Friends who understand. Mona Risk, Linda Nightingale, Jianne Carlo, and Mama Mary
Have you given up your life as an individual to take care of your family? We can become so tied to our jobs and our families we forget to have our own lives. Mothers do this more than most people do. Those of us with dreams and passions beyond those others understand have to fight harder. Families want out attention and many of us just give it instead or arguing. Moms feel we must do everything.
When I taught school I had no time for writing or friends who didn't teach at my school or know my husband through photography. As a woman born in the early 1940's, I believed being a good wife mean giving up anything that didn't help my husband, and make me a good daughter, a great mama, and a good teacher.
Mama was the perfect example of the woman I wanted to be. She put us first in every way. She'd do anything we needed, including making sure Daddy went after his dreams and made them her own. I never heard her complain during the years she moved away from her family so Daddy could go to college with three children to support. She was a housewife and proud of it, until daddy needed for her to go to work and support us. She continued to work and became important in her own right. People all over the country, especially the "Baptist South", went to her for help. Though she became an expert, she still let her husband be the important one.
I graduated from college and married in time to escape the "free love" and "do your own thing" period. (Actually, my personality wouldn't have allowed me those freedoms.)
I have no complaints about helping my husband,now my EX, build his Photography business, but I regret that I didn't allow myself to branch out and make more friends. I don't know when I would have done that while taking care of my daughter, my parents, and my job. Many days I wondered if I did a good job in any of those areas. I didn't take time to meet other teachers or neighbors for lunch or even read books. There just wasn't money to spend for fun. Things were the way they were because I didn't know I should have taken time for more.
Once I stopped teaching I gave in to my secret passion, writing. I'd been a storyteller all my life, the time had come for me to write stories. There were stories I'd made up for my daughter and family stories I wanted to tell but other stories and characters pushed their way into my mind and took hold.
A stroke of luck sent me to Georgia Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America and friends who wrote stories. I made new friends who understood the characters who interrupted my dreams and entertained me while I drove alone. Some are still my best friends.
Scarlet Pmpernickel and Pamela Varnado
Discovering computers led me to the Internet where I found more friends. Now my friends are people who are here for me when I feel like the world isn't working. I've belonged to several critique groups and have made lasting friends though them. When I need a shoulder to cry on because of a rejection or a personal setback, I go to my friends online and my critique partners. When I need someone to celebrate finishing a book with me or just feeling good, I call my critique partners. Writing even helped me connect with a high school and college friend.
One other friend became my first reader and my friend when I told her I wrote novels at least fifteen years ago.
Hey, Linda and Toni!
One I met at a writers' conference in 1991 and she's still my buddy and one of our bloggers. Two other blogger sisters met me through GRW and they are among my favorite people.
Recently I made my way to three class reunions, one for my high school class and two for students I taught. My former students acted as though calling me Mary and hugging me was special. Yep. My kids are now my friends and I love it.
If you don't think you have time to make and keep friends, re-think that. My friends, even those I made online, helped me get though the deaths of my parents and my divorce. We meet people an we can walk away from them of friend them. A simple hello to a stranger might be the beginning of a lasting friendship.
If you put off your secret passions or delay going after your dream, you might miss it completely. There is no better time than now.
I celebrate everyday with help from my friends, some of whom I could have missed by not being open when I met them.
Tell us about someone you're glad you met and now have as a friend.
Posted by Mary Marvella | 10:05 PM | Georgia Romance Writers, Jianne Carlo, Linda Nightingale, Mary Marvella Barfield, Pamela Varnado, Toni Sweeney, writing friends | 25 comments »