Goodbyes have always been easy for me. I was never one to emotionally attach to people or things because it would result in pain and I couldn’t have that in my life. My shell was ten feet thick and invincible. I would let people think they were in but I would always hold onto huge parts of myself that I knew would be difficult to put back together if I gave it away to somebody to handle. I could be cold and that was okay with me. What I wasn’t okay with was pain and being truly vulnerable. During this season of my life, God has been chipping away at the wall and one day, He tore it down completely. It was strange. I stood there watching and stood completely exposed and naked to the world… and I was comfortable. Here was all of me. The terror evaporated when freedom took over and my soul decided to start soaring all around me instead of walking in a straight line with everybody else. Conform? I don’t think so. Wearing my heart on my sleeve is the start of a new trend and I intend to stick with it. I was so confident and okay being vulnerable because God would heal my heart again and again. He showed me that He was the one that I had handed all of me to and He was the one that would keep it together not just today, but always. Sure, I would get hurt moving forward but not to the point of broken for good. No, my God is a wonderful protector.
I am a student leader on my floor of 46 girls. This means that every week I have hours of meetings. The longest of the week is staff time which happens Monday nights between 8-10pm. I would get together with other leaders from my dorm and my sister dorm in our own staff. We play games, pray for each other, grow together and get to know each other. It was exciting at first and over time as you settle into your routine, it became one of those things you have to do on Monday nights. I remember feeling anxious because my loud personality didn’t come out in the beginning and I felt like I missed my chance so I pulled back the rest of the year. I didn’t feel like I quite fit in and when I did try to be loud, I felt like I was shut down again and again. It wasn’t any of their faults, it’s probably just a result of my own anxieties. All I know is that every week I would walk away feeling like I didn’t belong and that made me pull back even more. Soon, I decided talking was a waste of time because my voice wasn’t going to be heard anyway. I emotionally detached myself from almost everybody that was calling ourselves a family. I scoffed and laughed, what a joke! This didn’t feel like a family to me. If it was one, I was the black sheep or the awkward adopted child left in the corner. When I was one on one with certain people, it was easier for my personality to come out and to grow deeper. Oh, how I wish I could have been myself around them as a group but I couldn’t do it. I didn’t feel like I was allowed to. To be honest, I was excited knowing staff was going to end tonight. Tonight was the last night I would have to awkwardly stand around and be the odd one out as everybody paired up to update each other on their lives. Tonight was the last night I would have to smile at every bad joke and pretend the floor was the most interesting thing I had ever seen. I was thrilled to be able to be myself every hour instead of containing myself for two hours a week around people that made me feel weird. I consider myself to be pretty loud, goofy and hilarious most of the time. It’s okay if you don’t think I’m funny, I’ll laugh at my own jokes. But for those two hours, I was awkward, quiet and didn’t say anything so nobody approached me. It seemed like everybody had connected with one or two people in a deeper way and would keep in touch the rest of the week. Not me. No, I would get friendly smiles and such when we had to see each other but as soon as we left, I was forgotten. That was okay though because I forgot about each of them until they approached me randomly. I detached and contained the great pain that comes with feeling left out.
Tonight was the last staff. I was thrilled when we left and I thought the feeling would last.
As soon as I got to my dorm room and sat down, I got a hug from a girl on my floor who was hanging out in my room and the sadness hit me hard. The depression decided to come out tonight and I realized I would miss these people I thought I had detached from. The truth was, they had made me laugh, they had made me cry and they had taught me things I never knew before. As much as I hated to admit it, I had grown to really love them even if I felt like none of them loved me back. I guess God had been coaxing my heart out all year long and I didn’t realize it. Oh, God, You’re a sneaky one. I smile now and glance up to the sky knowing God is still working in me. This whole wearing your heart out on your sleeve thing is hard. It’s hard giving your all when you rarely get it back.
Goodbyes used to be easy for me and I thought it would especially be easy tonight. But no. We wrote affirmations for each person to take with them as we move forward and I remember glancing at mine and rolling my eyes thinking these are generic “Have a good year!” notes. I was envious at people laughing at inside jokes and it hurt knowing I hadn’t made connections worthy of inside jokes. It hurt so much knowing that nobody wanted to connect with me and it hurt even more when I realized I hadn’t let them. I had kept them ten feet away from me at all times and I have no one to blame but myself.
Then I saw one note from a guy on my staff who I would describe as the male version of tumblr. We have only really spoken a couple of times but his note stopped me. It started with the typical it was great getting to know you and then the ending. “Let’s have an ambient music party soon, because I’d love to keep in touch with you, sincerely.” I read that sentence and smiled, believing that maybe someone wanted to connect with me. This might seem like the smallest of gestures and he may never know the true impact but it stopped me and almost brought tears to my eyes. I had felt left out all year and the one guy I didn’t think I would connect with super well was the one that reached out the most in the smallest of ways. I felt like my heart was coaxed back out and the pain that comes with that was relieving. The love came rushing in for this group of people and I’m truly sad to be leaving them. It was a great year and I truly hope I keep in touch with some of them if not all.
Goodbyes used to be easy for me. Now, I don’t like the sound of them. So to my staff and all those who are to come in my life, may we never say goodbye. No, I don’t like that.
I’ll see you later.