I texted my gay boyfriend Michael today and pleaded for a virtual hug. He sent me one right away, and it made me smile. He followed it up with, “You ok?” “Yeah,” I texted back, “I’m just having a ‘f*ck, I’ve left all my friends’ kind of day.” I knew this would come. Every time I’ve relocated it happens a month or two after I’ve left my previous home, and I’ve gotten myself settled. The long days of moving and the physically exhausting part is over, and I look up and wonder what the hell I just did. So, here it is. I’ve been here between 5-6 weeks, and it’s a little early, but it’s here. I don’t like it, either. I walked in my front door tonight and burst into tears.
This is really where the hard part starts for me. I’m lucky because I do know some people here, so I have that as an advantage this time. I could go hang out at my brothers’ house, and I’ll do that next week. My parents are coming into town, and my entire family will be going to his book release party next Thursday. I also have friends here that I’ve seen several times. The problem is that they don’t really know me yet. I’ve seen some of these folks only once or twice in 30 years, and even my family has only seen me 3-4 times a year at holidays. It’s a process called building a life. I’m at the beginning of it, and it sucks.
I miss my friends in Memphis. They are the ones that went through my divorce with me. They know me, and I know them. I can call them in the middle of an emotional breakdown, and they know just what to do. I also don’t feel weird about it because they know I’m not like that all the time. They have a sense of who I am day in and day out. I’ve set up boundaries with them, and they’ve set up boundaries with me. I know how to make them laugh, and they know how help me breathe when I can’t catch my breath. It took 7 years to build that, and I just left it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not sorry. I really think this is where I’m supposed to be, but it doesn’t make missing their beautiful faces, warm hugs and bright smiles any easier. It hurts, and I want to go for a long walk with Sarah and Emma. I want to cook dinner for Elizabeth. I want to meet Karen for lunch, and I’d love to go for a run with Leah. If I was there, I could just pick up the phone and set it up in the next few days. But, I can’t. I’m 500 miles away.
This week, I’ve been working on putting the pieces of my life together. I’ve been trying some meetings in my neighborhood. I started working out with the Varsity Sports Running Group, and I went to an orientation at my new gym. I’m in the phase where everywhere I go I’m the new gal. None of the faces are familiar. One day they will be, but now they are all strangers. I have to start from, “Hi, I’m Sharon. I just moved here.” I can’t tell them how crazy I feel at this point. I don’t feel comfortable being myself yet. I may seem like I don’t know a stranger, but I have a lot of social anxiety when I’m around new people. I have insecurities about how people view me, and I don’t know how to be. Right now, that’s 100% of the time that I’m outside my house. In Memphis, it came up only on occasion the last 6 or so years, and so it was manageable. Now, it wears on me. It’s every day… every hour …. every place I go. The job is going great, but, it, too is stressful. I’m getting to know a new team, and, while they are wonderful, we are past the “new gal” phase, and we’re starting to step on each others’ toes because we don’t know how to work together yet. We’ll get there, and it’ll get worse before it gets better, but it’s hard on me when I don’t have a respite from it in my personal life either. I get tired emotionally, and I want to rest in a friend’s house where I can be a basket case or laugh until my jaw hurts.
I know this will pass, but it’s going to take awhile. I met some people this week, and I’ve already heard from them about having coffee and getting together this weekend or next week. I have other friends of friends that I’m going to start calling to set things up. Some of them I will like, and some of them will not be a good match for friendship. My goal is to start going to the Varsity runs and workouts, the Writer’s Workshop and the meetings in this area until I meet a few new friends. I’ve learned that I’m not going to really meet people until the 4th, 5th or 6th time I go to a group. It takes time for them to feel me out and for me to gravitate toward those with common interests and personalities. I have to be consistent. And, I have to go whether I feel like it or not – at least for awhile. I have to get up the nerve to pick up that 500 pound phone, call people and risk rejection by asking them to get together. I’m not doing it tonight. I’m not in the right frame of mind.
Today, I relied on my old friends by phone to buoy me up. I talked to my Houston friend Alayne for a long time at lunch, and I’ll talk with my friend Karen tonight. They both know me so well. It was so good to just fall into a normal, deep conversation where I didn’t have to weigh my words or worry about what they might think of me. After I talked with Alayne, I felt like a 100 lb. weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt free. I didn’t realize how much I needed support until I got it. I’ve just been pushing through and handling things, and I really need some unconditional love. I can’t wait to have a long conversation with Karen later. There will be tears because I’ve been crying on and off all day, but I know I’ll be laughing by the time I’m done. I had a massage Saturday, but I’m getting an internal massage today talking to my friends. It feels good. And, if you’re one of my friends from Memphis, know that I’m missing the hell out of you today. If you’re one of my new/old friends in Baton Rouge, call me …. let’s get together. I need you. I want you to be the friends I don’t want to leave 7 years from now. I want to get started NOW! 🙂