Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Friend is Moving...

My across-the-street neighbor is moving tomorrow. It's a good move for them. It represents a long, hard-earned job for her awesome hubby, a new adventure for their three boys, and some more get-out-of-her-comfort-zone learning for my friend.

Those are the good things.

The bad things for them, I do not know (besides missing their awesome across-the-street neighbors), but the bad things for me are many. Well, just one. Or five hundred. I'm losing one of my awesomest buddies --not that we won't still be friends, but we'll be losing daily interaction and easy proximity. Not that we connected every day (busy mothers tend to focus on their own brood and rarely have time to run across the street or call when a thought crosses their minds), but we never felt imposing when we ran over for favors. We did girl's dates, her hubby (who was a stay-at-home dad last year) would come to my weekly playgroup, her kids and my kids are friends, we sit together in Relief Society each week, she comes to my Gospel Doctrine class, we help each other out, I introduced them to green smoothies and vegan eating (and now they are MUCH better at it than me!). She's talented, creative, intelligent, hilarious, cultured, and has great taste in movies, art, and literature. Her hubby is from Canada (we even have some ties through our parents), and her boys are very literature-minded (like my girls). She's beautiful, graceful, and not afraid to be herself. I love her tons.

I'm really, really going to miss them all.

It would be much easier if they were moving an hour away, but this is states away. STATE-S.

My nexty (the girl I'm talking about) and I have another friend who is very similar --as in we love her so much. We have so much in common. But she moved away almost three years ago to the other side of the country! Atlantic side. Think New England. Anyway, when she moved, we were pretty sad. But we managed to stay in touch --two years ago we both flew out there to visit her! It was so fun. But distance is hard.

(Our buddy who moved back East and my neighbor on our trip 2 years ago)

I shouldn't be so sad, but it's totally depressing me. Which brings me to another subject: Friends vs. Neighbors.

Now, before I start, please understand that I live in a very awesome neighborhood. The people here are genuine, concerned, and service-minded, not to mention pretty intelligent. We've lived here for 10 years (minus one year we were in CA), and so I've seen many people come and go. The over-all feeling I have is that I live in a very safe neighborhood with an incredible elementary school down the street. I'm pretty sure I could knock on any door within a three block radius and have immediate, sincere help rendered. I'm grateful for this --it's a blessing.


True friends are hard to find. Kindred spirits (as Anne Shirley would say) can be rare (although I guess she learned they weren't as rare as she had originally thought, so maybe I shouldn't use that as an example). Hmmm...

Anyway, I find myself in a situation where I feel somewhat outcast, whether by my own actions, or by the choice of others. It's not because people "hate" me (far from it), but because I'm different. I often say that my adult life can be divided into two categories: The Cheryl Before California, and The Cheryl After California. While we lived in CA, I discovered so much about myself. I finally confronted my Depression. I learned to draw boundaries. I discovered my weakness for social validation. The Cheryl everybody in my neighborhood knew before I left came back as a very, very different person. The only thing that stayed consistent (or was strengthened) was my testimony of the Gospel, my bold/loud/outgoing manner, and...and...that's about it. I could go on and on about how I no longer did everything asked of me (I learned how to say "no"), how I withdrew from social/public acclaim, how I no longer pretend to care about multi-level marketing companies (no matter how awesome their product might be), how I tend to buck the tradition of WANTING to be room-mom and the PTO Pres, and how I became brutally honest about uncomfortable subjects (like my depression). Sufficeth to say, I was different.

People weren't sure how to react to the new me. First of all, they were just shocked we moved back (long story), but when I wasn't the same, it was confusing. The overall result? Withdrawing. Several people who had included me didn't know how to deal with me, so they subconsciously excluded me (I really don't blame them and hold no malice. It is what it is), even to the point that they just simply forgot/forget to even think of me.

This is okay. Honestly. It is. Because I understand.

It makes for a lonely time, though. If my depression hadn't already excluded me from those who couldn't understand what I was going through, being left alone to deal with it made it harder. Of course, there have been those who have been amazing and helpful (my Relief Society President and several Visiting Teachers are some of those women, not to mention a few who reached out to me during some dark times), but the overall consensus seems to be that "Cheryl is fine. She goes to Church. She fulfills her callings. She's kind of weird and VERY opinionated; I think I'll just be her acquaintance."

Anyway. Blah, blah, blah. You get the idea.

[And now I'm really afraid I will have unintentionally hurt some people's feelings. Women in my ward who I CAN count on, who DO love me for me, and who ARE amazing. I hope they understand that's not what I mean by this post, even though I'm really good at putting my foot in my mouth and insulting people I care about. I'm REALLY good at it... I'm sorry!]

But see, does everyone need to be best-est friends with everyone?? Should I expect to be best friends with most women who live near me? I honestly believe that although we can be friends with thousands of people, there are a very select few with whom we have a deep connection. Does that make sense? Another friend of mine said it this way: "I think there are some people we meet in life we have instant attraction to and I believe it's because we knew them before..." (meaning before we were born, in the Pre-existence). This makes sense to me, because even though I feel blessed to have so many people counted as my friend, there are still just a handful that have left that impression upon me. I had/have that in my across-the-street nexty.

I think this is why I'm taking it so hard. Because even though we didn't talk every day, I knew she was there. And she understood me. And she didn't judge me. She loved me for me. She didn't care if I was on zoloft (she takes it, too) or went to therapy or chose to be a recluse for a week. She didn't think I was strange when I invited her to all the social events (she declined almost every time) at Church where I knew I would chat it up with a few people and then go home feeling lonely again. She understood my love for Robert Frost and Victorian art and Enya music. She understood why I cling to my book club and blog and want to write seriously some day. And I understood/understand her. And even though there are caring people around me, it's just not the same, you know? To have such a connection with someone and to watch them leave. I'm sure you've all been there.

Anyway, I'm having a pity party for myself. Obviously. I'll write about happier things tomorrow. In fact, I have a humble pie post about Christmas to write! :)

Have you ever lost a close, truest-true friend due to death, moving, quarreling, or other circumstances?


Fisher Family said...

Aah, Cheryl, I have felt that loneliness many times and wish that my closest of friends could always be close. Unfortunately that is not the case and we are forced to create our own happiness :) I'm sorry your friend is moving. Just know that you are not the only one that feels this bitter sweet parting sorrow and being alone once again.

Amanda D said...

I'm with you -- my good friend since we've moved here just moved yesterday to Kentucky. Makes me sad. :(

Wish I was closer to you!

Anonymous said...

How far is Provo from IF? 3 hrs? :) no promises just hopes and prayers :) I love you Cheryl :)

Handsfullmom said...

I know some people who have multitudes of friends. I'm like you and find very few that I'm really close to and it is hard when they move on. Sometimes, though, it's a blessing because your friendship can deepen in other ways. One of my best friends is one who moved away 11 years ago. She and I keep in touch via long, thoughtful emails that probably keep us closer than if she did still live in town.

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

I really feel that this response is so inadequate, but as I read this post I felt my own experience being described through your words. Those true friends are just so rare, and the older I get the more I realize that. Love you.

Cheryl said...

The worst thing about where I live is that it is so very transient. I have had 3-4 friends like those you described here and they have all moved. It is so hard for me still, I get it and I hate that I get it!