Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Guest Post: Build Your Own Confidence

Today's post is by a guest blogger, Meg's beautiful sister-in-law Julie. She is a great mom to her three beautiful children and an avid reader. She has also become great at bringing women together, as you will see in this guest post. Since the incident she describes here, she's also started a monthly nickel auction that was featured on KSL news, and she's a founding member of her neighborhood book club. Megan's favorite memory: "While Julie was dating my brother, she was bored because she wasn't living near very many of her friends. She took me to get a manicure with her (which made me feel special as an awkward 13-year-old), but the girl at the salon must have written it down wrong, because she took me back and put a cape on. I almost got a hair cut while Julie laughed in the front. When we finally sorted things out, I ended up with awesome blue nails and a new friend who later became my great, supportive sister."

Shortly after my husband and I got married, we bought a home in a new city and had a baby boy. I had achieved my dreams in life: go to college, get married, have children and be at home to raise them in a strong family environment. These events did not come easily to me. I had to work hard and fight to obtain them. I should have been happy to finally achieve my goals, but no one tells you being a stay at home mom is actually lonely, that all the jokes and rumors are true. I also looked around and realized I was the new girl. The neighborhood women already had their social circles and clubs established. Why was I not quickly included? Couldn’t they see I felt excluded?
How could I find happiness? My sister told me about a playgroup she was involved in. Women sitting around talking while their children played? Why had I not thought of this? I wanted to be in a playgroup! I chewed on the idea for 4 months before I gained the courage to begin my very own. I made a list of six other girls I wanted to be friends with and gave them a very scared phone call.
I did not anticipate the overwhelming response. “What a great idea! I would love to participate. I was hoping someone would start a playgroup. I could use a social hour.”
You see, I didn’t know that the skinny tall beautiful girl who could have passed as Rosalie Hale (from Twilight - you know you love it too) would be just like me. She may not appear awkward or nervous, but she still feels the same emotions as I do. We are living in the same lonely cruel world of self doubt. All women are united through our own sabotaging thoughts. We all want to be loved and included.
Once I believed I was their equal, I became their equal.
This one act of courage started me on a path I like. I figured out how to survive and find joy. It is still a daily battle to believe in myself and to like who I am (we all have bad hair days). But I make choices that push me to grow and stretch my compassion for others. Get involved. Find your place in life. If there is not one waiting for you, create it. We all just want to be included.


Lis said...

I moved recently too, and though every one is friendly, I want some friends, so I decided I was going to make some friends. I went to an activity and picked a couple people to talk to, and I talked to them and sat by them and made sure I found out a lot about them. I've found the best way to get friends is to make them, not wait for them to come to you. It's scary, but it pays off.

Miri said...

That is so hard to do! I am really impressed with you both. I just want to point out that, like Julie said with the Rosalie girl, it is really easy to assume things about people before you get to know them, and if you can get past that you might actually find a really good friend.

My freshman year of college there was a girl named Kristina in my dorm. I got the impression that she didn't like me for some reason, so I decided she must just be a snob, since we'd never even talked. Then one day she sat next to me in church and told me I had a pretty voice, and we discovered that for some reason we'd both been thinking the same things about each other. After that we were really good friends for the next two or three years, and it was so silly because for no reason at all we'd made these assumptions about each other that might have prevented us becoming friends if she hadn't come to sit by me that day.

This happened again a couple years later, with a whole apartment of girls who all became my really good friends. So the moral of the story is that (like Megan said in her last post) women are often more intimidated by each other than by men, and it's easy to write each other off as snobs or whatever else when the truth is that we're all probably just shy or nervous.

Emily said...

Thanks, Julie that is just what I needed this morning. It's funny how little things trigger the self doubt, like for whatever reason, dropping Natalie off at preschool I feel like all the other moms are judging me on how I'm raising my child. Yet that's silly. They most likely don't even think twice about Natalie or me. They are probably wrapped up in their own lives as they drop off their child.

The Prigmore Family said...

Inspiring Julie. I so struggle with making new friends. This might just drag me out of my shell and help me make a new friend. It seems like you've gotten great results once you got over the fear. Way to go!

Mary said...

Julie! I miss playgroup!! It's so hard to see our kids getting older, and adding more kids too! But you are such an amazing person and inspired to make those phone calls. You have no idea how many of us we actually "saved" by those weekly play groups.

Mandolyn said...

So true! You’ve just put into words how I’ve felt so many times! The irony of it all is that I've continually been impressed by Julie’s innate talent for bringing people together since I met her over a year ago. I never would have guessed that she so purposefully has developed that talent! Goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover (or a book club by one of its creators!). Thank you for sharing!

Anne Marie said...

Thank you, Julie!! I loved this post so much. I have always been so grateful to you for starting that play group and I will always have a special place in my heart for all the moms and kids we got to know so well. I just loved those days and I miss them! I have always admired your ability to reach out to others, and especially to just BE REAL about yourself, your family and your life. It's inspiring, and I appreciate your example so much. I have been debating starting a book club in my "new" ward (of 2 1/2 years now!) and maybe I will just actually go through with it now!!! :)

Jenny in Utah said...

This is a great example of the whole parable of developing talents. I would have never thought that it would be a difficult thing for Julie because it all seems so natural, just who she is. We all have things to work on and develop to not only help ourselves, but to bless others. (as I have been blessed by Julie)

Thanks for sharing, this was inspiring!