Perhaps it’s just me. I’m an introvert. And I tend to be shy. So I often keep my thoughts to myself. I let them run around a few times in my mind before I ever let them out. And by then, they’ve been edited. Sometimes, I really wish I wouldn’t do that. I wish I would say the things I’m thinking without censoring myself. I wish I would be open, completely open, with the people I love.
For that matter, I really wish I would tell the people I love that they’re part of that circle in the first place.
There are a few in my life that I’m totally and completely comfortable being all sappy with. I tell them I love them every chance I get, I hug them at every opportunity, I let them know how much they mean to me. And I’ll let any random thought that comes to mind slip out without a second thought. But those people are few and far between.
Actually, I’d limit it to one. Make that two.
But then there are others, those that I assume must know how I feel. I don’t need to say it. They get it. Whatever. I wave it off as a whatever, like it doesn’t matter. But it does. Think about it. When someone takes the time to tell you that you mean a lot to them, to say that you matter, how does it make you feel? I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel pretty damn good. I smile. I’m happy.
I don’t assume that everyone has this issue, this inability to speak their mind, to release their feelings. But I’m pretty sure I’m not completely alone in this either. There is no lack of song lyrics that tell you to say what you need to say or ask how come we don’t say I love you enough. And it often takes a large scale tragedy to wake us up and cause the phone lines to fill with calls home, people asking — are you okay? And by the way, I love you, I really do.
Perhaps I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I’m in the process of moving, to a new city and a new state. And it’s far. The last time I made a long distance move, I moved close enough that I could get back home by car. It wasn’t that big a deal. I knew if I got home sick I could hop in the Civic and be in the midst of visiting loved ones in four hours.
Because of this ability to drive home on a moment’s notice, I’ve developed two basic groups of friends. I have my community of friends in the Los Angeles area, a place that I now call home (even if it did take six years for me to utter that phrase). And I have my community of family and friends in Las Vegas. Although not everyone is super close, most people aren’t that far either.
But this time I’m moving 1,200 miles away. I won’t be able to drive back when I’m home sick. I’ll have to buy a plane ticket and make real plans. That sounds easy enough. But I’d bet we can all remember times we let friendships fall and relationships wither because someone moved. It takes more effort, it becomes complicated, and eventually, it drops to the wayside.
I really don’t want that to happen. And I certainly don’t want to leave with words unsaid. I don’t want to leave friends not knowing how much they mean to me, not realizing that in the grand scheme of my life, they really matter.
And so, in my last couple of weeks in L.A., I’m giving myself an assignment: tell everyone that matters that they do, in fact, matter to me. And be genuine. And real. And honest.
Of course, this plan of action is easier said than done. Genuine? Real? Honest? We so often spend time hiding our feelings; it can be hard to dig out the truth. But I’m going to do this — cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye. I figure the returns will be well worth the investment.
What about you? Is there anyone you need to say I love you to?