Francine ran to her room to grab the magazine. She couldn’t wait to share with her mom all that she had explored with the glossy covered publication. Before her mom came home, she had taken a picture of the words written by the page. This allowed her to reread whenever she wanted to. Saving it, for future exploration.
Rita had quickly changed into her lounge clothes and was brushing her teeth when an enthusiastic Francine entered the room. Getting comfy on her mom’s bed, she waited for Rita to finish her nightly ritual of face washing and hair brushing. Pulling up the picture on her phone, she read what the publication had written. The words brought to life what they had discussed.
“Hi Francine, how are you today?”
“As we shared in the beginning, when you change, it will effect how others interact with you.”
“Yes, staying true to yourself can be difficult at first, however, the more you practice it, the more it will become your natural way of being.”
“Are they truly your friends? Do you enjoy spending time with them?”
“What will happen if you choose to hang out with other people? Make new friends?”
“Why do you feel scared?”
“Did you choose these friends, or did being popular make you feel like you had to be their friend?”
“Close your eyes, breathe deeply, let yourself relax. Once you feel calm and peaceful, allow the image of one of these friends to come into your mind. Really see them. Explore how your body feels when you look at them. Notice if you react inside. Genuinely explore what this friendship offers you. Do this with each person that surfaces for you to explore. Some of the people who come up may stir really positive feelings, while others may confuse and generate negative sensations. When you are done, write down all that you feel.”
Francine had done what the page guided her to do. At first it was really hard to be still and get quiet. Finally she put on some music, made herself comfortable and took her time. Gradually she felt her body relax and feel open. The first person she brought into her mind was Rosie. She was quite shocked by how her body got stiff, she felt herself close down, her jaw tightened and breathing became shallow.
“Wow,” she thought, “I never noticed before how much I react to Rosie.”
Opening her eyes she started to write about all that she felt. During her internal journey with Rosie she discovered that she didn’t dislike Rosie, she just didn’t trust her and definitely did not have fun with her. As she dug deeper, she realized that she didn’t really know who Rosie was, what she enjoyed, how she truly felt, there was no depth to their relationship. The more she wrote about Rosie, it became very clear that there was nothing she enjoyed about hanging out with her.
Francine spent the afternoon doing this process with every person she could think of. It was crazy what she discovered and learned about them and herself. She was honest, it still scared her to think about not being friends with some of them. While she also found herself excited to meet new friends that had more in common with her, like Jennifer.
Rita climbed up on the bed with her daughter. “Your deep in thought my beautiful daughter,” she smiled as she pulled her daughters head in for a kiss.
“We can’t talk very long, for it is already time for bed, but, since it is Friday tomorrow, we can make it on a little less sleep,” Rita laughed as she admitted internally that she was too wound up from her evening out to sleep yet.
“Before we open the magazine can I tell you about my afternoon with it,” Francine asked.
“Absolutely, I can’t wait to hear,” replied Rita.
“Well, since I started to hang out with Jennifer and less with friends I don’t really like, it has gotten a bit scary for me,” Francine spewed truthfully.
“People I thought were friends really aren’t, it’s all about hanging with a specific group of people because you’re popular or not,” she continued.
“Yes, sadly that has been the case I think forever,” offered Rita. “I remember all the silly games at my high school, girls can be really mean and it is all so ridiculous. Looking back, I wish I had been stronger about who I chose to be my friends. Of course I am not in touch with any of them anymore,” faded Rita’s voice as she observed her daughter’s internal struggle.
It was one of those moments she wished she could bolt her daughter ahead, so she could see how unimportant some of this would become. Then it hit her, “You know what Francine, I have continued to play that same game my whole life, listening and doing what others and society tell me I should. Yikes! I have never looked at it this way,” Rita vulnerably poured out to her daughter. “I can see how we label it differently as we mature, yet, it is still the same game.
For a moment they sat staring at one another. Caught in the intensity of the realization. A tear clung to the eyelashes of Rita’s emerald eyes. Her daughter took in the authenticity of her mother, fixated by the sensation of such raw truth.
Pulling Francine into a hug, they both let the emotions bubble over.
“Oh sweetie, I hope you will stay true to yourself. Courageously letting your heart and soul guide the journey. Do not waste time on the silly games society preaches at you and select friends that really bring you joy. Friends like Marie is for me. Those kind of friends will journey with you through anything,” shared Rita with tears gently sliding down her face.
“It’s scary mom,” responded Francine between breaths caught in overwhelming emotions and tears.
“I know, it feels vulnerable, uncertain, raw, unknown. I am experiencing the same sensations right now as I open up to my true self. I wish for you to never have to remember who you are, instead, you stay true all along the way,” openly expressed Rita as she drifted into her next statement, softly chuckling. “You know, the more I move towards what brings me joy, the less scary it becomes. Instead I feel excitement building. As I let myself dream, belief and take baby steps, the more I experience surprise connections, unexpected serendipities, it’s as though I am being guided.”
The profound understanding and clarity that washed through Rita filled her with a peace and unexpected joy.
Lifting her daughter’s head off her shoulder so she could look directly into matching emerald eyes, she quietly soothed her daughters fear with her newfound awareness.
To be continued… 38