Once, I was sitting at a table of people, sad, when I said, “I feel like I have no friends.”
One of these people looked at me weird and said, “Really, what do you call us?”
I counted them. The table of 9 was full of people who were there, enjoyed my company and me theirs.
What prompted me to say that, then? At the time I genuinely believed it. “I feel like I have no friends” while surrounded by friends.
Were these people the ones making me feel lonely? No. Were these people the ones making me feel misunderstood? No. Were these people the ones isolating me? No. I was sitting there, amongst them, included.
Did I feel like these people weren’t good enough to be my friend? No. Did I only tolerate their company so they would warm the seats? No.
It took me a while to put my finger on it, and then it hit me like a wave.
I wanted my soul to be known. I wanted my heart to be seen in its purest state and be loved anyway. I wanted to be accepted in my fullness. I wanted to be understood while being laid bare, my chest open for all to see.
The one who was making me feel alone … was me.
I felt like I had no friends, because my friends did not know the real me and love me. I felt like I had no friends because I did not allow them to know me.
So I opened myself up … and the table of 9 became bare. I opened myself up … and what I most feared actually happened.
It wasn’t their fault, really. I had allowed them to love someone who wasn’t me. I had played a part in a play, rather than suffer the consequences of living free.
Then, something funny happened. My table began to fill again … and this time I didn’t feel alone. I felt seen, wanted, whole. I felt like I had company for the first time in my life.
While my table isn’t always full, it’s my table. Sometimes it even overflows with guests. When I thought there wasn’t more room, someone brought their own chair just so they could be with me.
There are times when I really am alone now, but it’s never quite like it was before. I think the greatest gift I ever gave myself was becoming my own friend, sitting at my own table, enjoying my own company.
People come and go as they choose and I love them, every one. Some stay for coffee, some stay for a meal, some stay to play cards, some leave only to come back and some never left.
But my table is my table, and I love this old thing.