Monday, March 30, 2015

In Search of: BFFL

In high school, I had a bestie.  Her name was Christin, and we loved science fiction and Indiana Jones and comic books and I never felt like it was weird to be a nerd when I was with her.  We wrote fanfic before fanfic was even called fanfic, and we were inseparable.

Then college happened.  We went to different schools, had different majors, and drifted apart.  It might have been a good thing, if only for the fact that I wanted to reinvent myself (like many of us do) in college.  

"Reinvention" didn't amount to much.  I was still a chubby white girl with a geek streak, but I dressed a little more stylishly and figured out what to do with my long, wavy hair (product, product, PRODUUUUUUCT).  Still conservative, although less so, being among theatre people.  Still didn't drink.  Still didn't have sex.  Still got good grades.  I had a good circle of nerdy pals, though, being a double major in English and Theatre Performance.  Few of them really "got" me, though, because another large part of my identity was and is my faith, and most of them didn't understand or share that.  

I maintain (mostly online) friendships with a lot of my college buddies.  Some, I've become closer to.  Some, I respect more because of the way they have handled life's challenges since entering "the real world".  We've all grown a great deal since then, through marriages, careers, parenthood, divorce, losing family members, facing illness, financial troubles.  Frequently, I feel more connected to them now than I did back then.

After college came work, which, for me, was Starbucks.  I think it's safe to say that I've stayed closer with my former co-workers from the coffee shop than from any other part of my life (the exception being church).  I still see many of them fairly regularly, and I feel like I learned more about life from working there than I did anywhere else.  I learned about constructive criticism, customer service, finances, kindness.  I learned about prejudice and bias (yes, believe it or not I was on the receiving end of it more than once).  I learned about responsibility.  Leading others.  Time management.

And I learned that Colombian coffee is totally my fave.

In my group of friends, the ones who are most like me, at this point in my life, are those I met at South Hills Assembly's young adults group, The Bridge.  Through associations with the people there, I ended up meeting the man I eventually married.  I met like-minded people who are now parents, to whom I often turn to for advice.  These people, like me, sometimes struggle to reconcile their faith with the craziness in the world.  But we don't see each other that often.  We all go to different churches now, and some of us work. Most of us have moved away from the ten-mile radius in which we all used to live.  It's not easy to pack up kids and haul them to visit friends.  I'm not a phone person; I'd much rather text or meet in person.  It gets sort of lonely.  Even with a nearby and supportive family and extended church family, it does get lonely.

As an introvert, I'm generally happy to be by myself.  My hobbies are usually solo pursuits - writing, reading, sketching.  But spending all day entertaining a very curious baby can be exhausting, even if he IS a generally easy-going little guy.  It's isolating.  But it's a catch-22 for me, because meeting new people is equally exhausting.  (Especially since people THINK I'm an extrovert and miss my nonverbals that day "please - I need to go be alone right now!")  But when something amazing happens to me - or when I just need to vent, or get advice, I've realized - there's no one "go-to" person I contact.  Other than family.

I realized I don't have a best friend.

I do have friends.  They are wonderful.  My step-sister is incredible and mature and wise.  My stylist Jaime is an awesome mom and energetic adventurer.  My former co-worker Jordan is an outgoing, brilliantly confident woman and mother.  There are more, of course.  I have friends at church, too, but very few in my age bracket and family situation.  (That is to say, there are a lot of women with whom I am close, but very few are young moms/wives.)  They have supported me through struggles and celebrated with me during victories.  Maybe I don't need just one best friend.

But then I see those "bestie" posts on Buzzfeed and Pinterest and I'm all like, "I want that."

But then I see the pictures of doughnuts and bay windows and tabby kittens and retro-styled kitchens and I'm like, "I want that, too."

Best friend or freshly-baked cruller.  Which do I want more?  


Monday, March 23, 2015

Which One of My Cats Are You?

Hey, Buzzfeed is all over this kind of thing.  So, I figured I'd give it a go.

1. Your significant other has returned home from a long day.  What is the first thing you do? 
     (a) Check his or her bag.  Any presents for you?
     (b) Fall over yourself with excitement.
     (c) Warmly greet him or her, then push for some snuggle time.

2. How do you react to something unexpected and new?
    (a) I check it out, but I'm likely to reject it.
    (b) I'm curious.  I am willing to learn more, but I'm nervous, too.
    (c) New things are great!  Things will work out fine, I'm sure.

3. What are you most likely to watch?
    (a) Something dark and brooding, like Criminal Minds.
    (b) Something bright and happy, like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
    (c) Something charming and romantic, like Pride and Prejudice.

4. Someone invades your personal space.  What do you do?
    (a) I make it VERY clear that intimacy is on MY terms.  Period.    
    (b) Depends.  Sometimes it's ok and other times I'm like OMG LEAVE ME ALONE.
    (c) I welcome it.  I love feeling close to others.

5. What kinds of foods do you like?
    (a) Anything.  Especially if it's bad for me.  Doritos, pizza, wings - yeah!
    (b) I'm crazy picky.  It's almost embarrassing how picky I am.
    (c) I'm up for most things.  I'm also good at putting meals together for myself.  

6. Naptime!  What's your deal?
    (a) Somewhere private, cozy, and comfy.  You're not likely to find me for hours.
    (b) I can fall asleep anywhere.  You'll find me somewhere unusual.  
    (c) I'm always in the same spot, out in the open.  I'm not ashamed.  Nappers unite! 

7. Who's your bestie?
    (a) Someone I can connect with.  Someone who understands my needs completely.
    (b) Someone who is fun and playful and not afraid to be silly!
    (c) Someone I can nurture and protect.  I'm kind of parental that way.

8. Which is closest to the childhood you experienced?
    (a) I felt abandoned.
    (b) Nothing but love!
    (c) I was a loner.

9.  Let's talk hygiene.  What's your deal?
    (a) I am FASTIDIOUSLY clean.  To a fault.  Borderline OCD, even.
    (b) I like things the way I like them.  That's about it.
    (c)  I'm kind of a slob.

10. Be honest.  How do you get along with others?
    (a) I don't like people.
    (b) I guess I'm kind of an ambivert.  Mostly people are okay but I need my space.
    (c) No matter what race, age, sex, religion or ethnicity you are, I LOVE YOU.

Tally up your score!  

If you got mostly A's, you're Thor.  Basically, you're pretty much a jerk. You're that stereotypical cat that makes people dislike cats.  You're alternately needy and dismissive, and you're not particularly social. You're extremely picky about who you like. You're kind of like the introvert of people's nightmares.  If you have to spend too much time with people, you turn into a bit of a bully.  Seriously - only a mother could love you.

If you got mostly B's, you're Loki.  You are one heck of an odd bird.  You have pretty terrifying mood swings, and they definitely keep people on their toes - even though, most of the time, you're just friendly and curious.  You're a typical middle child, sometimes bullied, while other times you're the bully. You're playful and creative, though, and because of this, you're likely to turn anything into a game.  You have a persistent personality and never take "no" for an answer.  You also like to hang out in the bathroom.  While someone uses it.  Creep.

If you got mostly C's, you're Freyja.  You're unusually nurturing and patient - for a cat.  Seriously.  You are, like, a saint.  You're extremely friendly, gentle, generous, and loving.  You're more of a loyal German Shepherd than you are a cat, actually.  You're not judgmental in the least and you love spending time with others.  You don't always stand up for yourself, though, which might be your ONLY flaw.  Other than your tendency to vomit on the buffet table, that is.