Friday, March 4, 2011

Friends? Friends? Where For Art Thou Friends?

I was a social butterfly in high school. As the non-designated daily morning greeter, I took it upon myself to grace every student and teacher with a chipper and louder-than-necessary "good morning" and toothy smile as I passed them in the halls. I loved people, life, school and all-things-social. Even in college, I "good morning"ed everyone on their way to an 8am class with my glistening smile. My thought was maybe I was the only one to offer that person a smile that it better be big and sincere. I never really seemed to be super down-in-the-dumps...I was a genuinely happy person; high on life (not drugs!). I thought I had great, loyal friends...friends whom I would share our milestones in life together, laugh until we pee-ed our pants, and offer a shoulder if we needed to cry.

But somewhere in the middle of meeting the guy I KNEW I would marry ( I had to convince him I was a catch!) and being a mama for the past 12 years....I've lost some things. I've lost my love of people, the joy found in all-things-social, and my gaggle of friends. I no longer greet the morning with song and dance  (I used to bellow "Good morning! Good morning! It's time to rise and shine. Good morning. Good morning to you!!" all the time...annoying? Heck no...endearing, lovable, and cheerful!!) When informed that I must attend a function, parent meeting, party, military family gathering, I take on an air of defiance, crankiness, anxiety. I don't have any need to meet new people, socialize with others, or painfully make small-talk. The thought actually gives me a negative physical reaction.

I could go into great detail and maybe I will at a later time...but right now I'd like to defend my abnormal behavior. I've been let down...repeatedly. People let you down. It's a fact that I carry with me...deeply rooted in who I now am. My then-boyfriend and I got pregnant in college...unmarried and very young. Very few friends stood by me, offered help, or stayed to share in my adventure. By few I mean 1 maybe 2 that I can remember. I became a mama at 20 (and 3 times more since), sent my hubby to war at 24, and will send him again at 33.....all without a friend beside me or in my corner. My now-hubby was, is and has been my only lasting girlfriend. I don't have a friend to call when something great happens. I don't have a friend to call when something terrible happens. No circle of girlfriends to see the latest chic-flick or grab appetizers and wine. I go shopping rarely because trying on clothes in a dressing room full of little boys is far from enjoyable. These are the things for which girlfriends are made.

With hubby as my only girlfriend, he is the one I ask about fashion advice (I can hear you laughing!), he is the one I talk to when I am sad (or I just deal with it in my own head full of voices), and he is the one I desperately try to have adult conversations with in the evenings (I'm sure he hears mwa mwa mwaaa mwa mwa mwa mwa). As a guy, all of his words are used up by about conversation is dry at best with minimal grunts, ugg's and nods from the peanut gallery.

Even now, I struggle to let potential girlfriends through my defensive wall that has been built up over years and years of friends letting me down. Part of it is my own crazy which is best left for a moment all its own. But part of it is that life is busy for all of us...potential besties and all. So, in my mind, it's better to "go it alone" than to try and delve into a friendship for which neither of us have time. But, I admit, when others talk about outings and events with their girlfriends I get sad, lonely, jealous. I'd love to be lumped into that "girlfriend" circle...but I'm not the one they call. So until I can figure that part posse includes me, myself, and I...and a crew of dudes.


Stephanie said...

I think when someone becomes a parent and their life is moving in a different direction than their friends', it's natural to grow apart. I am so lucky to have friends that, while we are at different places in our lives, they still want to be a part of my world and enjoy being around my family, kids and all. I had my first daughter at 19 and my second at 20... I think that makes it harder because generally at that age most people are not starting families, they're going off to college or what not. For a few years I felt like I was alone, but then I realized that my friends just didn't know where they fit into my new life and I started to make it clear to them that I was the same person as before I had kids and I needed their support and friendship. I hope that you are able to find people to surround yourself with that you can call friends, an that you can get your zest for life back. Reading this made me sad... if I lived near you I'd come get you and take you out for coffee :)

Johi said...

Crystal! You are breaking my heart! Okay- something I have learned is that women get better with age. We all felt the same way when we were young (and catty and petty and shallow...). I only have a few childhood friends left. My girlfriends now are FABULOUS (and sometimes my lifeline).

I joined a bookclub that was advertised in the paper when I moved here, because I didn't know very many people, and those women are diverse and wonderful (and they like WINE---- I know!). Join a women's group (not a play group- ugh!) and do something just for you. You deserve it! I wish you lived closer to me, I'd be your friend! *fluttering eyelashes* xoxo

Vic said...

i totally read a part of me in there somewhere! it's a thing we go through! i've been there and to a point i didn't care what i went out of the house looking like-it was a sad time for me as it would be any woman! we have no family here, we are just the 4 of us! i have no friends, it's really sad! it's just a community of us and gators and i guess the golfers who are just millionaires who swing clubs all day----boring!

i totally get how you are feeling and it will pass! it will come to you and you will get yourself together and feel good! is it possible to do a post asking for dontations so that we can build a community for just us blog buddies who so desperately need to live right next door? i think it's a good me out sister:) love you...hope all is feeling well soon! xo

Lilianna Grace said...

Wow, I feel like I could have just wrote that post. I feel the exact same way. The only thing not the same is I only have 2 kids, also had my first at 20 and felt VERY alone in that. The only other thing is that my husband is not in the military but he does travel ALOT for work. Consider me your new girlfriend! We'll have virtual happy hour and share a glass of wine over our blogs! Yes, I enjoy the yoga video, but it's only 30 minutes including warm-up and cool-down. It is a light workout. maybe too light for you if you are tackling p90x. I would love it if you would participate in Talk It Over Tea this weekend. I think you'd like it.

Slidecutter said...

I think many of us could write about the exact same thing. I'll admit that, for years, I've thought it was me; my only best friend, ever, was in high school. We keep in moderate contact, the years and miles between us have made more difficult.

Growing up an abused kid didn't help generate frienships; maybe that carried over into my adult life; maybe I've been fearful of letting anyone get too close.

I've worked with self-absorbed, back-stabbing women through the years (still do) that I still have the urge to bitch-slap if I ever run into them again. Dunno, maybe it's the "only child" thing; I can be alone better than most because I grew up..alone.

I think we're all good people down deep inside, in fact, I'm dayum sure we are!

Count me in as a friend, Crystal!



Lala said...

You sound A LOT like me!! REALLY!! I have had many "friends" turn their backs on me, use me for their benefit, call me only for the good times, etc. I've had it all!! When I met my husband and we got married, a lot of my friends disappeared. Even more of them went MIA when I had my son. My husband is Air Force so, that keeps me from making friends sometimes. It's hard!! Trust me, I know!! My husband is my only friend. Sure I have acquaintances, but not friends.

Shell said...

Oh, I hear you! It's so hard to make women friends.

My blog friends need to move into my neighborhood.

Sandra said...

I agree with Shell. Imagine if our blog friends lived within the nearest coffee shop!
However, I will say that I don't even care for a "circle" of friends. I'm good with one.

The Blue Zoo said...

I have never had a huge group of friends. But I also have anti social tendencies. (thats code for Im grumpy.) Ever since I started blogging though Ive made a LOT of friends! Its weird how I have truly bonded with these women Ive never met. Anyways - If we lived closer together and you werent too put off by my grumpiness we could totally let the boys play together and we could kick back and drink some coffee.... or wine. Depending on how loud the boys were playing!

TexaGermaNadian said...

You are such a funny and awesome person, these 'friends' that are missing out being there for you are missing out on so much :) I feel like you and I would get along well together (too well at into trouble :)). I am sorry that this is the case, but know that there a lot of bloggyland friends (some consolation, right) that are there for you.
But I know what you mean about letting people in, especially new girlfriends. I am an outgoing, chipper person too. But moving every year, and meeting new 'friends' every hockey season gets old fast. And at times it is easier to just not let them in rather than just be dissapointed when we have to go somewhere else. So, for that, i feel ya. It is something I am still working to get over. And I know if I can even start to tackle it, you can do it with ease.
I hope you have a good, nay great, weekend. You deserve it!

Ashley said...

Women are crazy and scary! haha I used to have all dude friends too but after having kids have been bonding with lots of women. Mostly over how incompetent our men are. :) Hope you are having a good weekend!

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Aw, girlfriend, we are a lot alike. I think it's a natural thing, that we change and we grow and unfortunately some of those friendships don't stand the test of time like we thought they would. I know there are times I've compared a friendship to a marriage but there is a difference: we dont' pledge to stay together with our friends through good & bad, Sicness & health, etc. So, there's that open door to walk out. I have had a LOT of friends walk out and I just figure, "Too bad for you because I kick ass as a friend!" LOL!!!