April 12, 2010

Caught up but still catching up

Life is strange. They tell you this and you nod your head. Yes, oh yes. And then one day it happens, and the world falls into place, except the geometry is twisted.

I know that some of the people in my "RL" read this. I want you to understand this is not about you. This is not angry or complaining or confused. If you know about this you're most likely NOT one of the people I'm talking about, and I'd appreciate it if the rest of them didn't find out about this space.

So for the rest of you, a little story. There was once this girl, about 13. Smart, vivacious, outspoken. Sometimes arrogant. But not pretty. Not like the other kids, and very self conscious. Some people preyed on this. A lot of people. Including a girl I'll call K. K and her friends liked to make fun of this girl and her friends. for a number of reasons. Some of which were deserved. The girl also had a friend we'll call M. M and several other people and the girl were very close until one day the friends decided they didn't want to be friends with her either.

To this day, I don't know why. I guess I wasn't cool enough.

Anyway, the girl landed on her feet and found a new group of friends. Friends she still loves to this day (Hi Ben!) and one of whom she married.

Which brings me to the point of the story. Fast Forward 10 years. Turns out K is my husband's sister. Forward ten more years, M is now my husband's brother's new wife, and Saturday I was standing around talking to people who haven't deigned to speak to me in 15 years or more, and from whom I parted on less than amicable terms in some cases. Including my new Sister In Law.

Ain't that the shit? I haven't seen some of these people in two lifetimes, practically, and I'll see them again next week at another wedding. And I'm even FB friends with some of them all of a sudden. Which is ok. I'd rather know what they're up to than not. I mean, I never really stopped caring about them as people.

And I realize that I've spent the best part of the last decade hiding out. Pushing that part of my life away. Some of the reasons I had were good. Some were selfish. Some of them no longer exist. Some of them are gone forever.

I also realized that I feel like a stranger in what used to be my life. It's not like riding a bicycle. I'm just not that person anymore. My world is a different place, both spiritually and physically from what it was when I was that girl. Yes, everyone changes in 20 years, but not everyone needs a shoehorn to put on old shoes. As I stood there chatting about who does what and people's careers and kids and friends, I could feel the old patterns coming back. The old jokes, the snappy answers, the interaction was still the same, just less comfortable. As if trying on old clothes to check the fit. And I wanted to fit in, in spite of myself.

It's funny the hand life deals. I love my husband. But you can keep his family most days. They probably feel the same about me, and yet we are part of the same family. I love him and he loves them, so what choice do I have but to pitch in and be a sister to two people I would otherwise as soon have forgotten? The funniest thing is that my husband and his brother really haven't gotten along in years. For many good reasons. But they have grown closer over the last few months, due in large part to my new SIL and our own attempt at reconciling our problems.

So maybe this is a good thing, then, and my selfish anger and internal sense of righteous justice that burned its way out over the last year was just a waste of time, and the real answer is live and let live and love your family whether you chose them or got stuck with them.

Posted by caltechgirl at April 12, 2010 10:04 PM | TrackBack

Dude. What an interesting experience that must have been! It's definitely hard to forgive those who were cruel to us in our formative adolescent years. I know I still hold a lot of grudges. BTW, was I under a rock when you found out they were getting married?

Posted by: ZTZCheese at April 12, 2010 11:02 PM

I believe if you look up "awkward" in the dictionary, you see a snapshot of that wedding conversation, eh?

They say living well is the best revenge and my darling, you are definitely living better than well.


Posted by: Margi at April 13, 2010 11:26 AM

Wise words. Hard to get over the hurts caused when you're a child or a teenager. Heck, hard not to hold grudges when you're an adult. But I am a big believer in being the better person. Funny though, the urge to try those 'old clothes' on and see if they still fit, given the history. Just proves that we all want love and acceptance, and that's we're willing to slough off pain and resentment to find it. And I agree with Margi...look at you now.

Posted by: Theresa at April 13, 2010 11:48 AM

Oh, I get that weird feeling too now that my sister moved back to my old town and I think it's weirder for her. I think I've been good in that there are some parts of my "past" that I can connect with and still do and the rest is well...the past. I, for the life of me, can't understand why my friend of over 15+ years feels the need to STILL be friends with people who are just LAME and MEAN for whatever reason from our past . I get the impression sometimes she thinks she needs to not be picky because she desperately wants to have more friends as opposed to my attitude of, I'd rather have one good one then ten lame ones. And i feel like I'm much better than I really am until I'm faced with having to deal with them again. A friend of mine told me after not seeing me for a couple years that, wow, you've really changed and I responded, everyone changes, you're just not here for the ride anymore. So, getting back on that same roller coaster just feels weird. Personally, I think it's good to connect with people from your past and if you want to start up an active friendship that's great, but it doesn't bug me that I have my old friends and my current friends. But that's me.

Posted by: hottiescientist at April 15, 2010 11:58 AM

Something about keeping friends close and enemies closer springs to mind. Keep a positive mental attitude!

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Posted by: MB3-003 at April 20, 2010 10:13 PM

..... well, whatever happens?..... never EVER duck your heard to no one...... you have a great mind and a wonderful heart......... and if people can't respect you for the person that you are, then they should kiss you ass.......

.... just my two cents worth........

..... you don't owe them anything, ma'am...... and they have every right to feel bad about how they treated you back in the day.....


Posted by: Eric at April 30, 2010 05:19 PM