Monday, April 25, 2005
I went to Wal-Mart today-- the Super kind, not the regular strength-- and bought some of the things I will need to prepare my half of the dinner/snack/munchies for Thursday night. I have taken quite a liking to helping with the food on Thursdays, because I enjoy cooking for other people. Being that I have nobody to cook for, though, I am not much of a cook. So, this is giving me the opportunity to do something I enjoy, become a better cook, and contribute something to Thursday nights as well. All in all, it's a good thing. Of course, this is only the second time I've actually helped with the food, and the first time I will actually be doing any cooking, so it remains to be seen whether or not this is truly a good thing. I do not anticipate any complaints, though.
I do some cooking at work, for our monthly ethnic dinners. Everything is made from scratch, and so far, no complaints. I've even had people ask me for the recipes. So, I must be doing something right.
Why so concerned with cooking tonight? I'm not sure. I just like to find a sense of purpose in the day to day grind, and I am excited to be making my involvement with Oasis part of my day to day activity. Cooking is one of the ways I will be doing that this week.
To get to Wal Mart, I had to drive through the town in which I spent much of my teen years. The church I went to at the time is in this town, it is in this church that I met my dearest friend, Laura, and together, we experienced all the glories and defeats of being teenagers.
It is funny to remember those years. Laura and I have spent many, many hours reminiscing about those days, trying to figure it all out. Trying to understand how those years formed us, how the people we knew then shaped who we became. I have a lot of mixed feelings about those years, having suffered the disillusions that come with growing older and seeing life more for what it is than what I thought it to be. People are not meant to be put on pedestals. Nobody can live up to being a hero. We're all just here, doing the best we can, and if we make a difference in somebody's life, then it is just that...us doing the best we can, making a difference.
There are many people from those years that I have not talked to in a very long time. There were a couple of women who were my mentors, of sorts, and I sometimes wonder if I turned out as they hoped I would. I honestly think they were shaping me to be a pastor's wife, and I'm here to tell you, I turned out to be anything but pastor's wife material. I do not sing, play piano, or have fluffy hair. There are only a handful of kids that I can tolerate for any length of time, and I flat out refuse to wear anything with too large a floral print. I think I am forever ruled out as pastor's wife material, as we typically think of it.
At any rate, perhaps some things are better left frozen in our memories, not thawed by bringing them into the present and watching them morph into something that's hardly recognizable anymore.
A few years after the horror of my teenage years ended, I moved to that town to manage a motel. It was a nice set up...I had an apartment that was paid for, utilities and all, and I was also paid a reasonable amount of money every week to run the place. It was also during this time that I began to struggle most severely with depression, and quickly found out who my friends were. It did not take me long to figure out that those who I counted among my friends took great pleasure in making a joke out of me amongst themselves, perhaps thinking I did not notice. I tried, clumsily, to maintain some sense of normalcy with what few friends I did have, but could never quite master the art of just being myself and letting things slide...It was as though I was in overdrive all the time, hyperconscious of every flaw I possessed, tirelessly working to correct it. No cracks in the armor. I could not afford to give anyone just one more reason not to like me.
Needless to say, I left that town with no friends. So, driving through there today was surreal, if nothing else. Nostalgic recollections of the safe haven of church youth group mingled with the painful memories of a girl just trying too damn hard.
I only remember two conversations from my latter years in this town. Actually, only a couple of quotes.
The first goes like this:
Me: "What do people say about me when I'm not around?"
My friend: "They call you psycho, say you're crazy."
The second is simply one line:
"You're always beating yourself over the head about something."
And so I am. I still see that in myself, but I'm trying to fix it. (That's a joke.)
Hey, did that Walmart happen to be across the road from a casino? My mom works in the clothing department.
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