A couple of months ago I posted this.
I’ve gotten pretty good at making candied bacon and it really makes me happy. And of course I want to be obnoxious and share/rub my happiness in everyone’s face. So I was making some a couple of weeks ago and took some photos of the process and posted them on Instagram without a lot of explanation. I’m actually “friends” on social media with someone from that school, all that time ago. She posted a comment on one of the pics about being curious to see what I was making and what the final result would look like. So I sent her a video that someone else made that roughly matched my process on FB messenger and she said something about loving bacon and it making everything better.
I sent back a smart-alecky comment about how even thought it’d been decades since we’d hung out, that I knew I always liked her and she replied, confessing to having had a huge crush on me back in the day when we went to school together. That rocked me back for multiple reasons.
It’s funny. For the most part I like the way I am now, and the coping mechanisms I’ve developed over the years. They’ve gotten me through some really tough times in good humor. Over the last couple of years, I’ve made changes to things, took the time to reflect and see what was still helpful, and what wasn’t, but that didn’t mean that I’d hated what I became at any point. I just used painful situations to stimulate growth.
But there are some times in my past, particularly my childhood, that had become 2-dimensional in my memories. I use them as stories to illustrate a point or as a punchline in a joke and have become numb to the true feelings in the moment, or blind to the context of the entire situation.
That school was the first time we’d moved that impacted me like that. The moves before then were before I was in school, before I could be the “new-kid”. The family was the nucleus of my social circle, so moving wasn’t impactful before then. That move, that school was the first time I was bullied and mocked. It was were I started developing those coping mechanisms, where I started retreating into myself (interesting question – they say that introvert/extrovert isn’t a binary condition, it’s a scale and everyone possesses some level of both, it’s just a question of where they land on the scale. Is it nature or nurture? My experiences would say it’s a little of both). So I tell stories of that to explain why I’m me to people, focusing on some of those bad things that had happened. But I’d forgotten that I’d made some good friends there, had some good times, learned things I loved that have become a part of me over time.
She was a really cute, shy girl back then. I’d remembered her over the years, but I’d forgotten having a crush on her too, and forgotten the times we’d played together and had fun together back then. I really appreciate her telling me that, and making me pause and remember the good times.