She left as fast as she entered my life. It was as though the wind carried her in from some barren landscape, where all she had were the oppressing elements and her own inner demons to keep her company. She found me like a camel finds water in the desert. Little did I know, that somehow, I was looking for her too, that I was brought to her from my own paradise, that was lush with medicinal plants, and sunshine. This was my typical encounter of the healer and the healed.
If I look back over my relatively short life, I can see that it is filled with short term “friendships.” My friendships typically last 2 years, and not a second more than that. As someone who doesn’t necessarily crave friendships, this is an alright arrangement, but after a while, it does get lonely and predictable.
In school, which is where all of the friendships occurred, it was always the person who had a lot of emotional baggage, personal drama, broken home and or family, or crippling low self esteem who seemed to find their way to me. I suppose inadvertently I was also drawn to them, as they typically had no friends, were bullied, and were genuinely nice people. On the surface we shared absolutely nothing in common and were the polar opposites to each other. Other people would even question why we were friends, or would just scratch their heads as to why we even talked? I didn’t pay much attention to it, even though I was aware of their perceptions, and found that my “friends’ were oblivious to those feelings and remarks.
My “friends” would spend great deals of time unloading all of their baggage onto me and would confide in me personal struggles they were having that no one else knew about. As a child, I didn’t consciously know that this is what they were doing, but as the agreeable person I am by nature, I listened, offered my advice and insight, but spent most of the time uplifting their spirits and letting them know that they were perfect just the way they were. Conversations never occurred around me or my life, and considering the amount of private information that was confided in me, no one knew anything about me, or my own inner struggles and emotions. Everyday at school felt like a therapy session and when I wasn’t at school, I was at home spending time by myself, absorbed in my books and movies and in my endless imagination. I can see now, that I was retreating, needing to get away from the emotional vampires, hence why I was and still am a loner.
When my “friends” self esteem improved or when the pieces of their lives were put back together, suddenly, the friendship would end, as if someone from above cut the cords that were binding us together. As a child this would usually involve either not keeping in touch with them over the summer holidays, one of us moving away or going to a different school, or finding a different crowd to hang out with. I must say, that I was almost always the person who would cut these cords. I never stayed in touch with my “friends” over the holidays or when we changed schools. Everytime I would go to a new place I would literally start from scratch and not want to keep in touch with anyone from my past. I’ve burned a lot of bridges as a result, but the bridges were only made of paper, and not brick or steel.
One summer afternoon last year, while wearing a piece of Sodalite, it dawned on me, that my friendships suddenly ended, because the person needing to be healed, was healed. Think about it, why hang around the hospital if you’ve recovered from your surgery? There’s no reason for you to be there.
What also dawned on me, was that while I was the one helping the healed, I was also helping myself. My friends were never shy or embarrassed to be vulnerable, they never felt ashamed or uncomfortable sharing intimate details of their battles and inner demons. What’s ironic, is that while I was there to comfort my friends, the one needing comforting was actually me. I have always been hypersensitive and suppressed a lot of my feelings as a child unknowingly. I never had someone to confide in like my friends did. Sure, I had my Mom who is very psychically connected to me, and pretty much knows what I’m feeling and thinking without having to say anything, but she still does not know everything, and I think I’m not alone in saying that I think most of us wish we could have that super close friend who we could turn to in times of need, that person who could offer their unconditional support and love, no judgement or critique. What I’ve come to appreciate about my friends, is their raw vulnerability, something I have always been afraid of.
There’s also a flip side to this dynamic. Recently, in the last couple of years or so, I have also noticed that I am energetically seeking out those who have built walls around themselves, those who have something to hide. I can see this in my College experience of the last 2 years. There were about 3 people who were very standoffish and passive aggressive. Without being aware of what I was doing, I was chipping away at their steel walls, getting them to open up and share and express their inner selves to me. I can’t say that I have a technique, but all I do is hold space for them, and uplift their spirits. One person who was quite the challenge, opened up and blossomed into the person she was meant to be. For the sake of this story I will change her name to Raven.
From the moment Raven and I met, I felt instantly drawn to her. She seemed distant, cold, and extremely private about who she was. As usual fate intervened, and we were paired together for a group project. She was a little abrupt, arrogant, and stern. We both shared a Slavic ethnic background, so I suspected it had to do with the typical Slavic rough around the edges demeanour. But I was still drawn to her and didn’t buy into the image she was presenting. We both discovered that we shared a lot in common with one another, and I for the first time found myself opening up more about my background and interests, as when I did, her body language become less standoffish. I knew I was hitting on something. Since we had to spend a lot of time together working on class projects, I started casually asking more questions with regards to her interests and hobbies. She was able to open up a little, but it was like pulling teeth. I got the impression that she didn’t trust me……a first for me. Once Raven saw that I wasn’t hanging around with the other classmates, she started talking to me more. She obviously had little patience for the other students as did I, who were immature and clones of one another. She obviously valued individuality and non-conformism. Months went by and we started talking to each other more frequently, even by email, exchanging movies and books, and collaborating on more school assignments. By this point, I knew we were “friends.”
Raven was very different than the other students. She wore rock band t-shirts, Doc Marten combat books, and even came back to school one Monday morning with her hair shaved off. I appreciated her uniqueness and deviance and made that known to her. I could see that her rebellion against the normal social codes of society, was actually her seeking validation, and all Raven wanted was to be validated for who she was. She obviously was feeling uncomfortable in her own skin. Raven also started to compliment me on my individuality, the fact that I chose to ignore the “popular” people and had unique taste in fashion and popular culture. I could see that she was feeling more comfortable opening up. This is when I began asking more personal questions with regards to her family and past. She was very evasive and would give the impression that she didn’t want to discuss it. I knew I had found Raven’s weak spot. For the first time, this was when I began to open up more about my own family and past. Nothing too detailed, but enough that she was intrigued. When I did this, she also began opening up more. Raven admitted that she did not speak to her family, rented a room, and had virtually no friends. She had completely cut herself off from the world. I didn’t ask her any more questions about that and she did not seem willing enough to discuss it. One day we were both sitting in a study room at the library working on a project when out of the blue she mentioned the fact that she gets extremely annoyed when someone calls her a lady. She glared at me when she said that and I was a little taken aback. I would repeatedly refer to Raven as a lady in emails and I had no idea that offended her. I just said, “oh okay, I’ll make sure not to do that anymore.” This got me thinking that perhaps she was lesbian?
A few weeks later we were sitting in a study room in the library once again and we were discussing internship interviews that we both went on. She went on an interview to a highly prestigious company and said she felt extremely uncomfortable because there was a man there who was hitting on her. I said, “well it happens, and if you don’t feel comfortable you don’t have to go back.” She then said “well it’s very awkward for me, well it’s because as everyone can probably guess, I’m transgender.” Aha! To be honest, I wasn’t surprised, even though I wasn’t entirely sure that’s what it was. After almost 2 years, Raven let go of all the walls she built up around her. I just nodded and gave her my support. I said “that no matter what, everyone needs to be themselves, and we only have 1 life to live, so you might as well do it the right way.” She nodded too and became a different person. She also confessed this to me in the first room we ever had a conversation in. The first room where her steel walls protected her. We had come full circle. She was so much more relaxed and at peace. The next few weeks Raven opened up even more. Those mysterious doctor’s appointments she was constantly going to had to do with her trying to find a doctor who could help her transition. What was interesting was that she opened up to another friend of our’s whose friend was also transgender. She recommended a doctor and it was a success. The day Raven started talking openly about her struggle and her transitional process, and when she even asked me for my opinion on her new name, I knew that we would never see each other again. My last conversation with Raven had to do with her excitedly telling me that her hormone therapy would be starting later that month. The last words I said to her, were “congratulations, I am so happy for you, and you can always count on me being your personal cheerleader.” After that I never saw Raven again.
The February eclipses in 2017 rolled around and I realized I did not want to continue my college education. Once again it seemed external circumstances severed the friendship. I have often wondered if had the eclipses not come around, would I still be friends with Raven? Deep down, I know the answer. Raven was healed, she was finally validated. I don’t take responsibility for that, but I do feel I helped to facilitate her opening up. Simultaneously while she was opening up to me, I began opening up to her about hating College and my internship. She also felt the same way and was going to be pursuing more creative avenues. I encouraged her to do that, but I wasn’t encouraging myself. I guess having the courage to walk away from everything with only 2 months left, was when my walls came down too. Ironically it was the Tower card that I kept getting in my weekly tarot readings that gave me the push to do it.
Raven’s story is the most dramatic example in my life of my healer and healed friendship. I have had countless more, and know I will continue to as well. I don’t take pride in this unique role, I don’t take responsibility for helping to heal others. All I do is try to facilitate their growth and give their vulnerability a place to shine.
Healers are the ones who need to be healed themselves. And I know that there is a lot more healing to come.