Today I’m feeling a bit lighter on my feet. I believe that most of that is because I’m finally getting rid of this stuff that is inside of me. There were months that I sat around and I thought that no one cared. I thought I was reaching out for support, but I’m a very proud woman. Ask my parents about how independent and stubborn I am, and I am sure they can tell you stories about me as a child. Independence is a great thing most of the time, but it definitely gets in the way of being able to connect with people. Most of the time I feel like I don’t need people to help me, and the words that run through my mind a lot of the time are, “I’m not weak, I got this.” Often I find myself saying that more than anything to convince myself that I got it. I realized that for the past year, I’ve been suffocating myself in my thoughts, and I have been drowning in stress. When you feel like that, it is very easy to go to dark places. It becomes easy for you to think that no one cares, and it is easy to justify that the reason you are alone is because no one cares. The funny thing is that we have been anything but alone. Sometimes all you have to do is say that you are hurting or that you need someone and people start flooding you with affection. This is still a work in progress for me because I don’t think I will ever really be comfortable asking for help, but I’m getting better at telling people how I feel.
Yesterday I was chatting with a long time friend of mine. Her name is Sarah. We’ve been friends since I started working at my current employer almost 10 years ago. Sarah is unique because she has fibromyalgia, and she has a son with a rare liver dysfunction called PKU. Both of these items have made her incredibly compassionate to our family. She absolutely refuses for me to say nothing, and often pushes me to open up even when I do not want to. That is a valuable friend even though at times I want to scream because I don’t want to share. However, her forcing me to share always makes me feel better, and it always helps me see a different side to things. There are few people that I’ve allowed to be as close to me as I have with Sarah. I’m not the kind of person that has a lot of close friends, and so when I let you in generally you are in for good. Yesterday we were talking, and I mentioned that I really hate that I have so few friends. Sarah said, “How can you say that you always have so many comments on your facebook page and statuses? Maybe it’s time to redine what you think of as a friend. Just because you don’t get to see someone face to face doesn’t make them any less of a friend”. It was like she hit a bullseye with that statement. Immediately it dawned on me that I have an entire network of mothers through an online support mommy group. I have been a part of this group for almost 2 years. We started it through BabyCenter a website for expecting mothers, and we moved the group to Facebook. Over the past 2 years, these women have become like my family. We fight, we bicker, we laugh, we cry, and we share our experiences with one another. It has always been a safe place for us to go when we had no place to turn, and it’s been a saving grace for me in many of my darkest moments. However, I never really thought that they could truly be friends because I’ve never met them face to face. Then it hit me, what does that really matter? A few of these women I speak on the phone to all the time. and I text with a couple every single day. If that is not a frienship, I am not sure what is. At this point in my life with Von’s restrictions to my social life, these women offer me an outlet that I desparately need. When Von was in the hospital, I got care packages from them, gift cards, money, and cards. My phone was constantly blowing up with texts from them, and many of them started prayer chains for Von in their churches and through Facebook when he was on life support. If that is not what a friend would do, I don’t know what a friend would be. Once I reevaluated the word friend, I realized how I’m not alone at all. I have all these women that I talk to every single day. Even though I don’t see them face to face, they are still an important part of my life, and they are the biggest cheerleaders for me and for Von’s health. I started sharing this blog with them, and several of them actually thanked me for finally opening up. They thanked me for giving them a peak into our lives, and they have said they better understand what I go through. This in turn is allowing them to be even more there for me.
I guess the sum of this whole blog is that sometimes we are our own block to happiness. Sometimes we are the ones that are making it difficult for people to connect with us. When I’m not sharing what is going on or how I feel, I’m putting up a wall that does not allow people in. I’ve made myself vulnerable through this blog, and it’s created more relationships that are meaningful in my life. I’m so glad that I’ve been able to open up, and I feel like a thousand pounds is off my chest. My hope is that not only can this blog help me, but that those of you that are reading it can find pieces that you can relate to. Perhaps you are able to find some value in my stories and what I share. Hopefully, it helps you also realize that you are not alone either. This world is an amazing place, and it is full of amazing people. If we are not open to that, we are the ones that close ourselves off from happiness.