Thursday, June 29, 2006

The quest for company

Men are great. Men as friends are great. Men as husbands are great.

I'm surrounded by men, all of the time. I have older brothers. My father and paternal grandfather are still alive. I'm married to a man. All of my close friends are male.

Enough. I need women.

Ever since I moved back to AZ I have been in search of a social network. I didn't have one in British Columbia, nor did I have time to search one out. I worked full time and had babies, which didn't exactly give me any time to integrate into the community.

Then I moved to a small town in AZ to live with my parents and still didn't have any luck. Yes, they have a tight-knit church community and I chatted with my co-workers, but it's just not the same as friends.

The other day I was trying to explain to John OC why I don't attempt to make the girlfriends or SOs of friends into friends of my own. Acquaintances I do things with and spend time with. Friends hear about my latest emotional breakdown, detailed health problems, and are allowed to drive my car if needed. There is no in between with me.

This is a matter of both personal preference and necessity. I like being close to people and, well, the kind of problems I have are intricate and personal and NOT up for public debate; but the basic reason I don't turn SOs of friends into friends is that I can not stand splitting my loyalties. If people split up (which most of the time they do) I don't want to have to play sides, or watch what I say. I am extremely loyal to my friends and my role in a break up is to comfort my friend, not spend time between the parties. Once any one of them actually marries someone I'll make overtures, but not until them.

In the meantime though I'm surrounded by men, and that needs to change. There are some things which can't be as easily discussed with men, and it would do me some good to have a social circle which does NOT involve Chris at the center. The traditional subject matter of women's circles is their husbands and there are times I just need to bitch WITHOUT hearing about how I could fix things. Women work differently than men, and I have been yearning for a circle of female friends that completely "gets" what's going on with me.

That being said, I have a hard time finding women like me. I am an odd bird. I've been through a lot, I'm really independent, and my interests are widespread and none too deep (as in not obsessive or exclusive). I don't have any real passions besides my family and my writing, and to a certain extent my baking. I don't delve really deeply into my interests like a lot of women, and so interest groups don't really help me at all. I've done a lot of different things, and my world view is definitely singular. I am a Jane of all trades, and nothing is harder to find than a person who is interested in everything. Even mothers' groups don't work, because a lot of the women don't have any interests outside of their families and their children. That's fine, but that doesn't give me a real basis for friendship since a lot of the women involved see parenthood completely differently. Which leads me to the next point...

I can't stand 90% of the women my age.

Yes, the number is that high. I come from an extremely spoiled generation, and live in an upper middle class area. I constantly run into women whose idea of hard times is when their car tire goes flat and a nail breaks.

I wish I was kidding.

Now most of them grow up A BIT when they have kids, and they learn they are not the center of the universe. Unfortunately now their child is, and must be be to EVERYONE ELSE as well. I've been to all of the parks in the area, and all of the stores, I've seen it all over the place. The balance to this of "center of the universe" child is the "be nice" child who never stands up for themselves and never shows any kind of initiative. These come from mothers who learned early in their education that no one is special, and since they aren't their children aren't.

Both types of mothers who produce these children are 90% of the mothers in Scottsdale, and needless to say I don't have anything in common with them either. The single women are just as bad, if not worse; they have no sense of proportion or perspective and have no idea what real problems are.

So that leaves me with very few women in the area I can relate to, and no real way to do it. I've been struggling with that lately, as I have very much wanted a sense of community and a sense of sisterhood.

Chris has decided to go back to the Catholic church, and I decided (separately, oddly enough) that I would like to convert. This isn't a matter of making him happy actually, since I have been wanting to return to Christianity for a while but I haven't been thrilled with the idea of going back to the churches I was raised in. I left for a reason, and that reason has not yet been addressed in any protestant church I know of. So I am going to take the classes and learn about Catholicism, and make my full decision sometime in the short future.

In the meantime it's my hope that within the church I can find the kind of woman I am looking for; the kind of woman like me, who has a broader view of things and the blinders (mostly) stripped off. WOmen with a sense of priorities, proportion, and perspective. If not, I'll be ok. But I still hope these women are out there somewhere in the area because I'd really like to get to know them.


Just call me Mel, everyone else does.