IF YOU WANNA BE MY LOVER
Ah, the Spice Girls. What seventh grade girl didn't really, really want to be them? And what middle aged mama still doesn't? It may have become less about being sporty or scary, but finding my own girl group still holds a top spot on my hits list.
Meaningful friendships have always been important to me. As an only child in a small town, I often felt isolated and desperately craved group camaraderie. And as a grown woman in a crowded suburb, I still do.
But unlike my preteen past, I now have some non-negotiables. And one of those is that I’m not willing to make friends at the cost of fitting in.
I think we live in a country where women have become chameleons. They change with the current rage. Our bodies are told to conform to sunken in rib cages and skinny waists. Our faces don't show marks of beauty, those are banished by Botox. Our clothes, our bags, our outer selves change with the latest Instagram trends. I remember when I thought getting my nails done was a luxury. Now it’s a necessity, an accessory. Women are told we must constantly up the ante to be liked, loved, adored, accepted. And god forbid we feel. We are always fine. How are the kids? Fine! Our marriages? Never been better. If there’s a real you, it’s hidden behind a designer shoe. And I just can’t buy into that sponsored ad anymore.
If I’m being honest, somewhere along the line social media held my real-self hostage. I observed my surroundings, and just like that gecko, I wanted to be unseen. I wanted to blend in. I didn’t want anyone observing my cracks and blemishes, only my beautiful moments, my highlight reel. So that’s what I went with—a portion of my life, the prettiest parts.
But as it turns out, you can't make a connection through carefully worded posts and perfectly filtered photos. All you can do is start comparing. And that’s not what I came for. I wanted the real women. I didn’t want to surface schmooze, I desired depth. That's what I craved. But you gotta giveth what you taketh, and I certainly was not doing my part. My public profile showed no signs of imperfection. I never disclosed a bad hair day let alone my husband’s bad heart. And it made me wonder, what was I projecting to the world? Who was I attracting? If I craved authenticity, shouldn't I be authentic too?
The day my daughter was diagnosed with autism I opened a private Instagram page. It became my journal, just for me, holding the moments I am the most proud of and the most ashamed of. And because it’s for my eyes only, the writing is unfiltered and heartbreakingly raw. Filled with a lot of fear—and maybe a sprinkle of strength.
But what I started to realize was that even though no one was reading it, it felt dang good to reveal myself. The pretend posting seemed icky now, sharing anything but my truth would no longer suffice. I wanted to be free and seen in my entirety. Naked and not afraid. And if we’re going to be honest, the only reason I’m opening it all up now is completely selfish: I think the people who I need the most are out there, hiding in plain sight. I desperately want to find what feels right and who feels real, and by exposing myself I hope others will do the same. And there will be my tribe. My girl band.
So what I want—what I really, really want—is this:
I want to be friends with someone who not only likes my photos but likes me. And likes every aspect of me. They like the me that is curated photos with ten thousand filters, and also the me that is just flesh, bones and flaws—walking this earth, trying to figure it all out.
I want people who can say “I get it” instead of “I can't imagine.” We may not have the same story, but feelings are universal. After all, who hasn't struggled, lost perspective, overcome, had their heart broken, ate way too much and secretly unbuttoned her pants in a restaurant? I want someone who has gone through the thick of it in her own way. Not so we can commiserate together, but so we can form true community.
If you show me yours, I'll show you mine. My heart, that is. It's full of things I will willingly tap into for the right person. The loyal and loving person who will giveth and taketh with me. It's all yours.
*I will not however be showing you my stretch marks, cellulite, and sagging lady lumps. Lights off on those areas, please and thanks.
Sharing is caring. Tell me how you are, how you truly are, and ask me the same. And please don't be disappointed when I can't give you the canned answer of, "I'm fine." I will know my audience, trust me on that. I promise not to start sobbing at your daughter’s princess party, but I can't guarantee I won't need you to love me deeply at times. I likely won't ask for your help, but if you could just lend me a hand, I will hold it forever. We will all have storms, and I will stand by you when yours come too.
Laugh with me. Make me tinkle. Make me snort. Let's care less about material things and more about memories. A girls night out is good for the soul. Let's find the time. And let's do it together.
I'm sure there's more, like being able to accept my fast food fetish, and reality TV indulgences, or love my children as your own, but for now those are the basics. I'll be your Ginger Spice if we can just promise to share our real selves: the good, the bad, the unmentionable.
Let's start a band, you and me, and never breakup.
Glitter and platform heels optional.