human, being


In the company of women
January 22, 2009, 1:16 pm
Filed under: Friendship | Tags: , , ,

I have never had an easy time with women, even though I am one. Various experiences as a girl growing up taught me not to trust other girls. I’ve usually had one or two close friends at a time and a loose association with a dozen or so others, but it’s usually a careful friendship on my part. I’ve usually not fully disclosed myself to my girlfriends because I have been so incredibly hurt in the past by girls … even more so than in the perpetual heartbreak of adolescent dating.

During the past five years, I’ve had a different experience than before. Perhaps the difference is my own self confidence, the lessening of my ardent need to be accepted by others unconditionally (my greatest desire) and my ability, finally, to make room for myself in my own life.

I met my best friend Laurel at the Inner Child Journey workshop at Mile High Church almost five years ago to the day. My ex-husband had suddenly left me, and I turned to this lovely, loving metaphysical church to keep me upright in a storm that blinded me. I signed up for the three-day course in the hopes of better understanding my own wounds. I discovered many things about myself: that it wasn’t that I didn’t believe in god, but that I never felt like god believed in me or that I was worthy of god’s love and interest; that all of my life, I had looked for a soft place to fall, where I didn’t have to be strong and perfect and accomplished, but had never found it. It was a very vulnerable time for me, and this workshop made me even more open and vulnerable. Our small breakout group bonded tightly, and that’s where I met Laurel. We have so much in common, from our birthdays being two days apart, to being adopted, to certain past experiences, to thinking and reacting so similarly that our favorite catch phrase is, sarcastically, “Not that I know anything about that.”

Laurel has been a huge blessing in my life. She is the first girl I have ever trusted so much that I have no secrets from. She is my go-to on bad days and great days and all of the days in between. She has helped me through so much during the past five years, the divorce not the least of the adventures. We’ve had a lot of fun, too. I can be frank with her, and she can be frank with me. I can’t imagine my life without her … even though we don’t see each other hardly enough, despite living less than three miles apart. (Life, you know.) We end almost every phone call with an I love you, words I’d never uttered with friends before I met her. We’re part of each other.

During the past three years, I’ve met a few other women whose company I enjoy. Last night, I went to my friend Nicoleta’s house for a small gathering of girls with wine and food, but mostly wine. I know Nicoleta mildly well, and Emily perhaps a little better, and Donna even less, although I’ve known her for more than three years. Usually we see each other at loud parties. The last two women I’d met only in passing. I still feel hesitant among these women. The connection is there, and I’d like to be closer to them, but maybe I haven’t learned as much as I thought I had. Steve has accused me of being the master of getting just so close to people, but holding them at a healthy distance to keep myself safe (him, too, sometimes). I would really like to trust myself enough to trust them, to really be friends. These are women who I know I could love like I love Laurel, if I let myself. Partly, because of how we know each other, I’m still deeply worried about being judged not good enough, or too self-preoccupied. I know this is silliness, part of my old (and perhaps current) sense of insecurity. I want to be accepted by these women, but maybe I just need to let go of the fear and I’ll feel the acceptance they already have for me.

I also have a few online friends–Jac, Jenifer, Meara–who I have deep affection for even though I’ve never met them. And I have friends from long ago, namely Kristin and Vivian, who I love dearly but they’re far away. Being friends with them here on Facebook has helped reconnect us somewhat, as has actually seeing them in their grownup form. Vivian was my best friend during childhood, and Kristin was my best friend during high school and college. I’ve also always made work friends, and I’ve kept in touch with many, like Stacy, Wendy and Kim, after moving on. While it’s difficult to keep up with the daily antics of all of them when their office is no longer next to mine, I love reading about them in their Facebook updates, looking at their pictures. One current colleague, Catherine, recently told me she feels close to me, even though we’ve hardly spoken because of my Facebook postings. She and I have a lot in common. My colleague Jill and I have turned our shared love of salsa dancing into what I consider to be a genuine friendship as well. I’ve always needed that social outlet at work, especially because I’m not a person who leaves her emotions at the door, and some days, you just need someone to talk to.

I am greedy for friendship. I crave being understood and accepted by women. I desire a strong connection to women. I’ve spent the first half of my life feeling on the outside looking in when it comes to friendships. I’m looking forward to the coming years spent in the company of women, learning to trust and love them, and learning to let go of my defenses to be truly reciprocal in their friendship.

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Right beside you.

Comment by growingupartists




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