For almost four months, I’ve delayed publishing this post because I couldn’t express how much Catan’s friendship meant to me. I wanted to write the perfect post and in doing so, I published nothing at all. Not anymore. Because I’m now striving for continuous improvement instead of perfection. 😃 Here we go.
Catan is the person I credit for making me believe that I could become someone who could make a difference in the world. There were so many times when I would something negative about myself, and he would say, “Kelly, you can do it.” Or he would say, “Surely, you don’t believe that about yourself.” It was the words he used, the gentleness of his tone, and the conviction in his voice, that got me slowly to once again believe in myself.
I also believed Catan was speaking the truth because in all the years (since 2009) I’ve known Catan, he has never said anything other than the truth to his close friends on matters large and small. This point was supremely important to me because I needed the assurance that Catan wasn’t trying to cheer me up, but that he truly believed in me. Because back in early 2017, my self-confidence was nearly non-existent.
My self-confidence had been crushed by, Mark’s father, Stamp’s, constant criticizing masked as “I only want the best for you, therefore I think you should know this…” followed by questioning and scrutinizing every decision I made, including something as small as buying face lotion. Imagine someone asking you daily, “Are you sure?” or “Why are you doing this?” for years, you may also start to second guess yourself.
Stamp did this nearly every single time I saw him. Compounded by the fact that he would also regularly tell me in exact words that Mark was so much smarter than I, had me believing that I was insignificant. And because I was raised by my mother’s family to respect my elders, I never spoke up. Later on, my therapist told me that “silence is affirmation,” and that’s why we must speak up, or else our brains subconsciously accept those words as statements of fact.
Catan didn’t believe I was worthless. He thought I could do anything I put my mind to. That what I lacked was the inspiration to do so. He would text me book recommendations, TedTalk links, podcasts, and an assortment of articles he found interesting or helpful along with the message, “Hey, maybe you’ll enjoy this.” He then regularly followed up with me on my yearly goals and life plans. Essentially, he so warmly encouraging that I couldn’t help but to try to live up to his expectations.
Catan is one of the major reasons I continue despite many failures in my personal and career ventures that I’ve had since 2017. Even after seeing me fall many times, Catan never gave up believing that I will be successful one day. He would regularly cheer me on.
With Catan, I know he is always looking out for me, because that’s the kind of friend he is to all his close friends. To paraphrase Mark, Catan is the kind of friend that would offer his friends the middle seats at the movies. When you rode in Catan’s car, he’d ask if the temperature was to your liking. In conversations, Catan listened and took care not to offend, and he never yelled or raised his voice at anyone.
Recently, I’d asked Catan’s partner WLJ, what she found most attractive about him. She immediately said, “considerate.” I wholeheartedly agree and also add that Catan to me equals sincerity. Because Catan didn’t do nice things for his close friends expecting to call in the future favors. At first, I couldn’t quite believe that because that wasn’t how I was brought up.
My mother’s family all did things for each other with the expectation that if they did you a favor, you would absolutely need to return the favor and then some. This resulted in lots of family fights, sometimes resulting in decades of family members not speaking to each other. Because each party believed they did more for that person than that person did for them. Catan doesn’t think like that. And that was completely new and wonderful to me.
From Catan, I learned to not do friends or family favors expecting it to be returned in the future. I now help out because I truly want to help and that being of help to my loved ones makes me happy and that is the reward in itself. This is one area I will continue to practice and look to Catan for guidance. Often when it comes to friendships and in asking myself if I’m being a good friend, I ask “What would Catan do in my position?”
Thank you so much, Catan, for being there for me in my best and worst moments. I wish you and WLJ the very best and look forward to a lifetime of friendship and going on adventures together.
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