I was recently babysitting on a Friday night.
It was late. Midnight. And the apartment has these beautiful bay windows with plush window seats. Perfect to peer down onto the streets below. The cobblestone street, dotted with cafes, where people dine alfresco on the sidewalks outside. Or you look across the street at various rooftop parties, bustling underneath twinkle lights — NYC’s stand in for the stars we cannot see amid the bright city lights.
Now, don’t get the wrong idea. I am not some creeper.
I’m not some Pee-Wee Herman, fun house wacko.
But I frankly love to just watch the lights twinkle in the buildings and the waiters pop from table to table delivering drinks, friends gathering to celebrate birthdays, toast with margaritas, chat, laugh, and just be with one another.
And as I was watching all the people buzzing around on the streets below, I was just overcome with this awareness. Of how this is really what life is about.
How community — relationships — are what get us through.
I have my large friend group of people I met since I moved here. They’re wonderful. I laugh with them. Hang out with them. Spend fun nights at one another’s rooftops, brunching, going to street fairs, concerts, dinner parties, dive bars. They have become my second family since moving to the Big Apple.
But then, in addition to that large friend group, I have my girls.
My girls moved to the city about 2 years ago. The two of them have been my best friends since age 7. We were neighbors back in the Midwest. Went to school together. Did extracurriculars together. Vacationed together. Were parts of each others’ families.
And now they live in NYC with me.
And here’s the thing. My large friend group, I love them all so much. They have been there for me though the ups and down of living in this big and sometimes frightening city. They have been an active part of my growth as a person and instrumental in my journey to self love.
They don’t know my past.
They don’t know where I came from. What I’ve been through. How, who I am today is the result of everything up till now.
My girls, they walked through my anorexia with me. They were there. They know me. They know who I am. And I know them.
And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all really want? Someone to truly see us – good, bad, and ugly?
Someone who remembers your awkward phase in middle school when you wore a retainer and had a bad highlight job?
When you went through a Jesse McCartney/Hillary Duff phase when you first got your car and would blare “Beautiful Soul” like the soundtrack to your own reality TV show
I think that’s what we long for. What we were made for. People to accept all of us.
It’s what I found myself thinking about, as I was watching all the people below, living in community with each other.
During my anorexia, I isolated myself from my friends and loved ones to be with ED. You know this, I don’t need to rehash it.
But that relational desert birthed in me an appreciation for community and friendship that is so deep. Friendships have been so healing to my spirit and heart.
But what has been truly transformative, has been my friendship with my girls — friends who know all the crap and baggage I have from my past, and love me anyway.
One where, they’ve seen me at the pit of rock bottom, and yet choose to see me today, as the healed, whole, and vibrant young woman, and celebrate that victory.
One where, regardless of the pain or hurt they experienced during that dark time, they forgave me and embraced me still.
That, is a transcendent relationship.
That is a relationship that reflects our relationship with Christ.
Because thats what He did.
One day, I may share my past with my large friend group. During this particular phase of life, not having that darkness follow me around has been so healing and freeing. And I know that by sharing that history, and being vulnerable, it will only bring us closer. But for now, I will keep that to myself.
But one thing’s for sure: having my girls in the city, who truly know me, and where I came from and what I’ve been through – that’s true freedom.
That’s what all those people down in the cafes and speakeasies are looking for.
They’re looking to be seen. To truly be seen and known by the person on the other side of the table.
I hope they find it.
You’re worth being known.
Never forget that.