Friday, January 3, 2014

Some are silver and the other's gold

Part of being B.R.A.V.E. this year is honesty about the spots in my life that are dark little corners I've steered clear of out of fear of feeling diminished, appearing lame, and requiring vulnerability. By exposing the parts of life that feel underdeveloped, there becomes light in which to grow, words from which to pull nourishment, and, at times, rain to drink. Because nothing grows without an honest effort (at least not in my garden).

I've never had that Mean Girls group of friends -I'm not referencing the Burn Book, but the tight knit girl group. From a young age I've been aware of the girl group, but have not experienced it personally. Or, more honestly, I've only understood what it means to be outside of that group and longing for a friend. As I've grown older, I've had many friends come and go. We've been phases in each other's lives with no hard feelings, just big distances, marriages, jobs -all those grown-up things. And, I'm thankful for those cherished moments and memories.

While I don't want to -and can't- replace those who are dear to me, I can grow my collection of lovely people. Because, when I'm being honest, I'm lonely. Not in a depressive, pity myself, no one loves me way. But in a I want to have friends to coffee date, to double date, to fill rooms with laughter, and to sit with and cry. I want to talk the woes of our young marriages, the frustrations of jobs and house hunts, the excitement and fears that come with not-so-distant parenthood (no, we're not pregnant). I don't want to exchange new for old in my life, I want to supplement.

This year, in an effort to be B.R.A.V.E., I will go on two friend dates a month. I will soften my face in public so it's not bitchy, but friendly. I won't be too embarrassed to compliment a stranger or give out my email. I will say hello when I make eye contact with someone -expected or otherwise. I will stop closing doors before they are opened because I'm too shy, she's too put together, or because I'm not good enough. I will step up to and seize every opportunity that presents itself -without excuse, hesitation, or reservation.

Like the community here has grown with much effort and honesty, so can the community I have offline in the here and the now. We aren't here in transition in Small Town, California, we're here for the long haul so it's time to invest in friends. Because I'm B.R.A.V.E. and so is she -whoever she might be.

I don't do this often but, 
any advice for a girl interested in some new friends? 
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Speaking of friends, meet my dear blogging buddy Codi from Art of Balance. This girl's got a heart of gold and the ability to be vulnerable beyond comparison. The way she's turned her struggles with anxiety into golden learning lessons while growing her faith and her blog is truly admirable. Do yourself a little favor and skip on over to her spot for some inspiration!  
My blog will always be a very good representation of me because I believe in sharing the bad with the good. If readers are taking the time to read my blog I want to make sure they're getting to know the real me! My goal in life is to keep things simple, down-to-earth, and meaningful. Life is a gift and I plan on enjoying all the big and little things that come along. More specifically, if you follow my blog you'll learn about my struggles (and successes!) living a happy life with anxiety, my love for dogs, books, and helping others, and hopefully feel inspired to create your own balance and happiness in life!

My biggest resolution for 2014: Don't sweat the small stuff. For someone with general anxiety, this is critical to keeping sane. My goal is to work on recognizing the things I can't control and challenging myself to just go with the flow. Going with the flow is something I admire in other people so I'm excited to challenge myself to stop sweating the small stuff!

23 comments:

  1. Brittany RasmussenJanuary 3, 2014 at 5:21 AM

    I didn't have a group of girlfriends like that until a few years ago. I had friends, but not the Sex and the City group of gals I longed for. I met one girl at work, and we instantly clicked, but our friendship grew when we both were investing into it-so you're plan of Friend dates is exactly what will help you develop those deep, meaningful friendships you're desiring! Don't be ashamed of this! I think it happens to a lot of women in their twenties as high school friends grow up, change, drift apart, and sometimes it leaves us wondering what is wrong with us. NOT THE CASE dear. Its normal! Good for you for making the decision to invest in friendships-it will change your life.

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  2. Your heart is so sweet! It's so helpful to have friends that are in the same walks of life with the same beliefs. New friends with those credentials don't seem like new friends at all! I applaud you for being BRAVE this year!

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  3. I can relate so very much to this Amber. This is something that I've felt over the last year or two. After graduating college, the relationships you thought would last kind of fizzle out when the distance sets in after everyone moves away. I struggle to make new friends because I'm shy and because I often think those same thoughts..i'm not good enough, shes too put together, etc.. You are so so not alone in that. I have also been working this last year on complimenting strangers and putting myself out there. I've never been one to initiate a coffee date with a person I've just met, but I actually did that a month or two ago and we've gone to dinner a few times now! It's definitely new territory..trying to develop friendships with other adults. it's not as easy as it was when you were surrounded by similar girls in school!
    from what I've learned about you in the last few months, you are one amazing woman and anyone would be seriously lucky to have you as a friend! Can't wait to see how this new adventure turns out for you!

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  4. I like your goal of going on more friend dates! I also want to spend more time with friends this year. Throughout different points in my life, I've usually had a pretty good group of girlfriends (it's evolved on and off over the years, and right now I find myself kind of without), but I've never really had one "best friend," and I always wondered if that meant something was wrong with me.

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  5. Making friends as a grown up is not only terrifying, but it's difficult. Most of my high school friends were boys (and keeping in touch with them is a damn nightmare). I have a few close girlfriends from college, but most of them don't live close. What has been working for me lately is friends of friends. I've been lucky to make some great friends that way!

    Good luck on your friend dates- and don't hold back! You're a pretty kick ass chick and people will love you :)

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  6. i think this is a wonderful thing to do, i think it's really about putting yourself out there, you starting the convo about getting together. it's hard sometimes but it will be worth it!!

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  7. I too have never had this. Of course I have had "bestfriends" but they come and go with life. It is sad to me when I don't really have that many people to talk to about work, home, love, life. I wish we lived in the same part of California! I think we would be great friends! In our cowboy boots drinking and laughing about this crazy thing we all call life :)

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  8. im totally with you here! ive basically gone my entire adult life (i moved out of state to a place where i didnt know ANYBODY when i got married) without ANY close adult friends. new marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood, um.. not so new marriage, i did all of it alone. and the loneliness/bitterness is KILLING me.


    this year im DEFINITELY focusing on growing the few friendships i have now (our church is fairly small and theres only a handful of ladies in my age group, and only one other than me thats a mom) and maybe also finding some new ones.


    setting a monthly goal for friend dates sounds like an awesome idea! i just might steal that one...

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  9. This hits me right in the heart because I understand it oh so well. I was always an outsider & was teased & bullied, so even my "friends" weren't really my friends when I was younger. And I have a few good friends, but nothing like what I wish I had. I don't have someone who I can call up to come over and talk or to go grab lunch with me and it makes me feel sad at times!

    Jamie @
    The Growing Up Diaries

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  10. I love this idea of two friend dates a month!

    The past few years have been very transitional for me and I feel as though I have lost friends while we still remain "friends." I feel lonely more days than not. Instead of searching for new friends - which is something I tried to do but the friendships never developed past situational friends (work friends and I talked a ton st work, but never beyond that) - I decided to take an old friend that I trust and proposition her to be my best friend. I think it is sort of weird that I did that, but whatever. We had a discussion about our intentions and wrote out a "contract" so we have clear expectations of what we can provide each other. I must admit that I feel more at peace than I have in awhile, though I am still often mourning over the loss of my best friend.

    I hope this made sense. And if your small town, california happens to be in southern california, i'd be happy to join you on a friend date :)

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  11. I've changed groups of girl friends a few times, and now I have one or two close friends from each of these groups & left the other girls to bicker amongst themselves. I've found that doing things like yoga has helped me make some new friends, but I also always feel like an outsider to the cliques. I was upset about my lack of girlfriends recently & my boyfriend pointed out that its totally normal & I'm comparing myself to how I think other people are living & having a social life. So don't beat yourself up over it. And I love your goal of friend dates! I don't make nearly enough time for those.

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  12. It's so hard to make friends as an adult! Everyone already has their own friends and it's tough to break into their close knit circles. Being new to the area, it's been so hard for me to make friends... at work everyone is not in my age group and we don't have a lot in common. Thankfully my boyfriend's friends have girlfriends/wives but we rarely hang out on our own. I do really miss my college friends and even though I have Derek, I miss those connections that you can only get with a girlfriend.

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  13. Ugh I feel ya completely! Now I really need to make an effort to come see you when I get a free weekend! It's tough when there's not an automatic social scene to keep you around other girls, I am definitely struggling to meet cool girls in my new city... but that's what being brave and new years is for I suppose!

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  14. I like how you put it... supplement. To me, that's the biggest thing. You don't want friends to complete your life, you want friends to compliment it.

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  15. I so resonate with this post. A few weeks ago I was feeling SUPER lonely for a good coffee date with a friend. One thing my college friends and I do is plan Google hangouts . We set up our computers and just chat like we're in the same room. It's always just what I needed. But in terms of real-life friends... making them is hard. And kind of annoying sometimes. Can you join some kind of group like a running group or sign up for a pottery or painting or cooking class? That's one idea I've thought about for myself. Just know you aren't alone!

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  16. You should check out the book MWF seeking BFF. It's 100% about this! :) Love you!

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  17. girl! I can relate to this so muhc. I have been on the outside looking in. you are so amazing & great things will happen for you.

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  18. I wish I had answers for cultivating friendships, but alas, it seems like everyone struggles with it in their mid-later 20's and beyond! I'm definitely looking forward to your advice on what works for you!

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  19. I've had this problem since I've been in Germany. I always had close knit groups in England and in France I had 2 girls I was close with... Then I came here and had awful experiences with the girls I met. I have to admit, I think I'm in the wrong environment given I am an engaged woman and my expat circle here consists of 19-20 year old single girls but still, I feel your pain.

    I really like the idea of friend dates, I want to try and do this when we move to South Korea later in the year and I get to start afresh!

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  20. Oh My goodness this resonated with me. I moved to a new town and knew nobody, three years later I know a few, but that was thru hard work, putting myself out there, I joined a gym and after nine months I made it thru the "new girlness" to the point that they started to chat with me. I have been out on a few girlie evenings and am getting toward a point where I could call these girls friendly, but still not friends, but by putting myself out there I think it is happening. Just keep being honest and saying yes to new things, ask ppl to go for coffee, ask what book they are reading, and what movie they recommend, then ask iof they want to see it with you. They can only say no!

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  21. Melinda Lawson PollardJanuary 7, 2014 at 3:45 AM

    Love this post! I don't have many friends either- I grew up being the youngest & picked on and I am trying to make sure I surround myself with the type of people who will lift me up and be positive. I have been working on pushing myself outside of my comfort zone- it's not easy, but I think it will be worth it! I hope you have a great 2014 and meet lots of new wonderful friends!!

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  22. I loved this post!! I could've written this post. I, too, know what it's like to be on the out. Some seasons in life, you just don't fit in. At least that's what it feels like. It's difficult to find friends/couples who are in the same boat as you. Some are still single, some are getting divorced, some don't want kids. I pray you find community where you live. It's probably easier online to find buddies, so I hope you find some peeps you can hang out with and get to know on a deeper level. =)

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  23. I was actually just thinking about something very similar to these sentiments this morning. Not about how I don't have many girlfriends, because I certainly do, but about how I don't have the one girlfriend I can just call up whenever to talk for hours about everything and nothing. The one that just drops by to borrow clothes, snuggle my dog, or raid my pantry. Sure, I have friends that WOULD do that, but they don't just do it. My BFF lives hundreds of miles away, and if I'm being honest, our relationship has just changed so much over the years that I'm not even really sure where it stands. I have great friends here, friends that I know I can count on, but not like sister friends. And since I've never had a sister, I'm not really even sure I know what that sort of relationship is like. But I'd sure like to know.

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