5 Beautiful Moments in My Life- A long, boring look at some things that are important to me but will probably irritate you with their pretentious telling and over dramatic flair.

Because I’m a bittersweet cheeseball, I frequently take a mental picture of a moment in my life while the moment is happening and store it for future bittersweet, cheeseball remembrance.
These are a few of these moments, in no particular order.

1. The time I watched my mother reconnect with two former boyfriends and it was kind of beautiful: (This requires some lengthy context- I apologize). Recently, life required that I attend the funeral of a man who was very dear to my heart in a way that’s complicated to explain because short of you actually being me, or having a similar relationship with him (looking at you former Egreen staff members), you wouldn’t understand the deep, and very serious meaning this man took in my life. That being said, I attended his funeral with my mother and one of my best friends. My mother’s life seems to be cosmically intertwined with the family of the deceased (and because “the deceased” sounds super creepy, I’ll call him Gordon because that’s his name). She dated various members of his family throughout her life, decades before I was even born and was an integral part of this circle that lovingly called her “Ange”. One part of this family would build a golf course (Gordon himself literally built a golf course), the other part would build a mini golf course across the road. Years later, after frequenting the mini version for most of my childhood, I would get a job here DURING A TIME THE FAMILY LEASED IT TO A TOTALLY UNRELATED (and vastly unimportant) PERSON/CHARACTER IN THIS ANECDOTE. So the people, who had known my mother since she was younger then I was when applying for the job, were not even the ones to give it to me. I digress.
The funeral occurred on a beautiful day, my mother whispered to me, loudly, as we entered the receiving line “You have to point *Dan out to me, I haven’t seen him in 25 years. I have no clue what he looks like.” She didn’t have to worry because we ended up in the pew in front of her former boyfriend, her with her daughter and friend, and he with his two sons (who I knew well, also from working at the mini golf).
We walked to the cemetery after the service to watch Gordon be laid to rest, and I watched as Dan slowly edged over to my mom, wanting to say hi, but not wanting to break the weird, but very old, ice. My mother turned and simply said, “Hey Dan,” to and he grinned, and said “Hey Ange” and I watched something beautiful unfold. Two people, who, a lifetime ago (my lifetime, to be exact), had been significant to each other in immeasurable ways, reconnecte. As they shared a few old, but precious, anecdotes of their own, his sons stood back behind him and I stood behind her, and I saw two people whose paths had split and lived totally separate existences, and created completely different lives (the products of which were standing directly behind each of them), reconnect for a few brief moments. They smiled, they laughed and they said goodbye and it was perfect. Because, whenever I lose a significant other, I assume there’s no way it can go in the future but terrible and awkward. But watching my mother navigate this potentially terrible and awkward situation with success, gives me hope that one day I will see my former loves and smile (with sincerity), and be happy for the direction their life has taken them.

2. Roses from Gordon- The many times that Gordon would venture up to Evergreen Miniature Golf, after painstakingly picking flowers from his garden, and bring them in his ever present red cooler to his “rosebuds”. His consistent greeting of “Hiya, Rosebud!” followed with the presentation of the flowers was one of my favorite parts of my summers.

3. The Kevins- One night, one of my best friends, Chris, a semi-consistent hookup of mine, Kevin, and I were wandering home from the bar at 3:30 AM (we had made a lengthy stop at 7/11 because, why not?) and we passed a man carrying a guitar case. This man looked like a time traveler, with his hippie attire and Jesus-length beard, but when we asked him to play something for us (because, why not?), he happily obliged and immediately sat down on the sidewalk of the intersection by my house, and played for us for over 30 minutes. Chris, Kevin and I sat on the sidewalk with him in a circle, and drunkenly gazed at the stars while Kevin riffed on his guitar, beautifully. I sat there, pleased with every aspect of my life in that moment, and thought that if I can get someone to play music for me at the drop of a hat on a weekend night/morning, while my best friend is with me (and my hookup too, I guess), anything is possible.

4. Mustangs and Fall Out Boy- Recently, a best friend of mine went through a weird time in her life that caused some drastic changes. This led to us getting recklessly intoxicated together at several social events and just generally being in love with each other in the way that only female best friends can understand. However, the night before this “weird time” began, we decided to go to what we assumed would be a house party, but was really 5 people drinking copiously, around a picnic table on a chilly night. However, we got a ride to the event and with the “fuck it” attitude that leads to ALL great decisions, we imbibed. We had a great evening at the party, the other 2 people there found us to be charming and delightful (our driver was not a part of our fan club), and we turned the night into a two-women show of us just telling long-winded inside jokes, and going off on extremely lengthy hypothetical tangents that led us to come close to peeing our pants more than once. On the way home, filled with Elvis Presley Coconut Vodka and Bud Lite Lime, our driver put the roof down on his mustang, I turned Fall Out Boy’s “Alone Together” on repeat (not ironically), and we cruised beneath the stars of our sleepy, summer, hometown and I kind of fell in love with it all over again.

5. The time the love of my life (at that point) broke up- A weird one. We had dated for a long time, not in the grand scheme of things but in the small scope of life that I had, and we had been friends before we dated. We promised that dating wouldn’t ruin our friendship, but that was an ill-conceived plan. (You can read a little more about the relationship here). After a lot of ugly words, passive aggressive weeks, and emotional turmoil, I called for the “in-person talk”. I demanded it. He begrudgingly gave in to me (as I often forced him to), and I drove over to his house in a fit of …acceptance. He got into the passenger side of my minivan and we drove to the other side of his development. We didn’t look at each other. I started yelling. I started crying. He held my hand. We stopped holding hands. We talked about the merits of breaking up. I said he needed to experience college- I was holding him back. “You need to experience it too!” We broke up (I think). I clarified the break up. “So we’re broken up. We’re not on a break.” We really broke up. We held hands. I drove, one-handed, the too-short distance back to his house. I stopped. We decided he would be the one to change the Facebook relationship status first (we really discussed this at length). We hugged. It started to rain. We kept hugging. I choked back a sob. We kept hugging. My windshield wiper squeaked…loudly. We pulled apart, laughing. “We had a good run, right?” “We had a great run.” “You’re gonna be okay?” “I’ll be okay…will you?” “I think so.” He left. I drove right to my best friend’s house (the mustang and FOB one). I cried so hard I hiccupped. He texted me because he couldn’t figure out the Facebook settings. I made her do it for us. This night was one of the last sincere moments he and I had together. A really beautiful moment that was a testament to our great friendship prior to our love. We don’t’ speak anymore…the reasons behind that are stories for a less “beautiful” blog entry. However, I was not lying when I said my mother inspires me. My first beautiful moment, her story, gives me hope for my story. That perhaps, if our paths cross again, he and I will have the same happiness for each other and lives we have built… that happiness that she had with Dan.
Here’s hoping.

Class of 2013

7 Months ago I was going to audition to be the speaker at WCU’s winter graduation. 7 months ago on the audition night, I had work…(The thought of auditioning for anything also gave me stomach cramps but that’s neither here nor there)…The following is the speech I would have given, had I been chosen.

I didn’t even want to go to West Chester. It was my back-up school…no, it was my double back up, last choice, throw a temper tantrum if I ended up…well, you get the point.
Never, did I imagine that I would vie for an opportunity to speak at my commencement in front of my classmates, fellow graduates and professors. I never imagined that I would look forward to the hundreds of dollars I would spend on alumni sweatshirts and baseball caps. I certainly never imagined proudly boasting that I am a golden ram.
But that’s the magic of this university- it grows on you. It grows on you like the fungus grows in the dorm showers, like the Starbuck’s line grows between classes or the ivy grows up the castle at Phillips. It produces this understated grandeur that just makes you feel proud to walk through the quad from class to class, proud to wear a university sweatshirt at home and for all to see, proud to tell people when they ask, “I go to West Chester.”
I spent my first weeks at this campus spitefully arrogant, as if the campus were lucky that I was here. It took me too long to realize that I was the lucky one-lucky to share classrooms with so many like-minded individuals, to share the same air as so many brilliant professors and lucky to have made the friends I did. I don’t have a stunning GPA, I didn’t participate in that many clubs, but I did have a life-changing experience here on campus. The truth is, West Chester not only gave me an excellent education- it saved my life. It introduced me to people who helped me through the roughest times in my life and helped me celebrate during the best. It gave me people who drove me to pick up my car when it got towed from the residence hall lot, people who let me use their meals when I was out for the week, people who waited in line at 3 in the morning for Wiz tickets and people who eventually became my people, my friends, my family.
Maybe not all of us enjoy going to the Sev after a night out in town, or waiting in line at Riggtown at 2:30 in the morning, wanting nothing more than a piece of their honey mustard chicken pizza. Maybe you enjoyed staying in and playing your guitar, going to Key Club meetings or football practice, but those wouldn’t have been the same without your friends listening, your friends attending or your friends practicing with you.
Our school has this overwhelming sense of comradery amongst the students, an overwhelming sense of friendship. We all hate going to class in the rain, we all hate having a fourth floor class in Anderson and we all REALLY hate the parking situation. But it’s not the hate that brings us together…it’s the love. The love of the quad on a sunny spring or early autumn day, the love of taco Tuesdays at Sykes, the love we feel cashing our refund checks, but most importantly the love we feel when we wear purple and gold.
So let’s love today too. It’s the end of a lot of things, but it’s the beginning of more. You are saying goodbye to a lot of people, but you’re saying “See you later” to the people who truly matter. So thank you Mom, Dad and Alex for being my support system when I needed, for giving me this opportunity. And thank you West Chester for making sure I’ll miss this place. A. A. Milne says it best, “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?”
Class of 2013, as my favorite educator once said “Believe in yourselves, dream, try, do good.”
And from now on, do not grieve but rejoice in no longer saying “I go to West Chester”, but instead boasting proudly “I graduated from THE West Chester University”.

Just Because

It’s hard because I want a guy to pursue me. To not give up on me….even though right now I don’t want to date or even have a boyfriend because I’m about to start this amazing chapter. I just want someone who refuses to take my ambivalence toward a relationship personally and still is captivated by me enough to put in the work and to take my eye rolls in stride and know that eventually I’ll come around. I want someone to be totally smitten with me- to stare at me and want me. But, I’m usually the pursuer. I go after guys and I usually get them and that’s great and very progressive of me and I get that and I’m proud that I have the confidence to be like that…but it’s just this paradox. I’m worried that eventually I’ll pursue the man who I want to be with and will end up with, but I’ll grow to resent him because he didn’t pursue me. I don’t like having to tell guys that I’m worth noticing- they should just notice me. Just because.

My Other Reflection

What puts someone on the best friend tier? What gives them that title?
The answer is in the mirror. For the last 13 years, I have watched the same face get ready in the mirror with me. I have caught the eye of the same person as she curled her hair, blended her eye shadow and brushed her teeth. I have secretly rolled eyes with her while other fair-weather friends shave their legs in the tub or pluck their eyebrows in the other room- but the face in the mirror, it never changed.
In eighth grade, before the formal, I watched her struggle with her accidental mullet, while she watched me (with the help of several others) try to flatten the bob style haircut I had been so eager to try. In 9th grade, I caught her eye in the reflection, panicked, after I plucked one too many hairs from a friend’s eyebrow and subsequently ruined her face. In 10th grade, while lying on her bed watching her get ready through her vanity, I confessed my love of a boy. It was in that same bed, our reflections looked back at us while we watched movies on her laptop, mending our broken hearts over a different boy.
Before the term “selfie” even existed, we took them in her toothpaste splattered mirror, varying our poses, laughing at how ridiculous we looked.
In her basement mirror, we washed our faces and got ready for bed after night swims and sneaky boys made their exit, sinking into the giant mattress and being lulled to sleep by the MTV morning playlist.
When her family sold the house that our group of friends had grown up in, the mirror changed, but the faces didn’t. At her mother’s first, second and third apartment, we’ve transformed ourselves together.
We’ve gotten ready together for longer than I went to grade school. We got ready for our first night out at college together, nervously glancing at each other over untouched shot glasses. We got ready for our last night out in college together in our shared room at our house, fighting for space in the sideways looking glass.
But it’s not just the getting ready. You see each other’s reflection when you sneak to the bathroom to talk about the boys you’re with or to lend a tampon. We laugh with each other’s reflection when we sneak off to touch up our makeup and gossip about the assholes we hang out with.
…And we’ve watched each other’s reflections cry, too. We’ve exchanged pain-filled glances over boys and friends and parents and siblings. We’ve comforted other friends together, their faces buried in their hands, ours locked on each other in the glass above their turned away head, searching for a solution we couldn’t find. She’s seen me sob about a boy, struggling to fix my mascara, drunk and sad.
… And I watched the reflection of her back shudder, her head in my shoulder, surrounded by the girls she shares the best friend tier with, all of us watching each other through the mirror, crying, when we said goodbye to the man who had been a second father to all of us for most of our lives.
I have watched her face change over the years, as she has watched mine. We’ve grown shockingly more attractive and shockingly less hairy (thank you, tweezers). We have perfected our hairstyle. We have perfected our makeup routines. We have our mirror-sharing down to a science.
We may not always get along….we have gone without speaking for months at a time. But when we eventually break the silence and see each other again, it’s easy for us to fall back into the rhythm we have spent over a decade perfecting and it’s comforting, to recognize the other face in the mirror because your best friend is the other person you see looking back at you – the other reflection of you.