Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Midol-Induced Introspection

So, I'm sitting here eating my Darth Vader M&M's and trying to come up with some sort of direction or topic for this blog. I often have a problem coming up with topics because I do basically nothing but work. Honestly, I'm almost as sick of writing about work as I am of actually working. The most eventful thing that happened to me last month were those Jehovah's Witnesses. I remember having a social life at one point, I really do.

However, as I get older I become less willing to go out. If I go out and drink, someone has to drive me home. Live music is not as fun as it used to be because I have depleted my tolerance for loud, stinky, sweaty evenings. Mostly, I prefer to go hang out at my friend's house in the country, get t-rashed, as we like to call it, and smoke tons of cigarettes, which is what we used to do when we shared an apartment in Memphis.

In high school, I used to go out all the time. My friends and I would pile into someone's crappy, hand-me-down car and go to coffee shops on the university strip where we would drink an absurd amount of caffeine and try to look as cool as the college kids.

Ah, those were the days. The artsy-fartsy days, that is. I shunned football games, dances, and anything else that a normal teenager might do. I tried desperately to hide my naive, upper-middle-class, pampered-ass mentality behind a thin veil of thrift shop clothes, acrylic paint, and countless sheaves of scribbled-on notebook paper.

Maybe I'm being too hard on myself. I was a deeply unhappy person, whether because of raging hormones or a chemical imbalance, I'll never know. I just remember a lot of pain. I was isolated, surly, stand-offish, and snide. I suppose most people are as teenagers.

Where other kids my age were cliquey and petulant, I was too, even though I thought I wasn't. My rag-tag group of art-fag friends was just as hard to permeate as any "popular" group. I never deliberately shunned people because I didn't think they were "cool" enough for me. It was more like I felt comfortable with four or five people, and I thought everyone else was probably out to get me, or would think I was lame.

I've never been the center of any group. I'm usually the sidekick to some emotionally screwed individual with a lot of charisma. My sarcastic commentary, die-hard loyalty, and sense of righteous indignation endows said person with an aura of command that they usually don't deserve. This was completely the case in high school.

C introduced me to a lot of stuff I would've never been interested in otherwise: collage, making my own clothes, P.J. Harvey, letters as art, spontaneous gift-giving, body piercing, purple hair, and bing cherries. There were a lot of positive things about my friendship with her. There was also plenty of negative personal drama. I don't regret knowing her. Even more, I don't regret that she cast me off after our first semester of college. I never thought I'd say that, but if I was still friends with her, I never would've grown up.

They say you can't catch mental illness, but in a way you can. The people that surround you influence the way you think. She opened my mind in some directions and closed it down to others. Left to my own devices, I've come to understand the world more fully without her. The people you share life with, not just spouses or other family, shape your experiences. Eventually your life takes on the shape of those people.

My husband says his life is better because of the people with whom he's chosen to share it. He says it's his only talent. If you ask me, it's the most important.

I'm more picky about my friends now, though more understanding. I judge them based on actions rather than background, musical taste, reading habits, or personal rhetoric. I'm more concerned with what people do than what they say. And when I say judge, I mean whether I want to associate with them, not whether they're going to hell.

Having bad friends has taught me how to be a better friend and a better person. I think that's what people mean when they say they have no regrets. I don't regret anything I've done wrong, because I think I've learned something from my every one of my mistakes.

I'm still a stupid kid, but at least I know it.


Dad said...

I am afraid that you have inherited the "terminally introspective" gene. The bad news is that it's (at least thus far) incurable. The good news is that every once in a while you actually do learn something that helps you become a better person.

I always recall that someone said that the unexamined life is not worth living. I guess that says it for me.

cadiz12 said...

you're damn right. i'm only now starting to realize just how much better off i am with a few gems than a hundred rocks. and i had to learn that the hard way; i envy your husband for his skill.

Guyana-Gyal said...

This post was worth waiting for.

It is like looking at one's 'self' in a clear, clean brightly lit mirror.

It's what we do with what we discover that's interesting, I think.

We can either shrug and walk away. We can hate what we see. Or we can love some, discard some, change some.

No, you are not a stupid kid.

Gloria Glo said...

I only tried the hip art crowd for a while, but discovered, as you did, that it was just a 'different' popular crowd with all the drawbacks of the traditionally popular group. In the end, my friends became these non-cool, normal kids who were kind, gracious, good to their mothers, and willing to be responsibly crazy. They are still the people who see me through it all.

I hear you on the not going out thing. I go dancing about once a year now when I used to live to be "out". I like quiet Friday nights and a matinee movie is as good as a crazy night at the bars. Growing up is kinda comfy - like finally finding that one great pair of fluffy slippers.

cadiz12 said...

oh my goodness, i just saw that you linked me. thanks! that made my day.

Sylvana said...

This was a great post. I have always been selective about the people that I spend a lot of time with. I'm friendly to anyone who is friendly to me, but there are very few people that I find are really worth the time and energy of a full-out friendship. I'll talk to the "rocks", as cadiz12 put it, and share a few laughs with them, but I put my real energy into those "few gems". It definitely is quality that counts, not quantity.