We were nestled in our gigantic beds, propped up by luxuriously squishy pillows, watching reality television and eating deliciously sinful pizza when she told me about her high school days.
“…so I tried to kill myself, and have been on antidepressants ever since.”
“No, I get it. I mean, I really get it.” I said, sharing my own stories about battling depression.
My coworker and I were sharing a hotel room for the weekend. It was the night before a company event that required travel, and we hadn’t spent much time together outside of the office.
But we had downed a couple beers before heading back to the room for the night, thus feeling a little more comfortable sharing our most personal stories (and secrets).
The day of the event was busy, and we were running all over the place. That night, we went out to celebrate, shared more stories and grabbed breakfast in the morning before the journey home.
The weeks that followed were as if personal stories had never been shared. As if we hadn’t teared up together while sussing out the darkest corners of our souls. And it wasn’t awkward or embarrassing; we carried on with our professional work relationship and went out for staff parties.
I’ve had this happen more often than I would like, and not just when alcohol is involved.
I connect with others by sharing stories. Most people do*. It’s my favorite part of forming relationships – when you start sharing stories about your childhood, your favorite books, things that make you angry, why you decided to never have kids…these stories about why people are the way they are or what they deem frustrating or joyous truly fascinate me. Sharing stories with others opens this door inside my soul that makes me feel like I’m connected to something bigger, something that makes me feel less alone.
But what can happen, is that sometimes you end up having life-changing conversations with people you barely knew and then, once you leave that specific moment, it’s as if the stories were never shared. It’s as if the conversation never happened, and you go back to your regular relationships. But things have changed because you’re a different person for listening to someone else’s hardships, their hopes, fears and dreams.
This doesn’t really bother me, but it does…
I don’t need anymore life-long friends. I have those, and they’re amazing. But I need that connection with people – I crave it. I spend most of the time at my job on my own, and I recharge by being alone, so when I do connect with others, I’m elated. But I’m also a selfish human, so I connect only when I want to. Which is why I don’t feel like I deserve to be bothered by anything I’ve just talked about. But that feeling is for another time. I guess that’s just another story for a different moment. Hopefully, when that time comes, you’ll feel comfortable sharing your story too.
Thanks for allowing me to share, reader. You are amazing.
*If you are curious about the meaning of Homo Narran and want to learn more, visit AMAZON to view John D. Niles’ work, Home Narrans: The Poetics of Anthropology and Oral Literature.