Sunday, June 1, 2014

People Are Important

I've never been what you would call a people person. Even in high school I preferred to stay at home, put on my pj's, and watch TV rather than going to the movies or dinner with friends. I'm not saying that I didn't do those things but there were just as many times as I turned down offers as times that I accepted them. I thought of myself as an extrovert but the older I get the more introverted I realize that I am.

Being a stay at home mom has only made it worse. My oldest is going to be 7 later this year. Once I had her, I stayed home and pretty much had no social life. My husband worked weird hours so it was mostly me and Abba all the time. When the opportunity to be in a social situation arose, I found it hard to communicate with others. My brain felt mushy and I realized that I didn't have a lot in common with most of the people I found myself around. These awkward situations, pushed me further into my shell, so to speak, and it truly became difficult to make friends. The amount of effort it required to make a friend and be a friend just wasn't worth it in my opinion and I wasn't a people person.

As a teenager and young adult, I was self-confident. I felt like I knew who I was and I was OK with that person. I honestly didn't care about what people thought of me. Now, at 31, I feel more insecure than ever. I still feel awkward in most social situations, I still find it difficult to make and maintain friendships, and I have to fight hard against the urge to stay cooped up at home and never go anywhere other than the grocery store. I find myself wondering what people think of me and actually caring. I'm no longer sure if I like me.

I constantly feel like a failure as a mother. That feeling is exacerbated by my ectopic pregnancy. I struggle with feeling like I failed the child that was taken from me. Rationally, I realize that I can't control everything that happens in my body but a lot of our feelings are irrational, right? People keep telling me to grieve. But how can I? I have two other children who depend on me and are always around. My husband works a job where I may only see him a couple hours total during the day. I'm responsible for everything and everyone in my house. If I cry, my oldest constantly asks if I'm crying and why I'm crying. It's just a rough situation all around. These last two weeks have felt like hell and it doesn't seem like that feeling is going to let up anytime soon.

Before my husband returned from deployment and I moved back to Fort Polk he suggested that I send a Facebook friend request to the wife of another soldier in his unit that lived on our street. I had only met her once before and while she seemed nice, I didn't really know her. Being the introverted, non-people person that I am, I cringed at the thought. It would be so weird, right? To receive a friend request from someone you met once and probably don't even remember. He had to convince me to do it but I did. I typed a short message to go along with it, trying to be as un-weird (is that a word?) as possible. I felt sick. Why are things like that so hard for me? Anyway, being the nice person that she was, she accepted my request and sent a nice message back. Whew! Maybe she didn't think I was as creepery as I felt.

What I didn't know or even expect was that friend request would change my life. We hit it off after a few awkward moments when we first met in person. Our husbands came back from deployment and I figured that it would kind of be the end of things. Maybe we'd get together once in a while on our own but I doubted that the husbands would be involved. Truth is, it's very rare for Ryan and I to actually like the same people. Ha. I know that sounds bad but it is what it is. I was wrong and I'm really glad. I'm thankful for all the texts, Facebook messages, and so forth that I've received from family and friends since my surgery but nothing beats having a physical presence in your life that helps you out, comforts you, lets you sob uncontrollably on your living room sofa without judgement, and after seeing you ugly cry, still wants to be your friend! I can't imagine having gone through this without the extra support and care of our friends.

Whether you're a people person or not, one thing that I've learned is, people are important. You may not always like everyone you meet. There are some people out there that make me want to stay in my shell and not take the chance. But without taking a chance on people, you risk never having your life changed by others. No matter where life takes us or where we end up, I will never be able to reflect upon this time in my life without thinking about the friends who made it easier. I'm sure they don't even realize they are doing it. Half the time when my heart is hurting and I'm feeling sorry for myself, my phone goes off with a text to see how I'm feeling, or a funny picture that makes me laugh, or a well-timed friendly "insult". And most evenings, four lounge chairs at the end of a driveway are healing my heart and nobody knows it but me.

And now all of you! Ha ha!

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