I didn’t have the same group of friends from middle school to high school and all throughout college. I’ve never been asked to be a maid of honor, let alone a bridesmaid outside a family wedding. I don’t meet up for reunions and brunches or go on exotic adventures with a longtime crew.
Don’t get me wrong. I was friends with all those girls, but I never figured out how to infiltrate the circle. I never made my way into the tight-knit sisterhood they all seemed to share. I was always on the outside looking in. I wore the right clothes, was friends with all the right people, lived in the right neighborhood. I created the correct image, I learned the correct mannerisms. And yet, I was still alone.
I took that loneliness with me, and I wore it every day like a sad garment.
Eventually, the loneliness covered me. It wove itself in with bitterness and discontentment. Then, no one wanted to be my close friend. Most who knew me couldn’t handle my trauma and the behavior that came with it. Those who did were Godsends but few and far between in terms of interaction. Loneliness tells you that you must stay isolated—you are not good enough to be around other people. Therefore, isolation became my friend.
It wasn’t until I approached my early 20s, married, not so alone, and a new baby in hand, that I started to make what I would call a real female friend. She was 15 years older than me, had a baby my age, and went to the church I had just started going to. We loaded our babies up in the parking lot, vehicles one beside the other, and she just talked and talked like she wanted to be my friend. Nothing fake. No agenda. She just wanted to be my friend. She stayed my friend for nearly 10 years after that. Life happened, though, and took us different directions. I have made temporary friends all along the way. I’ve even made good friends.
With these experiences, the loneliness creeps in now and then, but I can keep it at bay. Maybe it comes with maturity, maybe it comes from a relationship with God, maybe both. Eventually, I began to recognize the others in this world who share the same cloth and understand that in fact, we are not alone.
I saw pictures on Facebook tonight of the popular girls I went to high school with. The pictures were dated six years after graduation, someplace exotic. In weakness, I envied them. I envied that they could maintain that tight-knit circle. They reigned in high school, and now, they seemed to reign in adulthood as well. The pictures said perfection. Beautiful. Successful. Loved. Happy. My mind traveled through my formative years and I wondered, What was my damage? Why couldn’t I be like them?
But as I stopped at each milestone on the pathway of my memory, I realized I didn’t want to be like them.
I have begun to understand the life God has written for me is far better than trying to make it look like someone else’s.
I’m not damaged. I never was. I simply have a different story. Mine is full of life and hope and blessings beyond imagination. I don’t mean that materialistically either. God has delivered me in ways I can’t even begin to count. He has literally never failed at coming to my rescue. And just because mine is different from theirs doesn’t exactly mean either is not good.
We are each unique. We are each gifted. We are each created in the image of God, and He has marvelous plans for us. It’s OK to be a stay-at-home mom for the rest of your life. It’s OK to be a career mom for the rest of your life. It’s OK to be a single mom, a social mom, a homebody mom, and a mom who rides her own wave. You don’t even have to be a mom. Just be you.
What you have been given is a gift do not—I repeat, DO NOT—waste it because you see something else you want and cannot change. We all have all been given a portion, it is up to us to accept and multiply it. And we don’t have to do it alone. We are given the seed, and God has chosen the fruit.
I’m excited for my life. It doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s because it’s all my own. If God has the pen, I’ll continue to write.