MESSYBEAUTIFUL

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!

My best friends. The only thing they have in common is that I can’t really remember how our relationships began. They all reached best friend status before I met most of them–as in, I could have been behind them in line at Target and they would have just blended I’m with the other ladies pushing their red carts through the wallet-draining wonder that is “Targé.” Of the ones I have met, it’s been like meeting an internet date in person. Do you know how awkward it is to meet someone you know intimately for the first time? They don’t look exactly as you envisioned them based on their photos because you can now examine their features from every angle. Their voices sound so “weird”. Like the first time you see a photo of a radio personality. It just.doesn’t.compute.

My best friends. I primarily communicate with them on Facebook. Yes, that Facebook, a necessary evil. We are all supposed to use Facebook less, right? It’s a time wasting vortex that we feed with the free time we claim we don’t have. It satiates our growing need for constant input, input, input. It’s the reason we can’t sit still and enjoy the MOMENT. But what if the need for regular contact with adults can be most easily met by Facebook? It may be my single most important tool to staying sane and out of therapy. Not even kidding, Facebook saves me copays. #cheaperthantherapy

My best friends. We call the seven of us the Funny Broads, though only one of us is actually funny (and it ain’t me). We created a secret corner of Facebook to chat privately. For about a year now, we’ve successfully battled the following life events…

  • The upheaval of a severe highway hit and run that miraculously resulted in no physical injuries.
  • The devastation of a suicide of a close family member who was discovered by one of our own. The guilt that she was too late to resuscitate him, despite her efforts. The grief that followed.
  • The isolation that is caused by severe depression and the simultaneous hope and anxiety that medication adjustments bring.
  • The misunderstanding and loneliness of untreatable chronic pain.
  • The persistence of sexual assault recovery after many years.
  • The impacts of severe anxiety on careers.
  • The preparations for a necessary, yet elective surgery.
  • The emotions of an unexpected (but not unwanted) pregnancy after a traumatic birth.
  • The grueling stress of financial struggles, despite fiscal responsibility.
  • The heartbreak of infidelity and long road to recovery.
  • The stress of two moves across the country.
  • The sadness of losing a floppy-eared family member.
  • The shock of finding a dead body while on a family picnic.
  • The never ending litany of daily inconveniences: broken appliances, diaper mishaps, bickering children, customer service phone calls, family dramas, and missed sleep.

Hot damn, that’s a hell of a list. Obviously, some of us are two steps away from the nut house. Ok maybe just one. We know it. But a beauty emerges from the sometimes messy reality of our lives.

  • The daily anecdotes of adorable children as only a mother can tell.
  • The dreams of supporting our families with not just one, but possible two, three, or four businesses.
  • The joy of a new puppy.
  • The birth of two babies.
  • The glee of our first girls’ night “in” complete with drinks. No bras required.
  • The sharing of craft projects in every possible stage.
  • The rejoicing over the tiniest of victories like folding laundry, mowing the lawn, not yelling at the kids on a rough day.
  • The advice of a virtual shopping buddy via selfies in the dressing room.
  • The support of a workout buddy or “it’s 5:30 now what’s for dinner?” idea generator.

In addition to having a place to share every single joy, we have also created a place to put the feelings that society doesn’t want to hear about. Jealousy. Selfishness. Anger. Self pity. Though obvious, it was eye opening and immensely freeing to know that I am not alone in these emotions. Is it acceptable to exhibit them continually as a way of life? Absolutely not. But why was I beating myself up for not being a perfect mother day in and out? Probably because Facebook has turned into a highlight reel. Instead, we turned it into a safe place to share and a consistent place to receive support.

We’ve fostered an appreciation for those at different stages in life and in different individual situations. We have grown to have a full understanding of why each of us is making the parenting choices we are without judging one another. Instead, we honor each mother for her rationale, even though it is sometimes far from our own. We’ve practiced respect in its fullest form which then makes it easier to avoid jumping to conclusions when seeing other moms do things differently. We’ve helped each other focus on the stuff that was going right in the midst of the most difficult situations.

It’s our training ground for helping us become the mothers we want to become by practicing empathy, by dealing with tough feelings in a healthy way, and by practicing doling out the kind of respect and love we crave from others. I had no idea it was possible to reach such a magical place on Facebook. But we did when we accidentally created our tiny little group.

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