I suddenly realized that I’d just stepped into “I want to wear your skin for a jacket” territory, but she was totally gracious about it, because she’s just as weird as I am. That’s the good thing about hanging out with bloggers. Most of them are kind of fucked up in the same way you are.
— Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess), Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
I had a strange, kind of existential moment of clarity the other day. I know! I’m as surprised as you are given my brain is usually clouded with murky, milk spattered thoughts like “I wonder whose poop that is in the toilet?” and “When was the last time I gave them a bath?” (Also, holla if you’ve ever looked up a word like existential to make sure you’re using it right!)(Actually, I’m still not sure.)
But oh, this thought was so clear and clean, and it felt so good! Like standing in the warm sunshine on a chilly spring day or getting your kid to the toilet right before she barfs.
I had the pleasure of attending the 3rd annual Listen to Your Mother Austin show in early May. As always, it was a thrilling experience. After being in the show last year, it was so incredible to be able to sit and enjoy it and NOT feel like I was going to vomit. I knew how nervous the new cast members were, and I even got a little squeamish just pulling into the parking garage (which last year was the parking garage OF DOOM!). I cried through many readings, I bawled SO HARD during my friend Kristin’s piece, and laughed my ass off during others. It really is an incomparable experience, and I’m thrilled that I not only got to be a part of it, but that I got to see it from the outside this time.
But the best part? The best part was seeing so many people I loved, feeling like I was a part of something so big.
At the theater that evening, I felt it. Pure comfort and ease. I couldn’t walk 3 steps without hugging someone. Bloggers, writers, friends.
These are my people.
I have my fair share of friends, but I often feel like I am sitting on the outskirts of the group. I’m in, but I’m circling, sometimes even waiting for someone else to make the move to fully include me. Let’s all have a moment of gratitude that I am not out there in the dating world, because that just has fail written all over it.
I attended the show with one of my non-blogging besties, Lori (who recently told me that she loves it when I mention her on my blog, so Lori Lori Lori Lori Lori. LORI!). She had no idea where I was taking her, really. She was just excited about the prospect of a child free night out and a cash bar. I know she felt a little out of her element. “How do you know all of these people?” she asked, and it was all through blogging and social media. Some I have only known online, but we hugged like old friends. Many have actually become dear friends with whom I have since shared many good times. We’ve formed writing groups. We get together for lunch. We commiserate about blogging, parenting, and have even trained for half marathons “together.”
I hadn’t really realized until that night how comfortable I felt in this environment of writerly folk. I consider myself a pretty big introvert, and sometimes making conversation in social situations gives me a huge headache. But I felt I could have stayed there all night.
My fellow 2012 cast members all greeted each other with warm, genuine embraces. We caught up on each other’s lives and accomplishments: some are performing; some are publishing real, live books. I introduced myself to a few cast members and congratulated them on their marvelous essays and this huge accomplishment. In a total out of body experience I forced myself out of my shell to talk to LTYM creator Ann Imig (thank you, glass of cabernet sauvignon! You were worth every penny of your $8) and thank her for what she has created.
This is the magic of the blogging and writing community. We are oversharing birds of a feather. Sometimes we don’t really know each other but at the same time, we know each other so well. And once that relationship is extended into real life, we find that we can connect on many other levels, but this level will always be our level.
I believe that people are in our lives for certain reasons. We travel various journeys together. I value my pre-kids, non-writer friends immeasurably (as in LORI, who, like I said, loves being mentioned on my blog) . We’ve experienced pain, grief, and joy, all while heading through this parenting rabbit hole together. Those ladies are like sisters to me. Likewise, there are things about my life that only my twin mom friends understand, like why I refuse to take all three kids to the grocery store unless we are out of toilet paper and baby wipes and paper towels AND there are no stray leaves in the yard for wiping.
In the past 10 years or so I’ve gone from floundering with relationships of convenience that I didn’t really understand to having a heart full of friends and confidants and feeling like there is always someone to reach out to for one of my many many first world problems. And I’m so thankful for each and every one of them.
But you have friends…and you have people.
I think I’ve found my people.
Amazon links are affiliate links. My people are okay with this. And thank you to Trish Morrison for the group photos.