I remember everyone that significantly affected my life, from the first and last names of ex-boyfriends I can’t get out of my head to the faces of those who said mean things to me during Sunday school and girl scout camping trips. I don’t harbor any negative emotions towards those people. In fact, I’m quite neutral, but the memories are there…enough to spur some curiosity about what their adult selves are up to these days. Some have fallen off the face of the earth, others became addicted to drugs, and the few left of the lot are still pretty average; new relationships, student loan debt, making ends meet. A lot like my life at the moment.
There was one girl who I was in the same girl scout troop with during fourth grade. Her parents were lawyers and they lived in a custom-built house; a mansion in the middle of suburbia that looked like a log-cabin on the inside. We both attended a private Lutheran school and, after I had a horrendous falling out with my previous best friend (over something I can’t remember) we became best friends. This new girl and I defined 1990’s girl sleep-overs and parties. Anything applied to our faces or our nails had sparkles in it. We sat at our Gateway computers and played Clueless and Petz 4. (We were abusive pet owners, only adopting female Chinchilla Persians and spraying with them with water so we could laugh at their reaction. It’s still funny, actually. Damn Fancy Feast cats.) Oh, I can’t forget about the Gigi Pets and Furbies. My friend’s Furbies (yes, she had multiple) scared me almost as much as her American Doll collection, but she was still my ‘bestie’. Our Limited-Too best friend necklaces said so. The kind that was a heart broken down the middle. I am aware of the irony. Seriously though, Furbies should not talk as they are electrocuted in the microwave. It just proves they are demon spawn.
We remained friends until our freshman years of high school. We had long since stopped going to the same school, but stayed in touch via the phone and dial-up internet. A few things happened, that I can remember: we made one more attempt to be in the same girl scout troop as independent cadets, but thought the girls were mean and eventually quit girl scouts all together. Okay, I honestly don’t remember much. The hormonal fueled rampages of teenage adolescence erases many things from your memory; and college. The point is that we went separate ways, first literally and then metaphorically. She was always so focused on academics, to the point where she actually skipped a grade. (Her and her sister were fraternal twins and she was a grade level higher than her sister. Imagine the abandonment issues in that family.) I’m not saying that I did not do well in school, but my genetically acquired clinical depression started to manifest itself in interesting ways at the start of my teenage years.
7th grade was when I first became hyper-aware of my physical appearance. By 9th grade, it took a toll on my self-esteem. I started to focus more on boys because I believed that was the only way I was going to know if I was pretty enough for life to love me. (It sounds funny in my head too, but in a ‘ha ha, fuck I’m really depressed now’ way.) My friend, well, I’m sure she was still telling boys they were lame and yucky at that age. I had fought a long, hard battle with my mom to attend public school instead of a private Catholic all girls school. I told her it was because they wanted me to take Algebra I over again (I had already passed it with an A in 8th grade), but the thought of being at an all girl school pissed me off. I didn’t want to only be around girls. I hated most girls. My best friends were guys (except for one girl, whom I ALWAYS had a falling-out with eventually) and I wanted to go to the same school as them. (Yay! Image problems!) My friend ended up attending the all girls high school.
That was the deciding factor that ended our friendship completely.
My mother received a letter from her mother. It was the most diplomatic “fuck you and your daughter” letter that I had and still have ever seen written inside of a card with flowers on the cover. The only thing missing from the cover was “my deepest sympathies’ in golden cursive font. I guess Hallmark didn’t make a card for telling your daughter’s friend’s mother why you think your daughter is a better person. Going from memory, it said something to the effect of, “We have valued the years knowing you and your daughter, but she is going in a completely different direction than mine. I envision great things for my daughter and I hope yours will make the effort to achieve the same”.
She wrote my mother a letter about how much of a fuck-up and a shitty person she thought I was. At 14-years-old.
I brushed it off at the time. Actually, I really had not thought about that moment until a few nights ago, when I had a dream about my old friend that compelled me to Goggle her. Only then did it dawn on me that her mom probably expected me to become a teenage mother, drop out of high school and/or enter a drug rehabilitation program for a cocaine habit I developed in college – several things only slightly better than death. According to my friend’s mom, I wasn’t going to amount to anything. What would make this story interesting is if I discovered that her daughter turned into all of those things, but this story doesn’t end like that. She earned her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth and her law degree from Duke. She currently works as a law clerk for the US Court of Appeals. Picture perfect happy ending. She probably will be the first female Republican candidate for President of the United States, because you know, what we really need more of in politics are business owners and lawyers.
For those of you that have read my other personal posts, you already know that I’m in the middle of a quarter-life crisis. Jump starting my life is not happening fast enough for me at the moment, but I’m doing some awesome things and it’s all because of the people I have chosen to surround myself with. Nevertheless, as much as I wish I could write my friend’s mom a letter back and brag about all of my accomplishments, part of me knows that she has probably forgotten about that letter and me, for the most part, as well as her daughter. I would tell her this:
I did not get pregnant in high school or become addicted to drugs. I graduated college with honors. I moved to Ireland and earned my MA there. I have interned for well-known production companies in Hollywood and I’m currently making my writing dreams come true by working on a web series and preparing my novel for publication. I am not married. I have no kids. I pay my own bills and I still find the money and time to travel around the world. I would rather write the next Casablanca than defend the next OJ Simpson.
I am a fucking rock star and even though my dad let me have a sip of beer as a toddler, I amounted to something.