Currently, my favorite place on earth is the beige, microsuede couch in my living room. That’s where Will and I curl up to eat dinner, watch movies, or sit to enjoy beer and each other. On the rare occasions when we’re able to coax both cats to join us, I’m positive there’s no greater happiness to be had.
For those of you fit to die at hearing a girl define herself as being “someone else’s girlfriend,” let me assure you that this is no barefoot-in-the-kitchen relationship. Well, I’m barefoot as much as possible, but he’s the one in the kitchen. I prioritize Will and he prioritizes me. It’s a relationship of equals (though he’s a better cook).
Will is incredibly supportive – if I came home today and told him I wanted to quit my job and be a dolphin trainer, he’d pack our bags and look for new homes near Sea World. I love spending time with him. I love who I am when I’m around him. With him beside me, I could be the best damn dolphin trainer Central Florida ever saw.
Will makes me feel like the prettiest, wittiest girl who ever lived. I get told how good I look every morning before I go to work. He’s this blog’s biggest fan.
In our relationship, I’m the big talker. My stories never go from start to finish without a few tangents along the way but Will drinks it all up and stores it away. When I mention something, like my hatred of mangoes, Will remembers that I originally informed him of that on our first date. Why I was talking about mangoes on our first date is beyond me, but I love that he was listening and remembers.
Oh, and I like mangoes now, so you can put your pitchforks away. “Mangoes are Tasty” was one of Will’s first lessons for me.
I love Will. I love being Will’s Girlfriend – it’s one of the greatest facets of who I am.
I spent the first twelve years of my life south of the Mason-Dixon line. While I was young when we left Virginia, I have pretty solid memories of the time we spent in Texas. In 1994, we moved North and I started Junior High in western New York with an accent and an affiliation for Garth Brooks.
Junior High can be a bit brutal on anyone who stands out in any way, so I quickly worked to drop the Southern drawl. It would sneak back up on me whenever I spoke to family and friends from back home, but I was quickly able to assimilate with my teen peers. People soon stopped asking me questions about cacti and rodeos and eventually forgot I’d even know the answers to such inquiries.
Now, seventeen years after leaving the South, I’d consider myself decidedly Northern. I can handle extreme cold, reluctantly say “pop” when I mean “soda”, and I haven’t had Frito Pie in years.
The Southeast can keep its oppressive humidity, but I’d like to import some of the manners. See, in the South, we greeted everyone we saw on the street – friends and strangers alike. Nothing too in-depth – just a quick “Hello,” a wave, and a smile. No, I wasn’t raised in Mayberry. Midland, Texas boasted over 100,000 inhabitants while I was there. Regardless of population size, the practice of greeting ones’ neighbors is deeply instilled.
This cheery habit was very hard for my family to break. We’d stroll through our small town in western New York warmly greeting people who, in turn, would stare at us as though we were a herd of unicorns. We rarely got responses beyond dumb shock. Northerners seemed to only acknowledge acquaintances, so I soon did the same. This is not to say that Northerners are cold or unfriendly (in fact, Minnesota may be one of the friendliest states I’ve visited). It’s just different, and no thirteen year-old wants to be different.
People say they can still tell my parents are from the South originally. My mother has an accent to which I’m too accustomed to hear. My father has never met a stranger and has a kind word for everyone he encounters. The more I spend time with my sister, it’s clear that her mannerisms are still pure South. She tells me that people still stare blankly at her when she greets them, but that doesn’t stop her.
Me? I walk quickly through the streets of Chicago with my gaze focused straight ahead. I rarely acknowledge other people unless they appear to be threatening or in obvious distress. It’s kind of sad, really. I may live in a large city, but I hate to think that I’m so removed from the other people sharing it with me. I may be many years removed from the wee Texan I once was, but the least I can do is look up and smile.
I learned a new phrase recently and I’ve been wearing it out.
“Don’t Die on That Hill”
Quick Back-Story: I’ve always been into baby names – I love reading about what goes into that pivotal parental decision. As a kid, I had a well-worn copy of Beyond Jennifer and Jason. Now, I check site such as Name Candy where I’m a regular reader of the Name Lady’s advice column. Recently, a new-grandmother wrote in about how she “disagreed” with the pronunciation of her new granddaughter’s name – she said “Aida” / daughter-in-law said “Ida.” Who was correct?
First, I’m hoping someone else remembers those little “broken heart” friendship necklaces that were all the rage at White Oaks Elementary circa 1989*. Anyone?
Anyway, as you know, I’ve dedicated myself to evaluating my mindset, especially when it comes to things that make me happy (or not so happy). In so doing, it’s become quite evident that I’m rather self-critical. I think a lot of people are. It’s an easy trap to fall into. When you call yourself “stupid,” you generally don’t have to worry about a counter argument. I know I’m guilty of saying things to myself that, frankly, I wouldn’t tolerate coming from a friend.
But… what if I treated MYSELF like a friend? What if I was my own best friend?