Thursday, June 9, 2011

Getting support

I've had this post in my head for a while, but it's kind of hard to write. And then I've read a few great posts (Calliope and Rachael in particular), and it's forcing me to share with you all.

I like to think of myself as a tough broad. That is also how I viewed my mother. Raising me as a single mom, she had her own business and maintained two households on her own. Now that I've been through what I've been through - my mom has revealed herself to me. She is just as big of a mushball as I am. We are the human equivalent of Brach's Strawberry BonBons (hard on the outside and soft on the inside). Even before IF, I'd managed to go through so really crappy times. I had an ex who hit me, and when I moved out (right after he hit me that first time, Mama didn't raise no dummy) he stalked me and threatened to kill me. That was fun. And then my next boyfriend managed to get a hold of my credit card and charge up $18,000. That was an interesting find when I kicked him out (for other reasons). Both times I managed to pick myself off, dust myself off, and move on. Mostly alone. I just dealt with it.

Then I went through IF. And the ectopic, the miscarriage, the birth of my son, finding out we were having twins, a twin pregnancy along with caring for a baby... and the death of Nora. Somewhere along that path, I realized I just wasn't THAT tough. And I didn't NEED to be. I leaned on Aaron. I shared here - not only to help me, but to let others going through the same things know they weren't alone. I cultivated my circle of friends. We moved into a 'real' neighborhood, where people CARE about each other. We joined the local church. All of that? It makes even the most painful of events bearable.

But. And this is a BIG but. You need to reach out first. You need to make connections. Be a friend. Say hi to that neighbor. Which is hard, DAMN hard, when you feel like shit. But it's helped me immensely. I call it 'faking it until I make it' - and it's served me well. I signed up for a quilt class 7 years ago. The woman in that class, we just clicked with each other. So we kept meeting. And meeting. And now, 7 years later, 2 of those woman are the godmothers to my daughter. It's group of woman who would (and have) swoop in and make things better. Sure, on my saddest days, I've have to FORCE myself to go and sit and sew. But it's been a lifeline.

In my neighborhood, I've taken on the task of a block party. Is it a pain in the ass? Oh hell yes. But already I've noticed people coming out of their houses and hanging out more. I think it's great. And I've started up a card night with friends (which reminds me, I need to schedule one soon!). And, yes, friendships on the internet are great - but in person contact is SO important and as a busy working mom - it's definitely the first thing to go. But having someone to come over and just sit and hang out with you when you are sad and lonely? It's wonderful. (Suzanne, Tara and Tarsha - if you are reading this - thank you). Or someone to force you to step away from the babies for a night and enjoy a movie? (Amanda?) And if you don't have people close - it's just as wonderful to have our computer friends (like when my Jen was going through losing Luke - I can't tell you how hard I was pushing good thoughts through the keyboard at her).

I guess what I'm saying is that on the outside, I joke around and act like a tough gal. But on the inside I'm a big ball of mush and having the wonderful friends and connections that I've been able to make over the past ten years - it's priceless. And I task other busy woman out there to take the time and cultivate your own circles. Throw your own block parties or card parties or even start a craft night. It's more than just a night out - it's a support network that god save you, I hope you only need for venting about annoying (but otherwise wonderful) husbands.


Carrie27 said...

I am envious of your ability to even "fake it till you make it" when it comes to meeting new people. I made wonderful friends in GA and now I'm in MO and I haven't reached out, nor do I have plans to. I don't live in a "real" neighborhood, but hope to soon. I want the friends I have made to be closer, but instead the phone is the only way we can connect, and that is going to have to be enough for now.

Tarable said...

You are so, so, so right. This is such a fantastic post.

As a mom of two really young kids I have found myself to be isolated quite a bit over the past couple of years. I rely on my computer relationships a lot to get me through. But real life friends and connections are important too. I am starting back to work in less than two weeks and I hope to be able to get out more and connect more. This post is a great reminder of that. Thanks.

HereWeGoAJen said...

Oh, yes, that is so true. I find all the time if I am not the person to make the effort, no one else does.

And those thoughts through the keyboard are so important.

kate said...

what awesome advice. the effort is so worth it, but it's also so hard to get the ball rolling for a lot of us. (myself included) so i really dig the "fake it til you make it" approach. :)

Anonymous said...

just beautiful!