That’s What Friends Are For

18 months ago, my life was so much different. I had a slew of what I considered to be good friends. I was knitting in a different group every day and considered myself somewhat popular. Then I made the mistake of becoming close to the wrong person and when the schism inevitably happened, just like in any divorce, friends took sides. I. Lost. Almost. Everyone.

It was HARD to cope with the sudden changes. I went into a major depressive episode and returned to therapy. Oddly enough, a miracle occurred and I gained a new perspective on my need for people to like me. For the first time, I truly was able to say, “Fuck it,” and concentrated on spending time with the people who actually do care about me rather than chasing after the ones who don’t.

Every once in a while, I come across an FB post that is evidence of my non-importance to those I called friends and I admit that it does sting for a moment or two. But then I remember the real people who matter and it’s like aloe on a burn.

There is one person that I particularly miss, though. J.S. was someone who soothed my troubled soul, whom I thought loved unconditionally, whom I loved unconditionally. Even when we didn’t see each other as much as I’d have liked, she would randomly text that she was thinking about me. Then she stopped responding to my texts. I was ghosted. It hurt because I loved her.

Months later I received a single text that she wasn’t upset with me, but that she was dealing with stuff and didn’t feel up to socializing. I accepted that because I’ve been there. I never heard from her again. But today I saw a selfie with her hanging out with someone I don’t like, to put it mildly. That’s cool; I never begrudge someone else’s choice in friends. However, I can’t help but think that I was easily replaced by someone she considers to be better in whatever way. My heart broke a little to know that it’s not that she doesn’t want to hang out, it’s that she doesn’t want to hang out with ME.

So today, I am sad. Heartbroken, even. I miss her. And that is OK.

After grieving for a bit, I will go back to being excited that my best friend is moving all the way from Connecticut back to Texas. She will be within easy driving distance. Leigh is more than a friend, she is the closest thing I have to a sister. She is the other half of my heart. While losing a friend can be devastating and leave me feeling unwanted and “less than,” I think of Leigh, who swore she’d never move back to the same state as her mother and sister, saying, “I need to be near you more than I need to be away from my family.”

me and leigh

Leigh and Me

I am loved. I am wanted. I am enough.

 

 

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That’s What Friends Are For

I know it’s been a while, but with all the anti-feminist crap going on in the world, I’ve been too livid to write anything. Today is really the first day that I’ve been able to really organize my thoughts without being spitting mad. I’m still angry, but I’m not sputtering quite as much.

This blog post isn’t really meant to be a political statement (seriously, if it were, you’d have stopped reading by now, I’m sure!). This entire blog is about finding the happiness in crappy day to day situations, and that’s what this post is all about.

In the last two weeks, I’ve been unfriended, I’ve unfriended others, and I have been publicly vociferous. This is such a polarizing issue, but what has been awesome is that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the friends who have come out as on our side. Considering the people that I’ve unfriended are generally not important to me, while the ones who surprise me ARE important to me, it makes me feel somewhat relieved about my friend choices.

I’ve also become friends with some really amazing people, both male and female. One thing that I’ve happily discovered is there ARE a few other liberal women in Texas, and they KNIT! While I usually hesitate to make generalizations, my limited personal experience is that the people I know who only crochet seem to be less intellectual than the people I know who knit. Perhaps that’s just a southern thing? I don’t know.

Last Sunday, our regular group was quite loud and angry while we knitted at a local Panera in a very Republican neighborhood. We were thrown dirty looks by little old white women, but as our militant quasi-leader said, “Life’s tough for everybody. Get over it.” She’s from the hippie generation, so she’s already fought this battle once before. That evening, I sent her a message on Ravelry asking if she’d be my roommate at next year’s fiber retreat and she said yes. I’m super excited to have a friend who not only knits, but has a doctorate and is a feminist.

For most of my life, I’ve felt really alone, especially in my adult life. While my husband and kids are fabulous and wonderful, and my daughter truly is one of my best friends, it’s not the same. It’s hard for a liberal woman in Texas to make friends, especially friends with similar interests. It’s been the main reason I’ve wanted to move to the northeast, where friendship comes easily. Suddenly, I find myself surrounded by like-minded women and it is glorious! It is definitely making my time in Texas more pleasant and way less depressing.

While Saudi America goes to shit and the Constitution dissolves before our very eyes and the Supreme Court ignores decades upon decades of precedent, logic, and reason, I’ve found the good. More importantly, I’ve found hope. I think that is what friends are meant to give us: hope. The feeling that we are not alone in this dark universe.

So screw Hobby Lobby. We are women, we are crafters, and we shop…but we don’t shop at Hobby Lobby. Even more than all that, we freakin’ VOTE. And there are more of us than I ever imagined.

birth control

 

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Yesterday at the bookstore, Leigh and I were giggling over some silly thing and I started thinking about a post from one of my favorite blogs, Moms Who Drink And Swear. In “Making A New McFriend At The Play Place“, Nicole Knepper describes meeting a mom while watching her kid play in the tubes; “More cracking up. I noticed we were both wearing pajama pants. I wondered if she hadn’t brushed her teeth either. I was falling in love with her. Not in the sexual, I want to jump her mom bones way, but in the-OH MY GOD I LOVE THE WAY THIS BITCH THINKS-way. Know what I mean?”

Yes, Nikki, I do know what you mean. My BFF lives across the freakin’ country from me, and I fly up here every chance I get, but it would be really nice to have a friend at home. Don’t get me wrong, I do have some wonderful friends at home, and I love every one of them. But I’m talking about the kind of friend where she’d rather come over an hour early so you can have more time doing things together than have you waste an hour cleaning the house before she’s allowed in. The kind of friend that has you doubled over in the aisle at Michaels because you both hate Martha Stewart with unbridled passion. That friend who calls you at 10pm, desperate because she’s determined to make pith helmets out of glue and cheese cloth for every kid invited to her kid’s birthday party at 10am the next morning, and rather than talk her down, you fucking drive to her house and stay up all night making pith helmets from glue and cheese cloth. Yes, that really happened; no, I was not the one who decided to make them, I was the friend who showed up to help; no, they did not turn out like pith helmets because they didn’t dry in time, but we laughed our asses off about it for ages; no, that was not my friend Leigh, it was someone with whom I am no longer friends, and while I don’t miss her, I miss the quality of friendship that we had while it lasted. That friendship was over at least 20 years ago, and I have yet to find another one like it, besides Leigh.

I did try putting an ad in craigslist, and I did manage to find someone that I thought would be a great friend, but it turned out that she was super high maintenance, and kinda expected me to be on-call, even while recovering from my hysterectomy. Trust me, if we’d been friends for more than three weeks, I would have totally been all over it, but we weren’t there yet. I gave up after that point.

I read a lot of chick-lit, and I KNOW these things are fiction, because dammit, these awesome women are as fucking elusive as fairies. Obviously, Nikki Knepper is a real person, and Leigh and I are real people, but where are the rest of us? Chick-lit flies off the shelves; surely I am not the only woman who is so desperate to find a like-minded friend, we read about them just so we can have them in our lives for 90 minutes. Smart, sarcastic, bitterly funny but not bitter, Starbucks-guzzling, pro-reproductive rights but not militant women.

I’m sure a large majority of my problem is that I live in Texas. The other problem is that in my head, I’m still 18-22. I read young adult fiction, and I don’t just mean Harry Potter and Twilight. I don’t have any urge to go clubbing, but it would be nice to have a friend who likes karaoke every now and again, and who doesn’t mind helping me drink a bottle of wine while we do something crafty. It doesn’t even have to be the same craft; I’m not picky! And while I don’t expect this person to have fibromyalgia, nor do I expect them to listen to me whine about it constantly (I am not a whiner, but I will bitch about being pissed at my body betraying me), I at least expect them to respect that fibro is a real disease. On those days when I feel like crap, it would be awesome to have a friend to come over and sit with me while I’m stuck in bed, and distract me with stupid stories about stupid people.

Which is why my daughter is my BFF at home. Aubrey is/does all those things. But I want her to have her own life, not be tied to mine. I want her to have her own crazy friends her own physical age, and eventually, her own insanely idiotic failed adventures making party favors for a four year old.

I know that in the past, I’ve lost friends because I was a bad friend. I’ve also lost friends because *they* were bad friends. And of course, I’ve lost friends because our lives just went in different directions and we didn’t have anything in common anymore. But for the life of me, I can’t remember how to make a friend, or even where to start.

Short of moving to Chicago and begging Nikki Knepper to be my friend or spending a fortune in flying to Leigh’s three or four times a year, I’m not sure quite what to do. I really hope 2014 is the year I can figure it out.

 

When Nights Are Long, Do You Feel Blue?

Bill and Leigh got here yesterday morning at 9am and left around 7pm, after a hard day of prepping, patching, painting, and installing a ceiling fan. While I had planned to get yellow, in one of my typical Hail Mary decorating decisions, I opted for a silvery blue after seeing a palette from Design Seeds in my email last night that had the exact sage of my sofa. I figured it was a sign. It was an excellent choice, as even Mr. I Hate Everything Decorative commented, “I really like this blue!” Bill actually got Ron to laugh several times (miraculous!). I knew they’d get along as they are so alike, in a good way.

Leigh painting, Bill installing the ceiling fan.

The gorgeous silvery blue wall. Leigh painted the closet in blue to make it “disappear.” It looks so much better than the bright white. I am madly in love with the color, and so glad I didn’t repeat the previous owner’s choice of pale yellow.

Ron has tried to be supportive, and even took off yesterday and today so he could help. Mainly he moved furniture, kept everyone supplied with food and water, and dug for our various supplies that are scattered in every room of the house, porch, and two sheds. However, if this were a movie, he would win for best supporting role.

The only design burp was the decision to gel stain several pieces of furniture. I managed to do the French doors and the threshold under it, but it was already nearing the end of the workday when I finished. My homework was to put a few more coats on by morning. Leigh lives in Connecticut, so she’s used to the cool, relatively dry air. I think she forgot to factor in the South Texas humidity from hell. Ten hours later and the doors are still tacky to the touch. I decided to put off doing the other three pieces, as having a houseful of tacky furniture for who knows how long doesn’t work with the constant level of dog hair in the air. As it is, the threshold is a disaster that will have to be sanded and done again, with the dogs locked outside and a blowdryer in hand.

Doors prepped for gel stain.

Aub spent most of the time working on her room, broken up by food runs. She had to work so she was off the hook for most of the day. She did throw the sofa cushion covers in the washer for me when she got home, which was a huge help.

I had planned to wake up at 5:45 am, shower, go to Lowes, get paint, ceiling fans, and caulk, then get coffee for Aub and me. I forgot to factor the two days of hard labor leading up to yesterday…I was awakened at 9am by Ron saying Leigh was here. I flew out of bed with a huge surge of adrenaline that didn’t wear down until the second they left for the day. I think I was passed out before the door finished closing.

Unfortunately, I have a severe sleep disorder, and if nap, that means there are no meds in my system. That translates to incredibly vivid, and in today’s case, incredibly scary dreams. Ron woke me up because I was shouting in my sleep, and I was apparently in an incoherent panic. I went and climbed in his bed and passed out again until Aubrey got home at 11pm.

What I call the infamous “Three Day Wall” has descended with a vengeance. I will have to push through it for two more days, and then I will collapse for a week, minus a few hours on Saturday for a second photo shoot of my friend for her engagement. I just hope I recover without too much misery. Fibromyalgia sucks ass, and I am so incredibly grateful to have friends who are awesome enough to spend two days of their vacation decorating my living room, as it would take me weeks to get done what they did in ten hours.

Time for more sleep, and I will post pics of the mostly completed room, although it won’t be perfect unless the humidity lets up and we can finish the furniture and doors. Fingers crossed!!!

“Could you be blue, as blue as those eyes of yours, as blue as I am, my sweet, sweet baby…”