends are the same and they are all amazing in their own right. They all have their weaknesses and their strengths, as do I.

Not one of these friends has ‘got it all’ in terms of friendship qualities. But I tell ya what, I’m damn fussy when it comes to friends, because they have an esteemed place in my life. Yep, my friends are handpicked. I listen to them, watch them and learn from them. They don’t all make decisions that I would and vice versa, but they still have a profound effect on my character. That is why I only get close to people who give and take, who encourage, who are real, who have awesome and desirable attributes. Mostly though, I’m friends with people who love me unconditionally.

Below I’ve listed my definition of a good friend, and what I think you need to be giving and receiving in your friendships.  Obviously this ain’t gospel, just my opinion (which this blog is riddled with, wa-hey!)

Without further ado…

They respect you. They respect your choices, even if they wouldn’t choose them. They respect you as a person and treat you with value. They are reliable and prioritise you – I believe this comes from respect.

They are honest with you and can take honesty. This is a big one for me because obviously, I love honesty! There’s only so deep you can go when you aren’t honest. From “that dress isn’t flattering on you, don’t buy it”, to “come on, you know better”. I love it when my friends talk straight with me, because I know that we’re always on the same page. A lot of times I don’t want to hear it but I always try to take it, even if I disagree. However some people just can’t handle honesty, period. Tread with caution when speaking honestly; it needs to be done well with sensitive issues. E.g. I hate being judged. I will not be honest with friends if I think they’re going to go all self-righteous on me, because that’s not what I need. I need love and acceptance, then correction. It’s an art. I used to be terribly judgmental and I still struggle, so I know it’s a tough one. Oh, and some people don’t want correction at all due to their value system being different, and in that case, drop it like a hot potato. But that’s just common sense.

They laugh with you. Not at you, with you. Lots and lots and lots. ’nuff said.

They bring out the good in you and encourage you. The best kind of friend sees your assets and focuses on them, as opposed to drawing on your weaknesses. You want to know why you are loved when you are with friends. It’s just standard protocol. However, sadly, some people are insecure and will subconsciously try and bring you down. If you feel crappy after hanging out with the same person every time, you need to re-think the friendship. Or just tell them to be nicer, dammit!

They listen to you. No one wants to be around the person who can’t stop talking about themselves and their life. Ugh. (Sometimes that’s me… eeeeek)

They spoil you. This can be in whichever way they love best – words, gifts, favours, hugs. Whatever they have to give, and whatever you need!

Now, even if you smell bad, I know you have friends. But that doesn’t mean they’re good friends, and I know I’ve suffered hugely from letting friends walk all over me. Don’t settle for crappy friendships that aren’t enriching your life in one way or another. No one is perfect, but there are some energy-sucking people out there that you cannot change with your friendship. They will continue to hurt you if you let them. Take this with a pinch of salt because I know there are always exceptions, but it needs to be said.

I know I am blessed with lovely friendships, but I also know that to keep those people there I need to be a great friend as well. If you want or need more awesome friends, then be an awesome person! Be yourself obviously, as well as kind, encouraging and open to new people you meet, and to the fantastic people you already know. Be the kind of friend that you want to have. That includes your best old pals too, of course. Cherish the longtime friends who have proved faithful over time, they’re like gold.

I’ve had friendship lulls in life, and no matter what else I did have at the time, I noticed and felt the lack. We were made to be in relationship with each other! Not just in romantic relationships, but also with the people around us every day.

Life is rich when you can call someone a friend. If you need a friend/more friends/better friends, then go and get ’em!

What do you think makes a good friend? What would you add to my list? 

For The Strong Ones

We all know at least one of them. Those strong and resilient overcomers who we respect and admire, the ones that just cope so well and seem to have it all together. We could never do what they do, they’re so much stronger than us.

That single mum who is juggling work, kids and the lonely hours between sunset and sunrise. The student who works extra hours whenever they can to pay the rent, and volunteers for church, and is available for their friends whenever they call. That girl who just found out her Dad has a terminal illness and might not make it to Christmas. The guy who recently had his heart broken and is still figuring out how to piece it together.

We know their story, but because they aren’t shouting it from the rooftops, we don’t say anything. We assume that they’re coping.

We commend how brave, wise and Godly they are, and we don’t worry about them because they’re so capable. Plus they probably have enough people to look after them. We pray for them and hope for the best. It’s a little awkward to call or text and say ‘I was just thinking about you, and I’m here if you need anything’. So we don’t, because they might think we are being nosey or intrusive.

What do you say to those people who are hurting, anyway? We think to ourselves ‘I hope they are okay’, ‘they are amazing’ and ‘I wish there was something I could do’. We think that because we can’t fix their situation that we are useless, so we don’t do anything.

Except…

We’re all strong as and when we have to be, because we don’t have any other choice. That person you know, the one who you don’t have to worry about – they’re actually just like you. They only difference is that they’ve had to stretch themselves to survive the crappy season life has thrown at them, and yes they are staying afloat, because they have to.

I live in London, one of the busiest and loneliest cities in the world. I’ve experienced the type of loneliness that makes you ache from the inside out. However, I also haven’t called that person that I’ve been thinking about because “it’s not my place”. They will never know that I was thinking about them because I haven’t told them, and they will feel alone.

Those robust, capable people have days where they don’t want to get out of bed too, you know. They’re not always strong and they could be crumbling right now. So call them, reach out. Yes, there is a line and you don’t want to cross it. But sometimes I think we are so scared of crossing the line that we miss the opportunity to show love and be a blessing.

They look strong, but underneath it all they feel weak. They need you.

I don’t mind if you know my business because you probably heard it through the grapevine. I do mind if you know what I’m going through, you assume I’m okay because I’m ‘a tough one’, and you don’t let me know you care.

This post isn’t for me or about me, it’s about you or the friend that needs you.

Because even the strong people need to know you see them.

Have you ever been one either side of this fence? Do you wish you had called?