Tuesday, April 21, 2009

a moment of wallowing

Not even sure why I want to type this out, but I guess it's just something I need to say, and wallow in it for a moment, then move on. So here goes.....

A former co-worker (from the pre-kids days) sent me an email yesterday. We've stayed somewhat in touch, I see her periodically even though now we have next to nothing in common. She still teaches with "big mega Band program", isn't married, no kids, Band is her life in a lot of ways. Oh, and 2008 was a horrendous and tragic year for her, in which she was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a mastectomy, and lost both of her elderly parents within a month of each other. I respect her very much, both as a teacher and as a person, but I only see or talk to her on occasion now.

So, back to that email. It was a forwarded thing, with the title line "12 women". It was really like an old fashioned chain letter, instructing you to send it on within a certain amount of time, etc. Send it to 12 women who have "made a difference in your life" and are very special to you and close to you. I normally don't even give a second thought to these things, just click "delete", but because of the respect I have for this woman, I decided to follow the directions and forward it on. I was touched to have been included in her "12 women", so I decided to create my own.

Know how far I got? 5. No, wait, I think it was 6. So instead of copying and pasting the contents of the email, I just clicked "cancel" and closed the message I'd started. The fact is that, for various reasons, I feel like I really don't have local friends. Acquaintances, yes, plenty. Colleagues, sure. People I can sit next to in choir rehearsal and chat with afterwards, definitely. But local friends? You know, people who might actually call or email on occasion, want to get together or just chat with you. People who remember that you exist, and who choose to take time to make (or keep) a connection with you that's worth maintaining.

Internet friends are wonderful, but I feel like I've been so wrapped up in my own soul-searching crap over the last few months that I've neglected them as well. Which means that now I'm feeling even more isolated. 300 "friends" learn random tidbits of stuff about me every day on Facebook, but I'd say that essentially none of them really know much about me that is substantive or what goes below the surface.

So who do I share that with? It might seem silly, but I'm so incredibly tired of feeling this way and wondering why I have no strong, long-lasting and meaningful friendships. I read the blog posts of others, the stories they post on forums about "girls' weekend" trips, shopping dates, meeting for coffee or just doing whatever......and I have absolutely none of that. None. Great way to make a girl feel pathetic, I'll tell you that for sure.

Oh, and to top it all off, I'm about to abandon my work relationships, superficial though they may be, and enter a world populated by 19 and 20 year olds. Joy, joy. Wonder how many of them have ever changed a diaper, or dealt with infertility, preeclampsia or the autism spectrum?

I told you I'd be wallowing, didn't I? My wallowing sessions are typically worse when I write late at night, and it's 11:12 pm now, so draw your own conclusion. But I had to get this out, even though it hurts to do so and is embarrassing too. I just don't want to keep feeling alone like this, even feeling like my husband has more real friends than I do and resenting that fact. Am I really that horrible to be around? Is there something I could do differently? (reminder: suggestions must be appropriate and usable by someone who has no free time, has 2 children in therapy, and who is about to re-enter college). Ok, talk amongst yourselves.........

8 comments:

Lyndsey said...

Oh, hon. I getcha. (((((hugs))))) I completely understand. If I had received that e-mail, I would have maxed out at six as well, and that includes two family members, and two friends I met in support forums who happen to live here. I see some of my friends blogging or posting on Facebook what seems like every day or at least every other day about getting out and having fun with friends. When I have a "girls outing", it's either me and 1 friend and they occur few and far between, or it's me and friends from high school who live on the other side of the country and it takes a year to plan. I know most of those people aren't dealing with some of the things we deal with day to day, and that makes a difference. I can't fault them for that, but it doesn't mean I can't be jealous.;)

About the school thing...I know it's going to be hard, and it's going to feel awkward at first, but it will be alright. When DH and I went to Clarksville last weekend and saw an opera rehearsal at school, two of the performers on stage were 40+, coming back for a career change or finishing up a graduate degree. I promise, you won't be the only one there.

Now if I could only take my own advice...I'm already starting to psyche myself out about going back to school.

Lori said...

Oh Jen ((((hugs)))) You are just delightful and you have such a wicked sense of humor. I TOTALLY get you and if we lived closer we would have tons of "girls night out"! I'm sorry that you don't have any close friends that live close to you. Are there not any other mom's at your church that you can connect with? That's where the majority of my friends are, with the exception of Allison bc we've been friends since high school. I'm sorry though..really! And anytime you want a weekend away you are most welcome to come here and we can hit the bit wild town of Seneca. LOL!!!

Cowbells & Tuna 4 EVA!

Lori said...

that last line was supposed to say "hit the BIG wild town" ol

laughingatchaos said...

Wallow away! I know what you mean, in a very real way (I also know the Big Band Director type). I have girlfriends, but connect with most of them via computer. Some in real life, but not many, and very very few I'd meet for dinner. It's hard, isn't it? But don't cut yourself short; you may very likely find another mom back to school and hit it off.

laughingatchaos said...

Oh, and with our freaky similarities, we'd totally be BFF and going out. :)

Amy said...

I've been neglecting my real friends and my internet friends alot lately, but this post just drew me right in. Why you ask? Because I feel the same exact way lately. I have a handful of "friends" here...most of them are more like acquaintances, and sadly the only one I really do anything with is my mom and one other friend who recently got divorced and has a five year old son.

I too am heading back to school soon (May 26th) and I'm going into nursing which is a big difference from the computer science degree that I have. So I feel you there on the worries about that...starting back at college being 28 instead of 18 is quite terrifying to me. Anyway...I just wanted to let you know that I'm right there with you and you can feel free to email me or call me whenever and we can talk. (((hugs)))

~Denise~ said...

(((HUGS))) I think many of us feel the same way.

Mysh said...

The thing about true friends is that they don't need to be reminded that they are your friends. You can weave in and out of their lives and pick up exactly where you left off. Real friends understand.