Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Woman's Touch - With A Dash Of Saturday Morning Cartoons

I mentioned before that I am very blessed with the friendships I have and looking at it from an outside perspective it might seem that I got lucky.
Not true. Well, not entirely.

I believe the men in our lives play a very important part of forming who we are, as fathers, brothers, friends, boyfriends and husbands. Their words and actions make a mark on us and who we become, good or bad.
But I believe that women can have an impact that reaches a different part of who we are. And I think that the confidence we develop from the relationships with the mothers, sisters, friends, and children in our lives runs deeper. On the flip side, the scars that unhealthy relationships could cause are often more painful because it also hurts a deeper part of who God made us to be.
Yet in our day and age women are hurting each other INTENTIONALLY. We taint the canvas before anything had been drawn on it. Little girls are seeing the pressure to know/show their sexuality before it should even exist. They are learning to carry the weight of both home life and work life long ahead of when their life would have stress. And they are hearing the gossip and verbal attacks that women are so loud about tossing around. We expose them to television that says our worth comes from what men think of us and give them THINGS to fill the void when they are upset.

I was lucky being born into a family where the women are strong and stable and confident. Check one. I made some friends through the school years who were loyal. Check two. And I was also tormented by females.
Teasing, bullying, name calling, sabotage. You name it I have been slapped, been buried in snow, been nailed by spit balls and worse. Much worse. This all happened through high school. It was rotten.
But it didn't define my future. I knew there was plenty of life beyond high school. I knew who I was as a child of God even if I had no idea how I fit in the world. I decided that friendships were going to be important and I was not going to let fear stand in the way. I talked to people, I made coffee dates, I was honest and open about who I was and I decided then that I was going to trust women. Sounds simple enough right? Yeah... no. I would have two conversations at all times. The one happening with the chick I was hanging with and the one in my head. The topic of conversation had no effect on the reel of internal questions like why did I wear this stupid outfit, or is my hair frizzing out, does she think I'm stupid and loudest of all, am I talking too much?

Years later I can say that these "girls" have now become cherished, impacting friends. It took effort. They were patient and saw me through my bumps and pains. I was patient and saw them through their bumps and pains. And most importantly there is a transparency that has taught me that WHO I am is bigger than if my hair frizzes out or if my outfit isn't quite right. Now the only second conversation I have when meeting new people is the repeat, am I talking too much? (Which is actually a very reasonable question because if I am excited I talk a lot, if I'm nervous I talk a lot, and if I'm upset I talk a lot. It's more of a barometer than an insecurity. The Hubby says I really, really need this barometer...)

It's definitely not simple luck. I make the choice/effort to go out. Some women find this hard. I don't. I NEED to get out! So last night I went out to a cafe night at our church. It was mentioned to me by some mothers I chat with and I figured that it would be worth putting myself out there. (And at times it truly is putting yourself out there. I did change my outfit three times and ask The Hubby if it looked okay, but I am still female...) Anyway, so I walked in and saw no one I knew. And no one my age. Thankfully age has never been an issue for me with friendships... I know that though I know what I know, I probably don't know much and I look forward to looking back on this time and realizing how little I knew... I finally saw a couple of ladies I knew and sat and chatted. Slowly more arrived that were familiar. And by the time it ended I had had some much needed laughter and was having a lovely time.

So four of us went out. And over drinks, wings and desserts I learned how amazing these women are. Each has their own story. Be it kids, or not having kids... husbands, work or just their own internal dialogue, I listened. Oh, I talked, don't get me wrong. I needed my own checks to make sure I didn't over talk (which I probably did) but I wanted to soak up the strength and insight that they had. It was refreshing. Not only did we finally leave the restaurant at 1:40am feeling light from laughing and gabbing, I left a little wiser. Because these women were not content to sit and mope. They weren't interested in gossip, and any self depreciating that was going on was in good humour and had more to do with the hilarity of what we do as females, than looking for an ego boost (for example, what on earth drove to me to wear jeans that fit months ago -and should be put away until after Lent- due to the extreme and urgent need to pee that happens the second I sit down in them? Really? They make my bladder the size of a pea.)
Beyond all that I left feeling encouraged and supported. After discussing some of my frustrations of late they decided that this Wednesday morning we were going to get together and "make a plan". MAKE A PLAN?!!! Seriously... why isn't that said more often? It was like hearing that no matter how bad my day might of been, they had the WORLD'S LARGEST BAND AID and I was the ONE DESERVING OF IT.
Why don't we do this more? Why doesn't every woman have the chance to meet other women who also carry over sized heart bandages and give them out willingly? Why do we destroy what is most precious in one another? Why can't we see that our quirky insanities are the stuff that makes friendship great? Why can't we be trusting/trustworthy?... My mother-in-law says "no man can put you our of the will of God." I agree. So what do we really have to lose by sharing with others? I mean, if no one can out you out of the will of God then it doesn't matter if THEY mess up with it. We ARE all human. The benefit of the relationship that blossoms from those transparent moments is worth the risk.

And the only reason I can write any of this is because of Saturday morning cartoons. Oh yes, I believe that television can be my friend. Thank you Sponge Bob Square Pants creators...

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