IMGP0099That’s me, pretending to know what I’m doing.  I didn’t.  I never wanted to get married, much less have kids, and then two kids… both with special needs, but there I was.

Bottle in hand (theirs AND mine) I managed to pull it together, just enough, every single day to get through colic, cerebral palsy, autism, nervous breakdowns (again, theirs AND mine)…

But what was upsetting me the most?  What was keeping me from feeling like a ‘normal’ person?  Relationships – relationships with human beings over the age of one.

I MISSED MY FRIENDS.  I had moved away many years before and lost touch with everything ‘home’ almost immediately.  Not being there was more painful than I could face on a daily basis. So I did what I did best – disappeared. Completely my emotionally extreme, self centered, phone fearing fault because there was no social media and no damn way I was picking up a pen to write a letter.

I MISSED MY FRIENDS.

I was struggling, internalizing everything.  I was cooped up day in and day out without any way to, ‘Julie Style’, sensationally, scream out for help – until one day… Facebook.

Ahhhh AAAAHHHH!  The heavens opened, the angels sang. The choir played just for me.  Kicking and screaming, this computer illiterate studio art major gave in to what I thought was total BS… social networking.

Five years and a swift kick in the butt from my husband later…

I made friends!  I found old friends.  I began communicating with groups full of like-minded film and photography folk.  I became connected to people in the special needs community, and ‘Oh Glorious Day’ – the theater!!!  My God, they were out there, weirdos like me, and not so much like me, ready to interact and become an important part of my life.

For five years, FIVE YEARS, I had holed up, refusing to come out, fearing someone might realize that I didn’t know what the heck I was doing.  Until that life altering day, I found and ‘re’found my friends.

The light in my eyes had gone out.  Momma eyes took over but they were focused and fearful.  When my friends came careening back in, the light ignited and the fear was gone.  I was able to be honest with my family, the world and finally, myself.

I want to say thank you to my forever friends who accepted my sorry butt back into the fold (without question) and I want to thank my new friends for accepting my special brand of crazy and welcoming me into the amazingly gracious circles that they had established so many years before.

Without you all, I would be.  I was.  But with you, I am more.  Much more.