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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.


A dear friend of mine, a woman stronger and more at peace with the world than I’ve ever known, is going through a rough patch.  A roughly, prickly patch that is starting to weigh her down.

When she realized she was wading through this patch alone, she reached out to her friends for support.

When I first listened to my friend’s troubles, I thought, my goodness, if this amazing woman can have her foundation rocked, what hope is there for me?  But then I realized, we all have the same troubles.  We all trip over the same pitfalls.  No one is immune.  This is a learning experience to understand how we can weather these kinds of storms together.

The following are my words I wrote to my friend:

Oh, my dearest! My heart goes out to you. You have such a beautiful outlook on life- I’m sorry that’s being challenged right now.

Stress is a bitch, isn’t it? With all the crap I’ve been through in the last few years, my immune system decided to wage war on my thyroid and my adrenal glands decided to shut down. After every blood test, all my doctor says is ‘you have to find a better way to manage your stress.’

But you know what? The power of the mind never ceases to amaze me.

Look at you.  Despite all the signals your physical body is sending to let you know it’s feeling the stress of your current circumstances, your mind is well and whole. Your mind is able to look at your life, identify the causes and triggers of the stress you are dealing with, and it’s able to make choices to pull you through. Your healthy and complete mind is also what has allowed you to reach out and seek the love and support that will pull you through this time. So, no matter what your body may do, take comfort in knowing the amazing power of your mind.

It’s so hard to stay connected to that self-confidence that allows you to just have trust in the universe. I find myself struggling with this constantly. We have to remember that everything in life is a cycle, though. (I’m wanting to sing The Byrds’ “Turn, Turn, Turn.”  For everything, there is a season…) There are upswings and downswings, and knowledge to be gleaned from every phase. But when you feel like life is just throwing you that downswing, it is so hard to keep your faith in the absolute trust of the universe.

Often, I liken myself and my stress to a boat out in the ocean that keeps getting hit by wave after wave that crashes onto the decks. I think, ‘How many more waves can I withstand before my boat starts to break apart?’ But really, when I step back and think about it, I should be saying to myself, ‘Hey, despite all these crashing waves, my boat is still in one piece, and I’m still sailing forward.’  I think it’s natural to focus on the grief and not realize how resilient we really are.

You, my dear, are the strongest, best built boat I have ever come across. (I know, I’m taking the boat analogy a little far.)  These waves don’t stand a chance against you. Plus, you have the whole Ya-Ya flotilla sailing out to surround you and be by your side through this storm, reminding you to trust in yourself, to trust in the universe, to trust that this is a cycle, a circle of life that is necessary for you to learn and grow and fully embrace your life. We won’t let you steer off course.

Love you, girl.

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.

Twitter: @guiltgoddess

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