Sunday, August 24, 2008

Entry for June 12, 2007 ~ Me? No Friends...

I think there's a reason for my beginning...the way I was, the way I am.
When I was a young girl, I was so shy that I would get a stomachache when I had to be with others whom I barely knew. No, strike that ~ when I had to be with anyone outside of my immediate family.
My parents were very sociable people, especially my Mom. It seemed to me that every other weekend, while growing up, we had to go to this cousin's house or that cousin's house. We were always expected to stay in our 'going-to-church' was Sunday, after all..
.family day, if you will. And family, to my parents, meant aunts, uncles, Grandma and all the often as possible!
We would go to Holy Mass (usually @ 9:45, as my Dad was in the choir and that was the High Holy Mass). Then home for breakfast, and then it was off to Aunt & Uncle So-and-So's for an afternoon of visiting.

And I hated it.

Don't get me wrong ~ my family is very nice. My aunts and uncles are (were, rest their souls, some of them are gone now) great people...friendly, kind, funny, great to 'hang with' that I'm grown, I have complete ease around them. My cousins were always nice to me, that wasn't the problem, either.
But I had no one to play with. Things would have been different for me if I had better health. My knees would go out of joint at the slightest provocation...translate here: no running! And there were always games being played that involved running ~ tag, hide-and-seek, you name it. And when we were very small, my cousins and sisters always asked me to play. But when you are always twisting your knees at every turn, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that you are not meant to be the athletic type! So, eventually, they stopped asking. And I stopped playing.
So, years of 'visiting' with nothing to do, no one to talk to.
I couldn't wait until it was time to go home; I would watch the clock, counting the minutes...literally.
One Sunday, at my cousins' (the Ameels), my cousin Mike took me and my sister Linda upstairs to his bedroom and showed us a closetful of comic books that he had collected. Everything from Superman, Archie, Little Lulu, even Faerie Tales! There was so much to choose from; we spent the rest of the day reading and re-reading favorites. It was so great. It was also an excuse to get away from the crowd and read, something that I have always loved to do.
Thank God for my cousin Mike...from then on, whenever we went to their house, he would let me read his comics.
It was great......
The funny thing here is, if I had known at the time who his friends were, I may have found a reason to hang out with him more...but he was 3.5 years older than I was, a huge age gap at that time ~ however, as it turned out, years later, I found that a nearby friend of his was none other than my dear future husband Michael! He grew up only two blocks away! Small world...
(And then there was school. I was so shy at school, I was always happiest when we had a 'rainy day schedule' ~ just so I could have an excuse to stay at my desk and draw or read all through lunch hour. The kids were all nice enough, but again...I was deathly afraid to put myself out, to make a friend.
A couple of girls, off and on throughout the years, became friends to me and that was great. But I was never able to hold on to any 'best friend' for more than two years; they would eventually move on to the more popular kids, and leave me behind.
So, back I would go, into my shell, to my drawing board. And my Mom, who was so much into being with people at every opportunity she could, would ask me all the time, 'Where is So-and-So? Why don't you call her?' She just didn't get it. And to make matters worse, she was always telling company, after we had gone to bed, 'Jennifer has no friends!' {I knew, because Linda and I would stay awake to listen at the top of the stairs}...which always made me look and feel like a real loser...)
After I grew up, I became closer to all of my cousins, even tho' we don't see one another very often...they are still the nicest people I have known...they are still friendly, they are still kind, they are still funny...and always 'up' for a family get-together. Altho' I am still not keen on family 'dos' I at least have an easier time with them...we are all adults now and there is no running!
Once my cousin Marty made a comment that they would have asked me to play more often, but they always got a 'no' and no real reason, so they all assumed I didn't want to hang out with them. That's when I explained my reason was because of my knees and they always wanted to play running games...'I wish we would have known that back then,' she replied. 'It would have made so much more sense, because we all liked you! You were so nice to everyone!'
Huh...go figure...all I worried about back then was that I didn't want to be the one who made them stop having fun! So I just let them run...
Well, now fast forward to years later...I am college-age, a member of a women's Fraternity, Alpha Gamma Delta. I have a few good friends. We go to parties, do altruistic work for Juvenile Diabetes...rush new pledges ~ ~ there was always something interesting going on. I felt much more at home with these girls...we all got along and were friends, nay sisters!
And because of them, I finally was able to break out of my shell...
Then, I graduated, got a job, lost touch with most of them, but by then I must have been ok, as I had other good friend Sandy, Kathy from next door, and mostly my sister Linda, who, while I'm on the subject, was always a friend to me, who let me be with her and her friends no matter what they were doing...she was probably my very BEST friend while I was growing up! And it was through these women that I finally met my dearest Michael, who was a friend of Sandy's brothers ~ and also with some of the people they knew...
And, suddenly, I found myself with more friends than I could handle ~ all because of him. You see, my Michael has been popular all his life; he grew up as the exact opposite of me! People gravitated toward him ~ he was always fun! He turned my life on its ear! He was able to make me laugh out loud; he made me feel NOT invisible! He showed me a way to have all that I had ever wanted...friends when I wanted to hang out, and time to be alone when I wanted to draw a picture or read a book, as long as I was true to myself it was cool. He is truly the reason I began to really love my life...
And the balance between the two has been perfect ever since.

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