I’m not good at people. Well, that’s not true. I’m great at people, once I get comfortable with people. I have a hard time making friends: I’m shy, anxious, socially anxious, have RBF (resting bitch face) and ABF (Active bitch face). I probably wouldn’t have made friends at college as a freshmen if an extrovert hadn’t taken me under her wing.
That said, historically, I have had a “group.” In high school, I kinda flitted from people to people, but had a core group that was three other people. It was…dramatic, but not all bad. It wasn’t the healthiest friendship, even though it got me through some bad times. And, that was in-part on me: I wasn’t being my most authentic self.
College came, and distance from my hometown meant a new “group.” At the beginning of my freshmen year, there were four other girls I spent most of my time with. After a kerfuffle of sorts, we drifted apart. Two of the girls and I stayed close, got close with our RA, and lived together sophomore year. I had other friends, but those three were where I spent the majority of my time. There was a lot of drama, gossiping, gaslighting, judging. Oh, the judging. I felt imperfect, and often wrong for the choices or decisions I made.
No one in either of these groups is a bad person, but neither group led me to feel like I was really myself.
I’ve lived in my current community for seven years. I’ve struggled in this time with feeling like I didn’t have friends. I had acquaintances, I had work friends, I had people I could go out for a drink with.
As time went on, I made some friends that I would invite to my kids’ birthday parties, that we got together with, one of these couples is Roarke’s godparents.
But, I always felt like I was missing something: partially because I’ve always been in a “group” and partially because most of my friends were casual friends, or at vastly different stages of life than I am. My oldest is not quite five, and RD’s godparents’ youngest is 17. That doesn’t mean that we’re not friends, and that I don’t love them, appreciate them, and feel like they’re my people, because they are–it’s just a different kind of friendship.
But, this year, through the ups and downs of preschool, bonding over anxiety and mental illnesses, coming out of my shell and saying “Yes!” to going out to supper, or going to the Hills. I think I found my group.
Like. My people.
I can be myself with them, I can speak openly and honestly about anything and everything. They look after and love my kids like their own, they’re down to do anything from have a beer to hike to do a puzzle.
But, the biggest thing for me is that I feel like I’m my most authentic self with them. I’m not sugarcoating my job or motherhood; I’m not pretending to be someone I’m not, or wanting to be someone I can’t be.
The best thing is, though, that we’re not all alike: we have different interests, jobs, faiths, backgrounds, hometowns. And there’s not judgement. They don’t give a flying fuck that I had sex before marriage, even though one of them chose not to; or that I spank my kids when necessary. They don’t care about my weight, or my house.
And, for the first time, I feel like I’m not going to be the topic of discussion if they’re talking without me. Nothing past like a “Oh, Caylee told me that G was blah…” not like a “Can you believe that Caylee wore that/drank that/didn’t go to that/whatever.”
It’s a genuine, grownup, supportive friendship. And even though I’m still awkward and too blunt, and all of my other flaws, I feel accepted by them for everything I am.
These are my people, and even though it took me almost thirty years to find them, I’m sure glad I did.