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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Perception is Reality

I am new to the whole Facebook phenomenon, joining recently only so I could access my daughter's travel photos. As much as I have said I was not the least bit interested, I admit that delving into this new foray has been a little fun. I have had an opporutnity to interact with friends from childhood that I hadn't seen or talked to in years. One very interesting old friend I ran into? Myself. That's right, I found myself (or am finding myself) on Facebook. An old friend posted a picture from junior high---I was working a concession stand at a party. I was struck by the fact that I WASN'T FAT IN THE PICTURE. I looked again---it must be a mistake. I have been fat since I was eight years old, haven't I? I looked yet another time, nope---the girl in the picture, though her back is turned, definitely is me. And furthermore, that girl was not fat. This may seem like no big deal to you, but it is HUGE for me (no pun intended). This past year I have been working hard to challenge my inner demons and let go of all the negative images of myself that I have allowed others to place on me. As I "fight" the bad information I have received from family and friends alike, I also struggle to understand who I am. To realize that "fat" was a label put on me that wasn't even deserved at the time makes me weep for the little girl I was and the woman I have become---someone so willing to believe other peoples' lies that I accepted them as truth. Even worse, I adopted them so strongly that I allowed it to become a prophecy fulfilled. But I won't weep too long; I rejoice at this awakening and can't wait to see who I turn into now that I realzize that other people's perceptions don't have to become my reality.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Friends, how many of us have them?

I think it was Whodini that sang "Friends, how many of us have them? Friends, ones we can depend on...". I have gone through a long spell, feeling sorry for myself because I don't have a tight circle of close friends that I do things with, hang out, etc. Today as I was going to the car I was chatting on the phone with my friend Robbin. As I finished chuckling and hung-up I realized that I am more blessed with friends than I realized. A newly formed bible study group with women that I have had individual relationships with for years has resulted in whole new life to these relationships; I have relationships with women at work that have enriched my life. A former coworker introduced me to someone a few months ago and we hit it off instantly; I suspect that she will be a friend for life. When I reflect on why I don't have a close circle that go on trips or hang out and do things like other women, I have to be honest. The last twenty-three years have been consumed with parenting and being a wife; I didn't create time for myself and escapes to indulge in the benefits of friendship. In the midst of caring for everyone else, I forgot to care about Sandra. Also, my marriage and family status placed me in a situation where I don't exactly connect with friends from childhood because our circumstances are so different. I started a family at age eighteen---my closest friend from high school has a four and five year old, while my baby is fifteen. I am paying the price of my own neglect. So now that I realize that I cheated myself out of close, deep friendships with other women (and thereby cheated my daugthers from witnessing the importance of female friendships), I have to work to correct this. But again I smile, because while I may not have tons of friends, and I don't have girlfriend getaways, I do have a bunch of girlfriends that are there when I need them. I have the solid, sensible friend who is always going to give me sound spiritual advice. I have the tried and true friend who I may not talk to often, but we go back so far she isn't just a friend, she's family. I have SEVERAL friends who are my ride or die chicks, and every girl needs that. One of these is particularly precious---I have a standing commitment to meet me in the garage if it's necessary to give my hubby a tune-up. What more could a girl ask for?