How very strange it is to hear someone who knows you very well, understands you better than most people, and whose thoughts and opinions you respect say, “It really surprised me that you…” It’s jarring: not in the same way as having your mother say, “I’m really disappointed…” Jarring especially when you have only begun to think about the things that surprised the person. Jarring when the person mentions one thing, and you know there are many things tied to The Greater Issues. When you have only started to realize that, perhaps, those things weren’t how life can be, should be. But how they were, for you. What you accepted. Jarring because, unlike many other friends and those-who-mean-well, you cannot hide from this person’s opinions. Not someone whose advice you can write off because the person doesn’t know you, or makes all kinds of bad choices, or has constant trouble in life. Like the project you didn’t do your best on, for whatever reason, but you put a last minute effort into a snow job polish to try and hide it, and that one teacher, that one professor, that one boss, says, “This is not your best”. Except it’s not a diorama, or an essay, or a piece of collateral. It’s your life. When it comes from a friend, there is surprise, and some disappointment, that you accepted that, but there is also a compliment. This is not your best. This is not what you deserve. This is not what would make you happy. Because not only are friends qualified to know you, they are qualified to know, based on the vast cosmic balancing act of life, what you are worth, and what is worthy of you, even when you don’t.
Realizing that you have been content with a life that, just maybe, has not been worthy of you, is very humbling. And a little bit shaming.