Can I tell you a little secret? I had one of the most stupidly frightening experiences over Christmas break. Yes, both stupid and frightening. Stupid because it was going to be a super-duper, fun experience. And frightening because, well, it was a morning dunked in a big ole bucket of uncertainty and newness.
But y’all, have you ever just laughed at yourself for being nervous? This was going to be a fun breakfast date. And better yet, I had no schedule that day … no work schedule and no kiddo. When in the world does that ever happen? And this was a group of amazing women that are loyal, true, sweet friends.
So I marched in to meet these Sweetie Sues, apprehensive but excited. As I sat down at that table, I was relieved to just see the peeps I see every week at church. This allowed me to ease into the morning as slow as my introverted little self needed.
Then another and another filed in. And as these beautiful women sat down, all of my cuckoo ideas flew around like little rabid bats in my brain and cried, “DANGER, DANGER! Newness had surrounded the table. You are officially surrounded.”
“Chill,” I told them. “The coffee and company is delightful. Let me enjoy it.” Now, I don’t always talk to myself, but when I do, I try to be halfway reasonable.
And there we sat … a bunch of Middle Sisters. Yes, quite literally, writers for Middle Places. Go ahead … laugh at my dumb-dumbness, but I know you know exactly how I feel. Women get-together’s can go so many directions, but at this one we were winning! We talked and laughed and cried and struggled through telling each other about our lives.
One particular sister and I have a lot in common on Facebook. Well, let me clarify, our mouths tend to spout out things in agreement. This presented another dilemma. And there went those little bats again. “Would we truly be In Real Life friends or would it just be a social media thing?” We have so much, and yet nothing, in common. Would she love my heart as much as she thinks? Would I love her as much as I think?
The conversations continued until one Sister said one thing and all of a sudden my new friend’s thoughts connected with mine, and it almost frightened me a bit. It was exciting and comforting all at one time. We did hold a similar fire. How fun is that?
Have you ever been there? Wanting to connect? Afraid to connect? Ready to connect? And then it happens, and you’re like, “Finally, someone gets me. Finally, confirmation that this is my tribe.” This is where I was in life. I know the other women with whom I write. I see them often. I’m not afraid to have homeless hair or too much makeup on or be in the middle of real life with them. This added confirmation was so good.
I often think this is harder with women. Men are so fun, and I love to work and talk and converse with them. Put men together and they all have this instant bond. And if they don’t like each other? They don’t care. It’s like a bro code thing. They talk football or weather or whatevs and move on. And if they have an issue? They call the bro out and move on. (Like … they never think about it again. What is that?)
Ohhhhhh, but women. They hurt my brain. As I drove home, I called my husband in tears. “But Anna, you are so lucky to have all of these random women in your life. You can be … um, pen pals with her,” he said (quite lovingly, but with almost a snicker at the end).
I wasn’t crying because I’d miss my new In Real Life friend. I wasn’t crying because my current friends weren’t good enough. I was crying because we, women, can be harsh. We can be cruel. We can be judgmental. We can be possessive. We cannot take criticism, and we always know best. I am, of course, the exception. (I, of course, am NOT the exception).
But what if this year, we dared to be a different kind of friend. We are all stuck in the middle of something. We are all hurting or have hurt or will hurt.
What if we tried extra Double Dog Dare Ya hard to want to know each other?
What if we incorporated the bro code with a woman’s intuition and nurturing?
What if we stepped away from our safe friends and found an amazing new friend?
What if all of our girl tribes started overlapping?
What if …