A few years ago my mom offered to host a baby shower for me. It was my second child, and it was another boy for me, so the list of needs was significantly lower than the first child . . . if I needed anything at all, and really I didn’t. She told me this wasn’t about gifts, it would just be a celebration. Still, I told her no.
I was afraid. I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid the friends and family she invited would say no. They would not want to come because it was for me. I was afraid of making myself vulnerable. Because truly, I didn’t feel worthy.
My friendships felt frail. Ever since having my first child, I saw my pre-kids friends fall back and finding a post-kids group was more difficult than I’d anticipated.
My mom persisted. Eventually, I agreed as long as it was small.
About two days before the party, the family I was counting on being there got a case of Hand Foot and Mouth and had to decline.
My worst fears were coming to pass. Almost no one was coming to my party.
That afternoon, eight months pregnant, I went into the bathroom and I curled up in a fetal position and I just bawled my eyes out. For hours, you guys. No one walked in and saw me and I praise God for that because I looked like a dying beached whale that afternoon. You would have thought my whole world was crumbling. But on that day, in that moment, it was.
I was so upset. I was so mad at mom for putting me in this position. For letting my greatest fears come to fruition. For forcing rejection down my throat.
I felt like everyone I loved had kicked me in the gut that day. Even now, as I write this, I remember this feeling of just complete rejection. Complete humiliation.
I don’t deserve love. I’m not worthy.
Sometimes I wonder if I will ever feel confident in my friendships with other women. It’s so easy for me to fall back on my immediate family and choose not to step out of my comfort zone, because truly, what more do I need than this beautiful wolf pack that surrounds me?
And the few times I do put myself out there, it rarely feels genuine. It never feels effortless.
This story does not have a happy ending. I wish it did. But I still struggle with friendships and I wonder if I always will. I see my friends on social media gathering without me and it cuts deep. The child in me feels rejection over and over again. Because what’s even the point? Why put myself out there at all when it still feels like high school after all these years?
Friendships are hard. Girlfriends are the hardest. And after 40 years of playing the friendship rejection game, I’m kinda over it. I’m done playing. I just want to go home.
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