When Women Are Scary was first finding its way into the world and I was keenly aware that reviewers were reading and making up their minds about it, I thought I would gnaw my own arm off with the wondering if anybody liked it. Leah Heffner was one of the first people to post a review on her blog, and we instantly began blog-flirting on twitter. I’m so excited to welcome her to Unexpected today, and I think she may be as awkward as I am.
It never occurred to me that I was awkward friend maker. Going through school, there was always someone to be friends with. And even in college, once the dust settles, everyone pretty much finds a group.
But then I started to adult. And making friends as an adult is hard. Everyone seems to already have someone. And I never really had to assess my friend-making skills to know if I was good at it or not.
After years of adulting and moving and making new friends in new places, I’ve learned a thing or two about myself.
I don’t know how many of you have the privilege of watching Sofia the First two or three times a day. I am currently living this privilege, and I found an incredibly relatable character.
A princess at Sofia’s school has a pet dragon named Crackle who is a very over-eager friend maker. She talks a million miles a minute, she makes tons of plans for herself and her new friend, and she over-eagerly jumps on her new friends.
In the last few years, I’ve realized I’m an awkward and over-eager friend maker. I talk too much. I make too many plans. And I metaphorically jump on my new friends via text message. I’m Crackle.
Hi. I’m Leah. I’m an over-eager friend-making dragon.
When I first realized my awkward-sauce tendencies, I tried to change and play by some different rules. But I didn’t even know what the rules were. And I ended up feeling like I was wearing a blazer that was a size or two too small – it looked nice, but I couldn’t really move my arms or get comfortable.
In my mom journey, I at some point decided I needed to spend some time out of the house and I picked something I enjoyed doing and took the kids with me, hoping they would enjoy it too. I started attending Bible Study at a local church.
I’m a huge nerd in the classroom. I love answering questions, and doing homework, and participating in discussions, and asking questions. So obviously I’m often the least-cool person in a class.
I kept wondering why after talking to and getting to know the moms in my class why none of them ever seemed to want to have a playdate with just us so we could talk and hang out. I thought maybe I needed to sit at the “cool kids” table. Or figure out where everyone snuck off to immediately after class was over.
I could have kept wearing that too-small blazer while trying to fight off my inner dragon. But honestly, I didn’t have the energy. I had a baby who didn’t sleep and the class was the thing I did for me. So I brought all of me to the table and let it all hang out.
When I did get the opportunity to have one-on-one time with some of the other moms, it was just never a fit. I always wanted it to be. This mom stuff and marriage stuff is hard and it’s so great to have people walking it with us. But it just wasn’t.
My nerd energy from geeking-out in class helped me not mind not having as many friends as I had once had. Quality over quantity.
As I started to look at the mom friends I had, I realized I was getting to be my geeked-out self with them, and they still wanted to text me. Have play dates with my kids. Invite my husband and me over for dinner.
Instead of fighting down my inner dragon, all I really had to do was tame it, just a little bit. The women who wanted to be my friends saw and acknowledged the dragon because it was impossible to hide and decided to stay anyways.
And I felt more amazing in these friendships knowing that they knew about my dragon and still wanted to be my friend anyways.
I could text too much, too soon, and it was ok. I could talk about our crazy food stuff or our weird life plans, or my dreams of being a writer and it was all ok. Every bit of it.
Because I was being honest about my dragon. For the first time in my life I was able to say “Hey, I’m Leah. I’m an awkward and over-eager friend-making dragon. But this is the real me. If you’re cool with it, great. If you’re not, that’s cool too.”
Leah Heffner is a wife to a sexy, beard-sporting man of God and mom to two (and one on the way!) of the cutiest, funniest, and messiest kids on this planet. She is a new southerner and loves to DIY stuff (and sometimes is just as messy as the kids!) but always has a blast. Leah loves being a stay-at-home-mom and is kind of a hippy/pioneer lady. Most of all, she loves the Lord and is so excited to get to do life with her little corner of the internet and share her Life Around the Coffee Cup.