I met some old childhood girlfriends for lunch today. We haven’t seen each other a lot since I’ve been here except for the birthday girl, Lisa, who I see every month for my facials. But, it really doesn’t matter. We know each other in a way that I don’t know many women on this earth.
They knew me as an inquisitive and shy child. They knew me as an overweight frizzy-haired pubescent junior high-schooler. They knew me as a confused and rebellious teenager. Jean Ann lived down the street from me, and we walked to school together, hiked in the woods behind the subdivision on days off and helped each other get ready for beauty pageants. I even have a picture somewhere of me and my sister and Jean Ann and her sister swimming in the Atchafalaya Basin in life jackets.
I didn’t hang out with Donna and Lisa as much, but in our small community, everybody knew everybody. I know all of their brothers and sisters and their parents. I remember what cars they drove and who they dated. And they remember me. We even remember each other’s pets.
When I met people living in other parts of the country, I had to tell them my history if I even felt the need to share it. Usually I didn’t. What’s the point? It’s the past, and I’m a different person now, right? I am different in a lot of ways, but when I’m with these girlfriends I’m the same young girl that hated her frizzy hair, was jealous of Jean Ann’s thinness, Donna’s height and Lisa’s innate sweetness. I’ve seen how it all turns out now, so I don’t feel the envy and worry that I don’t measure up. I know I measure up but in my own way with my own measuring stick.
What I love about Baton Rouge today is that I have history here. I actually have lots of history here. There’s a back story from my early childhood, another several chapters while I was in school, and another chapter while I was in college. There are relationships in all of that history. I freaked out a little when they all started finding me on Facebook. I thought I had left that behind like a snake shedding its skin. But, I didn’t, and now I’m here in the middle of it. It has disadvantages, but, for the most part, I love that I have history here.
Tomorrow I go back to my college football stadium for a football game. There is history there, too. It will knock on the windows of my mind at the weirdest times. A memory will pop up that I had buried long ago. And I’ll giggle a little remembering that girl who had no idea how adventurous her life would be. Knowing how it all turns out makes it a little more bearable than it was back then when I was afraid of how to make a life. That’s what I love about having history here. I can see how far I’ve come.