Tag Archives: friends

Sometimes it Gets a Little Gossip Girl

I was wrapping up on set today when I got a text message from a friend I wrote about in this post. The text read, “I did something really stupid. I went to [city friend’s] show. I feel awkward and like an idiot. Too late to leave, but don’t want to stay here alone.” The gig happened to be right around the corner (literally), so I packed my stuff up, made a pit stop in the make-up trailer (use it if you’ve got it, right?), and headed over to rescue my friend, who I knew would do the same for me.

I got there in time to grab a drink at the bar before the lights dimmed and we made our way to our seats in the darkness. Our former city friend took to the stage. I wasn’t wearing my glasses, but to me she looked exactly the same. Pale, angular features against long, jet black hair. She spoke into the mike introducing herself and her band, her speaking voice in an entirely different and more “affected” register than I’d remembered. The phrase, “you’ve got to be kidding me” ran through my mind. Then, she launched into her singing, guitar playing, etc. It was … awful. By song six, I felt seasick. Everything song sounded exactly the same and she rhymed words like “dead,” and “unfed.” I felt as if I was listening to a music box play over and over again. I wanted to shut the lid.

In that brief (though it felt A LOT longer) set, I realized something. She might have grown taller, but she didn’t grow up. The singing voice was exactly the same as high school, the gestures a little more dramatic, but still reminiscent of ninth grade. Her awkward banter with the audience only exposed the fact that she carried the same baggage for the past 13 years. It was horrific to watch, but yet, it made me feel so good. I felt like an accomplished (young) adult compared to the a woman-child I saw “at play” on a stage. I had a little You’ve come a long way, baby, moment. My eyes were wide open, no longer clouded by the mystery I thought surrounded this friend. Right then, I saw her for what she really was: a wannabe, a chameleon, trying on every persona, but never owning one of them completely. I felt so high school in my bitchiness and yet, so Freud in my analysis (or would it be Jung?)

The friend (whom I rescued) and I locked eyes and we laughed and clinked glasses. We didn’t need to say a word. Sometimes, the sweetest revenge is simply showing up and growing up.

mothermeasuring

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Post-Turkey Wrap-Up (aka Leftovers)

I was reluctant to leave the city the on Wednesday night. My original intention was to head up to the Museum of Natural History after work, grab a drink with friends, watch the balloons inflate and head back downtown to a party in my ‘hood with another friend and her six sisters. Unfortunately, come 9pm, I was still in Brooklyn, at work, plans foiled and just gunning to make it to the last ferry out of town. After finally home-holidaysheading out the office door at 9:30, I took the G train, L train, taxi to 39th and WS Hwy, ferry to Weehawken, NJ, and finally car to suburban NY, where I made it home on time to catch the tail end of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 with my 12-year-old neighbor, who was hanging out at our house with my parents and sister — her mother would show up at our door Thanksgiving morning with coffee and bagels, thanking us for allowing her daughter a break from their household chaos.

As I think I’ve mentioned in past posts, we really don’t have any family to speak of (or that we speak to). All of my “relatives” are basically old family friends who were christened Aunts, Uncles, Godparents and cousins, save for my maternal grandmother. So, our actual Thanksgiving festivities included my Godmother, Uncle and cousins, our neighbors and their daughters and our neighbor’s sister, her husband, and son, 20 people in total (and three dogs!) and a surprise guest, another family friend’s son showed up for dessert and Karaoke after attending his father and Step-mother’s “lame” (his words) Thanksgiving dinner.

We were all mostly thankful for the fact we were having Thanksgiving together, not with crazy relatives, not alone, and definitely not without laughter and 20-plus years worth of stories (from hospital rooms to hotels, summer vacations to Sunday dinners) to prove that these people are not just our friends, they are our family.

Celebrating the Future by Faking it

Editor’s note: This post might start out normal, but it is somewhat of a rant.

Among the 20-something set, getting an evite to someone’s birthday dinner is met with a mix of both happiness and dread. Happy to be celebrating a birthday with a friend (extra happy if they’re turning a year older than you), not so happy because inevitably, the restaurant is expensive, you have to pay for the bday person’s dinner, everyone drinks like a fish, over-orders, someone forgets their wallet/leaves early/forgets to pay and somehow you manage to walk out dropping $80 on a $12 pasta dish and eight glasses of water. I may complain when the evite appears in my in box, but I’m always happy to go, celebrate with friends, meet new people, maybe discover a new restaurant.

BUT

this time is was painful. I reminded myself 8,000,000 times I was doing this for my friend. But that’s hard to remember when you’re seated next to the driest, most boring people in the world, across the table from a Library Science major (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you can guess the type), a textbook editor, and someone that works in “logistics” for a New Jersey magazine. I drank ten glasses of water to avoid having fits and starts of conversations with these people, which clearly, they couldn’t seem to carry. At first, I felt bad. But then I got a little annoyed. These friends of my friend were all around our age, went to schools that ranges from MIT to Trenton State, some were still in school (Masters, PhD, etc) and some had jobs. But NO ONE was interesting!  I started by asking people what they did, and I don’t just mean how they were employed because most weren’t, but what they liked to do and wereinterested in. I received blank stares. I kid you not.

After two hours, the “party” started breaking up and I hightailed it out of there and walked through the East Village to my west side home. When I hit Stuyvesant Park, I started wondering what all those people I went to high school with (birthday friend included) were doing. I ticked through as many people as I could remember and came up with almost nothing. In its time, our school graduated philanthropists, entrepreneurs, diplomats, social rebels, policy makers, magazine founders, leading feminists, a few queens (real ones, not drag) and wives of heads of state. It was a pretty competitive environment both academically and socially. Graduates went to top-tier schools (except for some of us) and what are they doing now? Legal assistant, administrative assistant, medical assistantassistantoffice manager, assistant to the President of (blah firm/hedge fund/office). And the general female consensus seems to be they’re whiling away the time until they either a) get married or b) have kids.

Where did the leaders go? My fellow classmates that wanted to be litigators, start non-profits, change society, make films, music, fashion, technology (OK, that kiddid do something), run countries and corporations. Why work so hard academically throughout middle/high school and spend a ton on college, if you don’t plan on pursuing your career aspirations? I know I was one of the lucky ones that knew what she wanted to do (for the most part), but come on, they could have just tried to make some of the dreams happen … I know I did and still do. What went wrong? These are kids I believed in. I thought one girl would be running our country or at least be Secretary of State, but now she’s in Argentina, where she’s teaching kids English until she figures out what to do next.

I’m depressed and mad. I’m in a bit of a career rut now, but even in my rut, I had three former classmates say they’re so impressed with what I’ve done. Huh? What I’ve done? I’ve held up my end of the “future” bargain. I’ve worked, and when I didn’t like a job, I found another more interesting or more humane one. I stopped hiding behind the textbook and started living in the real world where we also learn things and meet people and make money. I still continue to further my education by taking classes, reading EVERYTHING, consider grad school and go to lectures. In a nutshell, I became an interesting person. I have cocktail talk. I can carry on a conversation and I have interests. But perhaps most importantly, I have interesting friends that reflect the various facets of my personality and background.

I think I’ve just realized something…

It all comes down to confidence.

If you’re not confident in yourself or what you want to do (like my friend) then you surround yourself with like-minded people — no confidence, career direction, etc.

I don’t always have confidence. Most of the time I fake it. I’m sure even my friends do too. I’ve been practicing the art of faking for so long, sometimes I forget I’m faking and actually believe it. And maybe that’s what it boils down to. Not how good a student you are, how much community service you’ve done, how many internships you’ve had, who you know, how much money your parents have or where you came from. Maybe it’s all about how well you can “fake it till you make it.”

And that revelation is no lie.