This blog is part of a series of posts that chronicle my participation in Reverb 10. Reverb 10 is an online event that encourages its participants to reflect on the past year and gear up for what's to come in the next. A prompt is given each day to fuel some personal reflection. Although I'm a little late on starting the challenge, I'm still looking forward to 18 days of honesty, acceptance, and growth.
December 16 – Friendship
How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Author: Martha Mihalick)
As an adolescent, I had a tendency to bond with teachers and mentors. I was incredibly mature for my age and had difficulties connecting with other people my age and felt that I connected better with those who had 15 extra years of life experience. These individuals not only provided natural and fulfilling conversation, but they also gave me support, encouragement, and advice that my age-appropriate friends simply couldn’t. Despite being so connected to these people, I was never quite comfortable with the label “friend.”
This year, I can honestly say that I have developed friendships with my speech coaches, Lauren and Chris. Being a 23/24 year old on a team comprised of (mostly) 18-20 year olds, I sometimes feel like an odd duck. After joining the team, I quickly remembered that awkward disparity of maturity; I was a 35-year-old trapped in a twentysomething’s body, too out of tune with my own age group AND the age group represented by my team. Thankfully, my coaches recognized this and we quickly clicked.
Over the course of a year, my relationship with Lauren and Chris has followed a gradual trajectory of roles and scenarios. My friendships with them have developed into ones that provide me with unconditional support, flowing conversation, true understanding, and a sense of openness and honesty. As teachers, they are willing to help their students one-on-one during office hours, but as friends, they will go above and beyond the call of duty. They will respond to your dinner time (and later) texts to help you deal with a personal issue and offer you a place to stay if you ever need to get away. I can never thank them enough.
The student-coach aspect of our friendship has given me something special. The support and encouragement they give me has changed my perception of myself. Chris and Lauren believe that I am a capable, talented and caring woman...and they have convinced me to believe it as well. Knowing them has given me confidence and strength I didn't know I had.
It is my friendship with them that has made the woman I am at the end of 2010, ready to take on 2011 fearlessly. Every good thing from this year I earned because these amazing people helped me and became my friends. I hope they know how fulfilling our friendship has been for me. Words cannot express how thankful I am.