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.