Itâ€™s Monday. Iâ€™m already worrying about Friday.
A couple months ago I thought it would be a great thing if a couple friends and I signed up for the womenâ€™s retreat. Weâ€™re all fairly new to our churchâ€”wouldnâ€™t this be a good way to get plugged-in and meet a lot more people? I encouraged. I prodded. And now, as much as Iâ€™d like to, I canâ€™t back out of my own idea.
A few of us are long time friends, a few are new-ish. Iâ€™ve never spent time alone in a hotel room with any of them that’s for sure (or seen them in their p.j.â€™s, for that matter), and Iâ€™m nervous.
How do you approach, you know, the stuff?
What if I snore? What if one of them snores? Or what if one of them snores and asks me if she kept me up all night with her snoring? I canâ€™t lie for pity sakeâ€¦Iâ€™m on a spiritual womenâ€™s retreat where lying is not on the agenda.
I canâ€™t even think about three or four people sharing one bathroom. That frightens me. Literally.
The next question is, â€œHow do I show up for breakfast the first morning?â€ Do I act like Iâ€™m okay in my own skin and not spend much time in front of the mirror? You know the minute I donâ€™t, there will be an entire table of ladies who spent way more time on looking good and Iâ€™ll feel completely undone. Being female is not an easy task. If only some house rules were established, Iâ€™d be fine. Letâ€™s start with these: a) No makeup allowed; b) Showers are optional; and b) No games allowed where you have to guess which farm animal is taped to your back or any other silly ice breaker. Guidelines or boundaries would surely up the enrollment to these things.
Then thereâ€™s the whole vulnerability issue. This is the part I think I hate the most. Iâ€™m an emotional person, but on my own terms, and I like to keep it together in front of people. But something happens when a bunch of women get together. No one can talk without crying, everyone feels inclined to share their deepest secret, a lot of singing in small rooms is encouraged, chocolate is consumed at all hours of the dayâ€¦dear God, whatâ€™s wrong with me to think like this?!
Pressure. Insecurities. Fear of the unknown. You name it, women experience it.
But why do we have such a difficult time with ourselves? Maybe Iâ€™m speaking to no one but myself here. [Insert: tell me to go read my old blog called The Bag-man Cometh. Or Seeth.] That begs the question: When was the last womenâ€™s retreat you went on? Maybe you, like me, have just avoided them altogether so you never have to experience this emotional train wreck. Next time maybe I should ask for the private room rate and bypass this angst?
I think it gets down to us getting so wrapped up in motherhood, being a wife, being single, cleaning the house, making dinner, working long hours and never getting sick that we must maintain our super powers and not allow anyone to see us sweat. Or cry. Or downright sob. Or hurt. Or laugh. Or giggle uncontrollably into the wee hours of the morning. Or forget about everything we love that drains us and for one weekend focus on ourselves. Our stinky, frizzy morning haired, snorish, tired, hungry yet lovely and unique selves that is longing for refuge. Even if for just a weekend.
I have a few days before itâ€™s Friday and we all load up and drive the 1.5 hours to our destination. We are thinking about all five of us driving together, but like one friend told me, if she brings her own car, it would be the perfect escape route should we need to make a quick exit. She has a point.
Iâ€™m already telling myself to relax, look forward to the weekend, to bravely step into these unknown pastures (although I may step on a cow patty or two), and get real. With myself, with others and most of all, with God.
Excuse me for now. I need to go buy some Kleenex and chocolate. Something tells me Iâ€™m going to need them.