We Were The Misfits
When I was going through one of the toughest challenges in my life, I was surrounded by a group of women who had a unique combination of DNA, surviving catastrophes, living victories, and life experience to support me through it. I think the correct people show up in life for us when we need them most.
Perhaps you have noticed you may attract people who are/have been going through similar experiences to what you are currently dealing with. Support groups may form naturally for us if we keep a look out for them. We should try to join these groups when they appear as they are usually uniquely effective for us in our circumstances. Like attracts like, as the saying goes.
I believe the forces of the Universe conspire to send us the people we need at the moment we need them. It happened to me on more than one occasion.
I had joined a popular weight loss program in 2012. There was a group of women who seemed to gravitate to each other at the meetings. I met each of them over several months, and one day it dawned on me I had become part of this odd little group. Every week, we would sit near each other and catch up with what was going on.
Barbara was trying to lose over a hundred lbs. She had been clean and sober for 25 years so she was no stranger to being able to figure out coping strategies. Each of her daughters had given her enough stress that would have driven your average mother to drink years ago. Her youngest had a child and battled addiction, as well. She had served time in jail. Barbara and her husband ultimately adopted their 8 year old grandson. Her older daughter struggled for years with anorexia.
Maryellen was full time caregiver for her severely disabled daughter. She had cerebral palsy and was unable to walk, feed herself or toilet. When her daughter was a toddler, Maryellen had breast cancer at age 37. She had a double mastectomy and reconstruction along with chemo and radiation. Her husband suffered a stroke and went into cardiac arrest after she recovered.
She still had a sense of humor and thought nothing of showing everyone her scars and her new breasts by lifting her shirt in the studio where the meetings were held.
Lisa had lost over 100 lbs. and was constantly adjusting to life as a completely different person. Her marriage crumbled during this process. She had twin teenage daughters.
Sue had battled eating disorders and body image issues on her way to losing 40 lbs. and keeping it off for four years. She had also delivered triplets who were premature and lived the fearful uncertainty of life and death with small babies.
I arrived in the group 13 years after surviving a severe stroke at age 35 during the sixth month of pregnancy. Maryellen was especially tuned in to the fact that I had a disability and was curious and interested in what my abilities were.
I was still walking with a limp, cane and a brace on my foot. My left arm was spastic and nearly nonfunctional.
Over the course of three years, our little group of misfits became very close as we followed each other’s struggles.
My own marriage unraveled during this time. Part of the reason was my husband’s unwillingness/inability to adapt to life with my disability.
Maryellen was agog when I told her this. She had watched me show up for these meetings for years on my own with a positive attitude and a sense of humor. Having lived with a much more severely disabled person, she was shocked that it seemed hard for anyone to live with me.
This group of misfits seemed uniquely suited to support me through my husband moving out after 28 years of marriage. I think the Universe always sends us the right people.