“You need new friends”. Black moms always have a way of keeping it all the way real. Mine, no different. She was right. I needed new friends. There was an interesting place in my life, a recent divorce after a tumultuous marriage, mothering a small child, commuting from one place to another. I didn’t really have people in my life, I felt, that could quite relate or understand the shifts that were occurring. Often I would hesitate honestly answering the “how you doing?” questions, for fear of not being understood. God forbid I actually answered the question honestly. I would shock the hell out of the person asking. The “hey girl” calls and texts were cool but they weren’t what I needed. Your girl needed support and needed someone who would listen, relate, and most importantly not judge me. I am exactly in the space I spoke bout in “What about your friends during the Quarantine?”. I need more. More than a text. More than a canceled brunch date, more than a quick giggle about a funny meme.
When you know better, Do better
Knowing what I need, is only half the battle right? The other half is seeking what I need. Well… that’s the hard part. Maybe not hard but challenging. Why? Why is it so hard to make friends? Truth is I don’t know. Actually, I don’t think making friends is the hard part, keeping them is. Granted, some folks come into your life for a season, reason, or lifetime. We get hung up on the lifetime part; the expectation that all of our friends are supposed to be friends to the end. I learned this early on, but it’s what detoured me from attempting to make new friends. Yes, I was a part of the no new friends bunch for a long time. Not because I was being clique-ish but because I was afraid. Afraid of rejection, afraid of being disappointed. Who thinks about all of this when it comes to friendships? I do. I am sure I am not the only one, but maybe I am the only one bold enough to admit it. The problem with the no friends mantra is; while walls are built to keep folks from coming in, they leave you no out. Do you know what that means? Isolation. That’s dangerous.
Sick of the isolation I created, I finally made up my mind I would try. That I would be open to the possibility of new friendships. The plan was to stop declining lunch invites from some of the ladies at work. I started planning all of the places I would go (because home is my comfort zone). I let go of all the what-ifs that ran through my mind and ditched the no new friends mindset. And then BAM! Covid-19 hit.
Bring on the Sunshine
My plans got hit with a global pandemic. Just when I mustered up the courage to do something different. Truthfully, I was relieved. That’s sad. I know. One night the isolation turned into loneliness. As I was in bed scrolling through Instagram, like I normally do after I put the kid to sleep, I saw a post: “Are you in need of a little sunshine?”. Unbeknownst to me, affirming the question set me up from something I desperately needed. Initially, I thought the following post would be a picture of a sun with an empowering quote or affirmation. Maybe it was going to be a funny video to make each viewer laugh. What came next was highly unexpected. What came next was a DM from the poster, Kacey explaining what we were getting ourselves into. The groups of women that responded to her sunshine post, 29, in total, would be anonymously paired up. Each woman would then create a Sunshine Box for the woman they were assigned.
Say what now? We are given the chance to agree or kindly decline. Usually, I am either extremely interested or all the way turned off. So, instead of reacting hastily one way or the other, I thought about it. Sunshine box, it was a great idea. But it would force me out of my comfort zone. This is the movement, Minah. Decide to challenge yourself. The introvert in me cringed. But reluctantly, I agreed. With an opened mind and no expectations, I decorated and purchased items for a sunshine sister that I didn’t even know. And rewarding it was. To know that there just might be someone else, with the same reservations, the same reluctance bt the same desire for a little piece of the sun made it fulfilling. My box was ready to be shipped to Texas. Done.
In the Clear?
Not so fast. There was more to it than just shipping the box off and receiving one of my own. We had to have a zoom call once everyone received their box of sunshine. Oh boy. Here we go. I thought of scenarios I could use to justify me not logging into that Zoom meeting. But again I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. Contrary to my apprehension, that was one of the best Zoom calls I have had during this time of social distancing. Listening to all of the empowering stories of 28 other women was uplifting to say the least. There were NICU nurses, entrepreneurs, mental health advocates, mommies, wives aunties, and big sisters. Each offering support to one another. strangers. Offering up, their phone numbers, and already making plans to meet up.
Who knew a simple post would turn into a community of women I needed? I surely did not. But I guess I would not have ever known, if I didn’t challenge myself, push beyond my comfort zone and take a leap, opening up myself to the possibilities. Cheers to the possibilities.
Are you team #nonewfriends or team #neednewfriends ?