The Hole That Opened My Heart

finding friendship in unexpected places

There is so much that I want to say on this site. There’s the story that I went through and that I want to tell. There are things that I learn everyday. And sometimes, there’s that place in between that can be both exciting and exhausting. I’m working on a post that’s exhausting. So I had to take a break. But while I was taking that break, I learned some new things about myself. I learned about how one scar where they sewed me up, simultaneously ripped open a tiny hole in my heart and allowed me to grow and to love.

A couple of months ago I was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. In retrospect, it wasn’t surprising, but at the same time it shook my whole world. Suddenly, after listening to people talking about their experiences, after listening to audiobooks, I understood so many of the things that happened in my past. I understood the look on people’s faces when I got really excited about what I was talking about and talked loud and fast. I understood why the things I said came out unfiltered. I understood why I could keep sprinting forward when everyone else wanted a break. I understood why my mind was a stream of consciousness novel. I understood why I had mostly given up on having friends.

This blogpost isn’t about ADHD, so I won’t go much further into it, but I deeply understand what it’s like to not fit in. From the time I was in kindergarten through adulthood, I could probably give you an example for every year of how my ability to connect with others was affected by ADD/ADHD. And then I read this article and suddenly things clicked even more. It doesn’t feel good to not belong. It doesn’t feel good to not understand why. What I learned was that I feel things deeply, very very deeply.

A couple of months ago, my therapist asked me about how or why I control my emotions. Initially, I responded that it was a control issue–and that’s not totally wrong–but that didn’t exactly feel right. And after thinking about it, I realized that when I allow myself to feel emotions, I feel them to their fullest extent. And when I have friends, and they are hurt or sad or angry, I feel those to the fullest extent too. And that’s exhausting. And so I turned it off for a really, really long time. I didn’t have many–if any–close friends.

But after going through trauma, after realizing being part of a community is essential, I let a tiny piece of my heart open back up. I let myself feel the emotions of my friends. I let my friends understand who I am. I shared the depth of my feelings as I went through trauma. Sometimes I tried to close that hole back up when it hurt, but it wouldn’t let me. Because being in isolation is not a good thing. You can’t heal alone.

And this year, with COVID, with the four year anniversary of my trauma very intensely triggered by the election (that happened on the day of my surgery as well), I needed that community more than ever. Sometimes it felt like I was just putting it out on the table. Words that I was writing or saying were words I would never have admitted to anyone else prior to trauma. It was scary, and I was afraid that when I said them, they would leave. But they didn’t.

And in the same way, when they hurt, my heart hurt deeply. I could feel it so tangibly in my chest. I have cried for my friends. And there were moments where I panicked, where I wanted to go back to that person who just plowed through and didn’t have to think about friends. But I know that’s wrong. I know that we’re meant to be part of a community. I know that I am where I am today because there was a community who lifted me up and carried me when I couldn’t walk.

I know that we are meant to love and support each other. I know that we’re supposed to be vulnerable. Because that’s where connection is built. And when you accept that, you accept the pain that comes with it, but also the deep understanding of the people around you. There’s not a single person who isn’t wounded. We can offer ourselves, our friendships, our love, That’s where healing comes from. That’s where change happens. It’s love that saved the world. And, for me at least, those darkest moments have led to the most beautiful.