One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

January 14, 2010


I think it’s going to be a really nice spring. I can’t really list all the nice things that seem to be going on and coming together, but I feel like I’m surrounded by good people, good work, and lovely plans for the future. I feel like things are coming together and the world is oozing with delicious promise – no wait, that’s just the melted snow from all the warm weather.

The warm weather is probably most to blame for my optimism right now. I walked to work the last couple of days, just because it was so nice out. I had to hustle, to get to work on time, and after work I had to hustle to get to the school to pick up the kids, but it was so nice to have fresh air, and exercise and sunlight. omg.

Yesterday afternoon, I took my kids over to my friend Acacia’s house so our kids could play together. And we sat and drank tea and visited. We’ve had a couple visits lately, but before that, it’s been fifteen or sixteen years since we hung out. And yet our visits have been so easy. We talk about child-rearing philosophies, about mental illness, family structures, childhood reminiscences. “I didn’t think it would be this easy to converse with you,” she said, “because I assumed you’d have changed a lot, because god knows I’ve changed a lot. So I didn’t expect us to still be similar.” And, “I don’t know if we are similar,” I said. “But I think we never stopped being the kind of people who think a lot about what’s going on around us.” And by that, I just mean that we both have a lot to say and we’re both interested in listening to other people who have a lot of opinions.

She is, actually, quite different from me. But I watched her deal with a fight amongst the kids yesterday (while I clutched the counter, white-knuckled to stop myself jumping in so I could see how she would deal with it) and it was so laissez-faire and low-key and I was like, “huh. I should spend more time over here, observing how that works with my kids.”

And it’s funny that she says she’s changed so much because I don’t feel like she’s changed at all, except to become more truly herself. She’s shed that conflict of feeling like who you are isn’t good enough, and I know that internally, that feels like a huge transformation. But when I watch her dealing with her kids (and my kids) and with minor household calamities with supreme equanimity, I think, “ah, that’s so her.” Not that it was natural for her child-self to deal with calamity well, but that now she has those skills, she wields them exactly as I could have said she would.

Last night I told her a story about a time when she, uncharacteristically, stood up to me. And it confused not only me, but all our friends too. It’s a difficult thing to try to adequately describe your child-self both with honesty and compassion. But basically, I was kind of arrogant, though it was in a gentle way that mostly worked for me. I certainly rubbed people the wrong way plenty, but no one ever stood up to me and I was never ostracized for it and mostly I just ended up getting my own way a lot. But this one time, I said something snotty to her, and she cut me off and wouldn’t hear it. To my credit, I didn’t pull any attitude about how you don’t do that to me; I wasn’t ever deliberately full of myself. I just didn’t understand what had gone wrong. Didn’t even really know that my tone had been so insufferable (and that it was nearly always insufferable). But every time I went to try to explain that I hadn’t meant to offend her, she cut me off and wouldn’t hear me out. We had been friend for 3 or 4 years by then, so if she was tired of my attitude, it was probably about time.

Meanwhile, our other friends were full of anxiety and telling me, “go make it better. Go apologize and stop this fight.” And I was bewildered that I couldn’t.

And then she said how funny the idea of standing up to me was because she recalled a conversation with a mutual friends once saying to her, “Ugh. Megan thinks she’s so much better than everyone else.” And Acacia replied, “Well,… yeeeeah… but she kind of is.”

I wanted to share this recollection with my blog, but now I’m having trouble putting my finger on why. I mean, it is funny. And if you have to hear about a “behind-your-back” conversation about your flaws, it’s pretty much the nicest kind. But, also, there is something in that story that reflects a lot of my own warmth of feeling about my childhood friendships. About what a flawed person I was, and how it was still okay. How I know I irritated people, and yet I also know that some people (even the people who were sometimes the most irritated with me) also loved me enough to defend my quirks. There is a warmth too, in looking at Acacia’s telling of that story and thinking, “ah, it’s so ‘you’, the way you did that. And still, it’s so ‘you’ the way you told that story, the whole time twinkling your eyes at Ian, as if you were sharing a joke with him about what it is to be a part of my life.” Which, I suppose, she was.

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