Thursday, July 21, 2011

Don't Stop Believin'


For the past 14 years, I have been out of touch with an old friend from childhood. When she moved away, we used to write letters and send postcards back and forth. We weren't lucky to have Facebook or texting, so it was a bit trickier to keep in touch with high long-distance rates and physical addresses that changed often.

We had a mutual friend, who was allowed to travel out and see her during the summers, and through her, we still kept in touch. That connection soon ended when the mutual friend and I had a falling out during college and she and I stopped speaking entirely. Add to that my own address changing and causing me to lose many things - my far-away friend's contact information was among what was lost. Needless to say, this made it difficult for me to keep in touch with her.

A few summers ago, I reconnected with the mutual friend and we kept in touch over Facebook. Enough time passed and both of us had grown up since high school and college. Water under the bridge, right? Well, one afternoon, I came across a photo album on her page that showed our mutual friend had gotten married. It wasn't until I started asking questions that things went sour, again, with our common friend. She flatly REFUSED to tell me anything. No e-mail address. Nothing. It was very obvious to me (and those I conferred with) that she was withholding this information on purpose to remain the exclusive friend. (Jealousy from this friend was always an issue when we were in high school.) After I called her out for denying this information, she blocked me from Facebook, and I lost any progress of finding out where my old friend ended up.

I turned to other mutual friends to see if they had any leads, and they were as lost as me. (We are all still stunned at the refusal to share the contact information.) The others asked for the same information, only to get shot down, too. I assume it's because she must not want me to get back in touch, because I would most definitely tell my old friend how awful, childish, and uncooperative she has been. Why else would someone refuse to help two friends reunite? I understand the right to privacy, but what I don't understand is 1) why someone would intentionally prevent others from reconnecting with an old friend or 2) why someone believes to have the right to control the fate of another person. What a power trip this must be and how sad is it that people are like this?

Some would throw in the towel and mutter something about it not being meant to be, after experiencing this amount of frustration. I mean, really, I've been trying for, what, half of my life to find her? Obviously this person doesn't want to be located, since it seems like she's had the CIA come behind and sweep away any trace of her. But, I'm stubborn. I will not let this uncooperative friend win. I don't even know what I would say to my old friend, now, if I were lucky enough to get back in touch with her. It's something I've always wanted, though, and I want her to know that I never stopped caring about her, even if she doesn't give a rip anymore.

This past summer, I moved in with my fiance. As I'm settling in, I've come across some pictures from parties and events we attended together. I've had some time on my hands, so I decided to try using Facebook to find other members of her family. From what I've found, her former step-father and half-brothers are online. I sent a very polite message to the step-father to see if he was still in contact with her and I am still waiting for a reply. I know he has been on to check his Facebook since then and it is very hurtful and frustrating that he would just ignore the e-mail. It has made me lose faith in the goodness and decency of people. I mean, honestly, how hard is it to reply with something as minor as, "No, I'm sorry, but we don't keep in touch. Good luck!" or "She's asked me not to pass along personal information, but I'll let her know you're trying to contact her"? It's the right thing to do - it's what 'I' would do, but I have to remember that everyone is different. Still, knowing that doesn't make this any easier.

So, Angela Clydell Wilson, if you run across this post someday in a search for your name, I want you to know that you were a great friend and are missed by me, Aisha, Tom, and many others. We all had a good run together and I hope life is going well for you. I am easy to find, if you want to get back in touch.

P. S. Tina, count on karma to catch up with you.

Photo credit: www.jonisternbach.com

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Well, Hello There, Stranger...


It's hard to believe that it's been over a year since the last time I updated this blog! I just finished scanning through the previous posts, and the voice speaking sounds so foreign to me, now. So much has happened to propel my life forward and, as I look back on what used to bother me a year ago, it all seems so trivial.

Last fall was a time for shedding old skin and moving forward. I turned 30, got a tattoo (see this post's picture), and just ditched a deadbeat. For the first time in my life, I felt independent, successful, and best of all, happy. All of this was achieved by purging toxic individuals from my life - a decision I will never regret. For the past 10 years of my romantic life, I've been attracted to men who are somehow broken and thus, toxic. If he was a starving, melancholy artist, who was misunderstood and had a piece of his soul missing, I was smitten. It wasn't until about this time last year that I met MG and realized I did deserve someone who wasn't selfish, melodramatic, or arrogant. Sometimes, I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming about the fact that I have found someone selfless, genuine, respectful, and best of all - WHOLE.

I didn't intend for this to happen, but this segues nicely into the choice I made for the above-mentioned tattoo. When I explain this to others, I tell them that the bass clef represents my ex-husband. On the surface, this makes sense, because, well, he was a bassist. I thought he was "Mr. Right" (notice the location of the symbol). The upside-down treble clef represents the relationship just after my divorce. He was 'trouble,' (thus the treble) and he turned my life upside-down. When the two symbols combine, they form the shape of a heart. This symbolizes that the two of them were only half of what I needed in a lover. They were also men who could never love anyone else more than they loved themselves. Deep down, I knew this, which is why neither of them acquired my entire heart (refer to John Mayer's song 'Half of My Heart' to get the whole picture). It wasn't until I explained this to MG that the meaning of the tattoo came full circle. He represents that heart - the whole heart - with all of its imperfections, and he's the first man I've met who is worthy of receiving all of the love it holds. That's kind of a big deal.

I know I began this post with the intention of summarizing my year for you, but instead, it has shifted into a mini-lesson on symbolism. I'd heard the quote, "Life's a journey, not a destination," but I never took it seriously until recently. While it seems that my journey over the past few years has been more like a tornado ripping through a volcano (thanks, Eminem, for that visual), I've been fortunate enough to create a solid foundation from the wreckage. It's only taken me a year or so to fully realize it, and of course, it does help to have someone beside you who also likes to build and reminds you that it's all worth it...

Monday, August 10, 2009

With Every Mistake, We Must Surely Be Learning...


...and with as many mistakes as I've made over the past several years, you'd think I'd be a genius; however, self-degradation is not the intent for this post. As a matter of fact, I'm aiming for the complete opposite. This collection of thoughts is meant to be a celebration - a toast, if you will - to the recent untangling of my heart from certain shackles that were previously holding me down.

Oh, Google, how I love thee. Without you, these idle fingers would never have stumbled upon certain liberating truths over a month ago. You have given me a sense of security in my own intuition toward relationships and I will never again doubt myself. It is frightening, sometimes, the capacity of which I understand a situation before having actual concrete evidence that invariably supports my suspicions. The feeling of validation and security in myself that I now possess is priceless (and unfaltering)!

With this acquired knowledge, I will not allow myself to feel anger. It is both a blessing and relief to finally be aware of the duplicity that existed within the distance between two hearts. All I will allow myself to feel toward the other party is pity, because of his obvious self-esteem issues, his inability to effectively communicate his feelings or the truth, and his insatiable need for attention.

A friend of mine recently joked with me, in reference to this situation, about how it felt to lose 250 pounds of baggage. I have to admit that it feels pretty fabulous and I've never looked better! That being said, I want to take this moment to thank all of those who remain near and dear to me. It is through your friendships that I know of the good that still exists in this world. Sometimes we happen upon dark clouds in our lives and they shut out the light for a time. Well, these clouds are parting, and the one that will make my heart sing is still out there. Until we meet, I'll be patiently waiting for him to see me shining through like a crazy diamond.

Image credit: http://www.wunderground.com/data/wximagenew/m/MISC78/119.jpg

Monday, August 03, 2009

You're My Angel...



...or at least one of the guardian sort. I'll explain.

I was driving along Butterfield Road the other night, after leaving a friend's house, and my mind starting wandering back to the days of high school. (This was due largely to the fact that Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots were gracing the air waves.) I started thinking about how I fell in love with the band Pearl Jam, which then sparked a specific memory about my former youth group leader, Dan DePew, who died in a motorcycle accident in 1994. It's strange how memories sometimes creep up on you. This one, however, crept up and started tugging on my heart.

Back in January of 1994, Dan and his wife, Sharon, hosted a Super Bowl party at their apartment complex in North Aurora. They rented out the clubhouse and invited all of us kids from church. We played pool, board games, and/or watched the game, itself. I've never really been a huge fan of watching sports - I prefer playing - so I started getting bored. Two of my friends shared my sentiment, so we asked Dan if we could wander around the apartment complex for a while. We promised to stay closeby and swore to him that we wouldn't go near the gas station on Oak and Randall. (There had been recent robberies there.) He gave us permission to go, so after bundling up, we were off. As we poked around the complex and played in the snow, the three of us chattered on about how cool we thought Dan was for trusting us to take a little adventure in the dead of winter. We laughed and made snow angels, threw snowballs, and slid around on the ice. It was ten times better than watching a ritual of tossing and dog piling coupled with heavy testosterone! After spending about an hour outside, we started feeling the cold, so we headed back to the party. We grabbed some snacks and soon after, we were on our way home.

What we didn't find out, until after Dan's death, was that he followed us that night. He was a soldier in the Army, so when we told him we wanted to take a walk around the property, he worried abour our safety, but didn't forbid us. Instead, he made it his mission to make sure we were safe. He used his training to track us, but he didn't invade our privacy. What I do hope is that he heard how much we praised him and that it made him feel good inside to know that we valued him so highly. It makes me smile knowing that he was there protecting us - he was so good, we didn't even know he was there!

I like to think he's still doing that for me, now...I really do miss him. A lot. It's strange knowing that I'll be turning 30 this year, and he never had a chance to make it past 25. I am thankful for every year I'm given and I hope he recognizes me in heaven.

Picture credit: http://fc09.deviantart.com/fs27/f/2008/037/a/5/footprints_in_the_snow_by_fahrmboy.jpg

Monday, February 09, 2009

A Lesson on Copyright Infringement

I haven't posted in a while, so I thought I'd remedy that while I have a spare moment. I'm teaching a unit on the research paper, and I plan to show the following video clip to demonstrate the importance of copyright to my students. Basically, even if it's not your intention to profit from someone else's work, it's still not okay to use it without permission. In this digital world that we live in, it's becoming easier for people to snag the work of others and distribute it without going through 'the proper channels.'

I plan to share this article with them that explains the situation. You can view it here.
What do you think? Is Corey guilty or not? He is, after all, lip synching without express permission from Warner Music; however, it has been documented that Moosebutter did, in fact, approve of this little remake. They even posted a video response.

You must use the force (please don't sue me for that sentence, George!) and send me your thoughts.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Coincidence?


You tell me...

Seven years ago last week, I was engaged to be married to my first husband. After a wonderful first year, we decided that spending the rest of our lives together was something we were ready to commit to. I came along to help select the diamond, but he kept the actual proposal date a secret. The lengths to which he went to surprise me were impressive, because it's practically impossible to do, as many of you well know. A few months went by, and mid-October presented itself (my favorite time of year - leaves changing, weather is cool, but not COLD). After a chaotic afternoon (and almost thwarting the plan) he brought me to a park, where, underneath a meteor shower, he asked me to be his wife.

Two years ago last week, I made the decision to separate from him after almost four years of marriage. It was one of the most painful decisions I've ever had to make, but the relationship was no longer healthy for me. I wanted a family; he wanted to be on MTV. We ceased having mutual goals and, as a result, several underlying issues began developing between us. My trust in him was diminishing. We tried counseling and continued to 'date' in hopes that we might salvage the marriage, but it never seemed right. At the end of December, I asked for a divorce.

Time has passed, and I've since moved on with my life, as he has with his. In fact, just this past week, I stumbled upon news of his engagement. It isn't surprising; however, what strikes me as odd is the timing.

You see, the date coincides with both of the major events that I have just described to you.

Is this merely a coincidence, or is it evidence of a psychological pattern? There are certainly plenty of other similarities I could list, but this one is the most striking. Ordinarily, I would not give him another thought, but these questions are worth pondering, considering the circumstances. In all honesty, I found it hilarious.

I wonder if he sees the irony.


(Thanks to www.designsbyindigo.co.uk for the lovely image.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Some of My Best Friends Are Masterminds


You see, I headed to Illinois this past weekend to celebrate my birthday with friends and had a little surprise. I left for my dad's on Friday morning, where I later met up with Kirsten and Travis. We were supposed to catch the Aurora showing of 'Night of the Living Dead: The Musical,' but traffic and other factors interfered. Instead, we went out to grab some food and drinks, and spent the rest of the evening talking. Afterward, they dropped me off, and I made plans to meet up, again, with Kirsten on Saturday. I hopped onto 55, and we hit the Orland Park mall, where we tried on a few dresses. I found one that was perfect for our Drama Awards ceremony, but knew I'd be dropping another dress size, so it would no longer fit. Next, we made a "quick" visit to the Clinique counter that ended up lasting an hour and a half (we both got makeovers). We wandered around for a bit longer, before returning to Kirsten's. The next hour was spent frantically getting ready, before grabbing our trusty Google maps directions for our destination: Al Capone's Steakhouse and Hideaway. Travis asked me earlier in the week to push back the reservations from 6:00 to 7:30 for a class he was teaching, and I was more than happy to oblige - it gave us more time to get ready! What we didn't realize was that the clock we were watching was actually an hour behind, so we had to really scramble to get ourselves out of the door, to the gas station, and on the road. Surprisingly, it was only 40 miles from 'The Hills' to StC, so we were there in no time at all. Unfortunately, though, Google decided to leave out an essential street from our directions, which delayed us. But, after a quick phone call to the restaurant, we were able to figure out where we needed to go. By the time we arrived, the parking was absolute madness, so Kirsten had to create a spot just down the road. Once inside, Travis met us at the bar and almost immediately instructed me to head toward the end of it. "Someone at the end of the bar wants to buy you a drink," he said. Puzzled (and a little fearful), I made my way down to the end of the bar to take a closer look at the man in the pinstriped suit and Capone hat. I didn't recognize him at first, but then it dawned on me: it was Mike! He flew all the way from LA to spend my birthday dinner with me! Not only did he manage to surprise me, but he conspired with Kirsten and Travis! I was with them Friday and Saturday, and neither of them said a thing! (By the way, Travis needed to move the dinner date NOT because he had a class to teach, but he was picking Mike up from the airport. Sneaksy and tricksy!) Anyway, if Mike had not already been sitting up against the wall, I would have knocked him off his barstool and onto the floor. As it was, I scared the hell out of a nearby man when I shrieked, "Oh my God!" just before I tore across the bar. It was definitely unexpected and it made my birthday weekend complete. We spent the rest of the weekend together, until I inevitably (and reluctantly) had to take him back to the airport. Even though I'll see him in a couple of months, it was still hard to say goodbye, again. It seems like we're always saying goodbye - then hello - then goodbye. It's a series of smiles and agony, until I move down there permanently.

In the meantime, I'll continue being thankful for the caring and loving people in my life, while I plot different ways of getting back at them for being the only successful group to ever surprise me this way...