Saturday, August 11, 2012

looking in from the outside

I snuck away to the only truly private room in our house, and I turned on the bathtub faucet. As the hot water filled the tub I lowered the lid on the toilet and opened my laptop. I'd been avoiding my google reader for a while because I felt guilty that I'd checked out of reading so many blogs. As life gets more complicated, I make choices about what demands my attention and, unfortunately, Google reader fell pretty low on the priority list. I hadn't even realized that a good friend of mine had begun blogging again after a hiatus.

The water rose above the overflow drain and I realized I'd better turn off the faucet. Still, I sat - reading the blogs that I once lost myself in, enjoying catching up on friends making positive life changes, friends now pregnant, friends dealing with grief, friends moved to a new home...

These people - these WOMEN - who I've never met, I am so bold to call them friends. What else can I call them? I've shared my most intimate thoughts and secrets with them. I've opened my wounds and they have healed them. I've given and received support, encouragement, laughter, and advice. Who cares that I've never spoken to them? Who cares that I've never hugged them? Who cares that I've never sent or received a Christmas card? Is friendship measured in these simple ways?

As my bath water grew lukewarm, and I still sat on the toilet, I opened Classy Chaos by OHMommy, reading all about her last Girls Night Out with her girlfriends before her move to Chicago. I began to sob. The tears rolled down my cheeks and my chest heaved. I bawled for so many reasons - I was sad for her to be leaving her good friends. I was reminded of the times I have had to leave my OWN friends in our many cross-country moves. And mostly - selfishly, and maybe immaturely - I was upset about my present situation. Once again, I am in a town where I know no one. I have plenty of friendly folks around me, but I have no FRIENDS. No girls nights out. No one who I could depend on to help me in an emergency. No one to give me the inside scoop on town garage sales or when to sign up my kid for the soccer team. No one calls me to invite me out for coffee. No one calls me, period. The moms at my kids' school are very nice, very welcoming, very warm. But it's a warmth of convenience. I mean that like... when they see me, they are nice and friendly and sincere. But when I'm out of sight, I'm out of mind.

The people in my town have friendships that are already established. People who live here have lived here forever. Their friendship groups are the same ones they've had for decades. I understand - women my age are already busy enough, they probably don't have time for the friends they DO have, let alone forming a new friendship. And I'm not going to say that I need someone who will fulfill some void in my life - I have some VERY close friends that will always be my best friends. But those friends live hundreds of miles away and I can only burn up their phone lines so often. At some point I need the physical presence of another female to feel NORMAL. My family is so important to me, but I also need friendly female companionship. Someone I can be honest with. Someone I can ask for help. Someone who can also depend on me if they needed help.

Many women, I know, fulfill themselves with their husbands and children. I think that's fine for some women, but I'm not one of those. I probably don't have time to go out with friends, but I want to MAKE time for it. The same way someone makes time for physical exercise, I want to make time for emotional exercise. Mental rest and relaxation. I need it. Believe me - my family needs me to have it too.

Friendships aren't like... just add water and POOF! I know that. But I need it. I know it will take time. I'm just getting tired of looking in on life from the outside.


Texan Mama

8 comments:

Gigi said...

You need to reach out to those women. It's not an easy thing to do, but I am willing to bet that you would be drawn into their circle. Use your kids, set up play dates and ask the mom in for coffee. Once you start getting to know them I'm sure you'll find at least one that you "click" with.

Sending you HUGE hugs. And, I promise, if you make your next cross country move this way you will already have a friend waiting for you.

Anna See said...

ugh. that can be so darn hard. sending you hugs.

Ellen aka Ellie said...

You seem to have such a full life, but I guess one thing or two always seems to be missing to have a well rounded life.

I do know how you feel, my girlfriend list is short.

I was hoping to see you in Chicago this summer, but I get that's not the same as a nearby friend!

Ellen aka Ellie said...

PS--My blog won't show up in your reader, it's private now, though I did send you an invitation...

the salvage collection said...

i just moved for the 3rd time in 5 years (NJ to Dallas to Philly to NC) and went for 2 years in PA w/o a "friend".... partly by choice. i knew it was temporary so i holed up in my basement and painted furniture while i wasn't reading blogs and eventually writing my own. i did burn up the phone lines to my "sister-friends" but i also felt relieved to be completely on my own; no pressure to join, no pressure to do, no pressure to be.

now that we are settling into our--hopefully--final home, i'm ready to move slowly toward making friends, choosing carefully and, in the end, enjoying them completely.

best of luck to you! i'm here if you need to chat!!

GunDiva said...

I was just thinking about this, believe it or not. RCC and I have just moved to a new, small town and it's been so long since I've had to make new friends, I wonder - how does one go about it?

I mean, really? It seems like the friends I have, I've had forever. My kids are on their own now, so it's just RCC and I. I guess I'm going to have to find some community events or something to attend or volunteer at to learn new people. I guess. I don't rightly know. But I do know that I love my blog friends, and they're as real as any in-person friends I've ever had.

Kate said...

Oh girl, believe you me...I feel your pain. We only moved 40 minutes away from our childhood/adulthood home and I've seen friends ONE time at MY arranging. It's hard putting yourself out there. Let me know if you come across something that works *sigh*

Jennifer said...

I'm living in the same area where I grew up and I don't have friends like that. It is lonely. Sometimes I sit and wish that all my blog friends were my neighbors so I could see them all the time. I'm way closer to them than the people who live around me.