I am struggling again, this time very acutely and need to find a focus – that direction at which I could channel all my creative energy and intensity which is now currently diffuse and ephemeral. I am trying to apply it in all the wrong places.
Take friendships, for example.
I have such a desperate desire for fellowship…that I appear, well, desperate.
I have a lot of tension due to the fact that I have made two new ‘friends’ on Friday (after a trying week of enduring meltdowns from my daughters and my husband). Which is strange, because making friends is a good thing, right? Well, it used to be for me. Only I have had such bad experiences keeping friends in the past few years that I am nervous of messing these two new ones up.
But let me tell you how these new opportunities for real life friendship arose.
I stopped at the park after school with the girls. I wasn’t planning on talking to the woman sitting there on one of the two benches – because I was so worn out from all the meltdowns everyone had this week. But soon I noticed what I thought was a hawk flying overhead…I exclaimed, “look girls, it’s a hawk…man, I wish I had my camera”, only to realize upon closer inspection, it was a turkey vulture. The woman took notice of me and came over to chat, of all things, birds and photography. I was talking about my fascination with taking pictures of birds, and she said, “wow, I never knew anyone else to be so interested in birds” and told me how she would run inside to get her camera any time she would see something she wanted to take a picture of. She never knew anyone else to do that. We talked about not having many friends, about dying to go out for coffee with a friend without kids as she had 3 boys. We chatted about how life has changed so drastically after becoming mothers. Her oldest son has autism, and I was mentioning about my K’s selective mutism and sensory issues, which for a time, mimicked autistic traits.
After some twists and turns of the conversation…she said she lived in the gated community of multimillion dollar homes. I started saying about how I knew someone who lived there. But in a flash of awareness, I checked myself a moment. I suddenly had a sneaking suspicion I’d better check before I blurted out who.
Turns out that I’d spent the entire 40 minutes talking to “the Bob’s” wife. We exchanged phone numbers and will hopefully get a chance to make a date for coffee sometime. I’m looking forward to get to know her, especially since she shares my interest in birds and photography.
After the park, I took my oldest daughter to her dental appointment.
Circumstances have finally allowed me to ask my fantastic dental hygienist for her email on Friday after my daughter’s dental appointment. It turns out that we both have a passion for the music of the Irish group Celtic Woman. We are planning to meet at an Irish festival later today after she was telling my husband about it at his dental appointment this past Wednesday. She is a wonderfully intense, effusive personality and I want her to be my ‘gal pal’ as my husband calls it.
So…while I am thrilled to have these new opportunities for fellowship, I am so full of worries too about messing them up. I am a bundle of anxieties right now and I can’t get relief.
The last ‘intimate’ platonic real-life friendship I had with a woman was with Barb. I’ve described her as an “odd bird – a very gifted individual with an sharp mind and even sharper tongue and she loved to challenge the status quo”. She died from a relapse of breast cancer in 2002. She and I were friends for 7 years. I worked with her for 5 and remained friends after I quit the forensic lab.
I should not be placing so much emphasis on wanting fellowship. But it’s been so long since I had regular friends I could let my hair down with…that I’m too over-eager to find that again.
For the record, I was NOT at all like this when I worked. I had a tremendous amount of self-confidence and self-respect. I have no idea where that went to, but I want so much to find it again.
It’s not that I don’t get along with women. It’s just that most women in my world, outside my field of work, don’t quite know what to do with me…so they seem to keep at a distance, or they get mad at me. My sisters do this to me as well, so it’s not just new people. So I have become quite shy about striking up new friendships with women. I’ve felt like I did as a schoolgirl trying to ‘fit in’. I just never managed to quite do that. I fit in quite well in the laboratory. There was other women who I could get along with very well.
If you think this all sounds pathetic, I agree with you. It is. I have never been this desperate for real-life fellowship in so many years. I am up to my eyeballs in miserable feelings that I can’t jettison.
Today, I think I’m going to self-medicate with some Irish ale at the festival. I’m going to take the edge off my intensity and I’m going to enjoy myself and try to forget how much there is ‘at stake’.