in your hour of miss

September 21, 2011

friendship, relocating, scrappy, texas

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I‘m cranky and tired and don’t feel like adventure, which isn’t like me. Today I went into a Forever 21 inside the Town Center mall, and I found myself letting out a little whine because the Forever 21 here in Boca is a quarter the size of each of the two in Austin. Mind you, I realize a 35 (almost 36) year old woman shouldn’t be shopping at Forever 21, but still. I do. They make great tank tops and accessories and, surprisingly, fantastic shoes. I digress. It just felt like the small store was the straw.

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Making friends here feels like a race. Like, you have to time that friendship right, and make sure “she” whomever she is, is as friend-open as you are, that she, too, is looking to open herself up to new. Because there are plenty of people who aren’t looking to make new friends—it’s hard enough keeping up with the friends we already have. I think it feels like a race here because I know so many new people who are in the same boat. You’d think that would draw us closer together, faster, and with some it really has, but in so many ways it feels like this strange unspoken competition. I’m sure it’s just me and my insecurities, and that no one else feels it. Which actually makes me feel it all the more.

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If she makes plans with her first, if they’re close first, I’ll just be the “sometimes” friend. I guess I’m looking for a replacement of you. Not that I could, ever, obviously. But I was always able to open up to you, in part because you were just so much fun, so confessional, so… sister-like. And I find myself here, now, asking myself how you’d act. “If she were here,” I tell myself, “she’d get out of her car and wait with the other mothers at early dismissal. She wouldn’t be sitting in her car, waiting in the carpool pickup line instead.” And then, I sit in my car. Because, I suppose, I’m just too tired to race off and get me some friends in a hurry.

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It might also have to do with circles. Aside from the ones beneath my eyes, the circles in Austin were big, like, Texas big. It didn’t feel incestuous on any level, and when I’d bring friends together they never knew one another outside of knowing me. Our worlds were wider. In Austin I had friends without children, single friends, mom friends, foodie friends, dinner party friends, photography friends, let’s mock The Bachelor granola friends, craft night scrapbooking / sewing friends, friends who’d host baking orgies, older friends who had better wine and better wisdom, country club let’s cozy up to the bar friends, live music scene friends, writer friends, game night friends, and best of all, drinking friends who’d sometimes conceive children in our guest room.

Boca feels crowded with people who all know one another. I think that just means it’s time for me to branch out beyond Woodfield, beyond the preschools and playgrounds. I need more touch points. I think we all could use more diversity. In fact, I think we can create our own. Here’s my plan. I’m making a list of the things I love. And I’m going to join a group for it, a class, whatever it takes to widen my circle. Mostly, I’m going to do the things I love. Because it’s just too incestuous having so much overlap. Like, you know you’re all seeing a movie together tomorrow night, so who do you call to hang out tonight? If you had a completely different set of friends who you adored equally, you’d have an answer.

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Tears for Fears (and for the quilt of love)

Tonight Phil is off in Ft. Lauderdale until 10pm, and it’s 4:50pm here now, and I could be getting together, drinking some mama wine, watching chick TV, or meeting at some kid-friendly dinner destination. Instead, I’m on my sofa, shoes off, hair up, glasses on, typing at the computer about how lost I feel. Only, I know that this is temporary, that I need to rest. Holy shit, seriously, don’t I sound exhausted? Moving is stressful. Marriage, kids, all of it. Abigail goes in on Thursday for her chin “revision,” where they put her under. It’s way worse on me, I already know. I wish I had a stay-at-home friend here. A pajama friend. A no makeup, no bullshit, let’s tell it like it is and live it like it’s not friend. I guess I’m just feeling blue. Think it’s about time to crack open that green little notebook* I’ve been saving.

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I love this photo above because that, right there, is my “I love you” face. You can’t fake that face, that emotion of watching someone across the room and just being so in love with who they are as a person that it makes you want to cry. And “you” is so many of the genuinely sister-like friends of mine in Austin. Many of them mark these pages and stud these photos, and others, some of the closest, weren’t able to make it on this particular night. I miss the details of your lives, your voices, and our casual touches throughout a day. Now, I’m crying and wiping my nose. Which is a good look with the glasses and hair bun. I miss you. For real.

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My two talented friends Erica and Lisa made this quilt just for me. I don’t know if I could feel more loved. Do you know what a bitch it is to make a quilt? That’s lots of love right there. Turtle Dove Love…. notice the personalized turtle detail (below)?
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I’m pointing to the turtle with my finger. It’s a symbol that holds so much weight for me. We should all have our own power animals and power friends that somehow channel strength to us, wherever we are.

* The green notebook was a gift from a Give Get friend, who invited my other friends to write me love letters. I haven’t cracked it open yet; I’ve been saving it in my bedside table for moments like this.

14 Responses to “in your hour of miss”

  1. Monica Says:

    Oh my gosh, we recently moved and I feel exactly the same way. EXACTLY. I wish I could be more like my 5 year old and just walk up to strangers and say “Wanna be my friend? Wanna play with me?”

    Reply

  2. khr Says:

    How long were in you Austin? I am so impressed you had amassed such a collection of close friends. I’ve been in my new city 1 year and I still don’t have a call-just-to-chat friend yet. It’s hard. I was in my prior city 15+ years and I really miss my girls.

    Reply

  3. Freya Says:

    Oh Stephanie,

    Its obvious you are home sick. Go home.

    It would do you the world of good. And maybe a bit of time apart might help your marriage?

    My husband works away Mon – Fri & yes, it is hard. But I have family & friends here to get me through the hard times. We have been doing it for over a year & he is actually changing jobs to come home and spend more time with us. But it seems like you need to go back to Austin.

    It seems like you are really on your own.

    Reply

  4. Julie Says:

    Wow, you have totally described why I’m afraid to ever move anywhere else. I have so many friends in so many different circles here in Austin that I can’t even see them all as much as I would like. To start over sounds incredibly hard.

    BUT- you can do it! If anyone can. All it takes is one friend who’s willing to invite you to all the stuff, where you will meet more friends and they will take you to all their stuff. In the day of Facebook, it should be easier, right? Good luck!

    Reply

  5. Michelle Says:

    Awww, Stephanie : ) It will happen, of that I am sure! You’ll make solid, lasting friendships that you will cherish, just like the ones in Austin! Think of your besties in NYC and when you had to leave them for Texas…then all of the friends you made in Austin, now your bounty is two fold, and soon to be triple! Hugs – Michelle

    Reply

  6. Leigh Ann Says:

    Aw, I know Shannan! SHe’s so sweet and told us all about how you met and became friends. Looks like you ahd a lovely bunch here in Austin.

    Reply

  7. Emily Says:

    Friends are hard to make in Florida, for numerous reasons. One of which is that people are always moving here, then leaving a few years later. Even as a native Floridan and as much love as I have for the state, friends are not easy to come by here. I’ve not been able to really put my finger on the reason why exactly, but it’s definitely a complaint I often hear.

    You definitely have to try to stick it out and just dive in head first.

    Reply

  8. Arli Says:

    Aw, Stephanie, I wish I could give you a big hug. I moved to be with my man from NYC to Texas (boonies) about a year ago, and haven’t made a single girl friend. I don’t have kids and am currently not working…so that doesn’t help, but I feel your pain. It’s lonely without the “girls”. My girl friends are the people who got me through all of the tough times in my life, and shared most of the good times. They are sorely missed.

    Have you heard of meetup.com? Perhaps you could meet some people with similar interests through meetup groups in the Boca area? I did it in NYC and did some fun stuff. I wish I lived near you…I’d definitely be your friend!

    Fingers crossed for Abigail’s prcedure.

    Reply

  9. GP Says:

    Hey Steph,

    Wonderful post. Have you ever heard of meetup.com? If not, I highly recommend it! It’s a site where all kinds of different activities are organized all over the country, and you can just sign up and GO! It’s AWESOME.

    Just my two cents…

    Reply

  10. Amy Says:

    You will make friends. You have a great attitude, are outgoing and fun. And you WANT to make it happen. It will. Just like it did in Texas :)

    Reply

  11. Lisa Says:

    It blows. I totally understand. Hang in there. xo

    Reply

  12. Caterina Says:

    Ditto what Emily said above ^

    ^
    ^

    Totally agree with EMILY.

    And prayers for your little one and her “revision.”

    Reply

  13. Always behind Says:

    Came home from work yesterday w/ similar insecurities. Monday is the 8th anniversary of the day I moved to FL. We recently moved across the city and our son started Kindergarten. Glad to read your post. Love the idea of taking classes/ joining groups, doing stuff you love. Thanks for writing what you do. It cheered me up, over and beyond to relate. Also, Honey Crisp apples arrived in FL this week.

    Reply

  14. Newbie too! Says:

    Such gorgeous pics in your post today! I know exactly how you feel, I moved to Florida without knowing anyone a year and a half ago. I love it now but sometimes it is so hard to get the energy to put your all into new friendships. I have always been drawn to those who are fun and “own their mess” and finding that kind of a friend always takes time but is definitely worth the wait!

    Reply

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