A Bringer of New Things

I want to read and learn all I can, write thoughtfully and truthfully, live according to reason and ever more mature wisdom, and savor every wonderful little gift of life.

Being My Own Friend

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Below is my entry for this week’s Carrot Ranch’s flash fiction challenge of writing a 99-word story about “a hard place and a connection” and, below that, some reflections and explanations on the concept my story puts forth. (I’ll aim for a less concept-based story next week!)


The Friend Inside

A sudden breeze rose up and ruffled Maggie’s hair as she gazed over the valley. The wind was changing inside her, too.

Loneliness had become her straightjacket in the past year. The more desperately she struggled to make friends in this unfriendly town, the more isolated she felt.

Now she was giving up. Aloneness had won.

But, somehow, this decision only lightened and sweetened the silence that had oppressed her for so long.

“I’ll keep trying to make friends,” she said, “but in the meantime, I’ll enjoy my own company. I will become my own friend.”

Her heart smiled.


Behind the Scenes

I discovered this concept of being my own friend during a period of great loneliness and transition in my life a few years ago. I relied on it then more than I do now, but it’s still a helpful construct for me.

Essentially, what “being my own friend” means to me is having a rich sense of self-connection. It’s a type of introspection that isn’t about analysis, but about companionship, self-reliance, and literal independence. As my own friend, I laugh at myself, savor memories that no one else knows, talk to myself about what’s going on in my life as I would with a friend, and rely on my inner, wiser self for guidance and grounding. I guess what I’m technically doing is splitting my consciousness of my “self” into fluid, interacting parts.

Ok, so maybe it’s a little crazy. But really, it improves my sanity! When I feel stressed, fearful, disappointed, or upset in some other way, it calms me down to turn inward and relate to myself as a caring, knowing, and reliable friend. As another example, when I’m just feeling worn out from being around people for too long, even if I’m not yet alone, I can retreat inside to my friend-self, and I suddenly feel refreshed and centered again.

It turned out, when I first hit upon this self-connection strategy, that it was the exact same thing I’d always done with “God” when I was a Christian (I wrote about this in more detail on my other blog here). As Emerson wrote, “Blessed is the day when the youth discovers that Within and Above are synonyms.” All along, “God” was really just me, in this inner-friend sense, except I truly believed I was talking to a different entity altogether. Now that’s what is a little crazy, if you ask me! But if you still prefer the construct of “God,” go for it. Whatever helps you get through life and be the best you that you can be.

For me, it’s being my own friend.

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8 comments on “Being My Own Friend

  1. emilievardaman
    May 18, 2015

    Great 99 words!
    I’d never heard the Emerson quote. I like it a lot.

    Like

    • Sarrah J. Woods
      May 21, 2015

      Thanks, Emilie. I actually found that sentence when I was reading Emerson’s journals. (I have a book of his compiled journals, letters, essays, and poems.) He astounds me with his insight and eloquence!

      Like

  2. Charli Mills
    May 19, 2015

    It’s a powerful day when one can make that inner connection. Loneliness and aloneness are two different things and your flash captures that understanding. I like your “behind the scenes” going deeper into the meaning conveyed in your flash. I definitely need periods of alone time to re-charge but I also enjoy the companionship of others. However, on my birthday I am going on a solo adventure!

    Like

    • Sarrah J. Woods
      May 21, 2015

      Thanks for your thoughts, Charli. What will your solo adventure be? I definitely agree that aloneness does not have to mean loneliness! And on the flip side, one can be lonely while not being alone!

      Like

  3. Pingback: Hard Places « Carrot Ranch Communications

  4. Christina Rose
    June 3, 2015

    I’m so happy I came across your blog through the Flash Fiction Challenge! I’m really enjoying your writing and look forward to reading more! 🙂

    Like

    • Sarrah J. Woods
      June 3, 2015

      Thanks so much! Glad to “meet” you! I need to head over and read all the other flash fiction posts this week; I love to see the compilation. I’ll try to pay special attention to yours! Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

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