Caryn: So a couple nights ago I did one of my favorite late-night things—running to the grocery store for a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. Lame, I realize, on the “favorite thing” scale, but since becoming a mom, this tiny escape totally recharges me and I love it. Mostly because I get to be in a store alone and because I think music is best heard loud, at night while alone in a car. Something I first realized at 16—like 10 minutes after getting my license.
But anyway, on the way back from my little outing, I had Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” cranked—and I mean cranked! Windows down, me singing, me dancing, me smiling….
Carla, you know why this song makes me smile. Not only is it one of the darned happiest, poppiest, shakiest songs ever, and not only did I have a married-woman crush on this gay man, but it brings back memories of one of my favorite times of life: the years spent editing magazines and laughing with you (I’m talking to Carla, here) and Lori and Dana and Cheryl and Ron and Mickey and a zillion more great people.
Specifically, the Ricky Martin memory is not of shaking it in those hallways (though it wouldn’t have been beyond us) but of the “Little Ricky” (a xeroxed paper cutout of the man) perched on my office bookshelf. Something that made me laugh then (and now) but also something that in a weird way symbolized these office friendships for me.
Alrighty. Here’s the point of this: What struck me about my happiness upon hearing this song was that the last time I heard it randomly—probably a couple years ago—I felt really SAD. I was in this weird, dark, lonely mommy place where I missed everything about my “old” life so much and felt like I none of the same great connections or friendships in my “new” life.
I wasn’t—as we say in Christian-ese—living in community.
And it sucked—not having regular people to laugh with, gripe with, connect with, be myself with. It was a really hard time of life. So hard, I couldn’t listen to a song that brought back what were once happy memories.
All this to say, it feels so good to be back. To have found and remade connections. To be able to smile at my old life because the new one is smile-worthy now too.
I totally thank God fro this. He heard my “I need friends” lonely prayers and answered them in big, crazy God ways: through Facebook, through new flesh-and-blood friends, and through the Mommy Revolution, baby! I no longer feel like a fish out of water—but realize I’m swimming among some awesome other fish.
Carla: Little Ricky makes me laugh out loud! Those were such golden days–a bunch of girls and a couple of willing-to-put-up-with-a-bunch-of-girls guys.
What’s ironic is that, for me, those were also intensely lonely years. I remember feeling like I had no connections with people, even people I truly loved and enjoyed–that would be Caryn, Kim, Lori, Marci, etc. Now I know that I was at the beginning of a journey that would take me through some incredibly difficult seasons of figuring out who I am and–as dumb as it sounds–finding myself.
But at the time, of course, I didn’t know that. I was still trying so hard to be perfect, to make sure everyone liked me. I had no idea who I was so I had no idea how to connect with anyone. You (Caryn) and I have talked about this, how sad it is that the friendship we had could have been even deeper if we had just known how to let down our guard and be ourselves.
But like you, I am in such a better place now. It took all kinds prayer and work and struggle and pain and therapy to get to this place, but it was so worth it. I finally have the kinds of friendships I always prayed for–the ones where we are honest and vulnerable and no one pretends to be anything other than who she is. It is seriously so much more life-giving than trying to act like we have our crap together. We might never fully revolutionize motherhood, but I think that the women who are gathering here–and hopefully in Minneapolis in October!–are finding that they aren’t the only ones to feel lonely or disconnected, that they aren’t the only ones who struggle to develop meaningful friendships, and that there are women out there who will value them for who they are, failures and uncertainties and flaws included.
Caryn: Speaking of old and new friends–and Carla mentioned “October”: We’re totally hoping you can join me and Carla in a couple of cool events we’ve got coming up: 1. a FREE webinar (details to be announced soon) and 2. a Mommy Revolution Mom Hall Meeting (and probably food and drinkie thing) at the Christianty21 Conference in Mpls, MN, in October. How cool would it be to see each other for reals?