Sunday, August 17, 2008

These old friends...

I have been in a nostalgic mood lately, though I'm not sure why. According to an astrologer, that might be how things are aspected in my chart, though a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner might believe that an organ or two could be out of whack. A psychoanalyst might say that I have unresolved issues that are causing me to resist living in the present. I will let the astrologer, Chinese medicine practitioner and psychoanalyst hash it out among themselves until they come to some sort of consensus - this sort of demographic is terrifyingly close to an assembly that could happen in my actual life - but in the meantime, I will just follow this whim and see where it leads me.

In all probability, it is writing for this blah-ggg that is causing my self-reflection, which in turn causes me some duress because I despise solipsism and navel-gazing so I am especially sensitive of being a perpetrator myself. That all being said, I can't deny that something in me is turning to the past, to old friends and heartless bastards alike, but especially the friends. I think that I am seeking some nourishment from these old ties, some validation that we were at one time very important to one another. I think the previous post about family got me thinking again about my particular group of college friends and our platonic but very passionate connection to one another. (Are women ever able to recreate these fervent relationships after, say, the age of 23?). Over the years - my immediate post-collegiate career was during the antediluvian period prior to electronic messages - the group of us just drifted apart, separated mostly by just plain and simple physical distance. I think that if the magic of email were around when we moved apart, we would likely still be in one another's lives.

We found each other when we were juniors, brought together by a rare and bold synergy that was palpable to all of us, and it was electric when we were together. We were all feminists, all activists, all finding our way through the world, all seeking something, namely, family. We were urban and from small towns, affluent and impoverished, lesbian, bisexual and straight, but it was the first time in my life that cliché from the 1970s had a personal meaning: sisterhood is powerful. Indeed, it is. Sisterhood cut through any superficial differences. (It wasn't all perfect, though for a time it was idyllic: we fell victim to a major schism toward the end, based on some pretty uncool, selfish behavior. Still, for a time it was magical.)

I distinctly remember a caravan of us driving to Topeka in support of upholding Roe V. Wade, and, more vividly, a different caravan to Wichita, screaming in transgressive unison to Patti Smith's Horses album (until we were, appropriately, hoarse), on our way to protest the Miss America contest, where we wore tiaras and sashes painted with Miss Stake and Miss Ogyny and whatever else tickled our collective fancy. We raced back to our friend's father's house - a stern-faced lawyer who was not expecting us - to watch ourselves on the news, eat cake and crack up. We had topless sleepover parties because we thought it was funny, we cried over our childhoods, we cooked together and, more than anything, laughed our asses off. I have so many stories from this time in my life, but I'm thinking that it's wise to parse them out sparingly if I'm going to be blah-ggging. (Yes, I'm keeping that new spelling for now.)

Anyway, last night, I couldn't sleep - what else is new? - so I did some internet searches on three old friends of mine from this time, women who, for the most part, I haven't been in contact with in more than ten years. One is a professor of psychology with a feminist bent and a published author. Another is the executive director of the only freestanding birth center/natural pregnancy center in her state. The third is the executive director of a bi, lesbian, and transgendered abuse survivor organization.

I am so proud of these old friends of mine, women I have been out of touch with for years but will consider lifelong friends. I'd like to think that we all helped to shape one another during this crucial time in our individual lives, helping to form the people we would become and help to create a standard together of living with authenticity and gusto.

I love my friends, even the ones who are no longer in my life. Hopefully one day that will change.

Shalom, everyone.

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