How Do You Find Your Person?
I had my second appointment with my therapist yesterday, and during the meeting, I, while struggling to find a mature, adult way to frame a problem, burst out saying
I feel like I need a Meredith to my Cristina, you know?
To which she responded “You need a Person?”
First of all, can we celebrate how great it is to have a therapist that’s conversant in Grey’s Anatomy? Not only, must I imagine, is this a rarity, but I have a feeling that it will come in handy. (I’m wondering if she’d diagnose me as more of an Amelia or an April, with a little bit of co-morbid Owen.)
Okay, that’s not how psychology works. Not everything can be distilled down to Grey’s references. Another 5–10 seasons, and that’ll be possible. But not now.
I’ve been thinking about friendships a lot lately. I think it’s a side-effect of graduation season. Not just the friends that I’ve had in my past, but the friends that I still have trouble making.
Now, I don’t have trouble making friends in general. I have trouble with a certain subset of friends — specifically, my peers.
I’ve had some great mentors in my life. I have a wonderful mentor right now. A family of my own, made of people who want me around; who don’t feel obligated to love me because we share blood and DNA. I have a stable support system. People who are actually happy to see me. It’s a marvel and a wonder, and I love it.
But I still feel something missing. It feels like I’m being ungrateful for what I have when I say that; a betrayal when I feel it, but the absence is so keen. It’s like someone has started putting together the jigsaw puzzle of my heart. Most of the important pieces have finally, blessedly been put together, have been put into my body, but there’s still something missing.
The circle of people who are close to my age. “The posse, the crew,” was how my therapist put it. The people that you’re supposed to meet in school. The people you go on road trips with, go camping with, go out to the club with. The weird-ass group of people that you’re all friends with, through some act of serendipity, or sharing the same interests, of being thrown together in the same crucible and needing people to rely upon.
And, of course, the ringleader of the posse, the Person. My Person. My Ride or Die. The person that I can compete with, that I can celebrate. That I can laugh and cry with. The person that I can turn to for anything. The person that I can text or call at 3 AM, talk about anything with. The person I can get piss-ass drunk with. The one who’ll come running when I call. The person with the bail money. The person who offers to kill anyone who hurts me.
Not a mentor, exactly; someone who reaches down and helps me up, who teaches me. Rather, a person who’s at the same level as me. Someone who’s at the same place in their life, who’s going through the same same kind of shit, even if it’s their own shit.
I’ve read enough YA fiction and watched enough TV to know that these relationships exist. It’s the kind of thing that’s so pervasive and so wide-spread that you know it has to exist in real life. It’s so ubiquitous that it’s a universal constant.
You are the main character, and the main character has the love interest and the best friend. It’s a trope for a reason.
And yet, except for a couple of my teenage years, I’ve never had this kind of relationship. And it’s something that I haven’t had as an adult.
It seems so simple for other people. They just fall into friendships, naturally, effortlessly. So simply that you’d think it’s a basic human thing. And it has to be. Except that it’s one of those basic human things that I haven’t mastered.
And now I’m nearing 30. I have no idea how to make friends. Isn’t that the kind of thing you’re supposed to learn in Kindergarten? It’s just one of the normal foundational beams, one of the core elements of being a functional human adult that I’m missing.
I can’t help but feel that I’m missing a lot of them. Like the money-making. Or the finding a fulfilling, financially lucrative career. Or talking on the telephone. Or the entering a romantic or sexual relationship. Or being able to complete a college degree.
But of all the things I’m missing, this one is the worst, my inability to make friends with peers. How on God’s green earth do you go back and admit to the world that your nearly middle-aged ass didn’t master a thing that nearly everyone who isn’t a sociopath learns in Kindergarten?
I have a bad feeling that the answer is, you don’t. You learn how to live without it. You learn how to compensate. You learn how to do without. And that sucks.