Thursday, October 8, 2009

Amy



Amy aka Daredevil is my guest blogger today. I was really excited when I saw that she came through but . . . I need to clarify a few things before I can let you read her lovely post. Amy is a bit of an exaggerator. She is the party. And for the record, I have never in my life said to anyone, "I want you to know me."


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First thing’s first: What do I call myself? Guest writer? Blog visitor? The Daredevil (I hate that nickname by the way. This was given to me when I was dared to snort lines of chalk on my desk in high school or drink bong water in college– not things I want to be known for now that I am a responsible adult). How about just Amy? That name is common enough to still protect my privacy, like I have any left.

I met… wait, what do I call my friend? Blogging mama? Positive Energy conspirer? Mama Star? Again, none of these little nicknames do her justice. I’ll go with The Goddess for now. Let’s start again:

I have noticed through reading The Goddess’ posts that she rarely talks about herself. Sure, we know what she’s thinking, how much she loves her family, her struggles with various statewide bureaucracies, but who is she? I’m about to tell you.

I met The Goddess in college back in 1991. As pure luck would have it, I was plucked out of the drunken cesspool they called a freshman class to become a resident advisor. I oftentimes fantasize about the discussions of how I was chosen, “This chick is a walking STD waiting to happen. Let’s give her some responsibility and see if she pulls herself up by her bootstraps.”

The Goddess was one of my dorm residents. And if you didn’t know any better, you would have sworn she was the R.A, and I her resident. She was older than me; the typical dynamics didn’t fit. You’re supposed to look up to your R.A. Instead, I found myself staring at her in wonder when she passed, checking in on what parties she was going to so I could get 5 minutes with the cool crowd, the Goddess was the obvious ringleader. She was quiet but cool, never telling more than she should, sizing you up without you realizing it. Her presence alone flipped my status as R.A. on its head.

Being her friend, however, was more of a quest for me than being cool-R.A. chick. And so I pursued her. Not in the stalky-weird-girl-who won’t-leave-you-alone way, but the strategic-below-radar-screen way. I became friends with her friends, Bindy being one of the first. If Bindy accepted me, the Goddess was soon to follow, so I learned to hackysack (poorly) and beer pong (messily), and talk incessantly about those slutty chicks in Dorm 4. And within a year, the Goddess was my lifelong friend. And for those of you who know her, once you’re in, you’re in. There’s no getting out, not because you can’t, but because your life would be severely flawed without her as a staple.

Corny but true: I am who I am because of her. I listen. And I learned how to listen from the Goddess. Cut to circa 1993 on a couch in the Goddess’ apartment right off the beach. It was one of those rare moments when it was just the two of us. We were having a couple of beers. The TV was off, and we were just talking. As with any conversation with the Goddess, we were 14 layers deep into a conversation, with her asking the questions, and intently listening as the stream of consciousness came pouring out of my brain – I was on a roll and I wasn’t about to stop, because well, it was all about me.

And then it happened. She waited for me to inhale, to take that slight pause in my breath, and she seized an opportunity. She said something to the effect of, “Amy, it would be really good if you didn’t redirect everything I say back into a story about you. I want you to really know me, and to do that, you have to ask me questions and listen.” Her statement was smattered with genuine sweetness; she wasn’t trying to offend me, just politely placing a mirror up to a quirky social behavior of mine that, in retrospect probably annoyed not just the Goddess, but a lot of my new friends. I don’t remember being embarrassed by her comment. In fact, I felt privileged that she felt comfortable enough to be so honest. And truthfully, it was something of which I truly wasn’t aware.

I remember another incident when my judgment was clouded and probably shouldn’t have been involved in this particular situation. (Details omitted to protect the innocent). Instead of reading me the riot act, which was more than justified, the Goddess asked me a question, “How do you think it’s going to turn out for you if you continue down this path?” Different method, same effect. I immediately stopped being an idiot because of that particular conversation.

Her lessons, or gentle nudges as I refer to endearingly, are priceless to me. In fact, just a couple of months ago, I had a very “Goddess-like” conversation with my college bound step-daughter about her utter lack of listening skills. And yes, I put away my pointing finger and did it with kindness and love. Now talking with her late at night on the phone is well, pleasant. It has ceased to be parody of those cell phone commercials where the teenage daughter starts talking and she can’t shut up.

I have the Goddess to thank for all of it: for who I am, for who my step daughter is becoming, and for those priceless moments resulting from a friendship that will never end.



picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dryfish/3439698216/

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