Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Girls I Don't Really Know


When I first moved to Texas from Tennessee in 2008, I felt like I had a clean slate.  A fresh start.  My last year in Tennessee was incredibly hard, dealing with divorce proceedings, an unpleasant work environment, and a real depression that had set in so subtly, I didn't even recognize it for a while.  So along with a new job and a new home in the Lone Star state, I had a plan.  I had plans to lose weight, to better myself, to recover from my divorce, to make new friends.  And so I joined Weight Watchers, went to counseling, attended two whole 13-week sessions of Divorce Care*, and I signed up with a Dallas Christian Young Adults group on Meetup.com.  I lost weight, I began to heal, and I met Tanya, Chrystal, and Brandy.

I went to exactly one meeting with my Meetup group.  It ended up being a small group consisting of me, Xan (the organizer) and his lovely girlfriend (now wife) Jasmine.  We met for brunch in Addison, had nice conversation, but for some reason, I never went to any other scheduled meetups.  A few weeks after this meeting, I got an email from Brandy, another meetup member.  She wanted to get a few girls together for lunch, and I was invited.  After church one Sunday, I dropped off the kids that rode the church van, and I drove to Dallas to meet her at a Cafe Express.  It turned out to be just me and Brandy at that lunch.  The other girls couldn't make it, but I was so excited to see how normal she was. (I have since learned that she is better than normal, but I didn't know it then... I was just happy that she was not weird).  We scheduled another time to meet up with a few other girls, and a few short weeks later, we did.  Meeting Chrystal and Tanya was much like meeting Brandy, I kind of loved them right away.  Chrystal was a teacher, Tanya was a studying to be a teacher, and Brandy was a social worker/ counselor who wanted to switch career fields to become a teacher.  Teaching is what I do.  So it was like we were meant to be friends. And when I would talk about these girls in conversation, I would refer to them as "the girls I don't really know". And the name stuck.

A month or so passed by, and the four of us made plans to travel to Granbury, Texas to do a little Christmas shopping.  Granbury has a cute little square filled with antique shops, a few restaurants, a theater, and a coffee shop.  And around Christmas time, it is especially cute.  After a delicious lunch at the Pearl Street Station, photos with Santa and random street performers, and a little bit of shopping, we headed to Glen Rose for a Christmas version of the show The Promise.  It was freezing cold and we had not prepared for the elements.  I purchased a horribly scratchy wool blanket for only $15 and we bundled up and enjoyed the show. On our way home from the show, we shared our stories... the details behind how we got where we were in life... and we bonded.  It's amazing how sharing your story frees other people up to do the same. And so we talked and drove and ended the trip knowing each other far better than when we started.

Over the last few years, the girls I don't really know (even though I do know them now) and I have scheduled multiple lunches and dinners and celebrated birthdays and engagements.  They have attended the shows I have played, and they are always a huge encouragement. We have laughed and cried and listened to stories of breakups and life changes.  I have learned from them and I am continually impressed with their wisdom and responses to the things that life has handed them.  And it has been fun all along the way. We don't see Tanya much any more, but we keep up with her on Facebook and she is missed.

In a few weeks, the lovely Chrystal will be getting married.  We have been witness to each step of her relationship, hearing the stories and watching her and Josh take it slow, even though she broke her own rule of waiting a year before getting engaged.  I am kind of proud of her for that.  Brandy and I will be there as she walks down the aisle and says her vows.  I will sing a song as she walks down the aisle... don't worry, she has asked me to do this.  And we will look forward to the things that come next in our lives.  New relationships, new jobs, growing families. And along the way, we will pray for each other and encourage each other and meet up for coffee cards and dinners and desserts.  And those are the things that make friendships last. These girls have become a solid part of my life.  We do not talk everyday, but they are the kind of people that I could call on for anything I need.  I am blessed to know the girls I don't really know. And one day (I promise you girls) I will come up with a more appropriate name for our little group.

*Divorce Care might be one the best things I ever did for myself.  I recommend it to anyone who is going through a separation or divorce.

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