This morning I awoke early once again, 5 am-ish, reflecting on Wednesday evening and how the Meet & Greet for Empowerment affected me. For the very first time in a long time, I felt a community of people that I can begin to call friends. I was instilled by these women to look deep inside myself and enjoy the fact that I have friends near and far.
Growing up I wanted to be like someone else, loving my cousin Gloria Jaffe Seigel; I longed to be just like her. However, that wasn’t possible. I was me! I could, however, learn from her and allow the beauty that I sought from her life to impact mine. I wore some of her hand me downs, I babysat for her children, and we shared a birthdate separated by one month. What I adored about my cousin was the energy that pulled people towards her and the abundance of friends she had. When I felt alone and lonely, I would think of her and ask myself how I can be more like her?
In elementary and junior high school I wanted to be like Janet, Cheryl, Michelle, and the rest of the click. I now know they liked me, but I was not part of the group back then. I wondered why. and strived to be just like them, feeling like a failure every step of the way, spending too many days and nights crying over the WHYS?
High school was a momentous time in my life, I found a circle of friends, and made a commitment to myself to enjoy my life in a new city, the cold tundra of St. Louis Park, Minnesota. The four years my family lived in SLP, I made life long friendship that I was able to rekindle on Facebook and beyond.
However, loneliness and that sad feeling of having no friends returned in 1996. It was a warm Fall day when Alex was diagnosed on the Autism spectrum. One day he was just an over-active little first grader, and the next he was wearing the scarlet letter on his chest. Parents of his schoolmates who were our friends pulled away and the kids that had been inviting him to birthday parties and play dates came to an end. In the beginning, my family didn’t understand, and sadly some assumed he or we were faking his diagnosis. REALLY? REALLY! Rich and I have spent the better part of twenty-two years without a social connection. We both convinced ourselves that work and family were enough, but it wasn’t.
In 2013 I had a breakdown, I admitted I was depressed and feeling all alone. Although I loved Rich, I did not feel like I was in love with him and that hit me hard. I couldn’t live with him or without him, and this time I knew I had to fix this. It has been a journey! (I love him, and I am in love with him, despite his wackiness.)
Over the last six years I have chosen to take forks in the road (thanks Katie the Carlady for that analogy.) Following the straight path, being the good daughter, wife, mother, and acquaintance making everyone else happy was killing me. It was finally time for me take a leap of faith and sooth my achy breaky heart. Today I am proud to say I have and I continue to develop friendships. No longer do I allow my head voice tell me I am not worthy, my mantra is, “If you don’t like me, it’s your loss.” I am willing to listen, share, and care, it’s up to you to lend me a hand.
Last evening on Facebook I posted a quote and shared it with many of my new and older friends (not age-wise.)
The responses I received from this post have sparked my heart, energy, and love for life. It reminds me how fragile each second is. So, if I become sappy, just know it makes me happy!
I hope you will join me on my journey and take the fork in the road that works for you. There is no mistake you can always backtrack if you need to, or take another leap of faith.