Monthly Archives: April 2011

Say No to Digging Up Poo

Prepare for me to argue with and contradict myself throughout this entire post. I swear I have a point, though it may be confusing as I go about getting to it. You’ve been warned.

I ended a previous post about my GFs by saying that friendships last forever. I do believe this. But some friendships don’t seem to last forever. But there is something about these friendships and all friendships that do last forever. And I also believe that all friendships have the potential to last forever.

This post is dedicated to one person specifically, who I will not name, and a couple other people who I also will not name. Haha, so specific. Basically it’s dedicated to a few ladies whom I know and either love dearly or have loved dearly in the past. And also to everyone I love who has endured my drama.

Recent and semi-recent events have led me to do some semi-serious introspection of late, and I have decided to share my thoughts with the interwebs since that is what I do on this here blog. I have a feeling it will apply to more people than just me and my little gang of chicklets. Yes, this is specifically about lady-friends but it is also pertinent to dudes in some ways, I’m sure.

You know you are a grown-up when…this is a long list. During school, I had this great friend. To make a long story extremely short, we eventually grew apart. By the end of senior year I was 100% convinced that this person did not like me anymore and I didn’t know why. I could think of a couple possibilities but none of these were conclusive, nor was I convinced that any of these were the root cause. We had endured a bit of drama through those 4 years and so for the first time ever, I decided it wasn’t worth my time to trudge through the awkwardness and force a conversation about something neither of us could remember and try to make nice. I figured it was a wash. I had great friends and so did she. The only time it bothered me was when these friends overlapped, which was semi-often. But I had been hurt along the way, and I figured the same was true for her, and it seemed we were both happy. No need to dig up buried poo. It would just stink more. Time passed.

Then a few weeks ago I got a phone call from a non-caller-ID’d number after working hours. This is common since I forward all my calls from my personal phone to my work phone and therefore don’t have everyone’s number saved anymore. As I looked at the number trying to figure out if it was friend or foe (foe = work person, also common), I had a memory flash. I knew this number. Very well. And sure enough. She was just in town for a couple days, and did I want to meet up? Ya’ll know I can’t hide any and all emotions whatsoever.  So, per the MSP standard, my shock and surprise from this phone call was evident. But we agreed on a time and place and a few short hours later I was sitting at a high bar table, talking about high school reunions and ANTM marathons over a glass of wine with my old friend.

Something had changed here with this person and I couldn’t put my finger on it really. Then it occurred to me that it wasn’t necessarily just her who had changed. We had both grown up a bit since the last time we had enjoyed each other’s company in this way, going on 3 years ago. Graduating from college and making life decisions does that to a person. There’s also something about the real world that gives one perspective. I have new perspective on my own life, and I seemed to have a new one on hers, and vice versa.

Then 2 weekends ago I was, along with some of my closest VT pals (though missing a few key family members), in Blacksburg to stock up on some Hokie hugs and love. This visit was full of happiness for me, good times, funny reminiscing, bunches of giggles, TOTS, and a healthy dose of college drama.

I remember when I graduated from high school, I breathed a sigh of relief, thinking I was leaving all that drama behind for a newer, more mature and less dramatic existence. This ended up being true only in that it was newer. Still plenty of drama to be had. And if you tried to avoid it, it found you. Then when I graduated from college I thought once again, so grateful to be leaving the drama behind and taking only 4 years of amazing memories with me. Joke’s on me once again, as drama fills the lives of everyone around me, including my own. I have learned that the drama doesn’t go away, it just changes with age.

I am not here to air other people’s dirty laundry, and I am going to attempt to tread lightly on this topic. But I have to say. It repeatedly astounds me what “good friends” will do to each other. It is also astounding in a different way what friends will put up with from these “good friends.” The human capacity to love and forgive is an amazing thing. I have witnessed a few instances of this in my life, either being graciously given forgiveness, or graciously giving forgiveness. And in both cases, sometimes the forgive-ee was not worthy. But it is still granted either in the name of love, less drama, or ease. Sometimes it’s just easier to forgive and move forward – I know I’ve definitely done this to avoid difficult discussions or awkward situations. But not everyone is as magnanimous as me. Haha, just joking. But seriously. We all need differing amounts of time to get over things, whether it’s a fight between friends or a death or a breakup or whatever. With my old friend, there were definitely things that needed to be forgiven. In other words, I definitely had a list of things I needed to forgive in order to move forward (and I’m sure vice versa, but this is my blog not hers). But time did it for me. Time allowed us to go our mostly-separate-but-occasionally-intersecting ways and made it easy for me to meet this girl for a drink and have an easy and nice time.

But others struggle with this, and time is not always on your side. Friendship requires trust, and when that trust is broken, sometimes repeatedly and without mercy, we can run out of forgiveness and just want to say, “You know what, you’re a mondo biotch and I never want to see your stinking face again! And you look fat in that dress. HA.” Amiright! But I bet anyone who’s ever done something like that who is not herself a mondo biotch probably felt ridiculously bad immediately after. And she probably apologized immediately or promptly burst into tears.

Anyhooz, I don’t think that me and this girl will be “best friends” again, whatever that means. But it is nice to know that as two adults, we can completely put aside any differences we may have had in the past and have a nice visit, ask about the parents, and our plans for the future. We shared a past, and at one point were very close, and this is possibly what made it easy for us to converse so.. well, easily. Enough time had passed that we could both put whatever pain we had caused each other aside and just visit. We don’t need to dig up the poo, as I so delicately put it earlier. We can just smell the pretty flowers that grew from it.

I just completed that analogy so awesomely. Let us all go forth and be grateful for friendships we have, and not let pettiness and bad memories ruin others. Because poo is smelly and deserves to be buried.

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Hokie Hugs: Takes One to Give One

April is such a beautiful month. Flowers bloom. More importantly, tulips bloom (my favorite!). Pollen makes us sneeze. The weather is warm, but tolerably cool thanks to April afternoon showers. Easter is in April and Easter is happy. Praise His Light. April for college students is just that much closer to May, when classes finally end. In the working world, April is the start of vacations. People take their kids to Disney World in April. April is Momma Sassy’s birthday. April has just always been a good month.

Then some psycho a-hole (sorry Ma) decided to go ape-shit crazy (Sorry again Ma, but “go nuts” just doesn’t do it justice) on our beautiful campus and took our innocence and our happy April away from us. But my Aprils are happy again because I have great friends. I formed some pretty awesome friendships at Virginia Tech, and on that day in April 4 years ago, our awesome friendships went from deep and meaningful to something that was and is beyond description. Simply put, they are even deeper and more meaningful. I made new friends and deepened connections with others who I will always love, and I can go weeks and even months without talking to them and still know that when I call, no time will have weakened our bond. We all handled that tragedy differently, but mostly we clung to each other. Nothing was for sure except that we loved each other.

Now that I am out of school and have been making friends in the regular world, I see such a stark difference between people I meet now and people I met back then. I think I said this last year, and I don’t want to repeat myself, but having that kind of tragedy in common with people bonds you like you wouldn’t believe. It is hard to explain to others. When I was living in California and people found out I went to VT, they always had two questions: What did I think of Michael Vick, and was I there when that guy, you know. I’ll briefly interject myself and say that I support Michael Vick and think he is an excellent football player. I believe he paid and is still paying (literally) his dues. And I like watching him make awesome plays on Sunday and Monday nights. Sue me.

Anyway, the next question they’d ask was always a little trickier. I think people are curious and they do really want to know, “were you there?!” But they don’t actually want to deal with the answer if the answer is yes. They want me to say no, and then we can have a polite and sincere conversation about how terrible it must have been for all those students and everyone, and perhaps make some generic comments about campus security and then grab lunch. But I don’t like to lie, and I wear this bracelet with one of those 32 angel’s name on it, so I say yes. The reactions are all the same. “Oh wow!” “That must have been awful!” Followed by, “Did you know anyone?!” said with wide eyes. Then of course when I say yes again, it’s almost worse. Eyes get wider. Because they just don’t know what to do with themselves. How does one politely excuse themselves from a conversation about a tragic death and personal sadness to go back to one’s cubicle? Shootings aren’t really common cubicle gossip fodder, and undoubtedly many of them were trying at this point to figure out how to get the conversation back to Michael Vick. Heaven forbid I start crying all of a sudden and then they might have to comfort me or something. “Nice to meet you, do you need a hug?” is a little awkward, admittedly. Much easier to criticize a celebrity athlete for his poor treatment of animals and too-light punishment than talk about something heavy like a dear friend and 31 other loved Hokies being shot to death by a psycho. No one wants to get lunch after that conversation.

So it’s hard to explain. But you just had to be there to really get it. No one that wasn’t there really gets it. No one who isn’t a Hokie gets it. And since that’s a confusing statement with multiple negatives, I’ll rephrase: Only Hokies get it. You can’t comfort me unless you are a Hokie. You just can’t know what to say and how to hug (Hokies have special hugs in case you didn’t know). And you can’t learn it either. I could talk your ear off all day about what I was thinking, how my closest friends reacted, how my entire hall and building yearned all day to hear something about our angel, and then when we finally did hear, we wanted to un-hear. I could tell you about my friend’s sprained ankle when he jumped out of a second story window as death pushed open the classroom door. Or about a childhood friend who I learned later was shot twice and lived to graduate with honors. These are things we Hokies keep with us and I think it makes us better. Not necessarily better than you (though our school can beat your school in football which does make us better than you, natch), just better people. It makes us better citizens. It gives new meaning to our motto, Ut Prosim, That I May Serve. And we live it even more on purpose ever day because those 32 can’t.

At some point last week, the date occurred to me and I realized how close it was to April 16th, a date that will never look the same to me again. One part of me wants to have a wedding planned on that day, or have a baby that I know born, or something else happy and magical so that I can relate something other than this to the date. But another part of me wants to keep it sacred almost. I want it to be special forever because it is special. It was a totally crappy day when all was said and done, but so much goodness came of it, and I can’t say I wish it never happened. Of course I wish no one had been taken from us. But these things all happen for a reason and we can’t doubt that there was a higher meaning.

When I realized that “the date” was nearing, I marveled that so much time can pass so quickly, and then I immediately think about what I will be doing that day. It must be good because otherwise I will cry all day. There is an awesome concert in Raleigh and some other seemingly-fun festivalish events happening that would quite satisfyingly fill a sunny Saturday in April. But this isn’t just any Saturday. It’s April 16th. I need to be with my Hokie family and I need it bad. Last year I journeyed to the beach to be with my regular family and ended up crying alone with my teddy-bear of a German Shepherd Kyra for a good part of the day. She’s a good cuddler but her kisses are a little slobbery and she leaves pounds of hair on my clothes after we hug. And I LOVE my parents, alot a lot, and admittedly they are both Hokies. But this year I need some legit Hokie family by my side. I will attempt to run 3.2 miles for 32 lives lost (physical activity = yikes), and I will see some friends I haven’t seen in a year or more but it will be like I saw them yesterday. We will enjoy each other’s company. We’ll talk about the angels we knew, or we’ll talk about our boring jobs. Either way when I need that special kind of hug, I can get one. And I can give one, too. Ut prosim hugs, ya’ll.

Nothing like going home to Blacksburg to be with Hokie family to celebrate our lives, and the abbreviated lives of those who were sent to heaven a bit early.

I’m dating, but I’m still single. Of course it makes sense.

Listen. So after last week’s post wherein I slyly revealed that I’m seeing someone (remember, Jim and Pam), I had a discussion with this young man with whom I am frequenting local food establishments and movie theaters (we also have dates at the mall…it’s like, so 9th grade). Apparently my definition of “single” and his definition of “single” are not really the same. So we had a chit chat about it, and I shockingly had to re-think if I was right about this one or not. That is not sarcasm. I am right about everything with very few people, one being this young man (eventually I’ll think of a cute nickname for him), so when hearing his point of view and listening to myself explain my own side, I realized, I might agree with him more than I agree with me. In other words, he might be right. Gasp! So here we are to evaluate. Feel free to commentate in the comments.

I must admit that it is a little weird being attached to someone specific after a significant period of time being without a “special” man in my life. When I moved back to Raleigh I was excited for this chapter. It would be filled with a job I liked, a wonderful roommate, and plenty of single young country boys. I’d never have admitted this, but I was thinking I’d find a special man within a year of moving here. We’d meet at a bar, or volunteering, or maybe at a young professionals meet-up, or if my mother had her way, at church (thereby checking off her single most important requirement that he be Catholic). He’d be super cute obviously, tall perhaps, of the dark and handsome variety since this seems to be the visual I gravitate towards. We’d go on some nice dates and eventually fall in love, and perhaps a year or less later we’d break up. Or maybe a couple / few years / however many years would go by and we’d become engaged and I’d plan a fantabulous wedding, and then we’d have some babies like good Catholics do and live happily ever after until we both die together like in The Notebook. Duh.

This little story has obviously not come to pass. After all, this is real life and I don’t live in a Rom-Com. Instead I found a cute boy/man at my office (and in my department no less…I mean). Pluses: he is a country boy, he is tall, he is cute (obviously…see numerous past entries about dating ugly men), and he has left tulips on my front porch. Hello, major points. Anyhoo. I don’t want to get into the gory details because they are too gory even for me and I live them. Suffice it to say, he’s great. Awesome. High five to me and to him for being great. But.

Here is where we originally disagreed. In my last post, I grouped myself with the “single girls” because I am not married or soon-to-be-married. I like him, but you guys, where’s the fire, right? And of course when comparing myself with two groups of gals, one group being engaged/married, and one group being single / casually dating / courting / whatever you want to call it, I would obviously fall into the second category. Which, for convenience and word-count sake I dubbed “being single.” Whatever. So then we went through this engineering type exercise and used nerd words like “boolean.” We both work in IT so some of our conversations are embarrassingly nerdy. I like it and then I roll my eyes and vom. Anyway.  It went like this: married = not single, so therefore not single = married. This is obviously false. We are not married. We are not engaged. We are not even talking about marriage except in abstract terms (you know, comments like “If we get married I will not clean up after you” or the like). But we are/I am not single either. I don’t go out without him and troll for dudes. He doesn’t go out with his boys and pick up chicks (ahem, he better not, trust).  Yes we both go out and sometimes even without each other (gasp, we are individuals!) but not trying to find Mr. or Mrs. Right. But we’re not committed to each other for the rest of our lives (yet? yikes). This doesn’t really make us available, but we’re not married. So we’re single? Eh, not really. But yeah, we are.

Um, ok. That’s kind of how the conversation went. I kept saying, “but we’re not married!” And he’d calmly and logically (ugh, logic) reply, “but you’re not trying to get with other guys, right?” To which I obviously reply, “um yeah, sorry to break it to you.” JK ya’ll. Of course I said no. I ain’t no cheater. But we were both honest at the end of the conversation and agreed, we’re not committed for life and therefore nothing is final. He may think I am the sweetest thing since French Toast, and I may be charmed by his country-boy accent and adorable dimple (ugh I am grossing myself out), but if one or both of us encounters someone else or discovers we’re just not that into each other, it will not take one year plus attorney fees to make that happen.

So in conclusion. I’m not single and neither is he. But I simply don’t think that being in a relationship or dating someone specific means you are completely and 100% taken forever. Yes, we will be exclusively “together” until such time as we aren’t. Or until we get married, at which point we will be exclusively together forever (optimism alert!). So maybe there should be three categories instead of just two:  married/engaged, dating, single. That’s fair.

It is so hard for me to say I’m wrong, so I’m not going to say it. It was simply a terminology disagreement and neither of us were right or wrong. But no, I’m not single. Fine.