Slingback Sunday — “Constancy Characters Tavern”

I have missed an inexcusable number of Throwback Thursdays, and I just came across this while sifting through some old posts, and it made me laugh out loud, so I’m posting it here with only the thinnest veneer of a pretext for it, and a run-on sentence intro to boot.

Originally published as a Facebook Note on September 11th, 2012.

 

Constancy Characters Tavern

 

My professor said we can do anything we want with our response papers. So I did. You’ve been warned.

 

Persuasion – Final Response Paper

[Dimly lit tavern. Several small wooden tables in the center of the room. Seated around these are Anne Elliot (Persuasion), Bella Swan (Twilight), Severus Snape (Harry Potter), Jack Bauer (24), Miles Vorkosigan (The Vorkosigan Saga), Ginny Weasley, and Harry Potter (Harry Potter). Buxom tavern wenches swoop periodically between the tables, resupplying drinks.]

 

ANNE: (finishing up what was clearly a long story) “. . . And that is why one must never waver from one’s first and dearest love. Constancy and loyalty will always be rewarded.”

 

BELLA: “Oh, totally. When my Edward left me, I was, like, completely depressed, I started doing super dangerous stuff like riding motorcycles and jumping off cliffs — but he only left me to protect me! For my own good! When he saw how much I loved him, he took me back! It was sooooo romantic!”

 

GINNY: “Ugh, gimme a break. As if your younger self has any idea what’s good for you. If someone’s not interested and treats you badly, MOVE ON.”

 

ANNE and BELLA: (shocked gasp)

 

SNAPE: “To be perfectly frank — and when am I ever not? — I have to side with the two ladies on this. My eternal and constant love for Lily Evans is my only redeeming quality. Otherwise I’m a total douchebag.”

 

HARRY: “Can we not talk about your creepy unrequited crush on my mom when I’m sitting right here?

 

ANNE: (with stiff politeness) “And what is your opinion on the matter, Mr. Potter? Do you concur with your wife?”

 

HARRY: “Uh, yeah! If I’d stayed all hung up on Cho Chang, I’d never have married Ginny, and we all know what a mistake that would have been.” (smiles goofily and nuzzles Ginny’s cheek)

 

ANNE and BELLA: “Awwwwwww.”

 

SNAPE: “I’ll just be over here, drowning my sorrows. Don’t mind me.”

 

JACK BAUER: (leaning over from an adjacent table) “Sorry for butting in, but I’ve gotta agree with the happy couple. I mean, my wife died pretty early on, and yeah, that sucked and I was depressed for a couple years, but then I got a hot new girlfriend. I don’t remember what happened to her, she probably died, but whatever, I got another love interest like practically every season after that. Plus I saved the world a bunch of times. So here’s to moving on!” (Jack, Harry, and Ginny all clunk their mugs together)

 

MILES: (ducking between Jack and Harry with a winning smile) “Well, I wouldn’t be so cavalier about it, but you certainly have a point. My crush on my childhood sweetheart didn’t work out — she rejected me and married this annoyingly decent fellow — and I had various relationships over the years, but as I matured, I came to better understand my own priorities and what I need from a partner, and wound up marrying a woman who wasn’t even introduced until the tenth book of the series.”

 

ANNE: “The tenth book? How on earth did you manage? And how could you simply abandon your first love without a fight?”

 

MILES: (shrugging) “It wasn’t easy. But sometimes you’ve just got to be a grown up.”

 

ANNE, BELLA, and SNAPE: “Never.

 

 

(A great debt of inspiration is owed to Zeke, creator of the Underused Characters Tavern on Fiveminute.net)

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My Year-In-Review, via Facebook Statii

It is way too much work to think back over this whole year and construct some kind of coherent narrative and write it all out for a serious, heavy-duty year-in-review. So instead I’m just gonna take the first and last Facebook status of every month of 2014 and post them in one spot, with minimal commentary in fancy schmancy italics. I’m excluding links and pictures and famous quotes and whatnot that aren’t just pure nuggets of wisdom straight from me. Enjoy?


 

January 1st

So, Wolf of Wall Street? Basically makes me want to go and hug everybody I know and be like, “OH MY GOD I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE NOT JORDAN BELFORT.” Oh, and DiCaprio better win the Oscar.

lolololol oscar hahahaha
*

January 30th

If I were to have a “What I Be” portrait done, I think I’d have “vampire” “acne” “makeup” and “smile lines” (with arrows) written on my face, with the caption: “I am not my skin.” And no, I’m not posting this for attention or validation. I’m posting this solely to annoy Rafi Skier.

Because *reasons.* Also, ha, remember that photography project? That happened.


 

February 2nd 

BAD. IT. IS. SO. BAD. ‪#‎SuperBowl‬

Nuff said.
*

February 27th

Please keep my friend and radio mentor Philip Rosenberg in your prayers, because he suffered a medical emergency today and is a devout atheist, so being prayed for would probably piss him off enough to get better so that he could yell at me.

Phil is doing just fine, yay! Proof there is a god! Suck it, Phil! (Also no we are not related. Thanks for asking.)


 

March 3rd

Another year, another zero Oscars for Leonardo DiCaprio. Dude is probably going to get a lifetime achievement award before anyone will give him an Oscar.

Whaddaya know.
*
March 31st

Why SM will never be a relationship counselor, episode 4567:

Friend: “Stop getting all the men to fall in love with you! Sheesh”
Me: “I’m a heartbreaker. It’s what I do.”
Him: “Yea, I know.”
Me: “you are lucky enough to be immune to whatever it is about me that hooks these poor suckers”
Him: “I thank Jesus for it every day.
My immunity means that I’ve messaged approximately 5 profiles on two websites in the last year, because the rest are boring.”
Me: “move to mongolia or something. People seem more alluring if you can’t understand what they’re saying.”

See, what did I tell you? Nuggets of wisdom. EVERYWHERE.


 

April 1st

Note to self: the axiom “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet” was invented for days like today. (Except for the outrage over the How I Met Your Mother finale. I think it’s safe to believe that.)

APRIL FOOLS DAY AMIRITE?? Still have not watched the last couple seasons of HIMYM. But I know I would hate the finale if I ever did. Because ewwwww.
*
April 30th

Why SM Will Never Be a Supervillain, Episode 93:

Friend: “So-and-so thinks you hate her.”
Me: “What? Why would she think that?”
Him: “I have no idea. I went to great pains to explain to her that SM doesn’t muster the energy to hate anybody.”
Me: “Seriously. Way too much effort.”

This was later amended in the comments (after other motivations for being a supervillain were presented) to more specifically: “Why SM Will Never Be Slade Wilson, Aside From his Awesome Goatee and Accent, Obviously.”


 

May 1st
Kid I babysit for: “I want you to join Minecraft. Because I want you to come live in this world with me, because I don’t like being the only person in this world.”

Me: “But couldn’t anyone else keep you company too?”
Him: “But I want YOU to live in it.”
Me: “Why me?”
Him: “Because I know you well and I really really want you to live in this world with me.”

I feel like I was just proposed to by a nine-year-old.

Winning ’em over while they’re young, that’s me.
*
May 31st
Another Heights shabbos gone — big thanks to everyone who invited me for meals, hung out with me, said hi, and especially to Galit Wernick for hosting me, listening to me explain how engines work, asking me to read “Something Borrowed” out loud for a hour or two, and agreeing to watch “The Normal Heart” with me tonight. Shavua Tov!
Galiiiiiiiit ❤ ❤ ❤
The Normal Heart 😦 😦 😦

 

June 2nd

Things nobody tells you about the differences between automotive school and a liberal arts college: An abbreviated, commonly used form of the word “transmission” is “tranny.” I still get whiplash hearing people throw that word around in a completely inoffensive context.

Yup. Still. Every time.
*
June 30th
Out of context quote of the day: “Joanna, don’t miss the orgy. I can tell you where it is.” ~ Tamar P
No, I will not tell you the context. YOU ARE CURSED TO WONDER.

 

July 2nd

omg I love ewoks they are best thing in all of cinematic history

Context and justification not required.
*
July 31st

Today in “Questions Never Asked of Male Automotive Students” —

Instructor (apropos of nothing): “Do you know how to make apple pie?”
Me: “No.”
Him: “Do you know how to make cheesecake?”
Me: “Nope.”
Him: “Oh. See, I want to find out how to make them so that I can tell my wife how to make them.”
Me: “Google. Google knows everything.”

Unpack the sexism, people. Unpack. Go.

Also happy birthday Harry Potter!

 

August 2nd
It occurred to me this week that I am starting to become afraid to be a Jew in much the same way I am afraid to be a woman. I, as a woman, know that obviously not all men are rapists or misogynists, but I also know (from experience and from studies and history and well-documented events) that far too many are, and therefore I am instinctively cautious and apprehensive of most men I don’t know. And similarly, I, as a Jew, know that obviously not all people are anti-Semites, but I also know (from current events and experience and studies and history) that far too many are, and therefore am starting to become instinctively cautious and apprehensive of most people I don’t know. ‪#‎persecutioncomplex‬
Oh god the Gaza war. Let’s not do that again. (Ha. As if.)
*
August 31st
Dear body, you can sleep late on Sundays. Really. It’s okay. Sincerely, I DIDN’T GET TO SLEEP UNTIL 2 AM LAST NIGHT WHY AM I AWAKE
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.

 

September 1st

So Labor Day is about honoring the blue collar workers? Honor me, people. I expect groveling.

Ahem. Still waiting.

*

September 30th

It will never not be creepy when guys I’ve never had class with and never spoken to call out to me by name when I walk by them in shop or in the hallways. Never. Ugh, so creepy.

*curls into fetal ball*

 

October 2nd

Signs you’re an auto mechanic student: You cringe every time you see a Chrysler Town and Country because the hood is too short so half the engine compartment extends under the dash and is a nightmare to work on. *shudders*

THE HORROR.
*
October 30th

Baby brother: “You’re going to school today?”
Me: “Yup!”
Him: “You know, a wizard could probably fix cars REALLY EASILY.”

‪#‎facts‬

little brothers always ruining everything


 

November 2nd

boston y u have such bad weather also y r u in boston. ugh boston. no me gusta. Awesome people though. Jacquie Chana Yocheved Wolpoe better come back to NYC soon or — or…I’ll just have to visit again, I guess.

but for real Boston sucks so much

*
November 28th

These Black Friday taglines of “The more you spend, the more you save!” are shorting out my logic circuits. That is literally not true. Stop it, internet.

although thank goodness for Black Friday because who knows if I’d have a tool set without it

 

December 1st

Things that frustrate me: the fact that we have the technology to land a probe on a comet but not to pack chips into a bag in such a way that the settling won’t result in 2/3 of a bag of air. ‪#‎darncapitalists‬

And don’t tell me the bag is the technology keeping the chips from being crushed. If there was any financial incentive to fit more chips in a bag, they’d find a way.
*
December 31st
?????????????????????

______________

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#ThrowbackThursday — “On Insecurity”

There has been a lot of insecurity going around in my life recently — in my head, in friends’ lives, in conversations I’ve had with them, etc — so when I was scrolling through my notes to pick one for this Throwback Thursday, naturally this one jumped out at me.

Original post is from June 30th 2013.

 

______

Nothing taps into my insecurities — or reminds me that I have them — as fast or as powerfully as being liked.

It’s funny, you think it’d be the other way around, that having people not like me would get me all worked up and wondering why, what’s wrong with me, what did I do? But it doesn’t. Hasn’t in years. Being disliked just rolls off me. (Unless I thought you were my friend. Then if I find out you’ve secretly been disliking me and being nice to my face, you are dead to me. Dead-dead, not even mostly dead. All dead.)

But being liked — ouch. It’s like whiplash. It’s like, why. Like, what’s wrong with you? I don’t mean being casually liked by people I hang out with and have known for a while, I mean those times when I meet someone once or twice and they really really like me and actively want to spend more time with me. Especially when I wasn’t even trying to impress anyone. (Which is most of the time, since I’ve mostly given up on impressing people in non-professional situations.)

Why do you like me. Can’t you see I’m unpredictable, I’m lazy, I’m weak, I’m unfocused, I’m selfish, I’m flashy, I’m a coward, I’m cruel.

It’s amazing how many negative character traits will explode out of the woodwork of my brain when someone normal and nice who’s just met me says,“I really, really like you.” Or asks me to hang out when they totally didn’t have to. Or otherwise makes it clear that they want to be my friend.

It is weird, y’all. It’s the emotional contrarianism, exhibit A. You don’t like me? You should; I’m awesome. You do like me? WHY WOULD YOU, I’M A TERRIBLE PERSON OMG.

It’s a knee-jerk reaction; I’ll automatically ask myself what this person could possibly be seeing in me, and how I must have managed to fool them. If it’s a guy, my immediate and probably unhealthy instinct is, “Oh, you just think I’m pretty.” If it’s a girl, it’ll be more along the lines of, “Oh, she just doesn’t know me well enough. JUST YOU WAIT.” (Sorry for this heteronormative breakdown — obviously it doesn’t cover all contingencies.)

I mean, it’s obvious that each of us are our own harshest critic. I’m the only one who sees what is going through my head every second of every day, and how very empty and not-brilliant most of it is, so when people think I’m deep and brilliant, I have a hard time agreeing.

I have a friend who constantly asks me where my confidence comes from, and the truth is it doesn’t come from always thinking that I’m objectively awesome — it comes from knowing that most people are worse off most of the time. Even if I’m not brilliant, I’m smarter than most other people. Even if I’m not that productive, my spurts of production are often more impressive than those of others. Even if I’m not drop-dead gorgeous, I am more attractive than a lot of other girls.

So there, I said it. I derive my self-esteem from looking down on other people, rather than working on myself. Psychologically, I’m no different from your garden-variety bully.

And that loops around and taps into the biggest insecurity that I have ever had — that I am not a good person.

That’s been my biggest hang-up for as long as I can remember having hang-ups. I can even trace some of its origins and the ways it became amplified, like when I realized I was absolute crap at the belief-in-God part of my religion and decided, okay, that’s a lost cause, but the do-unto-others part is also important, so if I can just do that, be good to other people, then I won’t be a complete and utter failure as a human being.

Which I guess is a decent mindset to have because, y’know, kindness and goodness and all that, but is pretty unhealthy when it comes to the amount of pressure a person like me will put on herself for it. Like, if your one assurance in life of not being a bad person is being kind and compassionate and giving, etc, then when you screw that up, or recognize things about yourself that show that you are not that type of person at all, then you do feel really royally screwed.

I know I’m not a bad person, but the way I know it is by comparison to other people who are worse. So yeah, just because I have the psychological underpinnings of a bully, I’m not that bad because I don’t usually actively go around putting other people down. It doesn’t matter if I have the potential for it, as long as I don’t act on it.

Like Batman says, “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” Or like Dumbledore says, “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Or if you want an obscure Jewish reference, there’s a midrash I once heard about how someone was looking at a soul, and it was ugly and twisted — bumps of arrogance, ridges of cruelty, welts of selfishness, and so on. (It’s a metaphor; go with it.) The person was revolted and asked, “Yikes, whose soul is that?” And from behind him, Moses steps out of the shadows and says, “Mine. That’s what I am inside, but I worked on myself to be better.”

I like those ideas, I really do (even if I do think that King David would have been a more apt figure than Moses for that particular lesson and I’m also not 100% sure that it’s an actualmidrash and not something the teacher made up). But even so, they don’t wipe out the feeling that I am fundamentally flawed inside and that all the good actions are just camouflage and repression. I cannot fix a fundamental flaw — that’s what makes it “fundamental” — I can only paint over it.

But then again, the point of all those quotes and stories is that everyone is fundamentally flawed inside and has their various negatives and dark threads.

But then again, that’s just using the “but everyone else is just as bad” rationale to excuse my own failings.

Still. If it’s good enough for Batman, Dumbledore, and Moses, it’s probably good enough for me.

 

 

 

 

______________

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Open Letter to A[nother] Friend (or, “A Series of Deeply Awkward Events”)

I debated for a bit whether I wanted to post this on a public blog rather than just on Facebook, but decided that it was a sufficiently detailed and nuanced portrait of friendship that I would like to have it out there. Also I missed yet another ThrowbackThursday post so here’s this instead.

 

Open Letter to A[nother] Friend (or, “A Series of Deeply Awkward Events”)

[The last time I wrote an open letter, it was to a friend who was getting married. This one isn’t a letter to mark that particular occasion, but one of my best friends’ lives is about to undergo a huge upheaval that is in some ways just as drastic as marriage, and I wanted to commemorate that somehow. This is about you, but it’s also largely about me, so I hope you’ll forgive it for being this public.]

Dear Friend Who Shall Remain Unnamed To Protect Against Prying NSA Eyes and Permanent Internet Embarrassment (the latter of which shall heretofore be known as P.I.E. because who doesn’t love pie),

The story of us starts earlier than you probably know. You probably think I’m going to start with that time you didn’t accept my Facebook friend request because you didn’t remember who the heck I was. As you might say, “#AWK.”

But the story starts earlier, as it has to, because why else would I have sent you that friend request in the first place?

See, we were in elementary school together, but you were a grade ahead of me, a big scary sixth grader, when I first became aware of your existence. You were a charter member of my dad’s sixth grade Harry Potter Writing Club, which is totally a thing that happened once upon a time — it was featured in the New York Times, yo. I don’t know if you know this, but my dad used to read his favorite excerpts of the club’s writing aloud to me and the rest of my family at home. And he read yours frequently. (See what I mean? SO MUCH P.I.E. Permanent Internet Embarrassment forever!)

In my eyes, you and your friends whose writing he read to us were just the coolest. (Clearly, my definition of “cool” has never been the cool kind of cool. Oops.) So I did what a tactless fifth grader does when she’d like to be friends with a group of sixth graders who don’t know her from a hole in the wall — I crashed your lunch table.

Your friends were none too keen on this. They alternately looked at me funny or ignored me completely and blatantly, and I didn’t understand why until I was a sixth grader myself and had some younger friends who attempted to crash my lunch table. My sixth grader friends treated them approximately the way your friends treated me.

But I tried to behave like you had, because you didn’t seem to care that I had invaded your table and violated the social order of fifth graders sitting with fifth graders and sixth graders sitting with sixth. I don’t recall you making active attempts to include me in the conversation or anything, but in no way did you make me feel unwelcome.

I didn’t know then that that was because you are one of the warmest people that I am ever going to meet, but I knew that I liked you best at that table, which I was tactful enough not to crash again.

Fast forward many, many, many months. I haven’t seen you in literally six or seven years, but your name pops up somewhere on Facebook and I figure, “Hey, why not?” So I send you a friend request, and you don’t respond. And you don’t respond. And you don’t respond.

And I figured that was it, that I’d just never really get a chance to be your friend. Because why would you want me, anyway? You were like the coolest nerdgirl ever, surrounded by other awesome nerdy friends, and I was just that awkward fifth grader of times gone by — what could you possibly want with me?

Fast forward some more, to an opening weekend showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I (funny how it all comes back to HP, don’tcha know). I went to see it with, who else, my dad and various siblings, and when the lights came back on at the end, I discovered that you had been at the same showing, with an old elementary school friend of mine who it turned out was now your roommate. It was a fairly excitable reunion (because omg the Tale of the Three Brothers was SO WELL DONE in that movie) and I dragged you over to my father because I knew he’d be happy to see you even though you weren’t so sure. (He was. I was right. I am always right.)

It also turned out that you were attending Queens College and living mere blocks away from my house, and you issued me a standing invitation: “Come visit ANYTIME!”

I’d love to be able to say here that the magic of Harry Potter brought us together forever and thereafter everything was kittens and rainbows and yadda yadda yadda. But it took a bit more than that.

Even with that standing invitation, I didn’t want to presume you wanted me around much. I mean, it’s not just that you were nerdy-cool. You’re also brilliant and articulate and knowledgeable about any number of subjects, and if you happened to not be thoroughly familiar with a topic, you were always able to succinctly and wittily encapsulate what you did know about it and where you felt the gaps in your knowledge base lay. It’s always so much more impressive to me when people are able to admit what they don’t know, instead of blustering on and pretending they have a clue. And on top of all that, you are, of course, side-splittingly hilarious. I told you recently that at first, you were probably the closest thing I ever had to a girl crush.

It wasn’t that I was intimidated, per se. It was more that I just didn’t really feel like I had anything to offer you that you didn’t already have.  But maybe that’s what intimidation is? (I wasn’t as savvy then as I am now about how much people appreciate decent companionship even if I don’t have anything measurable to offer along with it.) So I only took you up on your invitation a few times here and there.

But we did at last become facebook friends, after you apologetically explained that not accepting my friend request wasn’t anything personal — you just couldn’t figure out who I was. Because you are so bad at names. And faces. (Like so bad that you still sometimes can’t tell the difference between Hank and John Green. And probably between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. SO. BAD.) And we got along spectacularly well in comment threads.

I gradually started coming over more often, meeting your Queens College and neighborhood friends, feeling like I was becoming part of the group. I never really had a neighborhood group of friends my age before, you know. Throughout my life, I went to school in the Bronx, in Long Island, and in Brooklyn, and yet I lived in Queens, so my school friends were scattered all over, rarely local. I figure that’s why I can float between so many different groups of people of various ages and backgrounds and whatnot; I never really had any other choice until recently. Hanging out with people my age and/or at a similar place in life still feels like a luxury that I never used to have.

Then there was that time I found out that could introduce you to someone — there was a grown-up neighborhood friend of mine that you vaguely knew and were dying to properly meet. I offered to introduce you to her and you PANICKED in that adorably neurotic way you always do. Actual process of getting you to agree to come with me to her house on shabbos afternoon:

You: “Are you sure she won’t mind if you bring me along?”
Me: “Yes. Very sure. She’ll love you.”
(on the way out the door:)
You: “But are you sure?”
Me: “Yes.”
(a block away from her:)
You: “But are you sure?
Me: “Yes. Jeez.”
(upon reaching her front door:)
You: “But are you SURE???”
Me: “No, you’re right; let’s go back.”
You: “Haha, fiiiiine.”

(You met her and she loved you and now you’re great friends. I was right. I am always right.)

But a turning point in our reconnection was probably that summer I got an internship at the same marketing agency where you were already working. You seemed thrilled to have me there, always made sure to come over to my desk and chitchat, and we had marvelous lunch break adventures, including but not limited to:

·      You showing me the ropes of the mean streets of DUMBO, Brooklyn (so many hipsters. So much street art. So mean.)

·      Me falling in the East River and coming back to the office soaking wet. NBD.

·      Us hunting down and visiting the used sci-fi/fantasy bookstore I’d heard about from the internet, being interviewed about it for some local news channel, meeting the staff members, and ultimately getting the ball rolling on having it be a venue for a book signing by Lois McMaster Bujold.

·      That time when you had to mail a letter but didn’t have a stamp, so we went to the DUMBO post office. It had no humans and only a stamp machine, which was broken. There was a phone on the wall, no number keypad, just a corded hotline phone, and you picked it up, and listened. And listened again.

Me: “What? What did it say?”
You: “It said… ‘For help, press 3.’ ”

It was that day that you uttered the fateful words: “MY LIFE IS A KAFKA NOVEL!”

·      And of course, our genius backup plan for when we give up on ever marrying dudes and just move to Scotland and get gay married to each other and adopt Scottish babies and see if they develop Scottish accents despite being around us. (Those poor hypothetical children.)

You would talk to me about anything and everything, personal or worldly or anything in between, and at first I thought that was just part and parcel of your friendly, extroverted nature. But then one time, in the presence of you and another friend, I mentioned something you had told me, and you quietly asked me afterward if I would keep that particular tidbit to myself. It wasn’t for everyone to know after all. It was something you trusted me with and I didn’t realize. (This is a frequent problem for me, fyi — for whatever reason, people so easily and comfortably spill their secrets to me that I don’t always realize that they are secrets, or at least privileged information. I’ve become somewhat neurotic about protecting other people’s privacy, in my old age. This note notwithstanding.) But my point is, that was when I started to realize that I was becoming a closer friend to you than I’d realized.

I still didn’t quite let myself believe it, though, even when there were other indicators, like how you told me you often ask yourself “What would SM do?” and then do it, and like how you would occasionally quit facebook and drop off the face of the planet to most people, but still made time to IM chat with me, and always returned my emails or texts. No matter how stressed you were, and sometimes specifically when you were stressed:

You: “the phones won’t stop ringing ahhhhhhhhhhh”

me: “ANSWER ALL THE PHONES”

You: “I AM TRYING”

me: “ALL OF THEM”

You: “THERE ARE TOO MANYYYYY
*sprouts extra heads*
*and hands*
*and toenails for GOOD MEASURE*”

(Note: This is a fictionalized conversation sample that never actually happened, because I am too lazy to scroll through hours and hours of chat transcripts. But it totally could have happened.)

And yet I still didn’t let myself feel totally secure in the idea of being your friend because (a) I have attachment issues, and (b) as absurd as it sounds, you were still that big scary sixth grader to a part of me, and I still didn’t really feel like I had much to offer you that you couldn’t get from yourself or from your other friends.

I leapt at opportunities to be a better friend, to prove to you, but more importantly to myself, that I had what to give you. And bit by bit, I proved it. When you needed meals, I invited you. When you needed a listening ear, I offered one. When you needed help moving, I was so there. When you needed a safe space to vent or freak out, I provided that. When you needed a buddy to come along to Philadelphia for the weekend so that you could attend a prospective students day at UPenn Law School, I jumped on that bus. When you needed another eye to look over your application essays, I edited them all. When you were maxing out on stress, I started a facebook page just to make you laugh. When you desperately wanted friends to come to Dragon*Con with you as a last hurrah before law school, I volunteered.

And at Dragon*Con, when you wanted a buddy for that concert of that obscure band that you were dying to see, and they were slotted at 1 o’clock in the morning, I stuck with you. And I vividly remember, when we got back to our hotel room bathroom and I was helping you scrub eyeliner off your lids with hotel-provided moist towelettes, I thought to myself, “This is what friendships are made of.”

Because they are. Mountains of memories built on shared experiences and a whole lot of giving on both sides. You made my giving easy, because whatever I gave, you gave right back, with profuse thanks and hugs and love and support and advice and — always — laughter.

It’s only in the past year or so that I became aware that the intimidation went both ways. That I intimidated you. Somehow. When you told me that, I had to ask why, and your answer, as usual, made me laugh:

“I don’t know how to say this politely, but you are STAGGERINGLY GORGEOUS. And brilliant, too. It’s a heady combination.”

What you don’t understand is that you make me that way. Well, not the gorgeousness; that’s genetics and a lot of smoke and mirrors. But you make me smarter. You make me funnier. You make me more empathetic. You open my eyes and make me more curious about the world around me by making it seem more accessible, more interesting, and more zany than it appears at first glance. Even when you’re upset and we’re talking about serious or depressing things like rape culture or world poverty or the sorry state of mental health care in this country or airport security or the lack of a Wonder Woman movie (GRRRR), you are buoyant and earnest and passionate, and life feels lighter when you are there to look at it with me.

For a long time in our friendship, part of me still felt like that fifth grader trying to sit at the sixth grade table, with that underlying fear that one day you’d just drop the ball on me, because after all, I was kind of a charity case and wasn’t really that important to you. And now that you’ve made it abundantly clear that that’s not the case, that you need me and rely on me and want me around, I have a new fear: that I will drop the ball on you. That I will fail you. That I will become complacent in our wonderful friendship and let you down. It’s a lot of pressure, you understand, to be needed and wanted and trusted by someone as awe-inspiring as you.

I’m going to do my best.

I trust you to do the same. And always remember: Nobody but you gives a damn if you were once that awkward fifth grader, or that awkward high schooler, or that awkward college freshman. Go forth and be the you that you are now, because that you is incredible. Trust me. I’m right. I am always right.

Good luck.

 

 

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