bet you miss your friends

It finally caught up with me. I’ve been so busy setting up house, getting the girls into school, volunteering for the Clinton campaign, and hanging out with family that I haven’t actually had a chance to realize I’m really effing lonely.

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Until Saturday. There was a cool kid event going on, so I took the girls. It was a “pop-up free-range playground” event where tons of boxes, tape, tubes, fabric, wheels, ropes, and other recycled materials were out on a playground and no parents were allowed in while kids played and obeyed the only rules “have as much fun as you can and try not to hurt yourself or others.” Volunteers supervised and helped with scissors, but NO PARENTS ALLOWED. There was free coffee nearby in the area for parents to hang out.

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If I were still in Little Rock, I would have rounded up my parent-friends and we would have been drinking coffee and chatting while our kids played. In fact, that’s what all the other parents there seemed to have done. They were chatting in groups, rocking younger siblings on hips. I got myself a coffee, sat down, and tried to figure out how to make friends. The longer I sat there, the more I felt like the odd kid out at a middle school dance. I wanted to burst into tears.

I miss my friends. I am so lonely.

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When I got home and finally did let the tears flow, Jon reminded me of my freshman year self, bounding up and down the halls of my dorm, basically insisting people be my friend. I don’t know where that girl went, but I am not her anymore. I certainly wish I had her energy. I know I’m good enough, smart enough, and gosh darnit, people like me, but I just don’t have it in me to walk up to a group of people already engrossed in conversation and attempt to say hi. Hi. I am so very new here. Hi. I am desperate to make some friends. Hi. Can you please talk to me? Hi. Can you see me over here just wishing you would break the ice and let me into your circle? You seem really cool with your rad glasses and your star-embroidered Ergo. You said you’re from Birmingham and I’m eavesdropping but I’m a displaced Southerner too. Oh, wow, you have twin boys and I have twin girls, and OMG your new baby is so cute and please let’s be friends.

I know eventually, we will have friends. It’s going to happen somehow. But it really sucks in the meantime.

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Update: after I wrote this mopey post, we visited a church, and I really liked it. I also found out they have a moms group that meets on Fridays, and the one this coming Friday is about tapping into your creativity. So I’m going to go and try to be brave and try to make some friends.

I have a #LRTweetup story, and I’ve never attended a Tweetup

I've found Twitter to be a very "uplifting" experience (groan).

Although I was born and raised in Arkansas, for the past three years, I’ve been living in Charleston, SC.  Now that my husband is finishing his residency in pediatrics, we’re moving back to Little Rock, AR, for him to do a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and, thanks in large part to the fine folks on Twitter who participate in the #LRTweetup community, I’m excited about the move (even as leaving Charleston is breaking my heart).

I’m really not sure how I found these people, but I’m pretty sure I found most of them through my childhood friend, @SavannahB, who had already gotten pretty connected with the #LRTweetup folks by the time she and I reconnected via Twitter after I joined sometime last fall. I noticed that she had all sorts of fun exchanges with various Little Rock folks on Twitter, and started to follow some of her tweeps.  I assumed Savannah had met these people before, and DM’d her asking how she knew them.  That’s when I found out she had met most of them on Twitter first, and then met them at tweetups.

As I followed more and more of the funny, inspiring, engaged, and sweet people who make up the #LRTweetup community, I found more and more people to follow. These days, my Little Rockers friend list contains 69 tweeps!  And as the date of my move (the end of next month) approaches, the #LRTweetup people couldn’t be more welcoming, especially considering they’ve never even “met” me! I’ve had tweeps recommend Realtors, scout out rental houses, pass along my resume to potential employers, and offer to meet up for drinks when I come to town to look for a rental house.  Today, my mother in law had surgery, and so many tweeps offered to pray for her.

When I first moved to South Carolina, I had a really rough time. My husband was working a lot, and I didn’t know a soul.  The move to Little Rock will probably also be rough, and my husband will be working a lot, but I have a feeling I won’t have such a rough time.  Because I know there’s a great group of people ready and willing to hang out with me, as soon as the next #LRTweetup.  I only wish I could be there tomorrow night for the group’s Tweetie awards– I still can’t get over the fact that a group of people I’ve never “met” nominated me for an award, though I guess it’s a testament to my tendency to insert my loudmouthed self into the center of things, but more than that, a testament to this group’s welcoming attitude.  I can’t wait to meet each and every member of the #LRTweetup community.

only freshmen

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As I got on the bus, they giggled behind a Route 30 map.  They wondered where they had gotten on, which stop was that?  How would they know when they were supposed to get off?  What if the driver didn’t stop?  Should they ask the driver?  Should they not?  Aren’t these seats itchy? Doesn’t it feel like it’s giving you a rash?

It didn’t take me long to recognize them.  They were me, about six years ago.  Two new college roommates, who barely knew a soul and had just set up camp together in a tiny room on a big campus in a strange new city.  They were clinging to each other and thinking they’d be best friends, not anticipating Cold Wars of attrition over who’d finally take out the trash, or that perhaps one of them would have an affinity for Jock Jamz while the other preferred Indie Rock, or that one might be nocturnal, and the other, well, normal.  (OK, so I’m projecting, my first college roommate didn’t work out so well!)

I wondered if they’d been having scavenger hunts and raffles.  If they’d endured an awkward sex talk with a dean.  If they’d identified a cute boy that they thought they might like to date, having no idea that by the end of the next year he’d be a best friend, but more interested in dating men. (OK, so that happened to me too.)  I wondered if there had been awkward name games.  If they’d been to that first party yet, the one where they tested those mom-will-never-know-limits.  I wondered if they’d just spent the summer meeting their true love, now left wondering what would happen next.  I wondered if they were just SURE of their major, only to later change it three times.  I wondered if they had any idea what was ahead of them.

Of course they didn’t.

But they had each other, they had a map, they were determined to make their way to Target, and they’d get there together.  I helped them figure out where they’d get off, and I went back to my reading, eavesdropping on their conversation, smiling, realizing what was only six years ago for me already seems more than a lifetime ago.

The bus could barely contain their enthusiasm.