Wednesday, December 7, 2011


(Pre-Script: This post should be read as the song, "Mean," #42 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

When I was 11, I had a friend who was some days nice to me, like "you're my best friend," nicknaming me "Mickey," which no one had ever called me before, and sometimes was cold, distant, and aloof. Before this, no one had mentioned to me that girls in 6th grade and on sometimes turn into mean villainous monsters. I forgot to turn into one, myself. So one day, I asked her, "Why are you sometimes mean to me?" she looked at me and said very innocently, "it's like, I can't help it. You know?" but I didn't know; I was like, blink blink, "well, I sort of feel like I just want to be nice to each other every day. So no, I don't get it." and then we went through Junior High and High school, and so on until we lost touch. It's taken me this long to realize that she may have not been my nicest friend, but she was probably my most honest friend. Ironically, this particular girl was discovered to be a chronic liar, as the years went on. There was a scandal which is not my story to tell, so I will not divulge it. I only knew that through all of it, I just loved the girl. It took me being out of high school a few years to realize that, so that when I did finally see her again around town years later, after we'd chatted a bit of small talk, I looked her straight in the eye and said "you know, I don't know what was true or what wasn't all those years ago, but what I want you to know is, it doesn't matter; I would have loved you no matter what was true. I just loved you, and I always will." She said "aw," and "thanks," and changed the subject like a master pro. But I hope that my words penetrated deep, to a place usually left untouched, and it sparked something dormant there, something beautiful left dormant too long. But that's not my story to tell, either.
My story to tell goes something like this: I was once again at the beach treasure hunting for sea glass today. I have a friend who lives right above the ocean and will text me when the tide is low to let me know it's a good glass week. This friend didn't ever look for sea glass until I told him about it, and now he finds it when I am not there and gives me what he has collected just because he knows I like it. There is something to be said for a friend who looks out for the things you care about not because it's what he cares about, but because he knows that it means something to you. I honor that logic. The problem is, I don't necessarily follow through from my end. I was on the beach today, with my head down, and when I saw other people up ahead also looking down, I thought "Don't you dare be looking for sea glass, all the glass on the beach today is mine is mine is mine, you can't have it, and there is no such thing as share." I don't believe in sharing, have I mentioned that before? I am not a mom who tells her kids, "you have to share that" because I don't believe in being a hypocrite. I don't let them eat off of my plate, either. It's like, this is my food, eat your own. So I was walking along, thinking these thoughts while the song "Mean," by Taylor Swift blasted into my ear buds via Ipod, when a smiling stranger tossed me a silver dollar sized piece of clear sea glass. It was perfectly smoothed, no rough edges. He said "I don't know if that's a good one or not, but I figured I'd give it to you." I said "It's perfect!" and thought "HOW did he know I was looking for glass??" He walked on, and I looked up and didn't see him again, so I was sure that he was an angel sent to teach me a lesson. Then a smiling girl walked up to me with a handful of sand dollars. She said "Did you find anything good?" smile, smile. I showed her the glass I had found so far. I said to her, "It looks like you are looking for sand dollars." She said "That's just all I've found so far." as we were standing in a plot of sand loaded with gravel, colorful rocks, fossil rocks, sea glass, and seashells. But whatever. She seemed content. She said "Happy hunting!" and kept smile walking. Then my sea glass tossing angel appeared again. This time, he had a green rock in his hand. He said "I don't know if you think this is cool or not, but it's green and flat, and I thought it was kind of cool looking." I said "Cool, it looks like a piece of smashed chewing gum," because that is exactly what it looked like, and he said "yeah, it does!" and I said "but it's not one I want to keep." So we tossed it, but he was very friendly and smiley through the whole exchange, promising to give me any cool pieces of glass he found from that point on. Very kind. I never saw him again. So you know, I guess it was time for him to go back to Heaven, or at least lose his flesh and blood human form for awhile. His message to me, the mortal human, had been imparted to the best of his ability. I wasn't sure how deeply it had stuck, though, as I approached an older couple with their heads facing the ground, in a plot that looked to be promising as far as glass finding went. I smiled at them through theoretically clenched teeth as I asked "what are you looking for?" The man said "heart shaped rocks." at which statement, I unclenched my metaphorical teeth and smiled more genuinely than before. Like, oh, is that all? Cool. And then I exposed my vulnerability. I said "I like to look for sea glass." The woman, who had not been a part of that conversation, then approached, and I, feeling extremely relieved and therefore jovial, said "So, you're looking for heart shaped rocks?" she said "No! I have a ton of those already! Just interesting looking shells now." and she showed me a few. Still feeling relieved, I said "cool, awesome," and the man, looking sheepish, said "heart rocks, interesting shells, and the occasional piece of glass." That was all it took to bring the snarl and hiss back out of me. May my giving angel of sharing and giving not be too terribly disappointed in my character flaws. But the thing is, when I am searching the beach for glass, I feel like a kid, do you know what I mean? I never ever get tired of it, and I sometimes gasp out loud when I find a particularly incredible piece just laying there near the shore. I don't care what your passion is, I hope that everyone in the world has one, something that excites and brings the child likeness inside out, because it's the simple joys in life that make you so happy throughout the days and weeks and years of a lifetime, and THAT is the lesson I want my children to pick up vicariously from me, if it wasn't accidentally already passed down through genetics.


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