Thursday, October 09, 2008

Club

Not all of you were weird growing up. That's ok. We can be friends even if you used to be normal and popular.

I was a little weird. To many of you this is no big shock to hear. I was the new kid in school every couple of years. I was brainy and bossy and kind of a snob. I was the oldest in a big, Mormon family - normal in Utah, weird everywhere else - that was slightly short on money and un-slightly long on ideas. Not poor-me here, I'm not that ungrateful - just not Guess and Esprit and new subdivisions and unembarrassing transportation.

It was kind of relief to get to the age (high school, basically) where there were enough weird kids to be a group-o'-weird. A rejects' club. We sat outside the art room to eat our lunch. We hung out at the university on weekends. We felt like we were in a John Hughes movie. That was very validating, very normal, considering. And as you know, I met Dr. G-to-be in this very inclusive cohort of weirdos in 1989. So there's one more awesome thing about it.

About twelve years later a different group of friends sat in my living room. They all came from the university married student ward we'd moved away from. One couple had lost a daughter an hour after her birth. Another friend had left her abusive husband, and the divorce process had sent her reeling emotionally and spiritually. And there we were, with our wonderful, beautiful adopted black baby. Someone wondered aloud why we all felt so bonded to each other while most of the rest of our former ward was less important to us. (Sally, we would've invited you but you ran away to California.)

I told them, it's because we've survived all the things everyone else was terrified of. There we were: the bereaved, the abused, the divorced, the infertile. We could talk with each other about what mattered most, without fear of being thought weak or unfaithful or wallowing.

I am starting to realize that pretty much everybody belongs in this club. We just don't always know it because we are too concerned about maintaining appearances and fitting in. It's the equivalent of the Esprit shirt and Swatch watch we got for our thirteenth birthday - the ones we thought would change everything and really made no difference at all. (Oh, that didn't happen to you?)

Who might need to know your story?

Do you dare open up?

My dad does. I am humbled by him, proud of him.

11 comments:

Séminaire Cergy said...

I am glad you put that last paragraph in (the one before the dare)--because I dare say that many more people belong in the club than outside...we probably just don't know it.

And no, I don't think I'll take you up on your dare ;)

Sara said...

Your dad pretty much rocks.

My story is pretty boring...35, not married, no kids, probably won't have any and trying to be okay with it. All this in a church where a lot of people pity me and treat me like I'm not an adult just because I'm not married. I wish those people could see that there are good things about my life. I know I do.

Braden and Meredith said...

Great post, Ana. LOL John Hughes movie. I think we all do belong in this club. I sure do. I'm a bishop who feel so un-bishoplike that it is almost overwhelming at times.

Heidi said...

wow! The news story is so inspiring! It's so much easier to understand family dynamics when you see a loving father torn like that. Thank you for sharing!

Kari said...

That's a great story! And yeah, I'd agree we are all in that club...

D said...

One of the reasons why I love visiting your blog,you keep it real. Wish more people would be this way then maybe we wouldn't have an inferiority complex.

SalGal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SalGal said...

I didn't realize that was a link there until after I commented the first time, sorry 'bout that.

It was really touching to see your dad there, in front of everyone telling about his struggle.

I know this has been a really difficult issue for you and your family, it has been a little bit for me, too.

We love you guys!!

Syd said...

Ana, your family is awesome. Your post (and family) give me hope that I'll be able to find people who share my opinions when I move to Utah. I think I have a pre-conceived idea of what 'Utah Mormons' are like, and I worry about fitting in. But I think I'll be able to find people to relate to. :) Thanks for sharing.

Victoria said...

You inspire me. Thank you for being you. :)

annie said...

I think everyone relates to that on some level or another. It's really easy to see the world with their "Sunday faces" I like to call them. It's refreshing to know everyone struggles and that our trials are unique to ourselves. Nobody wants my issues and I certainly don't want others'. :o) It's also comforting to know that we all grow and learn at different times. I certainly hope people don't still see the insecure, loud, obnoxious, half-wit that I used to be in high school and the beginning of our marriage! :o) But if they do, I forgive them and I've moved on. HA!

Oh, and also coming from an insanely large Mormon family, my "cool" ticket was a jean jacket and Converse high tops in the 5th grade. My mom got the jean jacket at a garage sale and it wasn't cool enough for everyone else. (girls sure were mean then). I didn't get the Converse high tops ever, but low tops became affordable in high school.

I have a few good friends like that where I can just relax and be myself and know that whatever I bring to the table they won't judge, sneer, gossip about me later, etc. It's refreshing.

Great post, by the way....