Friday, July 1, 2011

Who's That Girl?

Egads! Bring on the psychotropic medication!!! I've become a version of my mother.

When I was a kid, we often traveled from Grand Rapids, MI to Toledo, OH (my mother's birthplace, and still the residence of my Aunt and her family). Occasionally Mom would run into, or make arrangements to meet up with old high school friends. Invariably, as we were driving away, she'd say, "I never would have recognized her!" or "When she wrote to me, I vaguely remembered her name, but I just couldn't place her." At the time I thought how crazy... how could you not remember someone you spent four to twelve years of your life with nearly every day?!

Now, decades later, I can relate. I've had dozens of people from my school days "friend" me on facebook. Some I remember well, but many, eh, not so much. I find myself scouring the pictures they post and thinking that I don't recognize them at all. Sometimes their names have a ring of familiarity, but nothing that clangs loud enough to trigger a real memory. Yet, these people often drop me a line saying how nice it is to "see" me again, and how well they remember me, yadda yadda yadda. I demure and say thank you.

In truth, I almost feel sorry for them if they remember me. I can't help but think, "Oh, poor you... you are in for an awakening." Because, I am not that girl any more. I haven't been for a long time. And that girl wasn't all that pleasant back then. That girl was afraid of everything and everyone. That girl was even afraid of her own voice. Really, who'd want to be friends with that?! Seriously. I didn't even want to be my own friend back then. So, I'm always a little more than surprised when people look me up and "friend" me based solely on that connection. Surprised, but mostly glad. A gal can't have too many friends, y'know?

Well, actually, a gal can have too many friends. There are a few people who've "friended" me that I do remember well. Initially, I'm thrilled when I see the link requesting confirmation. Then I find out that the hellions who were a blast to hang out with back then have turned into mundane, faith-mired parents. They've turned into people who set my teeth on edge just by saying hello. They've turned into people of whom I want to ask, "What the fuck happened to you?! You used to be so much fun, and... you've lost your muchness. What happened?" But, it's not my place to judge. Not my place to question who they've decided to become.

I'm not being snobby. I have nothing against people who are mired in their faith (to each his own), nor do I hold any compunction for people who are parents. What does irritate me is when either of those life choices take away the essential who that those people used to be. Yes, I know. We all change - didn't I just say that I've changed?! I'm talking about people who have completely lost themselves by devoting themselves to something or someone else. Not that devoting ourselves to anything is a bad thing, just that... *sigh*... I'm not going to be able to dig myself out of this hole, am I? C'est la vie - that's what I get for sidetracking myself.

Next Wednesday I'm meeting an old friend for the first time. We've been online friends, living on opposite sides of the country, for years. If you've read my blog at all for any length of time, you'll recognize the name Jessica. Jess and I are kindred spirits. We share a wickedly quirky sense of humor and a keen sense of aesthetic (well, I think so), and place value in many of the same life-philosophies. We "met" online nearly seven years ago on a crafting forum, and the friendship quickly tied itself into an untangling knot. So much the better.

Steve and I discussed the logistics of him picking her up from the airport.
He said, "So, you've never actually met her?"
"Nope."
"But you're sure you'll get along?"
"Yep."

I know because sometimes a friend is just plain recognizable. It's not the history that matters, but the precedence.

4 comments:

  1. Well, congratulations. You made me cry. Actually, this is the second time for tears today already, yeesh (I received a made-just-for-me paper sockmonkey in the mail...yes, that's a crying moment in my world).

    I can so relate to this post. I know I've changed since school, too, but it makes me a little sad sometimes when I see some of those old friends have left behind some parts of themselves that I cherished in them most. Not that they need be who *I* want them to, but when i see that the singer no longer sings or the artist gave up drawing for a day job he hates, it makes me sad.

    A couple of times my own doubts have creeped in and I've thought, "What if Barb doesn't like me? What if I'm not who she thinks I am?". But then I realize that we've shared a lot over these past several years, more than enough to know we'll get along well.

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  2. Another wonderfully written post, B.

    ..."....I know because sometimes a friend is just plain recognizable. It's not the history that matters, but the precedence."....love.....that.

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  3. I think back on high school and the "muchness" factor....and I am not the same person either. But to be truthful....I was on my way to being that "girl" and something happened in high school to derail it. And then there were a whole cascade of choices and paths taken that felt "right" because of the past. I call it "swallowing the blue pill". But unlike Neo, we swallow the illusion, the styrofoam, the banality.I am not saying marriage or parenthood are banal. I just think the industrial, conveyor belt, assembly line "family life" is killing our souls. It practically killed mine.

    A life is not meant to be a sacrificial penitential offering. And so....I finally feel I found that small sliver, that remnant of my muchness that got hidden under the bushel basket.It just took a bit....to accept that I wasn't cut out to be a cookie cutter mommy or wife. I wish I had the courage to refuse the blue pill...except my two sons are cool cats and THAT I think I am doing right.

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