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Good friends heal the damaged soul.

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

Being an unwanted (step) child is a lonely life. You learn quickly that you do not belong; that no one wants you around, and that no one is looking out for you as they are for the others, the cherished ones.

As these truths dawn on you, you become unmoored, downcast, timid. It changes who you are in the world, even when not around the family. You feel your otherness relative to kids who look so happy, so secure. So wanted. As a young child, I had no real friends. I wasn't happy, cute, pretty or fun. I was not given the time or freedom to make friends, and at school, I hid who I was in shame.

Now, many decades later I am a middle-aged woman, but that child within me remains. Without even realizing it, my friends give me what I did not get and always wanted as a child. I am still surprised that they want to be with me. That they seek me out for walks, talks, for trips and adventures. That they care about my life and make me laugh at my own foibles and cheer my victories. They too, share their secrets with me and ask my advice. They include me in their plans, now and for the future. They give me belonging, that elusive thing that I've always wanted. And whenever I feel this belonging, I begin to feel whole. I heal. I know I am not perfect, but I also know now that nobody is. In the peace of this knowledge, in this security, I can rest my head. My friends give me this gift. Thank you, friends.

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To be published by She Writes Press, Spring 2024

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