Do You Have a Friend Who Would Move a Body for You?

They were pouring into the donut shop. One, after another, after another. I watched as more and more women arrived to celebrate the birthday of a mother who stood in the middle of the group, surprised and delighted. Every time I thought the gathering was at capacity, more women surged through the door, hugging and chatting away. I felt pangs of jealousy.

When you think of women you know who seem to be in the middle of it all, like that birthday girl, don't picture me.

I've tried making friends in my neighborhood. I know a couple of really cool moms whose kids my kids play with. They don't hang out with me a lot, though. I hear the women talking at the pool or the playground of having parties together and going on vacations together. Not me.

School moms? Nope. My kids go to private school (thank you, mom). There's no bus stop at which to stand around and chat, and there's no PTA, so I can't say I know any of the moms from school. I don't play tennis. In fact, I don't exercise at all at the moment, if you count the last two years as a moment, so I'm not getting to know any mothers at the gym either.

I'm not sure I know how to make friends well. When I was a kid my family moved all of the time. Dad would either get annoyed at his job or rise as high as he could on the ladder and so he would leave and we would move to wherever the next job on the rung was. Sixth grade in Shreveport, Louisiana. Seventh grade in Bloomfield, Michigan. Eighth grade in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Ninth grade in Deerfield, Illinois. I think I started not bothering. What's the point in really getting to know someone intimately if one or two years later you aren't going to see them anymore?

Plus, I'm an introvert. You might not think that, since I feel free to blab my mouth all over the internet, including here at ParentDish and at my blog Postpartum Progress, and I speak publicly at blog conferences. Yet, being around a crowd can really drain me, and I'm very nervous about meeting new people, tending to cling to the people I already know. I'm one of those "you have to get to know her" girls.

Thus I find myself a little wistful sometimes when I'm running by Starbucks to pick up a latte and I see a gaggle of women huddled close together. I imagine they're sharing stories about how cute their kids are or the annoying thing their husbands did yesterday. I often wonder what it would be like to be sitting there, too.

Then I heard Brene Brown speak at the recent Blissdom conference. She spoke about shame and imperfection and learning to embrace who you are. She said that you'll only have a handful of true friends in your life. Maybe two, or three if you're really lucky. She calls them friends "who'd move a body for you." As she spoke, I thought of three women right then who'd come to my aid, no questions asked, as long as they were able. That was a nice feeling.

I also realized that, while I may not have a gaggle, I do have a tribe. I realized I do want and need to be surrounded by women who inspire me, who I admire and who fill me with the feeling that I am enough. I am hungry for such company. That is why I go to blogging conferences. Last week at Blissdom I spent time with women that I truly adore. They are funny, brave, deep, kind, smart, honest and accomplished. I don't live anywhere near them, which bums me out to no end, but I get to see them two or three times a year and be refilled with a feeling that someone gets me. I have a tribe, a place where I belong. Instead of playing sports together or seeing each other every Friday for coffee, we tweet and we blog. No matter. They're my tribe.

So, thank you to Crystal and Suzanne and Erin for being my "move a body" girls. And thank you to Heather, Ellie, Meagan, Ria, Holly, Karen, Cecily, Rita, Ann, Arianne, Lucrecer, Julie, Ashleigh, Hollee, Laura, Amy, Annie, Allison, Megan, Casey, Janice, Beth Anne, Kristen and others for reminding me this weekend that I have value, that I should reach for my dreams, that I am beautiful and that I am worthy. I SO feel the same way about each of you.

What about you, ParentDish readers? Do you find you have trouble making friends, or are you one of those girls in the middle of it all? Do you have a tribe? How about someone who would move a body for you?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.