Monday, April 29, 2013

52 People Project - Jenn Smith

This is my "52-People Project" where I reflect on some of the people I have had the pleasure of walking side by side with on this journey of life. I hope to write each week; there will be no specific order.

This project is for me. As far back as I can remember, I have struggled with feeling alone. I look on Facebook and see 500+ friends and it boggles my mind. How can a girl with 500 "friends" ache from loneliness on a consistent basis?

We all tell ourselves stories that validate what we feel on the inside. We tell ourselves stories about why the jeans don't fit right, why we deserve to buy something we can't afford and why that girl doesn't like us. We justify our hate, our prejudices, our insecurites, and our fears with our stories. We are good at it. There are many stories I tell myself but the one I seem to have been telling myself the longest is the one that feeds into the ache of being alone. Perhaps I want to be strong enough that I don't "need" people. Perhaps I just don't want to ache even more when a relationship falls apart or a friend moves away. Perhaps I just long to connect more deeply with people than I feel they want to connect with me. I don't know, but this is my attempt to change the story I tell myself and to focus on the people who have held me up and who have loved me along the way.

I will begin with Jenn Smith

I met Jenn on the tennis court. She had on red shoes. My co-captain and I were trying to build a great 4.0 team and we were scouting out new players. After seeing Jenn hit the ball, we quickly asked her to be part of our team. It took me 6 months before I could remember Jenn's real name. I called her "the girl with the red shoes".

Jenn was quiet and somewhat mysterious. She is not one who opens up quickly. Each time we would spend together it was as if she was slowly opening the pages of my favorite book while I eagerly awaited the storyline to unfold. She was kind and thoughtful. Many nights we would extend just "5 more minutes" until past midnight talking over a cup of coffee at Shades of Brown. Needless to say, I would be the one doing most of the talking. She helped me feel interesting and significant...she still does.

If you don't know Jenn, you are missing out. She is amazing. She is incredibly creative. She can take anything and make it beautiful. If you have been in the gardens of Philbrook Museum of Art in the past 7 years, you have seen some of her work. You should see what she has done with our backyard!!! She is also musical. She sings and can play a mean guitar. To top it off, she is an athlete. We did our first (and only) triathlon in 2009 and she smoked me in all 3 events. She is great at anything she puts her mind to...that is just who she is. This inspires me!

Jenn and I are very different. I am the ying to her yang. Or maybe it is the other way around. While I am more laid back and disorganized, she is much more structured, tidy and aware of every tiny detail. Where I am more likely to be drawn to budget, precise measurements and numbers, Jenn is more likely to feel her way through life and is guided by beauty and balance. I tend to be a planner and sometimes have a hard time letting go and having fun. Jenn has helped me learn how to relax and pause long enough to see the beauty in the simple.

We don't always get it right as we navigate this life together. She has learned what "red-headed temper" means and I have learned what it is like when two incredibly stubborn people try to figure out who is right in an argument. But we find a way to work things out and we continue to learn from each other each day. She loves me in spite of the socks I leave all over the house, the toilet paper holders I leave empty, the times I talk when she longs for silence and the collections of drinking glasses I leave in the bathroom and on my night stand. Jenn knows my secrets...the things I wish I could hide forever or change for good; she knows my struggles and my inconsistencies and she still accepts me and chooses to stay.

I want to grow old with her. I want to sit next to her as we watch the boys walk across stage at graduation or down the isle to say "I do". I want to celebrate retirement and grandchildren with her by my side. I want her hand to hold when life hurts and I need to know that I'm not alone.

Jenn is my very best friend and I am so thankful to be sharing this journey with such an amazing girl!

Until next time,