Monday, January 25, 2010

The past is now the present

When Jessica Gottlieb posted that she would be on Dr. Phil, thanks to DirecTV's account services online, I was able to record the episode. After the girls went to bed that night, I poured myself a glass of wine, pressed play, and found Jessica sitting next to one of my closest childhood friends, Teresa Strasser.

Teresa and I did Fiddler on the Roof together in San Francisco when I was 9. I lived in Santa Cruz, and she in SF so after the show was over, we became pen pals. I moved to L.A., and we continued our letter writing for a while, but eventually, we lost touch.

There was something completely jarring about seeing Jessica and Teresa sitting there...and something totally cool about it, too.

It reminds me of what it's like to be on FB, and read a status update from one of my high school friends, and then a comment from my mom, and then a link written by a fellow LA Moms blogger.

During my marriage and for a few years after separating from X, I didn't want to see many people from my past life here in L.A. I'd had so many ambitions and I hadn't come through. And now, here I was, a single mom, struggling to get on my feet, working as an assistant in a profession I did not yet think of as my own, and steeped in debt.

I was scared of attending my high school reunion, how to answer the questions of what I've been doing for the last 15 years. What would I say to anyone that I knew back then? "Well, I'm a total loser now, and what are you up to?"

Still, I went. A friend that I actually had kept in touch with for those past 15 years begged me to go and offer moral support so I went. And I had a great time!

It really was great to see everyone again, and see that while most of us did not have the lives we thought we'd have, we were happy.

I guess that's when I realized that everyone goes through this. None of our lives turn out the way we think they will. Even if dreams come true, they're not without unexpected twists and turns.

And, yes, we all make mistakes that have consequences.

Still, seeing Teresa up there, remembering a private joke we had onstage during Fiddler, I smiled all over again. Each time I've seen old friends from high school or other parts of my life, old memories have made us laugh, either like the first time, or with the new perspective of time.

I used to think that person I was before X was gone forever. Each friend on FB that came B.X. has reminded me that I'm still me. Each family member and old friend that has been there the whole time, and each new friend that I've met in my new life through every new experience I've had post-X has helped me reconcile the past into my present. To ignore or deny any of them would be a denial of who I am. Because I finally understand how it all adds up to who I am and where I am today. And reminds me that the future is full of unexpected possibilities. There will be new mistakes, too, more consequences to endure, but without those, there would be no new friends to add, no new experiences and laughs to have.

And I know that it's all about the people I am lucky enough to call friends. FB or otherwise, blood relatives or former colleagues or classmates, it's the people that enrich my soul and make every present moment a memory for smiles and laughs for years to come.

This post was inspired by Vinomom's own journey from the past to the present.

7 comments:

Tara R. said...

There are so few people I would want to see again from my high school days. I have yet to attend a reunion and this summer will be my 30th graduation anniversary.

I have reconnected with a couple high school classmates on Twitter, but they were very close friends. For us three, I can guarantee, none of us saw where we would be right now.

MindyMom said...

I LOVE facbook for keeping in touch with friends both old and new. However, I recently learned the downside of FB (seeing things we'd rather not) and "de-friended" someone for the 1st time. Sometimes we just have to let go...

*sigh*

Penelope said...

I love this: "I guess that's when I realized that everyone goes through this. None of our lives turn out the way we think they will. Even if dreams come true, they're not without unexpected twists and turns."

Sometimes those unexpected twists and turns are the biggest teachers. And what's life if we're not learning, growing and changing!

Florinda said...

"Each friend on FB that came B.X. has reminded me that I'm still me. Each family member and old friend that has been there the whole time, and each new friend that I've met in my new life through every new experience I've had post-X has helped me reconcile the past into my present. To ignore or deny any of them would be a denial of who I am. Because I finally understand how it all adds up to who I am and where I am today."

Well said, and definitely striking a chord with me...my own post-divorce journey has brought me to a similar place.

And I used to watch While You Were Out on TLC when Teresa Strasser hosted it. How funny that you were friends in high school!

Samantha said...

I have a high school reunion coming up, this post make me want to go. So glad you had a good experience and have such great insight into how you have grown.

Cat said...

I love this. Right now I'm in the process of rediscovering who I am separate from being a mom. Realizing who we are is such a process.

vinomom said...

Damn girl - good thing I got caught up on my blog reading tonight. I am so flattered that I actually inspired anyone to do anything! Thanks that kinda made my night :)

I wish I had made it to my ten year reunion this past year. I'm glad you went to your 15 and had fun.

I know we are a bit apart in age but that is something I'm slowly coming to realize as well. That nothing is going to turn out how we thought it would. And that's ok. All the shit that happened has shaped us into who we are now.