Sometimes community isn’t as it should be – and that, too, is okay. I appreciate the real and raw honesty of this friend’s writing, and am reminded to reach out to those around me, because you never know what might really be going on behind a heart’s door. Today’s writer remains anonymous.
When I was a senior in high school my AP English teacher gave us a writing assignment, reflecting on the highlights of our high school experience. I remember sitting in my bedroom for a long time before realizing this: I loathed my high school experience. I became so frustrated that I asked my Mom to help me. We talked for awhile before my Mom said, “Oh boy, I think I am going to need a glass of wine to help you with this.”
As I contemplate the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child” and the word “community,” I felt the exact same way I felt 17 years ago sitting in my bedroom. All I can think is, what community? What village?
How alone I feel became painfully tangible while I stared at my computer screen.
The irony is my husband and I host a community group. Before we had kids I thought I knew exactly what our village looked like as we celebrated holidays, life events, and helped each other in anyway we could. But, then we had a son. It was almost instantaneously that I found it increasingly harder to connect with friends. I felt like no one truly understood me. I was working. Taking care of my son. Keeping our house picked up. Cooking all our meals. All while trying to find ways to connect with my husband who was working crazy hours and traveling internationally. I was doing it alone.
Then I became a stay-at-home mom and felt a strange mixture of shame and relief. So much of my identity was wrapped up in what I did vocationally that I felt embarrassed saying, “I’m a stay-at-home-mom.” I also felt that many of my friends did not support this role. Ironically, it became increasingly harder to maintain relationships with friends once I stopped working. Our schedules no longer meshed. Friends with kids lived in other bedroom communities and kidless friends had totally different schedules – it felt like everyone was “too busy” to make the effort to connect, despite my best efforts.
I’ll admit, I often struggle with feelings of jealousy over friends who have constant support. And even stranger, I feel waves of guilt when I do need help; who would want to help me? Why can’t I do this on my own?
The picture of a community of friends who share life together as families sounds beautiful. In this very specific moment of life, it remains a painful void in my life. I pray that someday it will no longer be a void, and that we find ourselves in a great village, living out life together.
Thank you, friend. You are loved, and your story, I think, resonates with so many of us. Who in your path do you need to reach out to today?0