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Sunday, 26 June 2011

Perspective....

I have great friends.  That's just a given.  As you must've figured out by now, they have to be a very patient and tolerant lot for putting up with me in their midst... I'm pretty sure lots of them have read some of this blog and just chalked it up to the person they've always known me to be, but there are others who will be rather surprised....

Some of my friends have been around since I was a little kid, others, and probably the ones who know me best, met me in High School.  They have been part of my life since I was 15... I haven't shared this here yet I don't think, but when I was young, my parents and I lived overseas...

We moved to the Middle East when I was 12, and returned when I was 17.... because we were in a Muslim country, we were only allowed to go to school there until grade 9.  That meant that all of the kids who were in school with me would be shipped off to boarding school at the age of 15....

Most went back to schools in the States, but my parents elected to send me to a Catholic boarding school in Italy.  It was an all girls' school... that should explain a lot of my quirks I suppose... Anyhow... when my mom dropped THAT little bomb on me near the end of 9th grade, I was devastated... Jee-ZUS!  There I was, with a growing interest in boys, and my mother was going to make me go to a CATHOLIC ALL GIRLS BOARDING SCHOOL?  OMFG!  Are you KIDDING me? 

Ok - Now all the guys reading this have gone to that little fantasy land with naughty school girls having pillow fights every night, right?

All the girls reading this are going back in their minds to every English novel that talks about boarding school being Hell on Earth... especially a school with nuns acting as the custodians... and that's where my thoughts were for my entire grade 9 year....

The reality is very different than both of those fantasies....

My first day at school was tough... my mom left, and I was devastated at the thought of having to stay, so I was having a little pity party for myself after kissing her goodbye and watching her drive down the beautiful lane that divided our campus... I went in the doors to our "lounge" where the girls who's parents were much more progressive than mine were allowed to smoke....  I will never forget that experience.

I was in the midst of that "Ugly Cry" where you can't catch your breath, and your nose and eyes are red and running... one of the older girls, "Dee", having gone through the experience a year earlier, invited me to come and sit with the group she was with, and proceeded to try to cheer me up. 

Someone told a joke that was quite funny, so I was basically doing that horrible crooked smile that happens when you're bawling and trying to smile... when all of a sudden "Dee" started to laugh at the punchline.  She sort of threw her head back and when it snapped back, I swear to GOD the cigarette she was holding was in just the right position to go up her nostril.  It was lit, so when she pulled it out a nanosecond later, the 'cherry' stayed up her nose....

Next thing you know, the poor girl is frantically trying to blow it out of there "FNEE...FFFFNEE!" 

Poor thing was in pain, but it was funny in a super horrifying way, and so I started to laugh... I didn't mean to, but of course it was just hysterical to watch... She was laughing but crying too, so the two of us were just a complete snot and tear fest... and we became friends.   

I would make closer ones as I met the girls in my class in the days to come... but seeing "Dee" in the hallway for those first couple of weeks with her nostril burned and bleeding, finally scabbing over and healing was enough to make both of us crack up....

Boarding school is a very different experience than high school where you live at home... we formed fast friendships that are still as close today as they were when we were 15 year old girls struggling with issues and having to rely on each other for advice and support.  

There were 2 nuns who lived in our dormatory with us, but let's face it, first they really didn't give a shit what we were doing or going through, and second, they were going to be very little help with any issues with boys, although one of them was carrying on a torrid affair with one of the Brothers at the boys' school.   She seriously thought we never noticed her disappear with him for hours at EVERY weekly school dance, only to return with her hair in that beautiful "just laid" style...all flat in the back... and a self satisfied smile touching the corners of her mouth.... Um... Yup, Sister, we knew!

Navigating teen life without the rudder that a parent is, you tend to bond very tightly with the friends you make.  The relationship is much more sibling like...  Another one of those fantastic friends, Miss "G", is going through a struggle right now, and her ordeal is keeping me grounded. One of the problems we have being part of the priviledged few who live in a free country and can say what we want when we want, especially as a woman, is that we can get mired down in the minutia of our lives... and that's just really pitiful.

Here I am, with my health intact, the health of my kids intact, good dental care, medical care and well paying career.  My biggest struggle as you know is my love life, because I have been fortunate enough to live where I could watch Disney movies and dream....

My amazing Miss "G" is battling cancer. That is a struggle near and dear to my heart.... I know it has to be terrifying to hear the word associated with yourself... I can't even imagine what that feels like to hear when it's YOUR test results... I can only imagine it's terrifying and depressing to deal with, but this woman is navigating her lot with so much humor, strength and grace....  I just want her to know I have her back, and the backs of her sisters.  All 3 of them...

Remember how I told you someone always has it better and someone worse than you?  Well, I'm sure she's going to be the one who again has it better very soon.... I'm positive she's read this blog, and hasn't been surprised one bit, because I've been f-ing things up since I was 15...and hopefully she's been able to laugh at me.  

My only saving grace?  At least I don't have a cigarette up my nose.... 

Love you "G"!

Later...

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