My besties. We’re all sporting the very cool bracelets one of our number made. She personalized each one to suit its owner.

First, the updates:

  • The hamstring is improving. Slowly. It seems to be a three steps forward, two steps back process. But I am back to a slow, plodding jog, so that’s positive. It’s just frustrating when you’ve been at an 8- to 8.5-minute mile and now you’re back at a 10.5-minute mile. Still, progress is progress. I’m still doing the yoga and the strength training and trying to rest the leg more often.
  • My son graduated from Navy boot camp! He’s now where he’ll be stationed for the next two years. His wife and son will be joining him in about a month. This is obviously bittersweet, but overall, it’s a good thing.
  • Spring finally came back. Finally. Good gravy, I thought we’d never see the sun again. I’m not normally anxious for sun like a lot of folks, but I was about to lose my ever-lovin’ this year.
  • Unquickened is at about 144,000 words. I’ve not been very reliably adding words, mostly because I’m working the business. But it’s slowly growing… I still want to publish this year. We’ll see.
  • The habits are… Well, I’m still trying to really, truly, genuinely reset. I’m giving myself a fresh start in May. I’ve learned that a huge foundational habit for me is sleep. I am learning that I really do have to make every effort to get at least seven hours a night or everything sort of falls apart–I eat too much junk, I don’t exercise well (or at all), and I’m not productive in anything else.

And where the business is concerned…

I’m working on it. And working it and working in it. All those things.

I was really, really stuck for a few weeks, as I mentioned in my last post. But right before I went to Montana with my daughter, I had joined a coaching group, and I had just started working through all the presentations offered. When I was at the absolute end of my rope, I asked the group how to know when to give up and move on.

Yes, I was that close to just chucking the whole thing. I was that frustrated.

And guess what? I’m not the only one who gets frustrated, struggles with balance, and can’t quite figure out how to meet all the needs of all the competing parties and interests.

Shocking, I know.

So, between a little tough love and some not-so-tough love and a good group coaching call and a little bit of accountability in the online group, I got unstuck. I grabbed my bootstraps and hoisted my dang feet out of the mud and started moving forward again.

But you know, I don’t know if I would have gotten unstuck without that group. Or maybe I would have, but not so quickly.

One thing that I’m really good at is isolating myself. And when I isolate myself, I get too far inside my own head, and that invites demons and unhealthy behaviors. And that starts the spiral of overthinking, more isolation, and more unhealthy behaviors.

The older I get, the more I understand that humans are wired for community. This isn’t any kind of earth-shattering discovery, but it’s something I tend to resist. Part of it is due to my naturally introverted nature, but part of it is the suspicion that I actually don’t have anything to offer, or that I might say or do the wrong thing, or that the parts of me that are bad and ugly might come to light, and then who would want to really know me?

But a funny thing happened when I posted that message in the group… Other people joined and said, “yeah, me too.” And even today, more than a week later, someone posted that every time she sees the thread, it resonates with her.

Imagine that.

Last Friday, my bestie had a birthday party. My circle of friends is turning 50 this year, and it was her turn. All of “the girls” were there. I’ve known these ladies anywhere from 20 to 45 years. These are the girls I grew up with, the girls I was pregnant with, the girls whose kids are all limping, grunting, talking, sailing, fighting through their teen years right now. A few husbands were there, too, and a few kids, but honestly, it was mostly about the girls.

Man, I need these girls. Don’t get me wrong–I have a great husband, and he’s supportive and kind and all the things he should be. But there is no substitute for the kind of friendship and connection I have with these women who have all been to hell and back (or maybe not quite back yet) and lived to tell the tale–these real, authentic, talented, smart, funny, kind, supportive women who have admitted me to the tribe and let me into their lives.

As much as I hate to admit it, I cannot do all the things by myself. I need the perspective, wisdom, camaraderie, input, and occasional kick in the ass of a community.

It’s hard, though. There is nothing harder for me than being known. It is so tough to share and be vulnerable and risk being rejected. And I have this intense fear of not really knowing anything–not being able to contribute anything to anyone in the group. And I also don’t like phony groups–groups where honest dialogue isn’t encouraged, groups that survive on negative input (gossip, shaming, drama), and groups that are good at sympathy, but not so much with empathy.

I probably need another real world tribe or two. I should probably look for a new church (man, that’s a hard one). I should get my butt back to the Chamber of Commerce, just to be around like-minded people, at least. I don’t want to say that all my friends live in my devices. Real-world communities are vastly superior to online ones, I think.

I guess I need to yank those bootstraps higher and do the hard work of being a social member of the real world.

But I’ll probably baby step those boots along that path, if y’all don’t mind.

2 thoughts on “Community”

  1. YES. I hate when I am vulnerable with women only to have the door slammed and me wondering why? Did I share too much? Is our friendship destined to stay in the lighter levels? Am I seen as in Christian because of my stumbling honesty?
    Worse yet, they actually tell me I should be more Christian by (fill in the blank). Or they shame me for reaching out. Or just ignored for being “too much.”
    And I dread knowing I have been that Church Lady at times…trying to help others when I could have been listening, extending grace, sitting uncomfortably in the tension of her messy life…like my own life is.
    Thanks for this article!

    1. Sometimes, too, I think it’s important to realize that the door slam may have nothing to do with you–it may have everything to do with the others. I know I’ve slammed a door when I felt like things were getting a little too close to my own stuff and I just wasn’t ready for that. It’s easy to assume it’s all about who we are, when sometimes, it’s about the other person, you know?

      Community is sometimes painful because people are imperfect. But I am trying to understand that it’s kind of an exercise kind of painful, you know? The kind where you do the work, and it’s sore for a while, but in the end, you’re glad you did it. Usually. 🙂

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