"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." A.A. Milne

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Comfortable Friends

Until recently, I sort of forgot about really comfortable friends. They can be old or new friends, that part doesn't really matter. But the important point is, you feel comfortable being yourself around them, really yourself. That's right, you are comfortable being completely authentic with them.

I am a really outgoing person when I am comfortable and at peace. I have no problem chatting and joking with complete strangers. Some of my most memorable encounters have been with people I never see again. There was a terrific encounter with a guy in a historic recreation that allowed me to discover I am a wicked hatchet throw with a balanced and well maintained weapon. It is who I am. It makes my life fun and supremely enjoyable. I would not change this characteristic for a million dollars, seriously.

For a time, I found myself hanging around people I didn't feel comfortable being myself. My true nature seemed to really embarass them. After awhile, I felt if I didn't just keep my head down and keep quite I would just upset their world to no end. The whole thing made me self conscious and start to second guess myself. Not a happy or freeing place to be at all!

Then I had an epiphany, why on earth I am spending my precious time around people who don't like me just the way I am? They only liked me, or at least it seemed to be, if I was willing to change who I was or tone it down. Well, toned down does not describe this woman one little bit. Passionate, exhuberant, intense, even explosive, but nothing resembling toned down. I decided I was flat out unwilling to change even if that meant I had no friends. Seriously, did I have friends to begin with if they all wanted me to change? I set out, as my precious friend Anita describes it, to find members of my tribe. Oh yes Anita, you are definately a member of my tribe. Those are people who accept and love me for exactly who I am. They may even choose to rejoice in my little quirks and eccentricities. I rejoice and honor them in return. I am so blessed to say that God quickly led me to many members of my tribe. We have been having such a marvelous time.

Today, I had an especially wonderful day in Old St Charles with my friend Holly. If you don't know what Old St Charles is, it is the old part of St Charles, Missouri. They are very into their history of being the starting point of the Lewis and Clark expedition and they know how to do a festival. Today was part of their Christmas celebration. Dickens characters, Santa Claus from around the world, and one hyper Sugar Plum Fairy (nope, wasn't me) graced the streets. There are tons of kitchy shops full of everything from real (expensive!) antiques, English and Scottish treats, the best baked potato soup, and handmade soap of french lavender. In the middle of this was a surprise parade. As I stood there threatening to tussle with a Dickens character that had earned to sobriquet "Mountain Goat" from an earlier enounter, I heard Holly laugh with joy. My soul and heart warmed with the knowledge that I had, once again, found a fabulously interesting and wonderful woman that was definately a member of my tribe. Glorious!

I encourage you all to find members of your tribe. Find people who love you and your unique character. Find the person that will proudly stand by you when you decide to go out, for whatever reason, in a lobster suit. Your life will be exponentially better. Do not waste your time with people who want you to change to suit their particular idea of what a friends should be. They aren't bad. They aren't "wrong". They just are not members of your tribe.

Heres to you Jef, the first person I knew to be in my tribe before I even knew what it meant.


  1. We are totally kindred spirits! Love your post!

  2. People who really know me find me funny, quirky, easy-going & somewhat adventurous & impulsive. Unfortunately, very few people ever see this side of me because for too many years I allowed others to victimize & bully me into becoming shy & awkward. Karen, this post states exactly what God recently taught me about myself: I was continually surrounding myself with those who criticized & abused me because for some reason I thought I deserved this. I don't. I have so much more to give. Those who are in Christ will help me to become (& rejoice with me) not keep me from becoming. Here's to finding my tribe & encouraging those within it! Here's to loving unconditionally, extending grace, being slow to anger but quick to forgive; here's to being me. The me God created.

  3. That is such a good point Stephanie. When we surround ourselves with people that tear down rather than encourage us, we are allowing ourselves to be stunted. It hinders us from being the best we can be. I am so glad you have found a new path. I know you are going to enjoy this journey.

  4. I was just catching up on your blogs! I will always be a part of your tribe! As long as you will be in mine. I thank God for you every day. And I love you just the way you are, were and will be. I am blessed. We have something special. Life long. I can't imagine life without you.