This week I finally accomplished the task of creating a message board; this has been in the works now for over a year. I was going to finish it with my mom, but we hardly see each other. Then I was going to finish it with my friend, but we’ve not been scheduled off enough time at the same time to finish it. The other day, I finished it myself. I’m pretty proud of it, even though its a bit lumpy on one side. The whole point of this board was to hang it above my drawing table to “draw” inspiration from. I was worried at first about not having enough memories and drawings to fill it up. Sorting through piles of things I’ve collected, I found things one of my best friends here gave me, and some things one of my best friends back in Ozark gave me. Strangely, they have a similar sense of humor.
I found an old Valentine’s card from my best friend back home. This one in particular sported The Red Ranger of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. She lovingly wrote on the back, “Hey Spazz!” and exclaimed I looked like a “terd”, (yes, spelled with an “e”) because I was wearing a brown sweater that day.
This was enveloped with song verses to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band…also highly appropriate for Valentine’s Day. My friend here in St. Louis will do similar things. She’ll pass me notes sometimes at work with song verses of the current song on the radio illustrated in full glory. Both friends write and draw things that make me laugh uncontrollably.
The last couple of weeks have been an interesting process, I’ve been trying to plan a short trip back home; it’s pretty much a 48 hour trip. This particular trip is going to be different, I’m going to be bringing one of my best friends from St. Louis with me (the one mentioned above) and introduce her to some of my other closest friends; including the one that said I looked like a “terd”. These friends I’ve lately been referring to as “The Ozark Mafia”. It wasn’t until early this morning I started worrying about this introduction. Recently e-mailing one of my friends, he and I have been discussing a barbecue that’s going to take place at my parents house. He asked the typical questions, “What does one need to bring?” “How are we to dress?” then he goes on from there. I got to the bottom of his list of questions, and he asked, “Will you be doing any Cher imitations?”
The last question caught me off guard and made me giggle. In the process of growing up, one can forget exactly where they came from at times. I read a book called, “Friends like these” where the author Danny Wallace talks about how this happens. He talks about how friends are there to remind you of who you were and where you “came from” so to speak. In my case, I forgot just how well this friend knew me. (“If only I could turn back time” so he didn’t have to witness the aforementioned Cher impersonation.)
I worry my friends back home will tell my best friend up here what I was ACTUALLY like, from their own perceptions.
These last few months have been trying for me, and its been difficult feeling some people out and realizing who doesn’t mind if you’re a goofball and yourself around them. Recently I had a situation where I found out someone just really thought I was too goofy and had enough. In describing this incident to a best friend back home she reminded me and said, “If you were to act this way in front of us (The Ozark Mafia), would we have cared?”
She was right.
“No,” I said reluctantly. Then I quickly corrected myself and said, “Yes.”, just because I didn’t want to admit the sad truth; the truth that my goofy demeanor, that makes me… me, drove this other person up a wall. She said, “NO, you KNOW we wouldn’t mind!” She reminded me that true friends love you for who you are, quirks, corny jokes and all. In remembering this particular conversation, I’m constantly reminded that I shouldn’t worry. If people stick around, it’s because they love you for you. Dr. Seuss put it best, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.“
Maybe I worry too much. Maybe I’m just worried my St. Louis best friend will find out just how unashamed, carefree, and unabashedly awkward I was and how much I’ve changed from that, into this person that thinks too much about what others might think. Maybe I’m afraid not necessarily what she’ll find out, but what I’ll find out; that at one time I was a cool chick and turned into this…whatever I am now.
Hopefully this trip will be a good reminder and knowing my friends, they’ll understand exactly where I’m coming from. They’ve been helping me along the way to remember what it was like to be me, and surely in person everything will become much much clearer. If I’m lucky, maybe we’ll celebrate at the barbecue and all do a rendition of the Beatles, “Get Back” and sing the famous verse, “Get back to where you once belonged.”
Here’s to the future of becoming my old self.
What have your friends reminded you of that you’ve forgotten about yourself? How do your friends keep you in check?