I met a friend recently for a casual coffee date. It had been a while since I had seen her, and I was eager to share all that is going on in my life. I wanted to talk about recent successes no matter how small. I wanted to tell her all about big plans, and how for the first time in a long time I felt I was finally going to make something of myself. I wanted to talk about my furry kids, because they’re my life. And my husband, because he’s wonderful. And we’re happy.
As usual, I heard her out. I asked about her job, her man, her cat and all the other things she valued in her life. Not out of any sort of obligation, but because I was genuinely interested. About two thirds of the way through our time together, I calculated that she did 90% of the talking, and me 90% of the listening. With a subtle nudge I turned the conversation back to me. I opened my mouth to speak, and she interrupted. I interrupted back, and tried again to share all that is good in my life. She frowned and shook her head. I asked her what the problem was.
“Allyson, do you seriously think you are going to have any success?”
“You’re just like everyone else out there with a stupid blog and book. It really isn’t all that interesting, okay?”
I was stunned. And here I am, three days later, and I still can’t articulate how bad that felt. To doubt my chance of success and call what I am doing “stupid,” well, it was too much.
I went in hoping, even expecting, to reinforce a part of my support system.
Instead, I learned a tough lesson.
The exchange left my heart feeling a little beat up.
Okay, a lot beat up.
In moments like this you find out who’s in your corner, who your real cheerleaders are. Or who isn’t.
When these things happen, you realize who wants happiness, love and success for you, as much as they want it for themselves. Or who doesn’t.
I just got the hell out of there. I didn’t know what else to do, and it was best to do so anyway. I wanted to stand up and say to her, “Well Miss Shit, I’m happy. And I’m the one who will decide exactly what success means. This is my life.”
But the words didn’t come.
I realize there are three sides to every story, and in this case there is mine, hers and somewhere in there is the absolute truth. But I know how the whole thing made me feel. Sad and angry. Even embarrassed.
I don’t know why.
It is natural to want the people in your life to believe in you. And even if they don’t share your passion, you should expect some level of enthusiasm. The experience was yet another lesson learned.
I don’t know if we will get past it. I can’t worry about it. Life goes on. All I can do is be happy, feel good about what I’m doing and go where the love is in my life.
To my family and true friends.
Even within myself.
Where the belief in me is unrelenting.