Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Repost: Just Me

From January 23, 2009


Growing up, I had very few friends and mostly boys at that. Even after I came here back in 1987, I tended to befriend boys easier than the girls. I did belong to a group of 12 girls that I still keep up with, but my most meaningful and memorable friendships were with the opposite sex. Of course, after a while, the eventual spread of unsubstanstiated rumors got the best of me. I started to feel uncomfortable about having so many "guy" friends. At my wedding reception, it was very apparent that most of the guys that attended were "of my party". I think it was because I grew up with four older brothers that I got along more with the boys, and having a younger sister and an even younger step-sister made me act more like a second mom to them rather than a friend or mere sibling.

Like I've mentioned before, it got to me. I wanted to have some real "spill your guts out without fear" kind of female friends, but I guess it's just not that easy for me. Sure, I have Facebook, but I see that as more a storefront to how many friends (or the friend of a friend of a friend) you could link up with. It's great for genealogy though! In comes blogging... In blogs, thru comments bantering, I find my equals, my mentors, my life classmates. It is exhilarating!

Just like many, I started just to have a quicker way to log down the day's adventures. I didn't really share it with others in the beginning, but as I found more friends from back in AZ and the comments they get, I was able to see just how many women out there see things the way I do, feel the way I do, about their families, careers (they gave up), relatives and friendships.

In real life, I quake in my boots to talk to many women because gossip and husband bashing eventually becomes the "special of the day". And then there's the jealousy aspect of hearing about and being with other women. I grew up surrounded by all of that and I really try to avoid it, so most women, they don't understand that about me. Very few in fact, because venting is women's main crutch to hold themselves up. I do vent a lot, but not about my husband or another woman who I think is prettier than me or more talented, but rather my venting is more about "why am I so different from most women out there?" "Am I afraid to be a friend or are they afraid to be my friend?" It gets pretty tiring, you know, not to have someone close by to talk to.

Of course, I can't count the exchanges of given and shared advice because that comes with the territory of being a woman and a mom, much less an LDS mom. Thru blogs, I've found and met talented, beautiful, resourceful women who know how to bring a repeat audience into their cyber journals. I've met women who are truly hoping for a miracle because their faith is what sustains them. I've met women who are so creative, they can write about things that I've never thought about or hoped to remember again.

Being LDS and a mom, I read a lot about the great childhood they had and have used it as bonds to connect with others, but me, there was nothing like that: I had to learn things on my own, find things that bring out what's good in me, on my own. As it turned out, it was food and children. I dress my tables in the most appetizing way I can because that's how I respect food- growing up hungry and all (Just like Sandra Lee, I know...). I was a lonely child then, so children from lonely homes seem to find me and they find that connection thru my own very friendly children. My best callings have been in serving children.

My daughter L-Infinity, 16, last night said, "I'm so glad you are the kind of mom who stops what she's doing to listen to what I have to say." (funny, since I was dusting the table while she told me this) "I hear many of my friends, LDS or not, complain about their parents not listening or being too strict to talk to them, and then they meet me, then you, and ask me how we do that."

This is my true self; I am lifted up by children's innocence, their need for attention and my respect for food. The few friends that I count, it is because they let me be who I am though we don't seal it with scheduled lunches or shopping trips. I've been told that I don't take care of myself enough or that I could do with more ME time, but that's not who I am. I love staying home because I moved so much in my lifetime. I love to read children's stories because I never got to. I didn't like much mystery then (my kids do now)(I'm a fan of the supernatural) because the books belonged to my brothers. The other things that I can do, I learned from all the LDS women that have crossed my path, and for that, I thank Relief Society.

I love reading others' blogs because I see myself relaxing; by laughing with them, it helps me remind myself to laugh at my own situation and appreciate the small things in life. I cry with those that poured their hearts out. I scream with those frustrated authors. I rejoice and go ga-ga over posts about beauty, rewards, accomplishments, discoveries and great talents. I read them all because each one makes me think, and boy do I love to think! I read and I leave a comment because, as one of my friends reminded me, she reads all of her comments. (Thanks, Lara!)

I could write about how I didn't like the "weaning and potty training" stages of my children plus I hate ironing. Or that if I have my way, I would only make Filipino food all the time, but I'd be facing a sure mutiny in the near future. How about how our diva of a cat still thinks the new couch is her biggest scratch post despite the awesome cat tree my dh made with his own hands. Or, that I have a habit of not finishing projects, that I am a literal zombie due to a family with 3 schedules. What about that I'm afraid of growing veggies of my own despite promises to my 9-year old enthusiast. Or even how I like to observe people, though I am not a people watcher, being able to decipher reactions pretty accurately. But truly, I find all that frustrating and awful to remember (but it's funny reading about it in y'alls blogs!).

So... I write in my blog about things that are good in my life; careful to focus on the highlights of the day. It's not to have a perfect front (as others like to describe it), but to show anyone who wants to linger in my blog, my own struggle to appreciate the life that I now enjoy- which only took about 20 years to receive. (So yes, I feel somewhat hurt when other blogs claim that "only good news" blogs like mine are only fronts to cover up the bad. I find that it's a little bit judgmental. Just a tiny bit...)

You see, I'm a faithful sap, meaning I look at each blog as a different chalkboard to take notes from, from different teachers of life. And just like different teachers, bloggers have different ways of looking at their lives and which part of it they wish to share. (Just sayin' y'all...)

I feel that everyday is a gift; not because mine is never as chaotic as most people's (oh, the stories I could tell you!), but rather, at the end of the day, I make a choice- to dwell on the bad but funny or the good that makes me hang on to my sanity and show my family how great they truly are. This is my journal after all, plus we talk about how funny and imperfect we are (even with visitors) that we can all laugh about it now rather than later. Right now, everything is still surreal to me- a great husband who truly cares about me, three wonderful and beautiful children who can hold their own and a life that I am truly grateful for despite the lack of excess in resources.

Back in 2007, I taught in RS a lesson about how gratitude leads to happiness. I recall being so inadequate to teach it, but equally excited to share the good news. I came out of it just as well fed as those I hopefully fed with my lesson. It spoke of how gratitude leads to better actions and decisions that bring about happiness. But to me, throughout my whole life journey so far, my pursuit of happiness has been my source of gratitude... It's been the only consistent workout routine I've been able to stick with! To the women that I've truly connected with (you know who you all are, thank you so much!). Those that taught me much thru your leadership, thank you. To those that left a kind word with me or my family, we are in your debt. And to those new, I thank you for letting me know I'm not an alien, just different...

Why write this long missive? To show all of you how much I love all blogs, except those truly offensive of course. My talents now were born through your examples. But most of all, I am still a woman who secretly wants to be just like all of you. I've been different my whole life, and it's getting pretty tiring you know? I truly want to get to know you and your friends. Share this post with them and see how many other women out there can relate to me.

Thanks for letting me "read your eyes off"... 'Til next post! :D


Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

Chandy, this is a beautiful post. Thank you for honestly sharing yourself. I am realizing as I read how much I have in common with you. I also started out getting along much better with guys, probably because I went to all girls schools in high school and college and know how the world of women can be treacherous. But eventually my best friends are women because I've been blessed to meet some amazing women I was able to bond with. I am glad you are true to yourself. You are amazing and I enjoy reading what you write.

Jan said...

You know I get this. Thanks for opening up and sharing. It is good to be open sometimes like that. Very healing I think.

I can tell that your sweet spirit would be easy to love. We will conquer our challenges together right? Thanks.

Hansonpatch said...

I grew up in the middle of boys so I know how you feel. I had more boy friends than girls as well, until I too suffered from gossips ugliness. I don't like husband bashing, I don't like competition (unless it is in the game or sporting kind). I feel the same way you do, I only wish I would have realized you felt the same way before you left! That is possibly why you were wondering why you were different-because every woman that was similar to you was similarly afraid of having a close friendship? That has been the case with me.

Chandy said...

Thank you ladies! It's quite healing to know that I am not an alien! ;-)