I’m paying attention to my gut on this one and my brain keeps going, “would you stop being a freak? People are nice to each other all the time. That’s what people do…you remember, don’t you? You haven’t been a weirdo your whole life. C’mon, get a grip.”
Really, that’s what my brain is saying. It’s talking. My brain…
But I’m not hearing it, see, because my gut is talking louder (I should really go ahead and stop with this analogy, I know) and it’s telling me I’m a complete weirdo. The thing that I’d like to explain – and I suddenly have the perfect medium with which to do so – is that I haven’t always been so starved for real connections. I’m not going to blame a man for this one, either.
It’s important to note here that I’ve spent the last like 15 years of my life virtually separating myself from my childhood/adolescence in an effort to separate my grown up mentality from my childish one. I wasn’t a particularly intelligent or interesting young person – I was nice, just like everyone else. I was nice. I was Catholic and embodied everything that entails.
It’s not just me I’m concerned with at this point, though. If it were just me, that would be another story. It’s anyone and everyone ever connected to me. The majority of the folks I know from those days is still exactly the same. They’re not interesting adults, they don’t have their own opinions, they live in the same houses they grew up in, they drive the same cars and wear the same clothes. Their children are them all over again and they live with fear guiding their every move, their every decision.
They go to church so they don’t go to hell. They pay their credit card bills so they won’t have bad credit (gasp!). They have corporate jobs (yes, I see the irony) so they can live in cardboard houses so they can park their SUVs in their driveways. They’re conservative christians so their greed is justified by the liberals trying to steal their “hard” earned money.
I don’t want that anymore. I haven’t wanted it for a long time but it’s haaarrd (in my best whiny voice). It’s hard to re-teach yourself a new mentality. I started teaching myself this new way after I met my first husband and realized he wasn’t anything like me and his childhood wasn’t anything like mine, but he wasn’t scary or the enemy afterall. He had interesting things to say that frankly made a lot more sense, as much as I resisted at the time. And then around the same time I took a religion class in college because I thought it was going to be an easy credit, given all the religious education I’d taken growing up. Umm, not so much. It blew my little mind and turned my life around. Actually, the class may have come first and perhaps is what prepared me for accepting his lack of faith in the first place. Some would say that’s the type of thing that happens for a reason. I wouldn’t, but some would.
I remember when he told me he didn’t believe in the concept of heaven. At the time I was still making the sign of the cross when I saw an ambulance just in case there was someone dying inside. Imagine my mind exploding when he questioned why I was doing that and the discussion that ensued. Suffice it to say it took me some time to wrap my mind around such a desperately (at the time) sad notion as just DYING AND ROTTING IN THE EARTH FOR ETERNITY.
So, anyway, in my effort to separate myself from my previous chains, so to speak, I’ve had to separate myself from the closeness I once knew with other people in my life. As an adult, I’m not that good at “making new friends” because I’m hesitant to put forth the effort only to find the same issues over and over again. It’s such a childish notion to me but at the same time I crave it with all my heart.
That desire is what I’m thinking explains my overeagerness with finding someone I feel a childlike comfort with but who also believes many of the same things I believe. My friend, lets call her Amie, has many of the same values and never seems to judge me. I know these are normal qualities people have in common with their friends – for me, it’s more complicated than that.
I think I’ve been trying to tell her that since we met. I remember mentioning it one of the first times we drank way too much together. I’d had just enough to blurt out in the middle of her big old white kitchen how much I liked being there and how I didn’t have that with many other people. She looked like she wondered if I was just drunk but said something like that was hard to believe (thanks). I’ve been making subtle remarks ever since. But now that it’s not so subtle anymore, I felt the need to provide a bit more of an explanation.