I have felt very vulnerable and fragile at times. But despite all of this, I have felt Him beside me guiding me through the depression. I voiced the pain and hurt in my heart one day to a friend, who graciously sat there and listened and just allowed the words to come and the tears to flow. It was like an avalanche. She didn't try to offer me solutions, she just sat with me. I realised that it wasn't just the current losses that I have experienced recently that was the real issue. The friendship that ended and others that have changed have opened up very old wounds in my heart.
I realised that I am still that little girl who felt very alone at school. While other girls seem to make friends easily, I was always on the outer. Or when I did make friends, I would hear the words that broke my heart over and over again, "You're not my friend anymore." I tried as hard as I could to please the girls I wanted to be friends with so they wouldn't reject me. I tried to become the person I thought they wanted me to be, hiding the real 'me' as it appeared that the real 'me' is not who people liked.
Then our family moved to another town. At this school, I had to start all over again, to try and make friends. I watched the two best friends who marked each other with a pen behind their ears each afternoon. In the morning when they were reunited, they would giggle as they checked behind each other's ears to see if the other friend had washed it off in the bath or if it was still there. And off they would skip, arm in arm, whispering secrets as they went. I wanted someone to care that much about me. I wanted a best friend. But I was always on the outer.
Again, my family moved. This time we moved to another country. We moved to Papua New Guinea. Not only did I have to make new friends again, I also had a new culture to learn. I made friends with two Filipino girls. I remembering many times they would speak in Filipino about me and laugh while I was standing right there. I felt like a third wheel. I was standing on the outer, while they were huddled together.
When I started high school, I was an awkward 12 year old girl. After attending the local high school for a term, my parents decided that it would be best that I go back to Australia to a boarding school. My eldest sister was completing her Senior Year there and encouraged my parents to send me as she loved it there. The first year at boarding school was OK. I missed my parents and little sisters back in PNG greatly. But when I felt homesick, I would go and visit my older sister.
The second year of high school, I was 13 years old. Imagine being away from your family in another country. Imagine your dormitory mistresses being cold and uncaring. Imagine your school teachers uninterested in your education (or you), and only teaching at your school because they have to serve in a rural school. Imagine the same girls that are mean to you at school or reject you as a friend, you also have to live with 24 hours a day. Imagine you cannot leave the school grounds except on very rare occasions, for the whole 10 week school term. Sounds like a nightmare right? It was.
There was a lot of damage done in my heart in the four years I went to boarding school. Life at boarding school was lonely when you didn't have any friends. I tried so hard to be someone that I thought people would like, but every friendship fizzled out. It led me to believe that I was unlovable, a burden, a reject, too much or, never enough. I would go for a swim after school just so I could cry underwater where others couldn't see me. I would imagine what it would be like to stay underwater and never resurface.
The summer before I was to commence my final year of high school, my parents moved back to Australia. The plan was to send me back to boarding school, because it made sense academically to finish grade 12 where I studied grade 11. I refused. I couldn't face another year back there. Where my request to do high school in PNG instead of boarding school fell on deaf ears years beforehand, my parents allowed me to do my final year at home in Brisbane. I threatened to run away if they sent me back. I think they knew I was serious.
I was finally free from boarding school, but now I had to attempt to make friends all over again with people who had just spent 4 years studying together. Great! My senior year was a lot better than the 4 years beforehand. At least if I was lonely at school during the day, I could go home to my family at night. As if I didn't feel invisible enough, on my graduation day, the school forgot to print out my certificate and my name was never read out from the stage. I never did get to walk across the stage to receive my Senior High School Certificate. I was sent to the school office to pick mine up after they printed it out.
My adult years were full of broken friendships. I craved to have a best friend, or a group of friends that would accept me as I was. Over and over again, women would eventually reject me and the friendship would end. Often times I was at a loss to why the friendship ended. Instead of confronting me with something they had an issue with, women would just stop inviting you around or hanging out with you. I now know why each time I would attend a women's only function at church, I would have an anxiety attack and run to the bathroom crying uncontrollably. My experience told me that I couldn't trust females with my heart. It was constantly getting crushed.
So fast forward to today, with fresh broken friendship wounds, all those ancient broken friendship wounds in my heart burst wide open again . All those lies about me came flooding back. A few years ago I started on the journey to embrace who I was , just as I am. I started attending a new church a few years ago. Without realising, I had slipped into old habits, and started to slowly became again who I thought the women who befriended me wanted me to be. Somewhere along the way, I lost myself....again.
Now I know the root of my problem, I am going to make an appointment to have a Sozo session with a counselor who is trained. Thank you so much for all of you that have contacted me and prayed for me. I so appreciate it. Know that your prayers are being answered and the Holy Spirit is so close to me. I know I'm not out of the woods yet, but there is so much more light in my dark world.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
In the meantime, my eyes have been opened to women in my world who genuinely do love me and accept me for who I am. I couldn't see, or accept this truth before, as I was looking through the lens of the constantly rejected girl. I was focusing on those who had rejected me. Although my heart is scared to trust them fully, I am trusting in time, as He continues to heal my broken friendship wounds, I will be able to.
“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”
Still Taking Lessons From the King,
Jo - His Grace xo