Monthly Archives: November 2010

“I will miss…the most mundane things.”

I see in them little details so specific to each of them that move me and that I miss, and…will always miss.” —Celine, Before Sunset

One of my dear friends joined Facebook a few weeks ago; which meant I had to go back and find photos that she was in, and tag her.  There’s one picture taken 4 years ago featuring the two of us and a girl we were friends with at the time; we’re making funny faces and you can tell we’re having a blast. Over the past few years since the photo was taken, the girl and I had a spectacular falling out and haven’t spoken in over a year.  I think their friendship is at a delicate stage, but I’m not sure to what extent. My friend told me that she doubted the three of us would ever be able to take a picture like that again.  Some days I think about messaging  the girl and saying that I wish we could go back to that time, where everything was natural and it seemed like we all cared about each other. Knowing how she is as a person, I doubt it would mean much. Where do you go after saying something like that? I wonder about all the words hanging in the air.

So many things go unsaid. There’s that one sentence that if I had said, maybe things would be different now. There are a whole lot of sentences I should have said to various people. I should probably still say them. They aren’t necessarily “I love you,” or “I miss you.” Sometimes they’re along the lines of “we’re not so different,” or “I would like your advice,” or “I know about the things you don’t say, but I’m okay with them.”

I’ve been thinking about the film, Before Sunset. Over the past few years that movie has connected me to so many people, and seeing it made me wonder about what happens to all those unsaid things. I think they add up to the moments and things you miss about a person. The reason you didn’t ask your million dollar question, was because you got caught up in them blowing smoke rings.  Or maybe because you knew that last car ride should be a happy one, and that for just one minute you really could be close while jamming out to Josie Cotton. Would those moments have happened had they not been a smoker? What if they had put on some lame-o music instead?

In Before Sunset, Celine talks about how “you can never replace anyone, because everyone is made of such beautiful specific details.” I wonder if my former friend would care about all the details I miss about her: like the time we stole cake from the neighbor boys, or the nights I’d paint violet and silver eyeshadow on her eyes. There’s one moment, and maybe it shouldn’t matter much, but I had been crying to another friend when she walked in the room. I hate crying in front of people so I tried to compose myself; she sat down in front of me and said “I know.” That was it, we didn’t need to talk about what was bothering me. It was something so simple that still means so much to me.

There are tiny elements that represent every person I’ve ever felt connected to. Some are a collection of things that I could spend hours trying to capture on paper. Others, maybe one specific item or moment that defines who they are, what we are…or were. Like Celine, I am obsessed with details, but I’m also curious about whether or not people care about what they are. Sometimes I just want to say, “wouldn’t you like to know the details I miss about you?”

 

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“Just as long as we’re together…”

Yesterday Jezebel.com featured an article about childhood friendships; it was originally published in the Daily Mail. The piece is mainly about how friendships from childhood are the ones that tend to last forever. Because we are forced to spend all day with our friends during our formative years we supposedly create these intense bonds that last well into adulthood.  Now I don’t completely disagree with that sentiment, I’m still friends with a few people from high school and middle school. We’ll always share certain memories and experiences from those times in our lives that the friends we make later on won’t understand/care about because they weren’t there.  However, that doesn’t mean that the friends I’ve made over the last few years won’t be life long nor does it mean that they are any less valuable than those I’ve had for a longer period of time.  Two of the people I’m closest with are people I’ve met within the last 5 years, one of the two I met last year.

The comments on the post are mixed: some are still friends with their preschool buddies, others are really only close to the people they met later on in life, a lot have a mix. Some commenters point out that childhood friendships (turned into adult ones) can be simply friendships of convenience, or have pathological/co-dependent elements to them. I have seen that side. I’ve also seen how exclusive those friendships can be, to the point where it means ignoring friends who aren’t in that group because they aren’t as “important” as those friends are.

I once had a friend/ex-roommate, *Ellen, who conducted our friendship like the ones she had with her “friends from home.” What this meant was, I basically had to initiate contact between us, because God forbid she ever IM or email me first. I had to tolerate her flakiness and not get wished “Happy Birthday” because she didn’t see at as important. I think the cake topper was when we had a falling out she chose to side with the friend she knew longer–even though they were being false. I suppose what frustrated me was as roommates I really saw the potential for us to have a great friendship–to the point where I would’ve considered her one of my closest friends. But, when I was constantly being compared to that group of friends and their standards there was no way we would’ve been able to maintain any sort of friendship, especially when she wasn’t willing to meet me half way.

In the end I do disagree with the article’s author, Lucy Cavendish’s statements. I don’t think it’s fair to limit ourselves to the friends we made when we were kids. We never know who really will allow us to be who we truly are, who will help us grow into a better person. Saying that it will only be our tween/teen friends ends up limiting our possibilities. I want the option to have a great friendship with those I’ve met in the last few years and those I’ve known forever. I also want the chance to make even more amazing friendships.

You haven’t even begun…

“I don’t think people really change. I think they, we, can become better versions of what we are, more efficient, more impactful, hopefully less destructive. ” — William Bradley

I’ve been thinking about this quote ever since Bradley wrote up his review of the season finale of Mad Men.  I suppose I’ve always been infatuated with the idea reinvention, changing into something completely different…for the better, of course. In a way it’s a sort of Frankenstein idea of the emotional and mental self, keeping things you like, getting rid of those you don’t.

I like to think that for the most part we are constantly evolving, making subtle changes not only for ourselves but for those around us. Maybe it means keeping in touch with people who really do care about you, and letting go of the people you’ve out grown. Or maybe it’s even something superficial, like remembering to put the toilet-paper on the toilet-roll holder because you know the empty cardboard drives your partner crazy.

Lately I’ve been wondering if people really are capable of change. I had a argument discussion with a friend a few weeks ago, where she stated that she didn’t like certain aspects of her personality and was trying to change them. I kept telling her that it was a great thing and that I hoped she found what she was looking for. At the end of the day I’m not really sure what she wants to fix. I feel like maybe it was a nice thing to say at the time, but since then there hasn’t been any real effort on her part to sort of keep the ball rolling.  I’ll be honest, I feel duped and find the scenario to be along the lines of her “[announcing] abruptly that [she] has evolved — instead of actually evolving.”  I feel like when you’re trying to repair certain aspects of yourself or relationships that need to be mended and managed, well, you can’t really go on hiatus.

On the other hand I’m constantly confronted by the idea of people becoming to be some bizarre ideal that they hold near and dear to their hearts. In a previous entry I mentioned a roommate who used to give us hints of the beautiful person she could be, but then devolved into something selfish and superficial. Will she one day feel like she should do a 180, and find herself on the path to becoming a better person?

I’m always hopeful that people will change for the better. I hope they wake up and see the friends they have who truly care about them. It would be wonderful to have  self-awareness and see how we’ve slighted people or unintentionally hurt them, and change those behaviors. It would be great if we became more caring and generous.  But by fixing those elements are we actually changing?  Or is Bradley right, and we’re simply becoming better versions of ourselves?