As a teenager, I used to write the same line of poetry often: “No one could be here today.” I was always looking for someone to be there for me. I needed companionship, reassurance, a reason to be OK with me.

I still hear that line in my mind. When I am lonely or unsure of what to do with myself, I repeat it. In fact, a short poem runs through my being:

No one could be here today.

There is a loneliness here

A place to be filled in my heart.

It’s taken a long time to fill my heart. So often, I felt like an empty vessel just waiting for the right person or the right kind of love or the right hobby to complete me. The problem was, I felt like there was something wrong with me. Obviously, I was lacking some important part that made me desirable to the outside world. If only I looked like her, or had majored in economics or become a doctor. If I wasn’t so outspoken and strong-willed, I could have been popular.

Popular! Can you hear that song in your head from the musical Wicked? It’s a great song. A funny thing happened a few years ago. I became popular. I started hanging with the right crowd in my community. I did not plan this move, buy the most beautiful dress or seek friendship with the leader of the pack. Suddenly, though, I was in the center of the action. I’m not well-coiffed, I stick my foot in my mouth at least twice a week, and I always had great disdain for the popular crowd in high school. Of course, we all know that hating something means secretly you are dying to be that one thing, just a little bit.

All my preconceived notions about popularity are falling away. These people I call friends are nice. They have great character traits and they have flaws. Seriously, they are like everyone else. From a distance, it was always so easy to judge people, to call them other and ridiculous and not worthy.

What exactly am I saying? Strive for popularity? It will fill up that empty hole at the center of your being. Sorry, I have been part of the in-crowd for a few years, and I suffer loneliness still. The popular part of my life answers a question. Oh, you are the same no matter how other people see you. Most people would never see why I fit into this group. Disheveled me, how does that work? Embracing this wonderful group of people as friends has made me realize not all is as it seems. Judging people who appear to have it all just isn’t necessary. Why the heck did I judge every singly person that wasn’t like me for so long? Because I judge myself. Something is wrong with me, and I see that icky stuff in the people around me, whether I am personally acquainted with them or not. The empty hole I was trying to fill through friendship, a fabulous hobby, and constant activities stayed empty until very recently.

Now that emptiness here is full: I fill that need in myself. I am enough for me. When I am lonely, sad, or at odds with myself and no one answers the phone when I call, I finally know that I am here. I am enough. I actually say to myself, “You are here.” I can make myself feel better. It’s not that I won’t call a friend or my husband or go find my kids to hang with sometimes. It’s that if they aren’t around or if I don’t feel like finding someone else, I can figure out what I need in that moment. Maybe I am still sad, but my love for myself soothes that tender hurt. I am enough:

                                                I am here today

                                                It is enough

                                                I am rich with love.

1 thought on “Popular!

  1. Nancy,

    I love this! So honest and true…digs deep. Your last poem is like a mantra; I know I’ll use it from time to time, too. Wonderful writing.

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