My case against ‘BFF’s’ and why I don’t have one.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 18, 2014 by Shara

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”  - Groucho Marx

 

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about the term ‘best friends’ and what it entails.   When I googled ‘Best Friend + definition’ the first thing that came up was a definition that said, “The one friend who is closest to you.”  Urban dictionary said, “Best Friends are very special people in your life. They are the first people you think about when you make plans. They are the first people you go to when you need someone to talk to.”  And even still, one more definition came up with the meaning, “The definition of a best friend is a person who you value above other friends in your life, someone you have fun with, someone you trust and someone in whom you confide.”

And I’ve sat back… thought long and hard about it, and decided; I don’t have a best friend.  I don’t have anyone that considers me their best friend, either, if we want to be perfectly honest.  For a very long time, I was upset and angry about it.  I pleaded with God to bring me a best friend to call my very own!  I would wonder why people weren’t best friend material!  Was it something about them?  No, not them…  Then I would ask God what was wrong with me that made people not want to be my best friend.  Perhaps there is still something to go on there, and I’m sure we could analyze that one for hours (and I think that is a post for another time).  But, what I’ve come to realize, is that I’m a damn good friend, and I don’t have to be someone’s bestie to still be an awesome friend, or to have them be a meaningful part of my life.  BFF’s are cool, but I’m no less of a person if I don’t have one.  At least, I think so.

Back in 1980-something, I remember going to some quirky little jewelry store and picking a “Best Friends” necklace to wear with the person I was best friends with at the time. What’s most interesting to me is I don’t think I ever gave the other half of the necklace away.  It stayed in my twirling ballerina jewelry box, collecting dust, eventually being thrown out, or perhaps getting lost.  I can’t really remember.  Plus, I moved a lot as a child.  Before we moved to Illinois the year I was turning 11, we moved almost every year.  I don’t regret the decisions of my parents to move that often.  I don’t blame them.  It was hard for my Mom to be a single mother, raising a baby, and then when she was re-married to my step-Dad, figuring out their life together.  That life didn’t always mean that I went to the same school one, two or three years in a row, and that was okay.  I made friends.  I usually attached myself to one person, but by the time we moved to Illinois, I realized it was too hard to keep a best friend, and into adulthood, some of the friends I thought were my besties, ended up just being friends in the end.  It never meant that they were any less of a good friend.  It just means, we went down different paths.

I know a lot of people who have BFF’s. They’ve known these people for years, sometimes their whole lives.  And I sometimes I feel like it would be nice to have ONE person that you ALWAYS turn to when you are going through something tough.  Many times, that’s when I stuff (it isn’t always the right thing to do, but it’s what I do).  When I know I need to reach out to someone or get something off my chest, I might talk to a few people.  But none of them I’d consider my BFF.  I never call one particular person in the middle of the night.  Whenever I’ve been at my lowest, I’ve tried reaching out to people, and usually, I get the voicemail, and honestly that’s probably for the best.  If I can’t talk myself down from the ledge, would someone else be able to?  I’m not about to drag someone else down into my spiral of self-loathing.  So, I sleep it off, and 9 times out of 10, I feel 100% better in the morning, and I have a clearer conscience, and I regret that I even tried to reach out to anyone at all.  So, I’ve learned that if something is really laying heavy on my heart and I’ve been dealing with it for a few days, I reach out to the key people who I know have good advice, but otherwise, I need to take a breath and step back, sleep it off, and know that God brings new mercies every morning.

I have always been a little envious of the people who considered their Mom a best friend. I was angry for a very long time about it, too.  I was angry that my Mom had a best friend, and I didn’t.  I was angry because I thought she didn’t care enough about me to consider me one of her best friends.  I wanted desperately to have her be my confidant.  I wanted her to be close enough to me to WANT to be my friend.  But, over the years, I have realized something.  No matter how hard you want something, it doesn’t mean that it is going to happen.  No matter how hard I wanted my Mom to be the first person I called, the first person I thought of, the first person I ran to when times were tough, that wasn’t the truth.  I did go to my parents when I was in over my head, most of the time.  But, mostly, I just figured it out myself.  I am okay with that now.  In essence, I’ve grown up.  I’ve learned to rely on myself better.  I’ve learned that I am capable of so much more than I ever imagined.  If my Mom was my friend and helped me with everything, then I would use that as a crutch in my life, instead of learning how to stand and survive on my own two feet.

My heart breaks a little every time someone who’s married says, “My husband/wife is my best friend! I can’t imagine life without them!”  Someone even once said that they hoped God would allow him and his spouse to co-habitate in heaven, because she was his perfect match, and he can’t even imagine eternity without her.  That is a beautiful thought, and at one time, I wished that too, with my whole heart.  Until I realized it wasn’t mutual.  My husband never would say something like that to my face, but whenever I would wish that thought out loud, his eyes would gloss over a bit, and I realized it wasn’t his dream.  And while I can’t imagine life without my husband and I even thought for a long time that he was my best friend, I realize now, it just isn’t the reality in my own life.  Guess what?  He doesn’t fill the best friend role.  And guess what else? I don’t fill that role for him, either.  And right now, that’s truthfully okay.  He’s always had other “besties”.  He’s had one friend he’s known since he was 5, and they are still as close as brothers.  Other friends have come and gone, but there have been several guys that he would consider best friends.  The guys he calls on when he needs a helping hand, a beer, or just someone to vent with.  He doesn’t vent to me.  I’m not his sounding board.  I’m not the first person he turns to when he needs to get something off his chest.  Recently, he’s been under a lot of stress between work and school, and he doesn’t really talk to me about much other than what is going on that day/week with each other’s schedules or what’s happening with the kids.  At one time, I thought there was something wrong with us and our relationship.  He’s had more guy weekends away with his best guy friends than he has ever had with me (we haven’t even been away together, just the two of us).  And I spent so much of my life feeling hurt and angry about it.  I mean, I spend years of my life thinking I should be more meaningful in his life.  I’ve come to finally realize recently though, that just because he chooses other “best friends” over me to talk and relate to, and because he wants to spend more time with them when he gets the chance, over date nights, or weekends away with me, that it doesn’t mean we aren’t GOOD friends.  And it certainly doesn’t mean he doesn’t cherish me as his spouse.  That is a tough realization, I know.  It hurts a little even writing the words down.  But I know it as truth.  And I am accepting the reality of my life.  We spend every day together.  Sometimes he might just need a weekend away from me with his best friends for him to get back on track with life.  He just needs to ease his stress, and blow off some steam.  Spending a weekend at the Lakehouse with his best friends is cheap, relaxing and a way to unwind.  Spending a weekend away with me, just adds stress for him.  It isn’t relaxing, and it just hurts our marriage more than not because we think of all the other things we should be doing instead.  It’s just not high on the importance scale.  As much as I would love to imagine getting away as being this blissful time of reconnecting and celebrating one another…  What is the reality of it?  The reality is, I have to scour the earth for a babysitter who can watch all 4 kids overnight, possibly longer.  We have to budget so carefully that it might even hurt us financially to go anywhere, so going anywhere that requires an overnight hotel is out of the question.  A bed and breakfast, HA!  All-inclusive vacation to the beach, don’t even get me started about how stressful that would end up being!   Even date nights are getting more and more expensive.  What used to be a $50 night to reconnect, now is upwards of $100 or more.  That money has a place in our lives.  That money either goes towards God, or towards keeping a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs.  “Take a staycation, Shara!  Working on your relationship is so important in marriage!  Have someone watch the kids, and just stay together at home.”  Home…  home is where the bills and projects are.  Home is stressful.  Home is piles of laundry and a whirlwind of toys.  Chores.  If I’m at home, then I’m planning on working on what needs to get done, when I actually have the time to do it.  And yes, it’s important to ‘work on our relationship’.  But what does that even mean?  It’s different for everyone. I understand the concept to be true, but it is not always how real life works.  My parents took amazing vacations together and celebrated little anniversaries as well as big ones, and after 26 years, they are still getting divorced.  What does that tell me?  No matter what you do, life doesn’t ever turn out the way you expect it to.  So, right now, I can’t indulge in the fantasy of spending exclusive time with my spouse, because in the end, he’ll just be bitter with me about spending unnecessary money and that will hurt us more than help, and it will just hurt my heart more than heal it.  He is my husband, and I cherish him and all he does for us.

So, is my marriage perfect? No.  Should my hubby and I spend more time together?  Probably.  That isn’t a reality at the moment though.  Is being best friends the answer?  Probably not.  Is it okay that I don’t have a best friend at all?  Yes.  It’s totally acceptable.

And here’s why.

I said this before, and I’ll say it again. I’m a damn good friend.  I will make you coffee, and sit down with you and chat for hours on end!  I laugh at your funny stories, and I am there when you need to talk in the middle of the night, I’m an awesome shoulder to cry on.  I don’t do that with one particular person, I do it with whomever needs me most.  I will drop everything to be there for someone in need.  It’s just who I am.

The first person I think about when I wake up? Probably my kids.  This doesn’t mean you aren’t important in my life!  In all actuality, you are pretty important!  I just have a laundry list of things to get done!  And that’s okay!  I think about and pray about whoever God places on my heart that day, and most likely, I’ll reach out to you and see how it’s going.

Who do I have fun with? All my friends!  If that means sitting on the couch watching a movie with the hubby, or if it means going out with the girls and singing some off-key karaoke, I’m going to have fun with you, because if I didn’t enjoy your company, I wouldn’t be friends with you in the first place.

So, breaking it down today. I might not have a best friend, but I have a lot of awesome friends that I love and I would lay my life down for.  And not having a BFF, that’s okay.  Because I am me, and it’s taken a long time for me to get to who I am, and where I am today.  I will love you exactly where you are and who you are.  And if you’ve already got a BFF, that’s awesome!  I’m glad to be your friend!  Just because I’m not my hubby’s best friend, doesn’t mean we aren’t friends at all, or that we love each other any less.  Just because I don’t have a best friend, doesn’t mean there is something wrong with me or you, or anyone, It just means that’s the way life is, and that is perfectly okay.

Who I once was.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2014 by Shara

I needed to write today. So, I looked up some creative writing questions. This was the question I picked: When you were a child, how did you imagine your adult self?
I’m not exactly sure why I wrote why I did, or why the words came out on the page as they did. But, this is what I wrote.

As a child, I felt like I had infinite possibilities! I could be a Princess one minute, and a jungle explorer the next. I could imagine being in a different world, or a different time, all within the confines of a book. The simplicity of picking up a novel and transporting myself into a different time and space was a kind of magic. When I read a book, the words changed, and no longer just stayed on the page. They leaped out into my heart and mind, and instead of words on a page, they were movies that played in my head. The characters were real, and I was smack dab in the middle of the most amazing places a girl could be. I could do and be anything I ever wanted.
Books were my reality, and in them, I could be myself.
Reality was nothing like this. Reality was off-color, and lonely. A sort of reddish-brown hue clouds my memories. I remember hours upon hours playing alone. And when I think back about playing with other children, I sometimes wonder if they were real or if I made them up in my head. I was that child. I could barely bring myself to talk to many people, or make many friends. I was a little strange. A little sad. A little different.
I would dream of my older self, my grown-up self. I imagined I would be a Prima Ballerina and dance in New York! I imagined I would travel to wild destinations all over the world! I imagined I would be someone who touched the hearts and minds of people across the globe. I would have so many friends; I would always be with someone! It’s funny how little girl dreams, many times, don’t come true.
Somewhere in time, a little voice that was vaguely familiar started to say, “You need to be sensible. These dreams will never amount to anything. You need to be a teacher. You don’t have that kind of potential. You need to have smaller dreams. You will never be a ballerina. You will never be an actress. You will never… Don’t dream so big.”
So, my dreams became smaller. My world became smaller. I became smaller.
I never travelled the world. I never made an impact, because I never went anywhere past the state I was in.
I read a book recently that said I should START. Dream big! Achieve amazing things!
And yet… I am in my small life, unsure of how to stand back up on my feet. I am unsure how to achieve those dreams. I am so afraid to dream.
My children are my heart and my soul. I tell them, “You can be whatever you want to be. You can be an astronaut! You can be a ballerina! You can be a firefighter! You can be anything! You need to work hard in school and study and achieve your goals, and if you do that, you can be anything and more.” They are smart. They are growing in wisdom. They are kind. They will go further than I ever did. And they can accomplish anything.
That is my dream now… that they never belittle themselves to the point where they are so small they can’t reach out and touch the stars. That their dreams are mighty and brave, and that they never fear them.

When I’m gone…

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10, 2014 by Shara

Shara:

This was on my heart to write today… So I thought I would share. :)

Originally posted on desperate madness:

When I’m gone

By, Shara Wright – 6/10/14

I don’t know when my time will come,

or how much life I have left to live.

But I want to be remembered for the grace of God,

because grace was all I had left to give.

I don’t know when I’ll take my last breath,

or when the road will finally meet it’s end.

But I want to be remembered for my love of God,

because love was the only thing that can truly mend.

I don’t know when I’ll say goodbye to this world,

or if it will come too soon.

But I want to be remembered for the forgiveness of God,

because of the forgiveness that I have strewn.

I don’t know when my last tomorrow will come,

or why, or where, or when.

But I want to be remembered as God’s child,

because that is what I’ve always been.

View original

When I’m gone…

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10, 2014 by Shara

When I’m gone

By, Shara Wright – 6/10/14

 

I don’t know when my time will come,

or how much life I have left to live.

But I want to be remembered for the grace of God,

because grace was all I had left to give.

 

I don’t know when I’ll take my last breath,

or when the road will finally meet it’s end.

But I want to be remembered for my love of God,

because love was the only thing that can truly mend.

 

I don’t know when I’ll say goodbye to this world,

or if it will come too soon.

But I want to be remembered for the forgiveness of God,

because of the forgiveness that I have strewn.

 

I don’t know when my last tomorrow will come,

or why, or where, or when.

But I want to be remembered as God’s child,

because that is what I’ve always been.

Mother, May I…

Posted in Uncategorized on October 17, 2013 by Shara

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one. -Jill Churchill

I find it very difficult to hold my tongue… There are things that stray across my path, and I just spew. This is why I avoid politics at all costs. It gives me nothing, but bitterness that rots deep down in my soul, and I say things I shouldn’t, to people who don’t really care about what I have to say, because they are deep in their own thoughts about it all. It creates tension, that shouldn’t be there.
But, I have come across an issue, that I am honestly, just tired of. One that several people have talked about, and that more people need to let sink in.
This issue is about how Mother’s treat each other. This is not just an issue of the Stay-At-Home Moms vs. the Working Moms and who has it more difficult, but this also reaches the Single Moms vs. Married Moms. What about the Single Dads out there? Each of us parents struggle, people point fingers and say, “Because you stay at home and are married, you have no idea how difficult it is for ME!!” Or, just because I have four children, and you have one, doesn’t make it less difficult for you! It just may mean that I’m slightly crazier than you!! But heck, I’ve always been a bit on the nutty side.
This is not a parenting competition people! These are little lives that we are training up to the best of our abilities.
We need to recognize it, and then, we need to build into each other and raise each other up.
Let’s walk hand in hand and support each other, instead of saying, “Well, we all KNOW how much harder I have it than YOU, because…”
My Mom was a single Mom for the first six years of my life. I lived in teeny apartments, and stayed with sitters, when my Mom couldn’t take me with her. I remember being in college classes with her, because she had no other options. She worked at daycares and Nursery Schools, so I could be taken care of. I grew up pretty quickly, because she was a “baby” raising a baby, and that’s just what you do, when you only have each other to rely on.
She met a man, and go remarried.
My Step-Dad came from a Single-Parent home. His Mom was the sole provider for him and his sister since he was 14 years old, and not ONLY took care of them, but made a college “youth hostel” for kids who needed a home. She provided a home for my Mom and I when we had none… That’s how my parents met, through this amazingly wonderful woman.
Neither one of them would say that what I am doing, as a married mother of four, is less difficult than what they went through. They would never put themselves up on a pedestal and say, “You just have NO IDEA what it’s like…” For one, I do know what it’s like. I know what it is like through a child’s eyes. I know the deep struggle and desires. I saw them first hand.
But, I also know the struggle of being a parent.
My husband lost his job last August. I’ll tell you, before then, I was a little of a worrier (that is an understatement for those that truly know me). Before that time, we agreed that we were going to homeschool. When the bottom dropped out, I floundered. I thank Jesus that I have faith, because if I didn’t, I think I would have sunken into a deeper depression than I did. He decided to go back to school full-time and take odd jobs here and there. I may not have been a single Mom, but there were sure days I felt like I had no one else to lean on. The financial struggles we’ve had recently, have been pretty harrowing, yet, I’ve been less worried, because I want to show my kids that you can get through tough times, with a smile on your face. I knew two women who did that very thing.
Parenting is hard with two people, from two backgrounds, with two distinct ways of thinking, and two (or more) sets of grandparents to contend with. Parenting is hard when you go at it alone. Parenting is hard when you don’t have a break, and you ARE the parent 24/7. Parenting is hard when you can’t pee alone. Parenting is hard when you work all day, and only have a few hours to see your kids at night. Parenting is hard when you work at home, and you have to coordinate time for your business and your family. Parenting is hard, people. Why do we feel the need to say one is harder than the other?
I have only ever gotten to go away with my husband once, for a weekend. We never had a honeymoon. We had to save money for our baby… That’s what parents do. We sacrifice and we strive to do what is best for our children, no matter the outcome, and what it does to ourselves.
We are parents, and we love our littles a little bit more, with every heartbeat.
Because we are parents, let’s lift each other up. Let’s build each other up. Let’s tell each other what amazingly wonderful men and women we are, for holding onto the little lives and watching them flourish and grow, instead of holding each other at arms length and condemning each other because of what we think the other persons life is like.
Let us encourage one another, because parenting is a struggle, and the best thing we can do is cling to each other on our journey of life, and hope that all our kids turn out just fine…

When a bomb explodes…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2013 by Shara

For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. (Luke 1:37 AMP)

When your life crumbles before your eyes, sometimes you are shocked. You never realize it could have gotten to that point, and you look back to the steps that have gotten you thus far. You see the little mistakes that took hold, and became bigger strongholds… The little cracks in the road, that let mud and dirt and manure seep down, down into your soul. Satan grasped hold, and did not let go. He made the cracks bigger, and filled the holes with more of the same, but it never fixes the road. It never truly makes it right.
He made you justify, and believe the road was perfect. And you stumbled along the cracked road, where mud, dirt and manure seemed to fill the cracks. You got up, dusted the shit off of you and moved on, unaware of what you were doing with your life, what you smelled like, what you were rubbing into your skin.
The Father of Lies. The ultimate deceiver. He made the path “smooth”, right? It was smooth and easy. Right?
A bomb went off. The road ended where the bomb exploded, and all the bad that was filling the road is everywhere. It affected all that were standing near. It hurt… The pain of everyone close rings in your ears. Reverberating against the rubble the sound is intolerable. What happened to your road? What happened to your life?
Shameful, that the road is gone, and all that is exposed is the mud, the dirt and the shit that seeped deep down inside.
God looks at the pieces of the road.
He holds you near and He says, “Come here child. I have a new path for you, but you must do exactly what I say… It’s a long road. There are bumps, and it will be difficult to traverse, but I am here. I will never leave you. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is unbearable, because you can do all things, you can survive all things, through me.”
That road is strong. No cracks or holes to be filled. When you stumble He picks you up, and you realize that you aren’t on that road alone, because the people that were hurt, are beside you. They are holding your hand, and trusting in God. He purifies everything and makes it all right. He mends and heals. He makes everything clean. He takes the mud off your eyes, so you can see.
Only in God can grace and forgiveness happen. Only in God can you let go of the twisted past. The mud and manure that covered you is gone. Not just swept under a rug and forgotten, but scrubbed clean.
God makes the impossible road a possibility, and you can go down it with confidence and peace, but only if you let go of the holes and the cracks of before. Only if you don’t allow Satan to grasp you and pull you down into the shit.
And when Satan whispers in your ear…
Look at God, lean into the Word, and pray.

Corndog art and other adventures

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2013 by Shara

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

My dear friend, Happy, and I went on an adventure this past Saturday. We had no agenda. We had no plan. We had no real time constraints. We just got to hang out, and explore the world a little.
We decided to be tourists.
I had never been to Navy Pier in downtown Chicago, so after we missed our original coffee & bookshop stops in Wicker Park, we found a parking garage close by the pier, and started walking there instead. The pier was neat to walk by. There were boats of all different shapes and sizes. There were birds that didn’t even flinch as you walked by. There were smells galore. You breathed in the lake water smell, the smell of sweet cinnamon covered almonds, various fried foods, and the crisp cool air. There was so much to see. The Ferris Wheel towered above everything else, slowly turning, each pass making the top car seemingly touch the clouds. There were restaurants up and down the pier. Boats were docked on the right hand side, people lined up to climb aboard and take tours. Whether it was a Pirate Tour (Pirates of Lake Michigan?) or the super fast speed boat tour, to the architectural tour of the city, to the Dinner cruise tour. Each had its unique features, and of course people watching the different types of folks going on the different types of boats was so very interesting.
At the end of the pier there was a giant anchor, with people perched on it, taking silly pictures for their Facebook pages. A lighthouse sat in the distance. Statuesque and alone against the waves, gently rolling in towards the Chicago shoreline.
On our way, moseying back towards the front of the pier, there was a free museum of stained glass. Much if it was inspired by the works of, or if not inspired by, was actually made by Louis Comfort Tiffany. This man had a way with glass. He made it move and breath. The colors were amazing. They were perfect and just completed the compositions. There were religious stained glass windows, there were abstract art stained glass, there was stained glass from churches, homes, famous buildings. Each displayed their beauty against a dark background, and each drew you in to take a closer look.
One… Looked slightly like a corndog.

20130728-233752.jpg

After a good laugh, we eventually moved through the whole exhibit and stopped to get some lunch, and ate outside.
We decided to walk to Millennium Park to see the Bean. As we walked past the WGN building we noticed a part of the architecture that would have been unnoticed if you just walked by without looking at the details. There were stones from all over the world built into the building with names of where they were from posted. A piece of the Berlin Wall, a stone from David’s tower in Jerusalem, a piece of the Notre-Dame, a piece of the World Trade Center, part of Abraham Lincoln’s original tomb, a stone from the Taj Mahal. Bits of history ensconced the walls. Different parts of the world in one place… Showing how much a part of each other we are. I fell in love with that building, because of what it represented. We are all united. We are all one people. We are all connected.
The Bean was huge, and full of tourists. There were cosplayers there from Homestuck, which we found out by asking them why they were dressed up in such unique costumes. There weird painted bears, and a garden that looked perfect, even amidst the gigantic towering skyscrapers that reached up to the sky.
We stopped by an art gallery and fell in love with paintings on brushed aluminum. We wandered by peaceful protesters trying to elect someone in Egypt. We saw a man with a megaphone telling us that the end was nigh.
We had an adventure.
I am so grateful for my friend, Happy. Not many people can just go on a random adventure with me, gain insight on humanity, talk about God’s beauty, take silly pictures with random painted bears, and have insightful conversations about everything from corndog art to why women Pastors just plain rock.

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