Finding My Belonging

I think it’s time for another Sluiter Nation Recruit.

This week I bring you Brittany of Mommy Words.

I don’t even know how I met Brittany, to be honest.  She just seems to be someone that was always in my twitter stream, always in my facebook newsfeed (well, her blog). Her cute little smile pops up at just the right time.

Her blog is a fun mix of personal stories, strong opinions, and awesome DIY tutorials.

Seriously, Brittany is the full package!

I am so honored that she is here today sharing such a close subject…finding friends.

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I watch my children when they meet someone new.  I see the spark of excitement and the moment of nervous energy that vanishes the minute they find the smallest similarity with this future friend.  Without hesitation, they approach and make an introduction.   They are so young.  They have no fear of being rejected or ignored.  It only takes one shared interest and they are off with a new friend.  I am always impressed and proud and wishing it was still so easy to fit in anywhere.

I remember my childhood and all of the friends I had over the years.  We moved quite a bit.  I introduced myself many times.  I had no trouble fitting in somewhere.  I loved theater and soccer, so I had an easy team or cast to join.  It was simple to belong. Even aside from organized activities I was lucky.  I knew who I was and I had no trouble finding my people.  I kept myself busy belonging and along the way I made a few very close friends. Those few friends were the most important part of my life.  I still have them.  But they are far away.

By college I knew that I was different than the girl of just a few years before.  Even then it scared me.  It is so easy to belong when you are joining groups and participating in activities.  It’s much harder (at least for me) to find a best friend.

‘m a best friend kind of girl.  Somehow, over the years, I went from being fine with being good friends with lots of people to needing deep friendship.  I tend to share a lot of myself and want friends who aren’t afraid to talk about the good and the bad.  Laughter and tears and hugs and a deep understanding.  That’s what I crave.

Over the years I have found very close friends.  When I have one, I am happy.  I feel good.  I belong.  When I don’t I feel lost.  I feel afraid.  I feel lonely, even in a crowd of wonderful people.  Maybe one of them could be my friend?

I wouldn’t know because for the last few years I haven’t tried.  I worked 80 hours a week when I graduated from college to pay off my tuition.  My friendships suffered, and I wasn’t making any new friends sitting at my desk while the rest of the 20 somethings I knew socialized.  When I got pregnant with my 2nd child, I left my job.  I thought surely it would be a cinch to bond with other mommies.  You know, like we would all walk on the playground and bond instantly because we all had offspring.  Yeah, I thought that.  I never found the right moment to dive into really meaningful stuff so I tried my best to become besties over discussions of diapers and dinnertime.  It didn’t work.

When I had my second miscarriage I felt like there was no one I could talk to.  None of my old school best friends have kids.  I grew up in New York and the first of my really good friends is getting married this summer.  I just didn’t know how to share my loss.  So I went online.  I found a wonderful group of women on a pregnancy loss board.  Months later, I started my blog.  I started sharing my life with strangers and I began to feel whole again.  I shared my heart and I was blessed. Because in time they, no YOU, were not strangers.  You are friends. My online friends who I hug the living daylights out of when I see you, because you saved my life.  Because you love me.  And I love you.

Still, my blog tricked me.

I forgot about my real life and I need to get out there and be a friend.  I need an offline bestie to find where I belong.  I need to find a real life sidekick chick.  She must be out there.  I am scared, but I watch my kids and I know that the heart of a child is inside of us.  We all want to find where we belong.  It may be a bit more complicated as big ol’ grownups, but it is certainly possible.  The good thing is, I still know who I am.  I like myself.  I love my family.  I have all of your support.  I know I can do this.  I just need to introduce myself, start talking and steer it away from bowel movements and pre-school for long enough to start a conversation between two women.  And see where it goes.

Wouldn’t it be nice and easy for us online girls if we could go all dating site style for this?

Gal Seeking Gal:  34 year old woman seeking new best friend.  Big fan of wine.  Huge fan of long conversations about everything from politics to personal life to parenting. I get deep yo! Loves to read great books only slightly more than romance novels.  Slightly obsessed with DIY projects, power tools and throwing parties.  I can’t sew.  I want to learn.  I’ve got a blog so sometimes I talk about it.  I’m okay if you tell me to shut up sometimes.  I like to keep it honest.  In the spirit of honesty, sometimes I cry when I am talking because I get so upset or I am so moved.  I’m okay, it’s just the drama in me.  I am liberal. I’m not a fan of handguns.  You can be conservative and have a gun and we can be besties, I just thought you should know because here in the south that really bothers some people. I have three kids and they rock my world. Sometimes I want to talk about them and sometimes I need to talk about anything else. I know the words to every song in hundreds of musicals.  If you do too the rest might not matter.

Sadly, I fear this will not work. So…

I’m going to make an effort.  I’m going to bury my fear and step out of my shell.  I’m going to find a friend close to my ‘hood.  Maybe on the playground.  Who knows? Am I the only one who finds it incredibly hard to find a kindred spirit as a grown up? Am I the only gal who longs for one?

I am really just trying to find where I belong.

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