There are quite a few things that I learned last year about myself. My surprising ability to deal with change and a new little person in the house. The need to go with the flow sometimes rather than stick to the schedule which has always been a problem for me. I found out that I have a voice and a valid opinion that I can share. I found that I can disagree with people and not be cut off from their society. I found out that it's okay for me to question things that have "always been" because sometimes they don't really matter.
Yes, last year was a year of learning for me. But it didn't stop with the above. I learned some not so nice things about myself too. I learned that I may have some control issues and that I'm not always the nicest person. And let's face it, I knew that already but just hadn't been confronted by it quite so much. But perhaps... well not perhaps, hands down the most surprising thing I learned last year was that I was part of an "elite group". And not "elite" as in special skills Avengers type elite because that would just be cool, but elite as in exclusionary of others. Better than. Snobby.
I was told this by a good friend and if my jaw didn't drop for real it was certainly hitting the floor internally. I couldn't believe it! Still don't. Elite? Me? I didn't quite know what to think. I was caught somewhere between "in what lifetime am I part of the popular crowd" and "how did this happen and I not know it" with a good deal of "what the crap!" mixed in. Was I to be offended or flattered?
I chose to ignore it. For a long long time. Every once in awhile it would randomly pop into my mind and I would be baffled all over again. Especially because of the way this "elite" group came about. It was largely put together? fell together? came together? out of a need for group therapy. Seriously. In fact I was in the middle of my pregnancy from hell and the only thing that was keeping me together was a weekly outing with some of my favorite peeps. During these outings the kids would play and the women would talk and I would feel a little less trapped in my own disturbingly depressing thoughts. (I had some serious hormonal depression going on in the first few months of my pregnancy... like call the dr. my wife is a puddle of nothing on the floor of the bathroom type serious. People were scared for me. I was scared for me. And for good reason. I owe a lot to a good therapist and equally good but-safe-for-the-baby drugs.) So this weekly visit was saving me. Then it stopped. School started and the visits stopped. I didn't want it to stop and I mentioned it to one of the group. And then she had a marvelous idea. A brilliant idea! Those who could (as in didn't have jobs to get back to or no children at home requiring all their attention) could still meet. Just not in the same place, but perhaps inside with a nice cup of salted caramel hot cocoa to sweeten the deal. And so it began.
I loved it from the beginning. I was still working at the time but mostly from home and the outing was just the motivation I needed to get through my life. I lived for Tuesday mornings. At first it was just me and one other and it was nice. Nice because our friendship that began years before with game nights and attempts at knitting had been put on the back burner due to Book Club and craft nights and now it could flourish again. Nice because we got to connect again, really connect. And for those of you who know me, I 'm not much of a conversationalist in large groups. In fact the first couple of large group outings that David and I attended as a couple, he kept on asking if I was alright. He, being used to my one on one never stop talking persona, was baffled by this quiet girl who sat in the corner and didn't say much. I was perfectly content that way and was having a great time. He spent the time worrying that I wasn't enjoying myself. But small groups are truly my cup of tea... or hot chocolate as the case may be.
Two shortly became three as pre-school fell on Tuesday for one other woman. Tuesday mornings were for us. These women literally saved me during this time. Their advice and laughter and understanding hearts were exactly what I needed. And since we all needed therapy on some level (I kid not) we got along swimmingly! We all benefited from it.
Now do you understand my bewilderment? Elite. Us? How about broken. Or dysfunctionally functional. Or special cases. If you would have heard our conversations you might wonder!
Friendship takes effort. It takes effort to maintain. I used to think that wasn't the case. I thought that true friendship, true friends wouldn't hurt each other. It would all be smiles and sunshine and everybody agreeing on everything together. And then I grew up. I realized a few things. To be friends you don't always have to agree on everything. In fact it would be a little scary if you did always agree on things. I don't always get along with David and he's the love of my life. So what does that mean for friendship?
For me it means that at the end of the day, no matter what the discussion or disagreement is, I still want to be friends with my friends. It means that we can get through "altercations" and be stronger friends with a deeper appreciation for each other for having made it through. It means really getting to know someone, warts and all and them knowing you, warts and all, and feeling nothing but kindness and love mixed with a healthy dose of laughter.
I am sad that we were labeled as "elite" because we're not. I'm sad that people chose to be offended or hurt or excluded but never asked about it. I'm sad that things were assumed and not true.
However, I would not change this "elite" friendship for anything. Who else is going to laugh at my wildly inappropriate 13-year old boy humor? It certainly isn't David!
Happy Wednesday ya'll!