Reconnecting in a disconnected time

Yesterday, March 5th at my work, Brewability lab, we hosted a book signing for my friend Ben Higgins new book; Alone in plain sight. At that event for the first time, in a long time I felt a powerful sense of connection, hope, and true friendship. A feeling I haven’t experienced in a very long time due to the circumstances we’re in with the covid-19 pandemic. Ironically, this book we were celebrating at the event, ‘Alone in plain sight’ is all about connection and hope. The hope for a better future, as well as what has come through valuable stories, and friendships. If you haven’t checked it out, I HIGHLY recommend it! At the event Ben, Brandon and I were all signing Bens’ book. 

Why were Brandon a I signing Bens’ books? Both of us had a chapter Ben had written in the book about our stories, connection and the impact it had on both Ben, and ourselves. It was a amazing night, not just because the signing was a success, but how impactful it was for myself and the community. For such a long time I and many of the people I know, have felt ostracized from society and cut off from human interaction, resulting in depression, anxiety and just overall unhealthy mental states. As unfortunate as it may be, but also understandable due to the circumstances we’re in, it was just so nice and refreshing. We all felt normal.Yes, we gathered in a safe environment. Everyone was screened, temps checked, we social distanced and masks were worn, but we were together. Friends, and family came out to show so much support and love with one another. Even though the precautions were taken, we could feel normal for a bit. We felt alive and connected.

How my friendship with Ben has impacted my life & taught me to be a better person:

Being friends, and connecting with Ben has been one of the most impactful journeys and friendships of my life. He’s truly taught me to be a better person and what friendship truly means. He took the times to get to know me, to love me for who I am with all of my flaws. I used to be ashamed of my disabilities, and illnesses and never wanted to talk about them or myself. I noticed I  would think I was making friends and people would ask about my life and I’d think I could share a little about my struggles and time spent in hospitals, but then they would quickly change the subject or start talking about themselves, as they were not expecting to hear the ‘bad’ in my life. They just couldn’t relate and it made them really uncomfortable. Yes my illnesses are bad, and unfortunate, but it’s what i go through on a daily basis and is an essential conversation point if you really want to get to know me. I became embarrassed to open up to people, and even was ashamed of what makes me, me. Then i met Ben, we instantly ‘hit it off’and became great friends. He was never afraid of going deep in conversation nor talking about the hardships and struggles of my life, he truly wanted to get know the core of me, and likewise made me want to get to know him and who he really is. He made me completely reevaluate the meaning of friendship. He made me feel comfortable talking about my struggles and I could be vulnerable outside of my family, literally for the first time in my whole life. He really cared about me and wanted to be my friend.

So if you ask me, how my friend has impacted my life and made me a better person?

He has completely redefined friendship. He made me aware of how true friends interact and talk to each other, not through superficial conversations nor telling you what you want to hear. Ben Higgins is not only a great friend of mine, he is a hero in my eyes. Ben has taught me the true meaning of friendship. How to deeply connect with one another, how to love a person for who they are, and most importantly, that it’s ok to be myself. With a real friend I can be unafraid to speak out about my disabilities and struggles, because they make me, me. I am so thankful to have Ben as a friend.