I’ve thought about doing this post for awhile because I always seem to have people ask me how I’m able to maintain such a busy life with working, teaching, 90 minute yoga classes at night (5 a week), and taking care of my mom. Oh, and there is my own house and marriage to worry about.
I’m honestly not sure. I just do it.
Then, the next statement is, well you must not have many friends, right?
I find this statement confusing to me because I didn’t know when it was expected for people to have a lot of friends.
I know, this seems odd. I have a lot of people that I’m friends with and clearly I’m an extrovert. I love people.
But I don’t know when having 559 friends on Facebook became the norm, I have 154 and even that seems high to me.
I’ve discovered in my adult life that I prefer to have a lot of friends, but only a few people that I really spend time with. Part of this IS because I have a crazy life that isn’t really normal. I realized, for me, I do much better when I have a FEW people that I really nurture relationships with and create space for in my crowded world.
While this may seem snobby, I just don’t have time for juggling a lot of social engagements, for building relationships, etc.
So I allow few people in to my world and trust them with every fiber of my being.
This last week has been pretty rough for me (my cat died recently, weather sucks, I’m slugging my way through another inflammation diet, etc). It’s times like this that I really appreciate those people.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my peeps around campus, Kevin’s gigging buddies, etc. But you know when you’ve got a handful that are your “go to” people? Those are the ones I’m grateful for, especially when I’m not my chipper self.
Without further ado, I give you an ode to my ladies. My four chicas who I love dearly, all for a variety of reasons. Meet my posse.
I will do this in order of how long I’ve known them, from oldest to most recent. I’m going to put pictures in there that I think represent us best.
First is Annette.
Annual Black Friday tailgating in the Busch Gardens parking lot!
I have known Annette for over a decade. We met because her husband was taking drum set lessons from my husband. His lesson was the last one of the day on Saturdays, so Annette and I would always be in the waiting room together. One day, after many weeks of the same, we peeked at each other from atop our books (we happened to be reading the same thing) and started up a conversation. I can’t remember what happened next and how we became friends, but I get a little crazy if I go more than a couple of weeks without seeing Annette.
I picked these photos because Annette is my great reminder to RELAX and not take life so seriously. We both have ridiculously crazy lives, but she is my constant reminder to have a good time. I love her because she is REAL with me and I can be the same way with her. I look up to her immensely from a professional standpoint and I have learned a lot from her that I apply in my own workplace. If I killed someone, Annette would help me bury the body. We may not talk to each other for days on end, but when we get together, it’s “girl, you won’t believe the *&#@! I had to deal with this week”. We complain, let it go, and move on. There isn’t a time I see her that I don’t laugh hysterically about something. That may or may not be because of our husbands’ behavior.
Bottom line: when my life feels ridiculous, Annette. When I need to celebrate, Annette.
Next up is Gretchen.
My bestie, Gretchen. Where do I even begin? I met Gretchen because we work at ODU and we have a mutual interest in crafting. Knitting, at that point in time (5 years ago). I showed up for a knitting group that Gretchen was running and we clicked. Well, after we went out for Mexican across the street and found that we are both very messy eaters with a tendency to spill salsa on our fronts!
(As a side note, notice how swollen my face looks in the second photo? This was in 2009, when I believe I was in an active flare with my Hashimoto’s, based on my medical records I pulled last year. I was maybe 30 pounds lighter than I am now, BUT I can see the inflammation now that I know what I’m looking for!)
Gretchen has literally been through it all with me. House disasters, a doctoral program, dissertation meltdowns, family drama, work drama, health drama, you name it. Gretchen is the one who will stop anything for a friend in need. She is my cheerleader. She challenges me to be better for myself and supports my decisions. Gretchen and I may not actually SEE each other a lot, but we can run up some text messages!!! Gretchen is my safe place.
Next up, Cori. It was hard for me to find a still photo of us because a lot of what I have are action shots or photos with her, me, and Megan (you will understand why in a second).
Blanket sharing, because I’m pretty sure the concept of personal space doesn’t exist between us
Oh, Cori, my Cori.
We met under such stressful circumstances. I had just been kicked out of 3 months of PT at Bon Secours with a slap on the wrist for “too much complaining about traveling pain and mysterious inabilities to make progress” and was desperate for someone to take me seriously. I think I was also in the tail end of a Hashi flare. It was a bad, bad time in my life. I don’t even know how she tolerated me for a year and a half. That was October of 2011 and she was assigned to me by a colleague who thought that she would be the right type of personality to manage my *ehem* “difficult” situation.
Somewhere along the way, Cori and I became kindreds. That’s what I call it. Like finish each other’s thoughts, anticipate what the other is going to say. It all started with the comment, “we are kindred spirits with supreme ideas”. Exactly.
I don’t even know how to describe my relationship with Cori. She’s my sounding board, my cheerleader, my sister from another mister. While she and Mr. Hall share more tendencies towards a free-spirit attitude, she and I are just easy. There’s no drama-mama with Cori. You know how you feel when it’s the holidays and you have family over to play games or something like that? Then, afterwards, you are all hanging out on the couch? That content feeling? That’s my kindred. We come from very different paths but it works. Alike but not alike, different but not really different. It’s awesome.
And finally, Megan. Megan is Cori’s sister-in-law, so that’s how I met her. A lot of my photos are of the three of us.
Megan was a happy surprise in my life. She is a constant for me, a true friend. And, she makes me laugh. Oh, how she makes me happy! This is us, last summer at the end of a long day of boating. I don’t remember what I was hysterically laughing about, but it was probably something ridiculous.
With Megan, I can just be me. She is the one who asks, how are you and I know she means to listen to whatever I say. If Annette was helping me to bury the body and it didn’t fit in the trunk, Megan would lend me her SUV. She’s just like that. Selfless, supportive.
The thing that I love about Megan is that we can talk about pretty much anything. We’ve had bizarre conversations about bodily functions, family, and higher education (she also works at a university). I can complain about anything and she never sounds bored of it. I can go on about work stuff and she expresses true interest. I’m just really grateful that she’s in my world and I can’t imagine ever not having her in my life. Even if we don’t see each other a lot, I know that when I see her next it will be like no time has passed.
So there you go. My ladies.
They are how I stay sane. How I can do the 50 million things I do every day. Each of them special in her own way.
If any of them are reading this, thank you. While I may not say it a lot, heck even ever….you are so important to me!