Connie is a very elderly woman, early to mid 90’s, who shows up to the hospital multiple times a week for multiple hours a day, not as a patient, but as a volunteer. Her hair is voluminous and pearly white, and she’s just a beautiful person in and out, always generous and beaming, with a smart sense of humor. Connie is basically the epitome of the ideal grandmother.
I met her when I was a student volunteer at the hospital back at home, and her presence in general, plus her stories and her humor (not to mention the cookies she brought) always made my time at the place worthwhile. I still have very specific memories from those days — listening to her talk about her children and grandchildren, waiting with her for her cab, scheming together to get me and the others out of wheeling 300lb patients out, and more.
Today, 4 years later, my sister is a volunteer at the hospital, and Connie is still there and still shows up multiple times a week for multiple hours a day, not as a patient, but as a volunteer. Today, my sister told me that Connie was missing from her usual chair in the volunteers’ room. Word was, she had stood up from her desk during her shift and had fallen and broken her wrist. And then, out of nowhere, an orderly comes along, pushing Connie in a wheelchair. She has a cast on her arm and is smiling excitedly and chirping “Hello” to everyone she sees.
Such a trooper. She is definitely one of my heroes.
But sometimes, little good things happen right before the 2AM mark.
Take last night, for example.
I have had this friend since my first year of college. I never really considered us close, but we’ve had our moments. Regardless, I always thought it was one of those friendships that would just disintegrate into oblivion after that first year, because, well, let’s face it, if you don’t have reason to see someone, or talk to someone, the bond between you two just fades.
What surprised me (and still surprises me) is that we still talk occasionally. After last night’s conversation, I realized that I really owe it to him that I can still consider him my friend.
At this moment, I’d like to refer to one of my favorite passages from Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
“Things change and friends leave. And life doesn’t stop for anybody. I think the idea is that every person has to live for his or her own life and than make the choice to share it with other people. You can’t just sit there and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things.”
As you can probably guess, our talk revolved around friendships. So often, we experience friends whom we let walk out of our lives, sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. My friend brought up a good point — something I think we all know subconsciously, but just never really act upon nor think actively on it. Friendships, like everything else, require work and effort. It can’t just be a one-sided thing. As cliche as it is, actions do speak louder than words. You can’t just say, “I miss you; let’s hang out sometime!” or something of the sort and not follow up on it, but still hope it’s enough to keep a friend by your side. You need to physically show that you mean it and appreciate having that person around. Today, communication has been made easy for us. We may be busy with our own lives, engrossed in our own thoughts and ambitions and problems, but reaching out to others and maintaining relationships takes only a few seconds, whether it be via a simple Facebook post, tweet, or even a text. You may not realize it right now, but eventually, when you find out you have inadvertently pushed everyone who cared away, loneliness can be quite draining.
Of course, like every overanalyzing girl in the world, I started reflecting on myself after the conversation with my friend. I’m one of those individuals who easily end up focusing too much on themselves. I always have to remind myself to keep in contact with people, since it is so easy for me to sit back and do my own thing while I wait for others to reach out to me, and that is one of the easiest ways to kill a bond between two people. This friend whom I’ve been speaking of, he’s always the one texting me. Periodically, yes. But nevertheless, it is still communication, and I do thank him for that.
So, as I’ve mentioned in my tweet from last night, thanks to those who have and still are making the effort to stay friends with me. I’m trying my best to reciprocate!
Oh, and props to those who understand where this post’s title comes from!
It’s one thing when you realize you share so many interests with another person and that leads to you two becoming great friends. However, it’s a whole different thing when you and your friend start off with similar interests, but then you soon find yourself seeing doubles: your friend has essentially morphed into a second-you.
They say imitation is a form of flattery, but I beg to differ. For someone who enjoys being unique, having mini-me’s parading around becomes quite problematic.
I appreciate that you approve of my taste, but please, fashion your own individuality please, or else you would just look like a moron with no backbone.
I really don’t understand why people stare at me, aghast, when I mention that I’ve never exactly had a best friend. Actually, let me reword that last part. I’ve never really considered anyone to be my best friend. I just avoid the term “best friend” altogether. There’s the acquaintances, the good friends, and then the close friends. But so far, there hasn’t really been “the best friend.” Best friends, by common definition, share everything — clothes, giddy stories, deep, dark personal secrets. I’ve never really been one to let anyone become close enough to me that they know much past the surface. It’s funny. Usually, friends think they know all about me, or at least, most of who I am. But in reality, they only know the surface, or the facade I create for them.
It’s not a huge secret that I have trust issues. I think most of my close friends know that, but they’re just unaware of how insanely huge those issues are. Maybe it’s because I’ve been burned before. And maybe it’s because I’m so used to people coming and going— close friends one day, mere strangers the next. It’s a huge effort for me to place a good amount of trust in someone. The weird thing is, it was only fairly recently that I started to be a bit more comfortable sharing personal stories with certain people. It’s an interesting feeling, being able to pour out certain things I’ve kept bottled up inside of me for the longest time.
To be quite honest, I have thought about possibly ending up regretting this decision to share, as I have done in the past, and I have considered being very careful about what I reveal. Attribute it to high-level paranoia, if you will. Whoever said “don’t care about what people think” did not know what he/she was talking about. The fear of judgment will always be there. Hell, it is human nature to be judgmental. But, I guess my holding some of the said persons’ personal stories hostage helps a bit. It certainly gives me leverage and ammunition to fire back, in case of anything. But for now, that fear seems to be at ease. It seems like all is good. For now, at least.
Let’s hope it stays that way.
Despite a tumultuous long day full of mood swings and a night of seething foul mood, it’s awesome to know that I have friends who can easily cheer me up without them even trying to. It’s been a long day, but now I’m just sitting in front of my laptop, giggling like a dumb kid, feeling the weight of the day (and night) lighten up.
It’s an ineffable feeling, really, but I love it. I’m just filled to the brim with love and sheer gratitude for these people.
Thank you, guys. Totally turned my frown upside down and made a bad day end on a good note.
After an evening full of ridiculous laughter (so much that my cheeks hurt and that I’m pretty sure I burned off all those calories from the honey brick toast dessert) with good food and good company, I was at Tiffany’s house when I received a text from my housemate a little after midnight that construction was going on in my apartment complex parking lot and that I’d have to park at the adjacent church rear lot. It didn’t help that Tiffany and I had just read about 1988 Junko Furuta’s gruesome torture and murder story (WARNING: don’t read about it if you have a queasy stomach) and were talking about serial killers.
“Fuck. The church parking lot is so far away from my apartment. The lots don’t even connect. I’ll have to walk through the church lot, walk by the main street, then walk through the complex. It’s like almost a mile of walking. By myself. This late at night.” To be honest, I was more averse to the walk due to sheer laziness rather than regard for safety.
“Take this,” Tiffany said, handing me a metal rod, about 2ft long. “Just in case of anything. Plus, you’ll feel so much safer with it. Trust.”
We ended up talking for an additional hour and a half.
Finally, around 2AM, I headed home. I parked in the church lot and surveyed the area. The parking lot is separated from the apartment complex by a row of bushes and a cement wall. I figured that if I could bypass the bushes and scale the wall, I could leap over to the other side without having to walk long distance carrying a metal rod. Call it a shortcut, if you like. Besides, it was late and dark, and the chances of anyone seeing me would be slim, despite how shady it would look.
I walked the length of the parking lot, determining where the the wall was the lowest. I finally located it — about a 4ft height, and noticed that there was a 1.5ft clearing underneath the bushes. “Screw it,” I told myself, stuffed my phone, wallet, and keys into my denim shorts pocket, clutched the metal rod, and ducked underneath the bushes, hoping for no cobwebs and flesh-eating bugs and ignoring the twigs and leaves grazing my hair.
I emerged on the other side of the bushes and found myself facing the cement wall. It was too high for me to push myself up using my arm muscles (not that I have any), so I did the next best thing. I swung one leg high up, hooked it over the wall, and hoisted myself, grimacing in pain as I felt the rough cement surface scrape against my thigh (damn those denim shorts), and ending up in sitting position facing the apartment complex, surveying the area in front of me.
To my horror, I realized the drop down was greater than I had anticipated. From the church side, the wall is only about 4ft. But from the complex side, the length from the top of the wall (where I was perching) to the ground is a little more than 6 ft.
“No sacrifice, no victory,” I told myself, echoing my tattoo. I knew if I landed off balance, I’d end up with a painfully rolled ankle and perhaps injured knees, but what the hell. Where’s the fun in life if you never take risks? I jumped and stuck the landing, still tightly clutching the metal rod in one hand. Then I ran, getting slightly lost a couple times before I finally arrived safely at my doorstep.
As my tweet last night said, “Epic night. With an epic story. And an epic skin injury.”
You just had to be there. But it certainly makes for a great story.
And then, this morning, I noticed that the construction team had finished setting the new asphalt in the complex parking lot, and I came up with the notion of etching my initials into the wet asphalt. My other housemate found a strong stick, and I took up lookout duty while she scratched in her initials onto the ground, and she then did the same for me. Once we were done, we ran home like delinquent teenagers up to no good.
Our names are forever in the ground…. until the complex re-asphalts again, that is.
I’m sad to say my penmanship isn’t very good when I’m writing on the ground with a stick.
Oh, and I just have to add one more thing — it’s beyond awesome knowing that you have friends who care for your safety. Thank you, Tiffany!