I just spent the weekend with my eight girlfriends. There was a time in my life where that sentence would be followed by eight more of analysis. (If analysis can be used as a nice word for judgment, which I’m not sure it can). She was a pain in my ass, she is too skinny, she doesn’t understand sarcasm, she’s self involved, she has too much time on her hands, she could be more ambitious, (why isn’t she more like me?)
I’m not proud that I have had these thoughts, and sometimes I’ve even said them out loud. But they are old thoughts, and they come from a place that I rarely know anymore.
These are not the same eight friends. Well, some of them are. But that’s not the interesting part – whether the women are the same or different. What I realized today, as I was driving home from the first 24 hours I have been away from my children in most of their lives, that the interesting part is not my friends are not different, but that I am.
A life lived with judgement chokes the soul’s potential. I am not sure when I learned that, but it was probably somewhere in there with labor pains.
I am not suggesting that as I got older, I got better. But as I got older, I see better. I see that everything I ever thought, every judgment I ever had, was a block I made against getting close to other women.
I always found men to be easier friends. You know what they think, they make you laugh, they think you have a cute smile, nice curves a fast brain. You drink with them and that’s that. But women are harder. They smile with out their eyes. They compliment in a light shade of purple. They strut, they giggle, they glare. They are quiet.
In the last few years, I have opened up. I don’t think it is a coincidence that it happened after I had children. I see my friends and the work that they do, the women they are, the mothers they have evolved into, the friends they manage to still be, and I am floored with respect, gratitude and love.
These days, sometimes, after a weekend like this, I have eight such “analysis” for myself. I am fatter, slower, less ambitious than my friends. I am not willing to have another baby, because I am too selfish, I let them cry it out, I don’t have firm beliefs on god. I am tired, I don’t want to get up at 8:20 and run, I like drinking too many glasses of wine.
But today is different. Today I drive home with no judgement. On them or on me. I leave with a light load, a sense of gratitude that they put up with me this long. I’m free.