Friendship: Are You Mad at Me?

I guess it depends on your definition of friendship and the expectations you have for it, but I really can't think of a time in a human's life when friendship is easy. As an only child, and a product of divorce, I had a difficult time relating to my peers. In elementary school, I coped with this by simply NOT relating to them, but rather hanging out with teachers at recess, talking about life and the meaning of it. You know, simple kid stuff.

I've been blessed with incredibly special friends, particularly in my adult life. My relationships aren't perfect. They take work, because at any age, friendship is hard. I've always known this. We aren't tethered to our friends in the way we're tethered to a spouse, so on the surface, it may not seem like friends have the ability to jolt our emotional state, but they can. Friendship has the power to rock your world and rattle your nerves. Friendship can raise you up and it can take you down. Friendship has the power to test your boundaries and it can comfort your heart. Friendship can change you. Enrich you. Madden you. Bless you. And the thing about friendship is that when things go wrong, you either have to work it out, or go your separate ways, because unlike a romantic relationship, you can't have sex with your friend, in order to bridge the gap between angry and resolved. (Unless you do have sex with your friend, in which case, never mind.)

WHAT am I even talking about?!

Clearly, friendship has been on my mind lately, as Mercury has moved retrograde and it feels like my relationships are a sh*t show, in general. Honestly, in a lot of ways, my self-worth and self-esteem have always been so dependent upon how I feel about my friendships; am I being a "good" friend? Am I giving enough? Am I taking too much? Am I available? Is this friend available to me? Do people even want to be my friend? Sometimes I want to send a mass text to everyone in my phone each morning that says: "Hi! Are we okay? Are we still friends? Are you mad at me? No? Okay! LoveYouBye!" But that ain't cool. So instead, I always have open and honest dialogues with my friends each and every day, to make sure our souls are still aligned with one another's. Haha, just kidding. I stay quiet and on edge, and bite my nails and cry. Just kidding. I don't do that, either. Never mind.

I have a hard time when friendships change. I feel frustrated when friendships dwindle, lose their "spark". I feel sad when a friendship ends. I feel nervous when a friend seems to be "replacing" me with someone else, someone way cooler. I'm twenty-nine and I have all these feelings. It's okay. It's normal. And if there's one thing I learned from my Dad --who took friendship very seriously-- it is that there are different types of friendship and different levels of friendship:

Type of friendship pertains to the overall "style" and rhythm of the relationship. For example, the type of friendship you have with your friend "Mandy" could be one in which you need to hang out face-to-face in order to feel close to one another, while the type of friendship you have with your friend "Monroe" may be one in which you only text/email/Facebook message.

Level of friendship measures the degree of intimacy. *NOTE: The type of friendship doesn't always predict or represent the level of it. Like, just because you and your friend Mandy prefer to hang in person, doesn't necessarily mean you have deep, powerful, soul-defining conversation. Meanwhile, your text-only relationship with Monroe may boast a lot of intimacy and space for lots of emotional release and secret-keeping. And clearly, we can't expect all our friendships to be the same type or on the same level. Kapeesh?

I dunno, does this help? Is this new to you? Weird?  I guess what I want you to hear is: Friendship is a responsibility. It's tough. And it's tougher when we expect all out friendships to look and feel the same, socially, emotionally, etc. Be open to and aware of the different types and different levels of YOUR friendships. Try looking at them through this lens for a few days. Or not. I dunno. Take it from me. Take it from my Dad. Take it from Lifetime: Television for Women Who Literally Know Everything About Friendship...and How to Cry Over It.

Wholeheartedly,

Erica

Do Over!

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"I could think of things I never thought before. And then I'd sit..and think some more." -a brainless scarecrow

Lately, all I've wanted to do is get high and watch The Wizard of Oz, synced up to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" album. First of all, I haven't smoked anything in years and second of all, the Pink Floyd thing DOES work and it's pretty cool, just FYI.

I just want to stop (over)thinking for a while, which is a lot to ask for, since I haven't been able to do this...ever. The wheels are constantly turning, from the moment I wake up in the morning; over-thinking, analyzing, worrying, wondering, imagining, comparing, compartmentalizing...it never stops. I could be in a crowded, dusty, dirty, questionable circus tent, distracted by the most elaborate elephants, lions and ringmaster. There could be popcorn flying, unicycles about to run me over, the Bearded Lady, Siamese twins, the Elephant Man, jugglers, fire blowers, knife swallowers, baton twirlers and tightrope walkers all up in my face and I'd STILL be worrying about my future...and theirs, for that matter. #exhausting.

I started this blog sixteen months ago, with the goal of "helping people", whatever that meant to me at the time. Also, I hadn't written anything in years and I wanted to test, find and claim my voice. But claim my voice as what? As a niche expert? Journal keeper? "Coach"? Article writer? Professional blogger? Recipe and home decor guru? I mean, for the love of God...

WHO IS ERICA JACOBS? AND WHAT'S EATING HER??

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Each time I come to my keyboard, I make  it a point to be truthful and humble, and some posts are indeed more "raw" than others. A couple of weeks ago, however, one of my best friends recently told me I'm not being as honest as I could be and should be. She told me I'm holding back. (She's only known me for twenty-one years; what does SHE know?! The nerve.) In any case, yes, in favor of preserving the integrity of the writer (me), which ultimately benefits the reader (you), there are some things I want to clarify about a recent post in particular, so that we may move forward with a clear representation of how sh*t really goes down in my book...which I have yet to write. It's not a real book. Nevermind.

* * *

I recently published a post about my job as Director of a Children's Fitness Center suddenly coming to an end, because the gym itself was closing. I poured my heart out, as usual, expressing my deep love for the families I'd come to know and build rapport with. I wrote about how hard saying good-bye to Circle Time is and the immense gratitude I have for the work I've done and how sad I was to say goodbye. I was so proud of that post; in fact, it is my second most popular post since I've started blogging, so obviously, it was one of your favorites, too.

The day after I published it, my BFF called me on the telephone...my land line, actually. (Get this, the phone is attached to a receiver and plugged into the wall. Like, I can't leave my house with it. And it doesn't text. All I can do is sit on my couch and JUST converse with the person on the other end. It's bananas!)

ANYWAY, what could have been a quick conversation about how touching and heartfelt my writing is and how talented I am, turned into a two and a half hour assessment of why I lied to my readers myself and didn't own my whole truth in that post. She asked me why I didn't mention that I had already quit and that my last day was going to be June 1st. Why I didn't say I was already set to leave that part of my journey behind before I found out the business had descended into a hellish pit of embarrassment and finally crashed and burned into a flaming ball of shit, no matter how hard I'd tried  was closing. Why I left out the part about me being tired of working 40+ hours a week building someone else's dream, and having the courage to finally build mine. In short, she wondered why I didn't mention that I was going to start my own business.

I am starting my own business. I feel a giggle and an eye-roll come on when I say it, mostly because I'm so unsure of what this business looks like. Truthfully, I'd rather have a full-body, blistering chemical peel than write a business plan. I mean, how can I take my forty-seven passions, talents, education degrees/certificates and somehow contain them, package them into ONE name, ONE explanation, ONE title and ONE source of income?! And furthermore, is there even room for me and all these passions and talents? Do people want what I have to offer? Do they want to hear what I have to say? Am I just going to be another in-your-face-noise-maker in the crowded, disorganized circus of blogs, UpWorthy videos, Facebook updates, Instagram-ready lifestyles and "coaching" services? How do I find the balance between making myself seen and heard while "holding the space" (I hate that saying) for my readers, clients and students to feel seen and heard? And so on, and so on, and so on...

So, this is my day-to-day, minute-to-minute thought process. Ironically, as I talk more and more about to friends, Yoga teachers, and my Evolutionary Astrologist, I feel myself laying down more and more of the groundwork for what I'm ultimately called to do; I am called to educate. I am a teacher and a nurturer and I always have been. Whether it's through Kickboxing, Yoga, working with children, Essential Oils, Intuitive Eating or Eating Psychology Counseling, I consciously teach, I fearlessly listen and I genuinely care about my community.

Perhaps this isn't so much the do-over of a previous post, but an intro into what's really going on in my life TODAY, and what these past few weeks of self-emplyment have felt like for me. I've recently learned the word vocation and career mean totally different things and I'm excited to share that with you. Maybe it's in yours and my best interest to write how it feels to be "self-employed", while not yet collecting a paycheck. Maybe it's time I take a break from writing about my past (as I do in MANY posts) and fearlessly write about what's really uncomfortable for me, what's really eating Erica Jacobs...my present. Because really, the world needs more truth-tellers and less noise-makers.

I may have forty-seven passions and it may be easy for me to be pulled in different directions because on some level, I'm afraid if I commit to ONE thing, the other forty-six things will disappear and I'll become lost. (I'm working on it.)

But any way I slice it, any direction I'm headed, I know I'm here to make a difference...forty-seven times over.

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