BFF Weekend

BFF Weekend

A couple of weeks ago, I treated my best friend of 34 years to a weekend away.  CG and I have been friends for so long now, we’ve really become sisters.  I think of her as family.  She’s more important to me than just about anyone.  She’s always been there for me and I can always trust her to support and believe in me.

When we were seven years old, her family built a house on my street.  Long story short, we became neighbours and best friends in a very short space of time.  We saw each other every day, went to school together (our Mums took it in turns to take us to school and pick us up), and then hung out together every afternoon.

In truth, we were, at least superficially, very different people.  I was short and awkward, clumsy and hated sport.  CG was tall and athletic, captain of the sports team, good at everything.  She was fashionable and pretty, I was dorky and a bit clueless where clothes were concerned.  But we bonded over books and toys, music and a love of tadpoling.  We shared hobbies and interests, celebrity crushes and talked about everything under the sun.

I’d never met another kid who knew how to play.  I didn’t have to explain the concept of playing “shop” or “detectives” or anything else.  She knew how to do voices for her Barbie doll and didn’t feel silly doing it.  She was happy to play with baby dolls and Star Wars figures equally.  We built cubby houses together and miniature cities for snails (not one of our best ideas, I have to admit) and dressed our dolls in clothes made from scraps of fabric or tiny sweaters knitted with fine wool on toothpicks.  I had my first proper tea party with her and countless sleepovers.  We sang and danced in my lounge-room with my brother and stayed glued to our radios at night, listening to the Top Ten countdown of chart hits.  We watched “Grease” approximately a million times.  We cried when Johnny Depp’s character was wrongly convicted and sent to jail in “21 Jump Street”.  We stuck posters on our walls and wrote in our diaries and talked about boys.

In year eight, we went to separate high schools.  I thought my world had ended.  I was lost and frightened and lonely and felt sure all my primary school friends would forget about me.  But not CG.  If anything, we were even closer and now had even more to talk about.  We still saw each other most afternoons and started the process of growing up and changing and navigating the trials of teenage-hood.  Throughout high school we remained best friends, even though we had our own separate groups of buddies in our own respective schools.  I was very lucky to have a wonderful group of friends, that I am still close to to this day.  But CG was always by best friend.

Fast forward a couple of decades and here we are – still best friends but with different lives and trials and realities.  CG got married quite young, to her high-school sweetheart (luckily, I approved of him, much to her relief) and went on to have two gorgeous kids.  I did the opposite and got married 15 years later, divorced and remained childless.  But we are still close.  I often say we have nothing in common but, truthfully, we have one major thing in common : each other.  Our core values are the same and I think our hearts beat to pretty much the same rhythm.  Our mothers have remained firm friends over the years and have moved away from each other, only to very quickly move to the same neighbourhood, just streets apart.  My Mum sees CG as another daughter, and I know CG’s Mum feels the same way about me.  We all see each other at Christmas – usually spending Christmas Eve or Christmas night together.  It’s been that way since I can remember.

So, this weekend was a celebration of that bond.  We hardly ever get to spend time together these days.  CG works extremely hard at two jobs, plus she has to coordinate the sporting and social arrangements of her children, one of whom competes at a National level in her chosen sport.  It’s not easy for us to find a window of time that can be spent together.  I wanted to spoil CG and give her a relaxing break and enjoy some time together, like the old days.  This was also a gift for her 40th birthday (which was in December) – I figured the thing she needed more than anything was a rest and some indulgence.

We stayed at the Hotel Rendezvous in Scarborough, overlooking the ocean.  The view was lovely, even if it was too cold to actually go out on the beach itself.  We watched the (crazy) surfers out there on the water and enjoyed the sunset.  We went out to dinner and ate our bodyweight in desserts.  We stayed up late talking and catching up, in our PJs of course, just like we would have done 30 years ago.  We drank tea and relaxed and bemoaned our ever-increasing age (although we think we look pretty ok for two women in their forties) and slept in.  We went to a movie and had afternoon tea (there was a lot of food involved in this weekend – can you tell?) and a delightful couple of hours in IKEA looking at all the pretty things we wanted to buy but didn’t really need.It was so nice just to hang out together with nowhere to be and no one to bother us.

I am so lucky to have had a lifelong friend and I hope we will always be close, no matter where life takes us.

To CG, I will say this : Thank you for always being my friend, through all the ups and downs, through boyfriends and heartache, from childhood to adulthood and beyond, through weight gain and weight loss, from illness to health, babies and career changes – I love you lots and wish you nothing but happiness and contentment all the days of your life.

With love xxx

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Letter to Myself at Fourteen

Letter to Myself at Fourteen

I was reading a magazine in my lunch break at work today and it contained an article about writing a letter to yourself (retrospectively) at important ages or moments in your life.  It had various celebrities and sports stars penning letters to their awkward or ugly-duckling selves.  It would be nice if you could do this – go back in time and offer words of comfort and support or maybe even give your struggling, apathetic self a kick up the backside that would jump-start their enthusiasm for life.  If only!  I can think of various times in my life when I just needed someone to tell me it was all going to be ok, or, at least, that sometimes things wouldn’t be ok but that I would be strong enough to get through it.

Fourteen was a tough year.  I was chubby and unfashionable, couldn’t do a thing with my hair (wasn’t sure I wanted to), had crazy hormones that made me cry at the drop of a hat or lash out at unsuspecting family members (usually my elder brother – the two of us never fought until the year I turned fourteen and he, seventeen), I was self-conscious and klutzy, socially awkward and prone to day dreaming about my favourite pop stars or movie actors.  I hated high school, missed my primary school friends and was tormented by an unrequited love that had been going on for several years.

I look back at photos of myself at that age and cringe.  I am embarrassed that that weird-looking, sour-faced and obviously uncomfortable-in-her-own-skin girl was me. I am no beauty queen now, believe you me, but I have “grown” into myself.  I don’t think you truly become who you’re going to be until you’re at least 30 – I’m 39 now and still have a long way to go – before that you’re just trying on different personas and attitudes for size, seeing what fits and what works for you.  I am still socially awkward and klutzy and still don’t consider myself attractive at all (self-esteem, I’m working on it!) but I’ve made it through life, much more than I ever thought I would. So what would I tell myself, if I could go back in time?

1.  You’re right about Milli Vanilli.

2. One day, the popular girls who laughed at you will be fat, married to some jerk from high school and will display terrible spelling & grammar on Facebook posts.  You will laugh at them.

3. Your best friend will always love you and be there for you.  Through boyfriends, marriages, new jobs and children, she will always think you are awesome – no matter what.

4. You WILL have a boyfriend one day.  He won’t be Johnny Depp (sorry) but he will be the next best thing.

5. Jobs will come and go.  Keep trying to find the one that makes you happy.  That doesn’t necessarily mean the one that pays the most.  Or has the cutest boss.  Or the best uniform.

6. Always try to see the best in people.  99.99999% of people are actually pretty nice.  Try to treat others how you would like to be treated yourself.  Karma is alive and well and will be with you through all your days.

7. Your family are awesome.  Nuts, yes, annoying at times, certainly from another planet but absolutely awesome.

8. Hug your Mum.  Tell her you love her on a daily basis.  She loves you more than anything and is always in your corner.  You can’t disappoint her.

9. Men are not all terrible and untrustworthy.  You can trust many of them and even have them as lifelong friends.

10. Believe in your dreams and dream big.  Don’t let life knock them out of you.  The teacher in primary school who told you you couldn’t fly was an idiot.  Who says that to a 10 year old?

I’d like to go back in time and give myself a hug and maybe a good dose of self-confidence.  Mostly I would just tell me that I’m ok.  That being different is a good thing and that having a big heart means more than anything.  I would also probably hang on to some of those daggy fashions because, boy, I could sell them now and make a fortune!

Give your inner fourteen-year-old a hug today and forgive them for being a bit of a dork.  Because even dorks grow up to be adults one day and maybe, just maybe, that dork has turned out to be a pretty cool person 🙂