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Sunday, September 4, 2011

I Do Love Me Some Girl Talk

Now that I'm done talking like a pseudo-hillbilly, let me 'splain.

As some of you know (or most of you, I should say), I was bullied in middle school and junior high. By girls, mainly. The boys didn't take much note of me, a fact for which I am now profoundly grateful. It was girls, and it was your usual girl-world politics, not dressing in the latest style, being tall and gawky and skinny and wearing glasses. And wandering around talking to myself in the school yard, not joining in with the crowd. And having my nose stuck in a book all the time. Just me being me, but awkward and angry. I had this attitude of, "You don't like me? Well, that's just fine, I don't want to like you either." I was (and still am) very proud and would have rather died than let any of them know how badly I wanted to be friends with somebody, anybody.

It took a very long time for me to unbend and finally let go of the death grip I had on my pride and survival instincts. Mostly due in part to the girls who are now my best friends, the ones I met at my current church's high school youth group. They were patient with my strangeness, and nice to me from the beginning, even when they didn't have any motivation or any prior knowledge about me. I grew to love them like they were my own sisters, and still do. I'm not lying when I say some of them saved my life when I was in high school and from a future of social awkwardness and stubborn pride. And also the close group of grown-up teacher friends I had back at my old middle/junior high school, who I'm pretty sure considered me their surrogate niece in a lot of ways.

So I'm not one of those girls who've had friends since kindergarten or first grade and life onward. Looking back on it now with the eyes of an adult (well, more or less) I think God guided me to friends when I needed them most, when I was angry and hurt and distrustful of the world. When I needed the company and example of other godly, honest, true-to-the-bone friendly girls who were willing to take a chance on lonely, prideful, introverted bookworm.

What does this have to do with the price of tea in China? Well, I'll tell you.

I've hit a certain part in Halcyon House where Ayden has to be in the company of Izzy and Katriona for more than a few hours. The whole day, really, spent with discussing and scrutinizing Ayden's wardrobe, because they're having a not-really-but-they're-going-to-call-it-that-anyway housewarming party. For the greater part of the story, Ayden's been in the company of men, half of whom are related to her directly by blood. A girl needs a little reinforcement now and then. So Izzy and Katriona seem to have taken a shine to each other straight off, much to Ayden's confusion and alarm. Currently, they're both ganging up on her on account of her wardrobe choices (Ayden and I share a conviction that comfort should take precedence over style any day) and prettying Ayden up for the big night. Ayden, being a librarian and a practical one at that, doesn't really understand their reasoning, but she's willing to do it anyway, for the sake her friends.

One of the nice things about having an author avatar is that I can project my own uncertainties and doubts about myself (not being pretty, capable, taken seriously, etc.) and to a certain extent, give them to Ayden and help her work through them, as a way of helping myself. Ayden's luckier than I am in the sense that she has good friends that's she had a long, drawn-out relationship with (Izzy) and those she can trust to be honest with her (Katriona). I didn't have that for a good long time growing up, and Ayden has been fortunate enough to have a best friend for life and one now when she really needs it (trust me, she's gonna be glad in a very short time that she's got Katriona in her corner).

This brief plunge into girliness in this chapter is my way of honoring and acknowledging that no man is an island and girls even less so.

Over & Out,

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