People Need People

(From The Girls From Ames, a note from Kelly to Angela)

As I finished reading Jeffrey Zaslow’s The Girls From Ames, I couldn’t help but keep thinking the same thing…

People need people.

It’s a simple concept really, but I don’t think that people rely on each other enough. I could be biased, though. I know that I am so unbelievably lucky to have all the people and support in my life that I do. My husband, my dog, my mom, my dad, my sister, all my girlfriends, guy friends, aunts, uncles, cousins, Mamaw…Lord knows that I’ve used each and every one of them to fall back on time and again. My hearts hurts for those people who may feel like they are alone. If you feel that way, I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. I am here for you! It doesn’t matter if you have just one person or ten people like the Ames girls…we need each other.

Reading about Kelly and Angela’s journey and struggles with breast cancer was very eye opening for me. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was a freshman in high school. I think I was a freshman. I remember when she told my sister and me that I felt sad, but I the thought never crossed my mind that I’d ever be without her. It’s strange how somehow I just knew she’d be okay. I feel bad though, now looking back, that I was so caught up in my own life that I wasn’t a big support for her. I mean, I can’t even really remember what grade I was in. I know by just being her daughter that gave her something to live for, but what I mean is that I wasn’t there for her to cry to or to vent to or just to be whatever she needed to be. I just didn’t know back then that she needed that or how to be it. Just like the Ames girls, as I’ve grown older I realize I may do things different now. Different situations throughout your life make you stronger, more ready.

My mom had many, many, many (and still does) people looking out for her and praying for her. See…people need people. And luckily, she kicked cancer’s booty and will be walking this weekend in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure! Go momma!

As Kelly mentioned that her friends, sisters, are there to catch her if she stumbles, “catching” someone can have so many different meanings. Sometimes it means lending an ear to someone…sometimes it means giving advice…sometimes it means throwing a party for someone…sometimes it means providing the bottle of wine to share…but whatever the case, the same things rings true…

…people need people.

I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be writing this blog if it weren’t for me finding the Operation Beautiful note in the bathroom at my gym. I needed that person to put that there. I know I wouldn’t be so happy and in love if it weren’t for my husband. I needed him. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have the guts to say what I need to say sometimes if it weren’t for my little sister showing me it’s okay. I needed her…

…and I still do, and I always will.

It’s just so true. We just need each other.

Thank you to my dear friend Casey for giving me the idea of starting a book club through my blog, and thank you to all my friends and family for reading this book with me and commenting when you were able. Thank you for bearing with me as I skipped weeks, slacked on reading a little, and took three months to finish one book! Thank you Zaslow and the girls from Ames for sharing this story and helping me to open my eyes to so many different things. I needed you all!

And so we have it…we’ve shared our final book club blog post on The Girls From Ames…our final cup of coffee together.

ang

 

 

Talk About It

I’ve never in my whole life been the kind of person who openly talked my feelings or thoughts…all my feelings…with anyone. I haven’t had trouble sharing all my happy feelings and cheerful thoughts. That was never the problem. However, when I’ve felt anger, disappointment, guilt…when I’ve had thoughts about negative body image or feelings of “not good enough,” I just haven’t had it in me to share.

Well, until now.

Okay, so maybe I don’t actually speak about it all the much. I’ve done many eating disorder recovery speeches at my former treatment facility, but other than that my words have mostly been on paper or in my head…or now on this blog.

I use writing as a form of sharing my feelings. It’s not quite the same as talking, but it works just the same for me. I’ve never actually considered myself a writer, an actual writer…I just figured I was someone who likes to write short notes to people or little blog posts, sometimes just for fun or sometimes meaningful. Does that make me a writer, or just someone who writes? (This sounds much similar to the question of whether or not I could call myself a runner.) Then, while I was reading my book club book The Girls From Ames, I came across a line on how Kelly defines the word “writer”…

“…the word “writer” can be defined broadly. It’s about expressing emotion. It’s about helping people think. It’s about using words to understand herself. It’s about helping other people find their own words.”

So…I guess I am a writer.

I’ve said before that I feel like it’s part of my life’s mission to do whatever I can to help prevent future eating disorders. It is a problem that is too un-talked about and too widespread. I try to talk as openly and honestly about my experiences, although I haven’t shared the entire story on this blog yet. Many of the emotions and situations I went through can be stored in the “embarrassing” category. But that’s okay. When I have the opportunity to share these things I know that it may help that person who is feeling the same way but is too embarrassed or scared to share. And it not only can be helpful to others, but it helps me stay grounded in where I am today. It reminds me of how far I’ve come, but how important my experiences are.

It helps me to understand that God has a plan far greater than I’d ever imagined for myself.

So I challenge you to talk, or write, about it…whatever “it” is for you. Because more than likely there is someone else in the world feeling the same way, but she or he thinks they are alone.

We aren’t alone in our struggles or our strengths, and the greatest thing about people and community is that they are the best support systems.

Oh, and by the way, you are looking gorgeous today (even if you’re still in your pajamas that consists of a baggy t-shirt and shorts…like me! :) )

ang

Kelly and Me. Me and Kelly.

Good afternoon pretties! It is funny how almost each week I can relate my book club posts from The Girls From Ames to something that is going on in my life. This week’s post is all about the chapter Through Kelly’s Eyes. However, you do not have to be reading the book for the content of this post to have meaning for you. Also, if you are not caught up on the reading, that is okay…here is what you may have missed so far:

Kelly and me. Me and Kelly. I’ve said from the beginning of reading this book that I don’t think I have very much in common with Kelly. I thought Kelly seemed a lot like my sister…more of a free spirit, not afraid to say what is on her mind. I don’t think those two descriptions necessarily describe me. I mean, if you say something that upsets me, I’m probably just going to keep it to myself. I have this nifty talent (sarcasm) for pushing down and burying my not-so-happy-go-lucky feelings.

Well, that was the case…until I started writing this little blog.

Anytime I’ve ever had a pressing issue on my mind, I have found it worlds easier to write about rather than talk about it. I remember in fifth grade when I got my first “boyfriend.” I was so excited and embarrassed at the same time, but I wanted my mom to know. So what did I do? I wrote her a note. Whenever I knew I needed real help with my eating disorder, what did I do? I wrote my mother a note. I’m pretty sure that my husband has a secret stash of all my old notes to him throughout the past nine years.

So, this blog is just a compilation of a bunch of little notes that I want to share with the world. It is a place where I actually can speak what is on my mind without feeling scared or embarrassed or judged.  It is a place where I can actually see myself relating to Kelly Zwagerman on so many levels.

Like Kelly, I have also given much thought to the question of who I am now and who I want to be as I continue through this life, and I find myself coming up with the exact same answers…

“I want to be a strong female role model.” I’ve always, always, always believed in leading by example. I feel like now it is my duty to live a life fulfilling a positive body image and healthy lifestyle.  

“I want to be an inspirational and motivational teacher,” or rather nurse in my case. I so desperately want to work as a nurse in an eating disorder unit so that I can give hope to patients and hopefully motivate them to take the right steps toward recovery.

“I want to be a parent (someday) who builds a network of love and support for my children.” Goodness I want to be a mom someday…..so, so much. I can’t even look at my husband without getting giddy imagining him and me being parents someday.

And of course, I too, “want to be a kind and caring friend.” 

I truly, from the bottom of my heart, support Kelly on her “health as opposed to glamour” focus. I’m not necessarily opposed to glamour…I’m definitely a girly-girl who likes to paint my nails on a daily basis and wear make-up to workout in. I enjoy getting all dolled up for things and feeling pretty. So, maybe I’d say something more along the lines of “healthy is glamorous.”

We definitely do need to “combat” this culture that has been created through the media that thin equals beautiful. We’ve been given countless images, literally unreal images, to compare ourselves to…to make ourselves feel unworthy. Less beautiful.

But, if we all can look deep within ourselves, we know that our beauty does not come from a size. It does not come from a weight. It does not come from a lack of cellulite. Or wrinkles. Or stretch marks. Beauty does not come from these things that we have been told over and over again in magazines.

Beauty truly comes from inside. From your heart.

And the fact is, we’ve been taught that too, from early on in life. We’ve all heard our mothers tell us that it doesn’t matter what’s on the outside, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. However, I had a coach once tell me that for every negative thing you say to someone, it takes eleven positives to counter the one negative. So how can we fill ourselves with the thousands of positives we desperately need to counter everything that magazines and television are throwing at us?

Well, here are my eleven:

  1. You have a beautiful heart. You are so caring.
  2. Your smile lights up a room.
  3. You are so talented. Think of all the good you can do with your talent.
  4. You are so loving.
  5. You are so worthy of being loved. Someone is sure lucky to know you.
  6. You are a nice person. Your kindness is overwhelming.
  7. Your personality is so welcoming.
  8. You are thoughtful.
  9. You are radiant.
  10. Your kindness is contagious.
  11. You are gorgeous just the way God created you.
Thank you Kelly, for making me realize that my words can serve a purpose. Hopefully these eleven on this little blog took one negative away from someone reading it!
I guess we have more in common than I thought. :)
ang


A Life Too Blessed For One Girl

This week’s chapter, Coorporation and Appreciation, from The Girls From Ames was a lot about family, and family is so utterly important to me. I am so grateful to have grown up in such a loving home and to have such amazing relationship with my mom…

…like Jane, I can imagine her saying, “I want them (my kids) to become happy, fulfilled women who feel a sense of pride in themselves.” Her happiness and pride for Maggie and me was/is contagious, and she has always made us feel like the two smartest, most beautiful girls in the world. She has a humble smile and a spark in her eyes when she looks at us. I think she can look at us and know she’s done a wonderful job raising us. I hope she knows.

Because I’m not a mom yet, I cannot give myself a grade on motherhood like the girls from Ames did in this chapter. I’ve always been somewhat of a perfectionist, and I rarely accept anything less than an A. I know, though, that when the time comes and I have the opportunity to be a mom, if I put in just half the love, caring, determination, dedication, and hard work that my mom put in, an A will be a walk in the park. When I look back and think of everything she did for my sister and I, I almost can’t believe it. A+ for you mom.

I have a beautiful relationship with my dad…

…as mentioned in the book, studies show that most men would prefer to have sons. I know my husband has dreams of raising boys and coaching them to become  team of elite, professional athletes (which is why I’m pretty sure we’ll be having all girls!). However, I think for my dad it was different. I don’t actually know, because I never asked him if he ever wanted to have a son, but the way he interacts with Maggie and me made me believe that God meant for him to have girls. I think from the second I was born he fell completely head over heels.

Like the girls’ husbands and daughters, I think my dad and I also bonded a lot through activities. I can remember when I was younger (and had dreams of playing in the WNBA…true story) my dad and I would play game after game of one on one basketball in the driveway. He made me feel like I was really good by letting me beat him over and over. Thanks pops.

And then there’s my sister…

…she is my best friend.

When we were little, though, I kind of considered her a bully! I mean, she hit me with barbies, made my nose bleed, and threw spoons at my friends! She was always grounded for doing something bad, while I was a perfectly-behaving princess. :)

As we have grown a little bit older, we have also grown so much closer. I think Jane wishes are right on when she says, “…and most importantly, I want them (her daughters) to really love each other. I always say to them, ‘Friends come and go, but you always have your sister.’” As I’ve come and gone through different stages of my life, my group of friends have always come and gone, as well. I will admit that a lot of that is my own fault, just not staying in touch well enough. But through everything, my sister has been there. Everything.

We don’t talk or see each other quite enough for our liking, but when we do get that quality time, we can stay up for hours on end just talking. I think we “get” each other in a way that many people just don’t understand.

Now those were just the people who were put in my life without a choice! You all probably get tired of reading about it, but I still cannot truly put into words how lucky I am to have found the perfect person to spend the rest of my life with and someday start a family with.

Like the girls, I’ve thought a lot about what it takes to make a marriage last forever. I like all their line of questioning…”How does he make me feel about myself…how attentive he is…the quality of life he brings to my family.”

Well, he tells me how smart and pretty I am about a million times a day, he still gives me butterflies when I see him, and I am always ecstatic when he comes home…so I’d say I caught a good one! ;)

And as always with The Girls From Ames, this chapter placed a lot of emphasis on the importance of friendship.

I mentioned earlier how my friends have always come and gone throughout my life. I truly believe now that I am in a place where my friends now are friends for life. These beautiful girls are always there for me, waiting to lift me up, give me hope, make me laugh, or just make me feel awesome in general! I have also had the opportunity recently, living in a new town, to make new friends…something I’ve always been somewhat afraid of.

Also mentioned in the chapter is an organization called “Girlfriends For Life,” an organization that emphasizes how important women’s relationships are in times of depression or crisis. I think they put it just right when they say,

“Sometimes the only think keeping a woman from falling over is the girlfriend right beside her.”

Thanks Zaslow and the girls from Ames for another delightful week of reading, and reminding me how important everyone is in my life.

I live a life too blessed for one girl.

ang

“Honey, Are You Crying?”

That’s what Matt asked me last night as I was reading this weeks chapters from The Girls From Ames.

“No,” I replied as a wiped the tears and snot on the sleeve of my oversized night shirt.

“Yes you are. Why are you crying?”

“It’s just so sad!”

This weeks reading made me think a lot about my beautiful Wish Kid Gabi. And it made me think about her gorgeous mom…and her dad and all three of her adorable sisters. I’ve only met them all a handful of times, but they all have an amazing, unmistakable presence about them. They all seem so positive, even with that evil cancer invading their lives. They all seem so grateful…grateful for Gabi’s good days, grateful for their good health, grateful for their blessings, but especially grateful for their families’, their friends’, and perfect strangers’ prayers for Gabi.

While I have had the opportunity to be a part of Gabi’s wish experience, I have thought  lot about what it would be like in her mother’s shoes. Then, reading the chapters Their First Child and Tears in the Ladies’ Room, I thought even more about being a mother. Maybe it’s because of my age, maybe it’s because many of my friends are having babies soon, or maybe I just have a bad case of baby fever, but I worry more now about something happening to my future children than something happening to me. I guess that’s just a mother’s instinct. If only I had a nickel for every time my mom said, “Just wait…when you have your own kids someday you’ll understand why I worry,” I’d be a rich girl right now.

So when I hear these stories of daughters being diagnosed with cancer, yes my prayers and thoughts go out to these girls, but my heart just breaks for these mothers. I’m sure the only thing they want to do is just take all the pain out of their child. Gosh, I want to take the pain out of their daughters so that they won’t have to feel that burden!

My heart goes out so much to Karla and to Gabi’s mother. I truly can only imagine their pain…and I’m sure that doesn’t even come close to the reality.

As for these two amazing girls, Gabi and Christie, their courage is outstanding and beyond admirable.

As Zaslow writes about Christie’s positive outlook, I can’t help but read in disbelief. How could she be going through so much, yet always find the silver lining. I was touched when I read one of her quotes from her Caring Bridge site, “Life is good, and you just need to take it day by day. Be thankful to see the sun rise and set each day.”

Honestly, there is probably not a better piece of advice in the world.

And then I think back to a quote from Gabi on her Caring Bridge site. Let me back up a bit and give you a small history on Gabi. She is a ten year old girl who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her leg earlier this year. After much consideration, Gabi and her family chose to have rotationplasty, a rare surgery to cut out the tumor and to give her the best chance to continue to do the things she loves (she’s a little dancer). This is not a small decision for a ten year old girl, and her mother was worried about her self esteem, how other children might take it, and how Gabi would feel about it in the future. Gabi’s reasoning (as quoted from her Caring Bridge site),

“That looks really weird, and it will probably take me a year to get used to it.  But at least I will be able to dance again.”

Courage.Out.Of.This.World.

So during times of my own trials and when I feel like I’m being tested, I will try to remind myself that life is good, and at least I can dance.

ang

Rest in peace Christie Rae Blackwood, and to all those who read this, please keep precious Gabi in your prayers during her recovery!

 

Book Club Post…Five Hundred and Thirteen Pages

Finally…book club is back (like, four years later)! And since nearly half a decade has passed since I have written about my girlies from Ames, I have four whole chapters to recap (yikes!) So, I’ve decided to do this post a little differently so that I don’t end up writing a nine-hundred and seventy-three page book report!

For each chapter, I will pick out my favorite quote, and then write about what that quote means to me…then you can do the same (if you want to)!

The Intervention

Studies suggest that the average girl today is likely to grow up to be a lifelong dieter, to have a distorted body image, and to be emotionally scarred by cliques.”

Poor Sally to have to go through that. It takes a very strong person to come out of such a devastating situation with so much forgiveness.

And, of course I’d pick this quote in this chapter. The most disturbing word here is “likely”…the average girl is likely. A couple paragraphs later this “likeliness” is referred to as a “national crisis”. A national crisis indeed!

When did we (girls, women, media, people) become so mean…so comparing…so judgmental?! I’m not saying I’m innocent either, although I like to think that I keep other peoples’ feelings in mind before I speak. But again, I’m not innocent. I catch myself making comments about people on television, about people I see in a store, about myself. Then I feel like a hypocrite for preaching about owning your beauty here on my blog.

However, I do think if we all (as in everyone in this world!) could make a conscious effort to change the way we talk about other people, change the way we talk to ourselves, and stop comparing ourselves to other people (easier said than done, I know), then we could change this “likeliness”.

I read a quote from Lolly on twitter today that read,

When you know who you are~you are more accepting of others.”

This sentence is so true. Live it…..and remember that you are deserving and beautiful and admirable…and you will see those traits in others, too!

FBB and Other Secrets

There were times when they felt humiliated or ashamed and kept it to themselves.”

I chose this quote because it is so me. I definitely find it hard to talk about the difficult things in life, and I’d rather people view me as a happy person! But I have learned to keeping up a happy face is not always possible…..and that’s okay! The funny thing about it is, whenever I actually have talked to someone about my problems, I always feel better afterward…then I can actually go back to being happy!

Defining Love

“‘I think we’re meant to truly love one person, to have a life partner.’” 

Okay…so I loved this chapter!!! (Of course this sappy, lovey-dovey chapter would be my favorite!) I feel like I can relate so much to Karla in this chapter. I feel incredibly lucky to have found my life partner…my soul mate…my one true love! I agree with Karla in that I believe God put two people in this world who are just meant for each other!

And I can partly agree with Kelly. I don’t necessarily agree that a person should have a new love with every stage of their life. But, witnessing my mother get married last year to a man that is not my dad has made me believe that it is possible to love more than once in a lifetime. I know that my parents loved each other, and without that love, my sister and I wouldn’t be here. But I also know that after so long, my parents were not right for each other. Now my mom is happy in love again (and I’m working on my dad…anyone know any lovely, single 40-50 year olds?! Hehe!)

And although I don’t have children yet, I admire Karla’s love for her daughter, too. I believe when I am a mother I will feel that same way. I also loved the quote in this chapter, “The girls watched her snuggle with her baby, partly envying her and partly wondering about the ways in which loving feelings would swell inside them when their time came to be mothers.” I feel the same way when I watch other people with their babies, and I just cannot wait to be a mother someday!

“If Not for You”

Women need other women.Dare I say…sometimes women just understand better than men. I adore my husband, and I will always tell him everything, but I will always need some lovely lady to rely on. I’ve always had my mom and sister there for me if I ever needed anything, and now I feel like I have a strong core of girlfriends that are always there for me, as well. I know that my mom feels a lot of the time that I am grown up and don’t need her anymore…but mom, I will always need you. (And you too, Maggie, and all my girlies!) Always.

Sorry…this did end up pretty close to a five hundred and thirteen page book report! What were your favorite quotes of these chapters? If you aren’t that far, or just aren’t reading the book, what do these quotes mean to you?

ang

Sheila and Kelly

If you are often guilty of not stretching enough (like me), stretch while reading! You can easily do a leg straddle stretch with a book out in front of you, pigeon pose, or butterfly stretch. Hold each stretch for one or two pages, then switch. Give it a try!

This week we read about Sheila, the “vivacious, flirty, bubbly, and busty” girl from Ames, and Kelly, the “disarmingly outspoken” girl from Ames. Both of these girls’ stories make my heart all happy inside, and at the same time they are very sad.

It was fun to read about Sheila, and to keep this lighthearted, my favorite part was when they girls recalled an old letter of hers which talked about Ted Stoner, “‘He is definitely 2320123!’” Sheila seems like such a fun friend for anyone to have.

It is incredibly sad to hear about, or read about, a person dying at a young age. I remember watching the movie about the Notorious B.I.G. and how he died, and I felt so sad watching it. I never even liked him or listened to his songs, but it just seemed like it wasn’t fair that he died so soon. I feel the same way for Sheila (I bet she’s never been compared to Biggie Smalls before!) She obviously touched each of the other ten girls’ lives in such a big way, that she probably would’ve made a big impact in many other peoples’ lives as well, had she lived longer. But, her story just reminds me that everything happens for a reason, and her story reminds me to be grateful right now for all the people and opportunities in my life (P.S. I’m grateful for you!)

Questions: Have you ever lost anyone who was very close to you? How did you deal with the sorrow? How do you remember and celebrate his or her life today?

So far in my life when someone has died, I have felt more sorrow for the other people who mourned them. I love my grandpa and grandma dearly, more than I can say, but when my grandpa died, I felt so sad for my mom. I wanted to take all her pain away. The same goes for my grandma…I love her so much, but all I could focus on was making my dad happy again. As I get older, the fear will always be there that I will someday lose someone very close to me…that’s just life. Like the Ames’ girls continue to do, I think it’s important to talk about the lost loved ones in order to continue to celebrate their existence and to deal with the sadness.

Now on to Kelly! Kelly definitely seems like someone who would be fun to be around, but she would probably make me nervous (sorry Kelly!) I still want to compare Kelly to my sister, Maggie, even though she doesn’t think so. They are not literally alike, but have so many of the same qualities: outgoing, good writers, passionate about certain issues, good at making me feel nervous.  Sometimes when I’m around Mag-pie (and more so after a couple of drinks) I think, oh boy, what is she going to say?! An example comes to mind…when she was staying with me in my first apartment and some guys came to the door to invite us to a party, they asked her what her name was, she replied, “Maggie” (duh), and they said, “Maggot?” She then replied with some words that I won’t write on my blog :), but I remember I slapped her for it! But she typically says something that everyone else is already thinking but don’t have the guts to just say it. I admire her for that! I also admire them (Kelly and Maggie) for the fact that they are so passionate about many important issues. Change for the better is only possible when there are people like them behind the cause.

Questions: Are there any issues in the world today that you are passionate about and willing to fight for? How do you advocate for them?

I’ve never been one for politics, therefore I never used to think I was really passionate about change…until recently. Now I feel like one of my reasons for being is to advocate for eating disorder awareness and to promote positive body image. I do this by writing this blog, by being a SoleMate, by giving recovery speeches, and by example. These are just small things, I know, but if a whole bunch of people are passionate about the same thing, maybe one day it will make a difference. One can hope!

I also admire Kelly when Zaslow talks about how she didn’t write about a famous hero when asked to for her English class assignment. It was such a bold move, and even though her teacher didn’t appreciate it, I think it actually says a lot. I do wonder, though, if Kelly would have an answer for that today.

Last Question: Who is your heroine?

Duh, my momma and sister! :)

ang

Marilyn and Karla

This past week I went back out to Borders and bought The Girls From Ames so that I could highlight and write in it. I don’t think the library would appreciate it if I did that in their book!This week we read about Marilyn and Karla. I must admit, I ended up highlighting a lot of Marilyn’s chapter…I feel like in a lot of ways I relate to her (although in a lot of ways I am very different), and her and Jane’s friendship have a lot of parallels with the friendship I had with my best friend in elementary school.

I, like Marilyn, had a fear of disappointing my parents. I also have a very guilty conscious that doesn’t allow for sneakiness.  An example comes to mind…

The first time I remember lying to my mom, my sister and I were grounded from using the computer (for reasons I don’t remember). While my mom was gone, I got on the computer to chat with my friends. I remember shutting the computer off and leaving the computer room just how I had found it when I was done…but when my mom got home, she knew someone had been on it (it must’ve been her mom-magical-powers). She asked my sister and I who had been on the computer, and at first I said that I hadn’t. Then I immediately burst into tears and exclaimed how sorry I was. To this day my sister (back then a non-Goody Two-shoes) tells me that I just shouldn’t have said anything and mom would never have known. She is probably right.

Especially after that incident, I was afraid to do anything at all scandalous. I didn’t go to parties, I didn’t drink, and I didn’t try to lie…I had nothing to lie about. I’m sure that people thought of me as a “Goody Two-shoes” like Marilyn, and back then I desperately wanted to fit in somewhere…somewhere more popular…but now that I have grown into an adult girl, I am thankful for my Goody Two-shoesness. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without that and my Goody Two-shoes friend.

Megan and I…we were two Goody Two-shoes in a pod. We spent so much time together as kids that even our moms became best friends. Like Marilyn and Jane, we were at ease in each others’ houses and with each others’ moms. We have a plethora of memories together, and were been a part of each others’ lives through good times and through some really difficult times.

Personally, I don’t have as much of a connection with Karla. Well, maybe I do, but as soon as she was described as “cranky” (i.e., the very first sentence of her chapter), I think I dismissed that chance. Having acquired the nickname “Happy” at a young age, I tend to go through life trying to be happy every chance I get. However, I feel I can understand her longing to stay close to her children, especially after her own experiences with being adopted, even though I don’t have kids of my own yet.

Even though I have changed my career path a few times in my life, the one thing I have always known that I was meant to be was a mom. I know that God put me on this earth to be a wife and mom. I know it. In that way, I can relate with Karla wanting to be close to her children at all times.

The one line that stuck out the me the most in this reading was in a conversation that Marilyn had with her dad:

For some reason, I always have this fear of losing people. I remember shopping with my mom when I was a little girl, and I would get scared if I couldn’t find her. Now as an adult, I am afraid of losing my friends. My hubby and I just moved a little ways away, and I fear that the distance will literally take them away from me.

I know that is silly, because our friendship means more than a few extra miles…but the fear still lingers there. I know I don’t see my mom or dad or sister nearly enough…and that fear lingers there, as well. However, like Dr. McCormack described…I know if I ever need anything, I can give them a tug and they’s be here for me in an instant…all of them.

ang

They Still Call Themselves “Girls”

I snatched up The Girls From Ames from my local public library last week. A few days later I picked up the book and began reading. After the first page I had wished that I had bought the book because I have the urge to highlight just about every other sentence! Instead, I’ve doggie-eared about half of the pages from the intro and first chapter.

Just into the first few pages, my throat started to knot up a few times…I have a feeling this book is going to be beyond emotional (at least for me). I think that I feel over-the-top emotional as I’m reading because I am relating it so much to my own life and my own friendships. I’m already picking out which girls I most relate to, and which girls are most like my friends (and family…because you are my friends, too.) 

I was surprised at first when I read in the intro that they still called themselves girls, but right away, I appreciated the honesty in that statement. Growing up is a funny thing. When I was a kid, I thought people my age were so old! They have jobs, marriages, families, bills…OLD! However, now that I am “old,” I still feel like I am that girl in high school. I’ve coached middle school and high school age girls in volleyball, and I felt like they could be my friends…that was until I realized I was ten years older than them! A decade!

When I am around my friends though…I am that girl…I feel like a girl, not a “woman” and I am okay with it. I kind of hope that I always just feel like “a girl.”

I know I posed the question which of the eleven girls do you most relate with, but I’m going to take the easy way out. I read and reread trying to pick out which girl was “me,” but I just couldn’t pin-point one of the girls. I saw bits and pieces of myself in each one of them…well, except for Kelly. Kelly definitely seems like the most outgoing girl of the group, and right away I relate her to my little sister. Just like the other ten girls looked to Kelly to ask the question that they were all thinking but were too afraid to ask…that is kind of how my sister was for me. I didn’t buy a thong until I found out she had bought and worn thongs (yes, the panties, not the shoes!) I didn’t drink until after she drank. I even made her ask out my mom’s now new husband for her, because I was too scared!

I relate to Marilyn as she is described as a bit of an outsider. Growing up I had a lot of friends, but I was never totally “in” with all of their groups. I relate with Sheila for having the dark hair and being the little girl everyone thought was cute. I relate to Karla for “not always being sure of herself.” While I feel sure of who I am as a person now, I still have an insecurity when it comes to meeting new people.

How did we all get here? The girls in the book don’t really remember how they all arrived at being best friends. Is this the same for you? I do remember meeting my first real best friend the first day of kindergarten. My anxiety and insecurity with meeting new people has been a part of me all my life, but I guess at age six I didn’t let it get the best of me! I remember getting on the bus my first day of school and finding another kindergartener that I thought was pretty. Then I simply asked, “Do you want to be my friend?”

Thank goodness she said yes!

Now, as an older “girl” living in a new town with the same anxiety about meeting people…I wish I could just go back to being that six year old girl and just ask the people here if they want to be my friend!

Aside from my family, my closest friends now are friends that are newer in my life…friends that I’ve made since being married (and through being married); therefore, for the most part, I remember when and how I met each one of them. Now, how we became best friends out of all the other girls we know, I think that answer could only come from God.

This is the same for the bloggie-world. I have “met” some girls through reading their blogs, and I have felt an instant connection with some of them. How did we get here? How did I find my way to their blogs out of the millions of blogs out there?!

There was another line in the book that caught my eye. Zaslow talks about how the girls are popular and not afraid to “strut their stuff,” but that they are actually insecure individually. I think this is true of almost all adolescents, and probably true in many adults. I’ve already admitted to having anxiety about meeting new people (amongst the zillion other anxieties I have), but a good group of friends is powerful.

You girls give me a security that I would not otherwise have. I believe that is why God gave me YOU…He knew what I needed, and He provided me with it.

I’ve talked too much now about myself and my thoughts…not it is your turn. Tell me what you think! (Please!)

ang

P.S. I LOVE this book!