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Whenever I complain about a situation where I feel like Big Dude has let me down, a good friend of mine says that we can’t look to our husbands to meet our every need.

Women need other women, the Wise One says. Did you read the Twilight saga? Bella’s and Edward’s romance sweeps you away because it’s such a romanticized fairytale. Edward meets every single one of Bella’s needs, from rescuing her every time she is in danger to watching over her while she sleeps. Real life and real relationships aren’t like that.  Sure, we need our spouses, our partners, but we also need friends to lean on and reach out to. Real life necessitates more of a
patchwork support system made up of a group of friends, not just one ‘perfect’ significant other who meets every single one of our needs.

This conversation made me think. I have made a lot of friends over the past six months, and I am definitely a happier person because of it. Now I’m starting to think about how to cultivate those friendships. Meaning, how do I become a better friend? If I want people to be there for me and to reach out to me, I have to reach out to them.

Of course, this invariably brings up all kinds of anxiety and guilt for me.
Anxiety over reaching out to friends:  What if I invite So&So out to lunch and she declines? Does that make me the nerdy grade school bookworm who eats by herself again?

And guilt when So&So actually accepts my invitation: I have to give up an hour of my workday and go relax over a meal with pleasant conversation, connecting with another human being, instead of absently eating my lunch in front of my computer screen while continuing to work?

Or, horror of horrors: I make plans with a friend on a weekend and Big Dude must spend an hour by himself with Little Dude while I grab coffee with a friend.

That guilty place inside of me naturally thinks about the impact my social time will have on those around me instead of thinking about how that social time will fulfill me and support me and make me happy.

Stupid, I know. But, I’m a work-in-progress. And I’ve got friends.

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I’m still downloading pictures and organizing my thoughts from Ya-Ya Wedding Week, so I thought I would post this ‘ya-ya introduction’ as a prelude.

Ya-Yas. I’m so blessed to be part of this special group of women. They love and accept unconditionally- something so refreshing. But I have to admit my own social anxiety and awkwardness stand as a barrier between me and my ability to just receive the friendship offered. I over-analyze and judge myself, with my own lack of self confidence leading me into dark, guilty pockets of my own mind instead of allowing me to fully enjoy the light these ya-yas bring.

The beautiful Z loving life on a San Francisco rooftop.

But I’m working on it. (That’s a recurring theme here, isn’t it?).  The beautiful Z, whom I like to think of as the Head Ya-ya, read my Total Mom Freakout post and said to me, ‘Embrace the tribe, girl.’ As in, we’re here for you. Why didn’t you ask for help?  Of course, me being me, I never considered that because (wait for it, we all know what’s coming) I didn’t want to be a burden. Burden, burden, burden, guilt, guilt, guilt. This prompted Z to list every social date on the calendar for the next two months and pin me down on whether I would need childcare for each occasion.

Sigh. Where would I be without the ya-ya tribe pushing me to stretch beyond my comfortable little bubble of Burdenville? (Which, coincidentally, is on the map right next to Anxiety City and Awkwardopolis.). I’m starting to realize life is better — more meaningful — with a tribe. With friends who support and love you, no matter what. Maybe someday I will stop commuting from Burdenville and move to Ya-Ya County permanently.

Guilt Goddess says: Z said it best. Embrace the tribe, girl.
Me: I know it. I’m packing my bags.

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The Guilt Goddess

Giving guilt a voice one post at a time.

I am your average guilt-ridden mother of one (or 2, if I'm being honest and including my husband), trying to balance running my own business, running my household and now writing a blog. Someday I hope to have vanquished all of my myriad pangs of guilt and be living blissfully free from moment-to-moment. But, until that time, my guilt will live here.

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