Thursday, May 28, 2009

Open Book

A few months ago I had a background investigation review done for my job.

I’ve gone through these interview and reviews for years. They have never been more than a slight inconvenience. Until this last review.

I assume the investigator never found any issues with my past behavior as I still have my job, but she really did try to find something. She asked me the same questions over and over and over again, during interview after interview after interview. Finally I grew terse with her in a post 5 pm Friday phone call, which for me is as good as yelling.

I never did hear from her again after that call.

The one of questions she kept asking me was, “How come you don't have any friends that knew you before you moved to Maryland?”

This has stuck with me and keeps bouncing around in my head. (Obviously)

I see this as a (perceived) accusation that there is something wrong with me for not having 40 phone numbers programmed into my cell phone and a Facebook page full of people that I don’t know in real life. I kept wanting to defend myself with long explanations, but told myself that it was none of her business. Keep my answers short, she doesn’t need to know WHY I can count the people that I would call my friends on one hand.

Yet, I keep writing this post and then deleting it.

How much information is enough? How much is too much? Is it my right to air my memories of final acts in a forum that they would never be able to respond? Is it my right to air their hurt?

I don’t know. But I am writing this blog for Grace. For my family to know things about me that I might not be able to say to their face. So they can understand me better.

So here I go:

My friends, my true friends, know that I love them. I call them. I smile at them. I talk to them. I include them in my life. I have no secrets from them.

I decided long ago that this would be my mantra.

I believed that friends that drifted away weren’t really friends. I know that friends that would intentionally speak ill of me are not my friends. I have a one strike – maybe two – policy. Any hurt after that will be done to someone else.

- K was my best friend from infancy to grade school. She developed breasts early, which made her popular. I did not, which made me not cool enough for her and the other brassiere wearing legions to hang out with.
o Her final act was convincing me to talk to the most popular boy in school on the playground because he had a crush on me. She made sure everyone stopped to watch and orchestrated a wave of laughter.

- E was my best friend in junior high. She was a new girl from California and had no bias like the rest of the school that I had been with for the last 7 years. In the final weeks of 8th grade, the high school activities recruiters came around. We decided to be band geeks together and she wanted to talk to the cheer squads too. Once we were in high school the social cliques pulled us apart.
o Her final act was telling me that she had to go straight home after school on a half day instead of having lunch with me. So I went out with my dad. She was sitting in the restaurant with a group of girls who whispered when they say me. I knew E felt bad, but she said nothing. They laughed as I walked out.

- D was best friend for the next 3 years in high school. I spent the rest of my freshman year alone. I could never imagine my life without her in it. We did everything together. When I went to college we were still in contact and I gave her a list of friends for her to lean on at her University the following year. She took my advice and went on a date with B on my recommendation.
o My final act was doing nothing. She called me the next night in tears, because she needed someone to talk to. B had assaulted her. No, she didn’t want to call the police. She didn’t want anyone to know. She just needed to talk. So I talked, but I did nothing. She stopped calling me after that and part of me was grateful because I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t make it right. I had hurt her and she had every right to quit me.

- L was my best friend in college. We, again, did everything together. Maybe we did to much together because I never realized what she was doing. I knew she resented that two of her ex-boyfriends asked me on dates after breaking up with her. I always said no, and never told her. I tried to pretend like it never happened, but I knew on some level that she knew.
o Her final act was my realization of the rumors she spread about me. When Matt and I started dating seriously, I questioned him as to why he hadn’t asked me out earlier. He said L told everyone who listened that I was a slut that slept with anyone with a pulse. I asked every. single. mutual friend we had and they all told me the same story.

So that, dear investigator, is why I don’t have tons of friends.

I am cautious of who I let into my life and don’t feel the need to keep friends that don’t make me feel good about myself. I married the one person who has known me the longest and he has never let me down.

The glorious women I have in my life now are solid. You have their names and numbers. Talk to them, they know everything important that there is to know.

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