Two weekends ago I traveled to Arizona to celebrate the birthdays of two very dear friends (one of which is actually today – happy birthday bestie!!!). As part of the festivities 10 of us got all gussied up and went to the Lady Gaga concert (who was amazing, BTW). As you can imagine the evening was a glitter filled wonderland complete with fake eyelashes, a vintage feathered hat, a romper, and lace tights (not to mention the real life hair-bow I managed to create on a friend’s head, the fishnet-body-stocking clad boy [yes, you read that correctly] who we made friends with on the train and the middle aged man dressed as Alejandro, who wore a cape and home made shirt that read “Hot like Mexico”) it was everything that I had hoped for and more. Here is a photo of my ode to Gaga followed by Gaga in all her glory:
So, I moved to Arizona in 1999 at the start of my 3rd year of college. I decided to leave my private religious college to venture into the heathen unknown of Arizona State University to join the speech team. They gave me trophies for talking. It was brilliant, cuz heaven knows that taking is the only thing I was getting trophies for, considering that they did not hand out trophies for drinking. Not even at ASU. But I digress…
Living in Arizona was an interesting time for me. I grew up a lot, which is a natural function of moving away from home in your early 20’s. This marked the time where my crazy really started manifesting itself in a way that it never had before. Manic highs were quite convenient for all night crash studying and in my post-college world all night “pull together what you have been procrastinating for months and months” sessions. Depressions were easily masked by hangovers or being really really really “busy” (read: I lived alone, so no one would know that I was sleeping 18 hours a day). When things were good, it was spectacular! I had amazing friends and we had the best time EVER, each escapade being better than the last – we knew every bartender, bouncer and shoe guy at Nordstrom (at least I did. In fact, I went to my Nordstrom shoe guy’s wedding. Seriously. It was absurd. and I digress, yet again…) – we went out night after night (ah, to be 21 again…), it never got old.
On the flip side, when it was bad, it was awful. I flaked on things constantly, I lied to cover up the flaking, I convinced people that I could do anything (with the intention that I would google/learn and in fact do it, of course), I drank, I shopped, I went out, I became the queen of barely pulling it off, I stopped opening my mail, I flaked some more, I lied, then I lied some more to cover up those lies, I cried a lot, made some more stuff up, I took on projects that I had no business taking on…and the cycle went on and on. The truly crazy part was that because my intention was never to “flake” or “lie” or “fill in the blank”, each time that it happened I had a hard time seeing it as such. I told myself that it was just this time and that I would learn and do it differently the next time. But the cycle continued and I began to cling to it like a life raft – it became part of my identity. A part that I hated with everything in me, yet a part that I could not let go.
Now you may read this and wonder why on earth anyone would tolerate any of these things or be my friend or date me or do business with me – I wondered this constantly. It was like I walked around holding by breath, waiting for someone to figure me out. I still wonder it sometimes. There are things that will sneak into my brain and instantly my stomach turns. I am mortified that I would have ever behaved like that…My parents did not raise me to behave like that…That is not who I wanted to be…and when this diatribe starts, I have to stop and remember that it was partly the crazy and partly the way I survived because it was all that I knew. And in fairness, there were good things about be during that time – very good things, beyond the jazz hands and rounds free of martinis – I know that I was a good friend and I tried hard to be the best person that I could be. And when ever I question why on earth people remember me and those times fondly, I am certain that it is those good things that managed to shine bright enough on the not so good things and that is what is remembered. Or maybe they just remember the free martinis, either way, I am grateful.
The point of all this is that I have incredible friends who loved me through the good and bad, and who continue to do so. They have taught me so much. And while our lives get busy and maybe we don’t talk as much as we should or visit as much as we’d like to, we are all there for each other, no matter what and that is what true friendship is.
So, thank you Lady Gaga (and the aforementioned gentlemen for having birthdays), for giving us the perfect reason to get together. The Gaga-tastic outfits, the fake eyelashes, and the “Bad Romance” encore were good times, but the best parts were the quite moments that I had catching up with my friends. BFF’s indeed!!!