Around each new year, I think about something I want to continue into the next twelve months. 2018 was a year of pain and transition – some of it graceful but mostly serious and strained. In 2019, I want to return to the goofy, crazy woman I was in graduate school. Renew my belief in myself. And the easiest way to do that is with the backing of friends.
This is what I mean:
In the middle of graduate school, my then-husband ran off with a younger woman. Not such an unusual event except I was barely twenty-seven and she was barely legal. For six months, I lived on my friend’s couch in a dorm at NCSU. The couch unfolded into a horrible bed with two bars placed in the exact intervals to cause me the most pain. Also, the mattress sagged to such a degree that if I didn’t wedge my feet against a bar, I slid down the middle of the mattress and onto the floor. Which happened a few times until I got the wedging perfect. But it didn’t matter.
My friend and I had a blast rampaging through the dorms that summer. All the residents had taken off. Slime coated the building’s walls – that didn’t stop us. We moved the furniture into the middle of the room. We took turns going to 8 am classes. The other person slept in. When we had the money, we ate chicken wings at eleven o’clock at night – the joint across the street delivered. We grilled on a hibachi on the front steps of a century-old building. I sported an Annie Lennox flat-top, and people kept asking about my sexual orientation, including one professor – yick. My friend tried for the wild child award – she got close.
We had each other’s back. We brought out the strength in each other. Like the time we heard a noise late at night. Really late on a July night when the university had closed up for the summer. The whole Quad was dark. Trees and buildings blended in the inky dark. Not another person within yelling distance. All 97 pounds of my friend took up the only weapon, a bat, gave it a good swing, and handed me a tennis racket with broken strings. She told me to lob the intruder down the hall and she’d bash the person into submission. This was pre-cell phone days, and we had forgotten to pay the BellSouth bill. We checked each room, always stalking into the hall to check on each other. We never found where the noise came from, but we checked it out – bat and racket in hand. Two brave and slightly foolish young women cracking jokes in the dark. After the adrenaline wore off, we ordered some chicken wings. It was a stellar night.
I want that woman back. She’s still in me somewhere. I want the chutzpah, the adventurous life that’s messy but feeds my heart and soul. That’s my goal for 2019.
To every woman in 2019, may you unearth the glorious and slightly dangerous woman inside you! For everyone else, be friends with the creative, foolish, brave, and messy women in your life. They’ll have your back. You’ll laugh together.
Time for chicken wings.
(Images by pexels.com and morguefile.com)