Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Day I Met My Imaginary Friend


I am the eldest of two girls.
It was just me and my parents for the first three and a half years of my life.
I got all of their attention then because I was, obviously, their favorite.
When they told me I was going to be a big sister I was overjoyed!
A new playmate!
I didn't really understand how babies are pretty much not down for playing tea party, or catching balls that you throw at their heads until the ripe old age of three.

While my sister was a wee tot, taking her sweet time to grow up, I had to do something.
It was kind of boring being the only one who could legitimately communicate with those alien adults up there.
So, I made up a friend.
We read books together.
We told each other secrets.
We were joined at the hip.

My mother loves to recount the time that my imaginary friend had accidentally been left behind on a trip to the grocery store.  Apparently, always one with a flare for the dramatics, I started screaming from the backseat to, "Stop the car! Stop the car!"  
My imaginary friend was chasing us alongside the car, according to my three-year-old self. "He has to come with us!" I exclaimed. 
That sweet mother of mine graciously stopped the car, let my imaginary friend in, and buckled him in.
Bless it all.

Here's the deal: I still have imaginary friends.
They're called celebrities.
Some of my favorite imaginary friends are Mindy Kaling, Ellen DeGeneres, Ingrid Michaelson, Adele, Ellie Goulding, Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, & Jen Hatmaker.
I am convinced all of these women and I would get along famously (pun intended).
We would all laugh, and gab, and drink tea, and have tiny tea sandwiches, and we would love each other, and braid each other's hair.
They're my imaginary friends.
We will do as I like in my mind.
Until I actually meet one of them.

It was not too long ago that I met one of my imaginary friends. 
Her name is Glennon Doyle Melton.
You guys.
I love her.
She is, like, imperfect perfection.
If you do not know, she blogs over at Momastery, and is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Carry on Warrior.

 A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to go to a retreat with my friend/mentor, Cathy.  The entire reason we decided to go on the retreat is because Glennon was going to come and have a private meet and greet with those on the retreat.
There were only, like, 25 of us there.
We were going to be in the same room with her.
Breathe the same air as her.
Talk to her.
Maybe even kidnap her and put her in the trunk of our car and take her home with us!
Ehhh...I mean...get to know her?

ANYWAY, after an amazing Friday evening and Saturday, we all gussied up for Glennon's arrival.  It was kind of an incredible transformation.
All 25 of us went from yoga pants, sweatshirts, and messy hair, to looking about as fabulous as a 1995 Glamor Shot.
The room buzzed with nervous excitement.
I started to get sick to my stomach and anxious.
As in, I was tearing up at the thought of meeting her before she even got there.
Then, the clock struck 5:00 pm and Glennon Doyle Melton walked on in.
There she was!
You guys.
She was lovely.
She was so personable.
She was her authentic self.

As she made her way around the room, hugging all of us, I started getting more, and more emotional. 
I couldn't even deal.
I started crying before she even got to me.
By the time she got to me I couldn't even say anything to her!
I just hugged her sweet self and then decided to never let go.
No, really.
Like the freaky weirdo that I am, I was bawling, and literally had the thought,
"Girl, you best let go of me first, because I am never letting go!"
Then, she did something that endeared me to her forevermore:
Whilst hugging me she took her sweet hand and placed it on the back of my head.
Kind of like your mom does and you think,
"Oh mom, you're the cutest."
But when Glennon did it I was like,
"Holy crap! Glennon Doyle Melton is obsessed with me!  We are best friends!"
After she peeled me off of her, everyone else got a turn being freaky fan girl 2015.


Honestly, I was a little surprised by my reaction to meeting Glennon.  I really didn't anticipate that I would react so strongly towards meeting her. 
Since meeting her I've recounted the story to my friends and family- laughing at my silliness of it all.

Although, really, it isn't silly at all, when I think on it.
I believe the reason why I got so amped over meeting my imaginary friend is that she means something to me.  Her words have left their imprint on my heart.  What made meeting Glennon all the more special was that she was who I had hoped she would be in my imaginary dreams. 

I asked Glennon how she protected her heart.
How she maintained the boundary between "blog Glennon" and "real Glennon." 
You know what she told me?
She said there is no difference.  She just is who she is.
If you ask me, that is what makes all the difference.
That's what makes the imaginary real.

Perfect strangers do not approach me on the street crying, asking for me to hug them because they're, "such a fan."
But they do approach me and ask for my kindness.
Maybe not directly, but I think that is what we are all asking for.
We all just want to know that someone else sees us.
Someone else gets it.
Someone else, friend or imaginary stranger or both, knows that this life is hard.
It really sucks sometimes, for all of us.
But that is just it- for all of us.
We all get to do this life thing together.
In a way, we all get to be one another's imaginary friends.
We all get the chance to be what we hope for ourselves.
And that, dear heart, is what makes all the difference.


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