Thursday, June 4, 2009

Nancy Drew lives!

I'm being very Investigative Journalist right now, picking through my past to try to figure out how I ended up in this particular spot. The day after I got back from Paris, as I lounged about in that gorgeously deep melancholy that apparently only Paris can produce, I found a big pile of papers from my high school and college years that have been sitting up in my parents' attic, and, insanely, I thought, "This seems like a good time to glance through some old stuff, reminisce a bit, take a look at my past." Twenty minutes later, I was in full-on breakdown mode, crying my little eyes out.

Here's what happened, I think. The person described in these stacks of letters written to me, transcripts and recommendations written about me, and journals, papers, and stories written by me, was so foreign, so far away from who I am now. That person was going places, impressing people left and right, being encouraged and lauded and pushed. And it's as if, at the time, I couldn't hear any of it, couldn't believe any of it. None of it made an impression on me, somehow. So my reaction now was partly, "What the hell is all this stuff?", partly "Huh - who knew?", partly "Hey, check me out!" - and mostly a giant wave of regret and disbelief, an emotion that would be perfectly captured on screen by Nicholas Cage falling to his knees and raging at the heavens: "Dammit, what happened to the promise?!"

Once I scraped myself off the ceiling and unsmudged my mascara, I looked through it all again, trying this time to learn something helpful from my vicious time capsule, something other than, "Wow, I really fucked up." OK, so I couldn't hear the praise and encouragement back then, couldn't lean on the support offered to me - I can try to absorb it all now, and use it in my attempts to figure out the next stage of my life.

Also, looking back over the letters and journals, I was so regretful that I'd let close friends slip away. I mean, I'm basically not in touch with anyone from college, and I loved those people. College itself, not so much - but my friends, absolutely. Thanks to the glories of Google and Facebook, I instantly tracked down a few of my college friends, who I haven't spoken with in 15 years or more (oh, god, yikes). The main reason, of course, was to try to re-establish those friendships, but selfishly, I also felt like I needed to learn more about who I was back then, what people saw in me, what I felt. What better way than to drag a few poor souls into my morass.

Next: Find out what happens when Siobhan reconnects with two former friends, in person...

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