A few months ago I was cruising around Facebook being nosy by clicking into friend’s pages, looking at their friends, and so on (c’mon, you all do it), and I ran across a girl I knew of in high school. She’s now married to a guy my best friend dated in high school. (See how that Facebook cruise went?) Anyway, she’s a year older than me and I may have talked to her a couple times at school but likely not a lot. But I knew who she was. She was very pretty, had a gorgeous smile, and always seemed to have happiness inside. When I found myself looking at her Facebook pictures a few months ago, and then her blog, the happiness she had inside 18(ish) years ago was now magnified by infinity (and beyond).
I started reading her blog. It was funny, witty, and she wrote the things I wanted to say. She is crafty – like I wish I still was – but she does it properly; she learned how to knit and crochet and she freaking makes knit hats and purses from old sweaters and scarves. Anyway, I stalked her blog for a couple weeks. I thought, my goodness, this woman must be so completely happy. She has everything she wants. She is now married to the love of her life (the love just POURS out of their pictures), they had a baby, she has 3 other gorgeous children, she has a supportive family, she’s insanely talented and, as if that isn’t enough, in my blog reading I found out that when she’s not having babies she works as a hospice nurse.
So, obviously, I had to stop reading her blog. I mean, I had to. The feelings of inadequacy just rolled over me and I nearly sobbed. (I may have actually shed a tear or two). (Side note: why do we women always hold ourselves up to other women to gauge our worth? It is so counter-productive. Why do we always think someone else’s life is so much better than our little lives?)
Anyway, I went about 6 weeks without reading her blog but every once in a while I would think of it. I would say, hmmm, think I should go read it? And the insecure chick that lives in my brain would say, “Hell no! What are you thinking?” Do you see? The mere thought that her perfect life existed was enough; I didn’t even have to read her words to feel sorry for myself.
But, at the same time – I started this blog because of her. I thought if I could just be 1/10th as talented as she is that would be a real accomplishment. She’s doing it – she’s doing her passion and I’m not. I had a really hard think. Soul-searching. All I ever wanted to do was be a writer. I don’t think I’ll ever be published but the least I can do is write this itty-bitty blog about my life. And it’s because of her. I’m jealous and grateful all at the same time.
Then an odd thing happened. I went to her blog tonight for the first time in weeks and weeks and in her recent posts she distinctly said her life was not perfect. She admitted fears, real-life concerns about money, feelings of inadequacy because she’s decided to temporarily quit nursing to be a SAHM, and she admitted to feeling a little lost. Part of me wants to reassure her – to tell her the powerful influence she had on me. The other part of me is rejoicing a little. I can’t lie. She’s not perfect. She’s human. I still want to be just like her – but she’s REAL.
I wanted to send her a message to tell her what she did for me (to me) but I couldn’t figure out how so I’m doing this instead. Joni – I am in AWE of you. You have raised 3 gorgeous children, divorced and found the man you love, and then gave birth at home to a 10 lb baby. You had the balls to do what was so absolutely right for you (and your family) and quit your job. You pursue your life and you absolutely LIVE it. I am inspired by you.
I’ll close, naturally, with a Jane Austen quote on sisterhood:
But we must stem the tide of malice, and pour into the wounded bosoms of each other, the balm of sisterly consolation.
Edited to add a link to Joni’s blog: http://joni-ishouldwriteabook.blogspot.com/