Thank All The Gods For Friendship
I am so grateful for the friendship in my life. Both that of my best friends, who've been in my life for years, and new friends who've come into my life at this time I need them most.
Over the past few months, I've received messages through social media from women I barely know, or don't know at all. Women who would clearly be great friends, and sit drinking copious amounts of wine (or tea!) with me, if we lived near each other in real life because the kindness of their spirits moved them to send me messages like,
"Lots of love and all the good is coming your way. This is just the beginning."
"Strength and inner peace to you (and all of us, really)."
"I'm really proud of you and we don't really know each other. Stay strong, you've got this. Your writing is amazing and you'll inspire so many women."
"I just wanted you to know that I've been thinking of you."
While I respond to these messages in thanks, I'm not sure these women truly realize how much their words mean to me. How much they move me, and encourage me and inspire me to keep going. They give me strength, these near-strangers, and it's so motivating to know that in these terribly tough moments, these days where sometimes I'm not sure if I even want to move forward and how to do so, women are still kind and loving enough to reach out and empower each other.
Because in the aftermath of infidelity and the break up of my family, it's women I distrust the most: women who blindly follow a man in the pursuit of her own feelings of validation, acknowledgement, superiority, power and sexiness (however temporary); women who knowingly stab another woman in the back; women who turn a cold shoulder (and heart) to the plight of another woman and child for a brief moment in the sunshine of lust or affection.
It is these women who act so pathetically without love toward themselves nor other women who need support the most. Which is hard for me to acknowledge because I reside in a hurt place of such anger toward them. But I know it's true because I tested out being "the other woman" in my early twenties, with all the selfishness and naïveté that comes with it. I've also experienced my karma come smashing back into my soul tenfold in my thirties. It goes around and it does indeed come around.
But it's the friendship and support of women who would never do these things to another who pull you back into this world and heal your heart, and teach you that we must uplift each other and never tear another woman down.
If there is anything I will instill in my daughter with all the vigor in existence, it's that we must we protect the hearts and souls of fellow females at all costs, and above all else. May she never make the careless mistakes I, and countless other women, have made because nothing positive is achieved by that life experience. Rather, everything is gained toward the growth and expansion of your soul and spirit when you act with unyielding respect for all others, even strangers.
The "mean girl" epidemic in young girls today is scary and disheartening (listening to little girls on the playgrounds from New York City to Sydney, Australia is absolutely heartbreaking). One of the reasons I chose the preschool I just chose for my daughter was the kindness that the other little girls in her school showed to her, unprompted, on our first visit. It moved me and showed me that this is exactly the environment and village I want to raise my daughter in, because this foundation of love and respect toward other females is everything I want for her future.
As grateful as I am to these new women who have come into my life to restore my faith in sisterhood, I'm extra grateful for the ones who've stuck around for the past four years.
There's this thing that happens (can happen) when women have their first baby, and that thing is that some friends disappear. It's not always a direct "I don't like babies, so let's not hang out anymore" kind of thing. Sometimes it's more of a perception that "we don't relate on so many things anymore," and those friends grow apart and move on.
There's also a thing that happens when we go through heartbreaking times. It's the first stage of grief, actually, which is Denial and Isolation. When things don't feel "right," and with disbelief and self pity that this (<insert your heartbreak here to relate>) is happening to me, we withdraw from our communities. When infidelity is involved, we women are especially embarrassed to bring it up to our friends or family because that will open us up to opinions, judgment and perhaps the pressure to make a decision that we are not yet ready to make. But even if there is no infidelity, and it's just a rough patch of fighting, we tend to hope it will pass without needing dissection from the peanut gallery of our peers.
Those two things happened to me in succession, but the process of having a baby and then going through heartbreak took three years of my life. That's a lot of time to grow apart, or simply be more absent than not in the lives of friends.
Ironically and sadly, when I needed my close friends' support the most, I was hiding way in the back of a hidden mental cave, not answering messages. I was just too sad, too overwhelmed, too ashamed, and too... not myself to even know where to begin a conversation. And the longer I didn't reach out, the harder it seemed to do so.
Then, about three months ago, my life imploded in a way that could no longer be held inside and I told my world what had happened. Lifting even that first bit of the veil felt like a many-ton boulder had been lifted from my shoulders. Opening up a little allowed me to keep opening my heart. To receive and respond to messages of support and love. To weather the storm that involved less judgment and opinions than I expected, and more support and love than I could have dreamed of receiving. It's holding my heart up right now, rocking it in a hammock of community.
The very community I withdrew from has welcomed me back with open arms. The true friends, at least. I have lost some friends who either didn't really care, couldn't handle the intensity of the situation or felt that my absence during my difficult times was enough that they did not want me in their lives anymore. Whatever the reason, I accept those who have left.
But I'm so damn grateful for those of you who have stayed. That gratitude for you has opened up the door to love, to the heart I put under padlock and key over the past eighteen months. And I will forever be thankful for that, and for you.