A Young, Sassy, Pre-Kid Randi with Alex in NYC
An Older, Still-Sassy, Post-Kid Randi with Katie in Orlando
I recently spent two days with my college roommate, Katie, at her house in Orlando. When I left, after hours spent talking about every known topic with this woman who gets me on every single level, I felt like a salve had been applied to my soul. I also felt thoroughly depressed to leave her.
Katie wasn't my first best friend. I had different best friends throughout my school years. And she wasn't my last. I became fast and intense friends with Alex, a woman I actually cast as myself in an autobiographical play I wrote, produced, and directed in my twenties in New York. (It may sound narcissistic, but she is truly a soul-mate.)
But that's when my line of best friends ended. Not coincidentally, this coincided with breeding. I had Stella, suffered the worst postpartum depression I could have imagined, then withdrew from everyone. Then we moved to Louisville, where I jumped head-first into an intensive career (see my previous post), worked my rear-end off to reverse the effects of PPD, then got pregnant with Sam. Although I didn't suffer the same debilitating PPD with Sam, having a baby makes socializing nearly impossible. Don't believe me? Try carrying on a meaningful conversation while making sure you son doesn't pull a chair on top of himself or grabs at your shirt because he wants to be fed or suddenly needs a nap or poops all up his back and into his hair or throws a tantrum because you won't let him teethe on your cell phone. It's challenging.
So now I find myself intensely lonely. This may surprise people because I am fairly extroverted. I know a lot of really cool people here in Louisville and am not shy about talking to them. I have different circles - work friends (or I guess former work friends - sigh), Moth storytelling friends, fellow friends in the birth work field, college friends, friends through our synagogue, and mom friends I've made through social media and new moms groups. Among this varied group of people, there are women who feel like they could be Randi's Next Best Friend, an honor I'm sure they all covet. I just don't know how to get there.
I talked about this with Katie, who shared that she has similar problems finding a local best friend. We both feel like creepy stalkers when we ask for new friends' phone numbers. And even when we get past that, we don't know how to make the leap from talking about our babies and our jobs and the bands we like to talking about our views on God or nitty gritty secrets about our relationships or the fears that drive our anxiety.
So, this is a new goal of mine, along with eating better, exercising, and meditating, which are always on my self-improvement list. First, I will nourish my existing, long-distance friendships. Alex and Katie deserve much more than the infrequent phone calls I've given them, and I look forward to being in the loop of their wonderful lives again. But I also need to nurture my friendships here in town. I hope that with my less-emotionally-consuming career choice, I'll be able to have the energy to go out and get dinner with people more often. I hope that I'll again have that person I can call when I'm angry at someone or elated about something or deeply confused about which path I should take. I also look forward to fulfilling that role of shoulder to cry on when her life takes a downward turn. I look forward to feeling really connected once again.