Okay… I’ve seen two Broadway shows and have read 4 or 5 books since my last post, but I don’t have the time right now to gush about them. I promise I’ll get to those at some point soon. Because I have read some good books… and some crap ones. And both the Broadway shows I saw were really great (The Bridges of Madison County and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, for those who are actually interested…).
No, this post is going to be about friends and my really great weekend (well, Saturday) with some friends who I haven’t seen in about 3 years.
I love my friends. I have some really good friends in the city and I’m grateful when I get to see them. Some I see once a month. Some I see every couple months. Some I talk to multiple times a day via Facebook messaging or text messaging. One of my most favorite people in the world doesn’t live in the city, but we talk every few weeks on the phone. (Though last week we talked two nights in a row for multiple hours each night and it was glorious.) This weekend I was able to reconnect with three lovely women I went to grad school with. I haven’t seen them in years and we don’t really talk much outside of some Tweets here and there or comments on Instagram, but we had a really great day together talking about our common pasts, our differing presents and our plans for the future.
Now, I’m the kind of person who was always friendly with a large group of people but who only has a handful of really close friends. I have often said that I would actually be content never interacting with other people, but since I can’t be a complete hermit I an fiercely loyal to the close friends I do have and genuinely enjoy spending time in a more one-on-one or small group setting.
To put it mildly, I had an odd week last week and was ready to be a shut in for the weekend so I could work on my book. But, out of the blue a friend who was visiting the city asked me out to brunch on Saturday and then a couple other friends who were in town for a conference were free to hang out that evening, so I ended up having a jam-packed Saturday with old friends instead of spending it alone hunched over my computer.
I honestly haven’t had that much fun in awhile.
At brunch, my friend and I kibitzed for a couple hours over bottomless mimosas and filling carbs. I was planning on heading home before I went out later that evening, but she invited me to go to the Met with her. So, we tipsily made our way uptown to the Met and walked around the museum for a few hours ogling priceless works of art and priding ourselves in being able to identify various painters and sculptors even though we had a super great buzz going on. I had never been to the Met, so I was super excited (as I love art and history and art history). My favorite exhibit was easily the Ancient Egyptian art and artifacts. But the whole museum was great and we took some selfies with the statues, which was fun.
We weren’t tipsy by time we left the museum to meet our other friends at a bar. Once there, we started drinking again, so after my three pints of beer and cider, I was feeling pretty damn good again. Not only was I riding high from my delightful beverages, but I was having an odd afternoon of high self-esteem.
It is probably not a huge surprise that I have medium to low self-esteem most of the time. Even though I know I’m a very smart person who has good manners and morals, I often am down on myself for not knowing where my life is headed or having the kind of financial or social stability that a lot of my peers and family members have.
(This is where you insert the comment about how you’re not supposed to compare yourself to others because your life is your life.)
But I was feeling really good about myself while I was hanging out with my friends and even still today.
See, the friends I was hanging out with are all college professors. We all graduated around the same time from our masters program, but then the rest of them went into the doctoral program whereas I found myself drifting away from our shared major. I never really felt like part of our program (even though I totally graduated – woot), but I was friendly with these people and continue to admire them for their successes. I’m proud of them. I’m proud of their accomplishments and that they are important people in their field and presenting at conferences and all that jazz.
Heading into the weekend knowing I was going to be seeing/hanging out with a group of college professors (while I am merely a dog walker), I was super surprised when they all were really gung-ho about how I just up and moved to NYC a couple years ago and that I’m writing a book.
See, while I see myself as a lowly dog-walker who is struggling to find her purpose, my friends actually see me as a writer.
I mean, I tell myself that the dog walking is just a job, not a career (because it’s not a career… I cannot do that forever, especially after this terrible winter. That Polar Vortex actually almost killed me), and I want to be a published author very, very much. I am determined to get this book finished and published. It is happening.
But there is something really flattering and wholly humbling when people you know and admire think that you are doing something awesome. When you have such a low opinion of yourself, it feels like you won the lottery when people you believe in believe in you too.
And I know that sounds terrible. I know that. But it’s the truth.
So for the first time in awhile, I felt really good about myself yesterday. And that encouragement from my friends stuck with me today as I sat down and wrote another chapter.
But it’s not just those friends who are helping me see that maybe – just maybe – my dreams could be a reality. It’s all my friends and family.
See, when I was having my multiple phone conversations this past week with one of my most favorite people who doesn’t live in the city, she told me that she started reading my book. (I sent her a draft via email awhile ago and she’s now reading it… woot.) Even though I know what I’m writing is not something that she normally would read, I was bowled over when she said that she thought it was good.
I know the book has trouble spots. And I know it’s going to need some serious help in editing. But with the support and encouragement from friends who I respect and love, I am able to love myself and my work too.
Besides the nice things my friends have said, I got a real boost from my brother the other day. He said that he’s really inspired by how hard I’ve been working on my book and it’s inspired him to work on the website he’s designing and the other side projects he’s been working on outside of his schooling. And even over the holidays, he brought up how impressed he continues to be of the television shows and videos I worked on when I was in college. Even though he’s my younger brother, I look up to him and how accomplished he in in his fields. So, to hear that he is inspired by work I’ve done and the work I continue to do is a little mind boggling.
And maybe I don’t love myself as much as I could, or think as highly of my own work as I should, but even this little surge of self-confidence from my friends and family has helped so much.
I know if I don’t thank them as much as I could or should, but Thank You. Thank you for your stories. Thank you for your time. Thank you for listening to me. Thank you for venting at me. Thank you for caring about me when perhaps I’m not caring as much as I should about myself.
I hope I am able to be that kind of support system for the people in my life who need it the most. I hope I can make you proud and I hope I can make myself proud.
Things just seem so much more possible when you don’t have to go it alone.
I hope everyone had as much of a productive (and fun!) weekend as I did.
(Dude, I played Cards Against Humanity for the first time… holy shit, that game is amazing.)
Have a good one