My Superwoman Story.
For as long as I can remember I've always been superwoman to the people I considered important. I've been the fixer, the giver, and the make-it-work-er.
If you've never been this person for someone you care about, it's terribly exhausting, and I never knew anything different. These were the people I loved, and those that loved me, so I HAD to be this for them. Until I couldn't anymore.While being the first person someone you love calls when things in their life aren't so great is a wonderful honor, it's high pressure, and often inconvenient, until it's not anymore--until being someone else's solution and saving grace becomes the definition of your relationships and the motivator for connecting with others.
It wasn't until more recent times in life that I've been able to be real, to admit I can't continuously bear the burden of my loved ones plus my own. My need to always be there for others, to have the perfect answer, or know the right thing to say at the right time fuels my guilt of not connecting or never sending the first message to get a conversation going. I feel like I'm the worst for not trying harder to see my college friends with whom I've lost touch, or connect with those long lost high school besties.
I used to really beat myself up about this, and then feel angry or betrayed when thanksgiving or Christmas would roll in and I never received an invite to the reunion bonfires or even wedding invitations! I always thought maybe it was because I didn't try enough, I was a bad friend, or maybe they all just finally forgot we were ever friends.
I've since learned, the problem wasn't me, it was ME.
I believe it's the perfect plan that we drift in an out of specific relationships as time wears on and life changes. We grow and our scenery moves along with us. We need different things in certain stages of life, and similarly, we have different offering as we navigate through our lives.
I think that's why we often say having and maintaining relationships is hard.
I'm not encouraging you to throw out relationships and friendships like last month's meatloaf; but its like this. When we love or care for someone we, in many ways, trudge through the trials alongside them, and in return, celebrate the victorious moments they're gifted, feeling the excitement and honor as if it were our own accomplishment.
Sometimes I define parts of my life by who my friends happened to be at the time, who attend various events with me, who I had coffee dates with, who I went to Target with on a Friday night and so on. When I reflect on the relationships and how they fit into what was important in my life at the time, each new set of friends seemed to come when my outlook and goals had been reset.
Thinking back to the friendships I "allowed" to fall away, the same people I've often felt guilty for not texting more, calling often enough or spending time together, remind me, no matter how desperate I might be to keep someone close, I can't force them to change, grow, evolve or develop into something they've never wanted to be.
I'm still figuring this adult-ing thing out, but the growing pains are less troublesome now that I've found a team of supporters in line with my goals and excited to help me achieve them. As I've been working through some difficult career decisions recently, I've relied rather heavily on a couple mentors and dear friends of mine for guidance and support. After a particularly discouraging day that left me feeling hopeless and needy, I texted my dear friend thanking her for being my support and encouragement.
I will NEVER forget her response.
"Oh for sure!!", she said, "It's super exciting!! That's what women should always do, encourage and cheer each other on".
In that moment and since, I've never felt so small but so empowered. Who am I to receive such incredible support? I didn't earn it. Better question - who am I to receive and not share.
I've made a lot of new friends and created new relationships recently, and its been amazingly rewarding. I'm at a loss for words to explain to you what it feels like to have relationships that build me up and make me feel whole. Instead of relying on my emotional and mental reserves to push through anything particularly difficult, taxing, or discouraging, only to be called upon by those close to me to give them what has already been overdrawn.
So, today marks the beginning of a new movement in my life. Today is the day I surrender my cape and ask for grace. Plus, I hear Edna advises against capes when it comes to super wardrobes. Maybe it's just time for a closet makeover.