I went back and read this letter that I wrote about two and a half years ago. I re-read it because I wanted to see how much this part of my life has changed. In order for this post to make sense, you should probably go back and read it as well.
If you’ve been following my blog for any meaningful amount of time, you know that I blog a lot about K. Last week I posted about how I need to get my head around the reality of our current friendship/mentorship and believe that I have something worthwhile to offer her as a friend. The relationship, at least from my side, is quite complicated. From her side, the most complicating factor is the professional hierarchy that exists. Anyhow, I digress. The point of this post is the letter I wrote to her over two years ago.
On Saturday night I joined K for a night out with her splurge group. A few weeks ago she invited me to come into this circle of her friends. I got the impression that she worked hard at planning an event that I would definitely be able to attend and one that I would hopefully be interested in. We were supposed to go for a pedicure together before the splurge group (she invited me to go) but the timing didn’t work, so she suggested that we just meet a little before hand and go for a walk. So we did.
We walked together. We gossiped, we chatted, we joked, we laughed, we complained… We had a very real, normal, natural conversation that, to anyone looking in, would look like a strong and vibrant friendship. After our walk we joined the splurge group for fondue and wine. She introduced me to her friends as “her friend” and everything was just so natural. The small group of us drank two bottles of wine and got comfortable with each other. She acted completely at-ease with the idea that I was now a part of her circle of friends. I won the splurge group (on my first night!!) and now I have to plan the next event. As I got home, she texted me and thanked me so much for coming – she’d hoped I had a good time because she did.
As I laid in bed that night, I thought about how much fun I had and how nothing about my “current situation” with K couldn’t be better. I thought about the letter I wrote to her and never sent so long ago.
I remember watching you perform a section the night I shadowed A. and I listened intently to the casual conversation the two of you were having. I longed dearly to be part of that conversation and to even be in a position to have similar conversations with you. … Ironically, despite this desire of mine, I never know what I would talk about with you. When I am shadowing you, I feel awkward starting a conversation with you because I don’t know what to talk about. I am afraid of asking you something too personal or crossing a boundary…
If this part of the letter was expressing a desire to be casual friends with K, I am confident that I have reached, if not exceeded, this desire. If you had asked me back when I wrote this letter, I would have never believed that I would have even a fraction of the type of friendship I have with her now.
All I need is a little more indication and guidance from you – like an extra line in your email about how you’re doing, or something that goes beyond the normal type of conversation that you’d have with another one of your patients. I feel like right now, our conversations and relationship remain rather superficial, and until they go beyond that I know I will always have this uncertainty.
We talk about everything… at least I talk about everything with her. She’s shared many things with me that I imagine she probably hasn’t shared with many other people openly and willingly. We text each other multiple times a week – sometimes for “business stuff” but mostly just to “check in…” Just like most friends do. I send her more emails now than I have in the past, and she replies… and I don’t question how she responds. That uncertainty is gone. Really.
I would tell you everything I want to say and you would give me that very empathetic look you give me sometimes in your office. You would then wrap your arms around me and give me a huge hug and welcome me into the type of friendship/mentorship/colleague relationship that I long to have with you.
I’ve lost count of the number of times she’s “wrapped her arms around around me” in either a gesture of friendship or a gesture of comfort. I’ve called her in tears. I’ve sat in her office in tears. And we laugh together, too. I have no doubt that I have the relationship with K that I only dreamed of a few years before. In fact, I might venture to say that I have a stronger relationship with her that I could have ever imagined.