Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.–Tennessee Williams
Sometimes it takes time with old friends to remember how far I’ve come, and tonight was no exception. I spent most of the evening with Mr. Big & a friend of his from Denver, whom I’d met seven or eight years ago at one of the yearly philosophy conferences we all used to attend — and I realized a few things in the process:
1. I can’t remember what I was like before I met Mr. Big; I know I was 25 at the time, I thought he was gay (not for the reasons you may think), I was just about to move to Wisconsin, W. (who is now ten) wasn’t even two years old yet, and I was still married. I’ve known him half of my adult life, but it feels like a lifetime.
2. I’ve changed a heck of a lot. Mile High Guy* mentioned I seemed calmer than when he’d last seen me. Funny thing is that most of the time, I still feel like the same unfocused and frantic lost soul as I was when I first moved to Chicago more than 17 years ago. Looking back, he’s probably right — but, also, as he mentioned over late-night food at the Pick Me Up Cafe, it could just be that I’m getting old(er).
3. There are some people from the past around whom it will be easy to stay sober, and with others it will be rather difficult. And I think Mr. Big’s one of the easy ones (uh, no double entendre intended) in that regard. And that makes me very, very happy.
4. I’ve missed hanging out with Mr. Big and his friends — it was good to talk about theatre & other miscellaneous things with Mile High Guy tonight, and even though I have engaged in much foolish (and retrospectively extremely embarrassing) canoodling with many Friends of Mr. Big, there is an atmosphere of forgiveness for my stupidity and that feels good. (Are some men just more accepting of asinine behavior?)
5. There are still lots of things I don’t like about myself, but that’s okay. I have friends who aren’t going anywhere, and they’re more forgiving of me than I am of myself. Mr. Big commented that I have no fear about saying things that embarrass people, and I pointed out that’s only true when I’m drinking (or, uh, thinking alcoholically). His response: I guess I thought that’s just how you were. And maybe two weeks ago (or two days ago) my reaction would have been Ugh. Yet another person who thinks I’ve fucked everything up, but tonight my thought was, Imagine how great my life can be if I can fix all the harm I’ve done.
My (abbreviated) gratitude list for the evening, then: I am grateful for my friends, especially the ones who have known me through half an adulthood filled with mistakes, embarrassments, and bad judgment but continue to show me love and acceptance because (I hope?) they can see things in me that I cannot.
PS — Mile High Guy had me freaking out that Mr. Big was thus named on Sex and the City because he, uh, was well-endowed, and since I didn’t want anyone thinking that MY Mr. Big is thus named for the same reason (since, uh, I have no clue as to ANYTHING about his endowment), I did some research. I am relieved to learn that the Chris Noth character’s moniker had nothing to do with the size of his genitalia. Whew.