A week from today, I go in for surgery. I have to admit there have been a few times I have felt like a cow being loaded up the infamous race to the abattoirs… whats really behind that door? Hmmm. The funny thing is in all these life stopping moments, that in fact does not stop, it continues. Clothes need to be washed, and the potatoes need to be peeled.
It was during a particular potato peeling moment that I was reflecting and having a giggle about my friendships and some memories in particular.
Primary School at Haslem St 3620 was perfect. We had a class that pretty much stayed together for the entire 6 years. And if memory serves me right we were all friendly, to me, my class felt like a big family. I often reminisce about those days, and it fills me with a pleasant nostalgia. I had beautiful close-knit girlfriends that I still hold dear to my heart today, and thanks to the wonders of Facebook some of us still keep in touch intermittently.
Some of you who may know me or knew me as a kid may know that I was the kid without an eyelid. I was born perfectly formed albeit a lovely piece of skin that closes over one eye and zero eyelashes. It was extremely noticeable at an early age, gradually it improved with multitudes of operations. My mum says I was the first kid in Australia to be born with this condition. Wow! I think I would have preferred to be the first kid born with X-ray vision or super fast muscle twitch fibers but beggars can’t be choosers!
The gorgeous thing about primary school for me was that not ONE kid ever teased me in my class. I was never really aware of my disfigurement most of the time, which was bliss. Kids can be cruel, but my kids weren’t. My fellow primary schoolers were kind and fun. That was good. I’m smiling now thinking about it.
Things changed once high school started.
We all know what High school is like, its survival mode and every man for himself, kids are trying to fit in, work themselves out a bit, hormone-crazed. I found myself suddenly a concave polygon trying to fit into a square. Not a great fit and a bit hard to breathe. I remember the day it dawned on me that I was the Green Sheep, I was a misfit and more than likely considered weird.
There were a few kind souls who became ‘protectors’ and looked out for me, but I still didn’t quite fit. The eccentricities in my character that were appreciated and found humorous in Primary school suddenly created a very different reality. My clothes mattered, my looks mattered, what street I lived on mattered, and I wasn’t funny anymore, and thanks to a ridiculously thin metabolism I was rake thin, scarily so. Skeletor and Ana-rex were nicknames coined. I craved thighs and boobs like Homer Simpson craves Duff Beer.
It should have been liberating, but the liberation didn’t happen until about Year 9. I don’t even recall now how it happened. But suddenly I found my crew, my little group of fellow misfits. I thought they were shit hot, so cool, so awesome and they didn’t mind me hanging around. But suddenly I had treasure, so precious to me. A gold nugget kept tightly to my chest…I would never forget what it felt like to be alone and unliked, it was shattering. To actually have these awesome girls not only like me but really care was like winning kid lotto. I was 10 foot tall and bulletproof! So I never resented or regretted my oddness or lack of fit, because without it I wouldn’t have found my beautiful school angels.
One of them was so kind she tried to do eyelash replacement therapy with permanent ink when I was asleep at a birthday party, You know who you are you crazy girl. That’s the kind of sense of humor we shared. It was never mean or ill-intended, it was dark, but it was fun and in good spirits. The spirit of acceptance. Its a magical word to a 15-year-old, Acceptance. Rolls off the tongue nicely, doesn’t it?
We were all good kids, but by God, we were ratbags, shockingly so at times. Some of the antics particularly during later years make me laugh out loud now, full belly shake laughs even thinking about it. If I am totally honest, some of them make me cringe a little, actually… no, a lot. Teachers got tricks played on them, and a fair hint of rebellion. Those girls are still my girls now, they were our bridesmaids and are still my very best friends today. I say MY because it feels nice to have some ownership of our friendship. It is an Ego thing. I try to be a bit more enlightened, but its true. My ego still rolls around in the dirt like a happy puppy that I have friends, yippee!!!!
One of these lovelies sent me a Brain Surgery Kit last time around.
Chockers full of panadol, a crazy wig to wear on one’s bald head and fake eyelashes. Bliss! It was the best laugh I had in a good part of a week. I am sure that if they were with me in rehab, they would have been trying to move the furniture. I am kidding, they aren’t that naughty.
Perceptions are funny things, aren’t they? Here I was in High School, a walking sponge, truly deeply shy but prone to extraverted outbursts that had me looking like a knob a lot of the time. Yet it was one of these friends that finally explained to me that people thought I was a snob, better than others. Jeez did we laugh over that one? It couldn’t have been more opposite. I know in a situation like mine, you get bombarded in a sea of cliches, but regardless of my secret hate of the written cliche, they are correct. Like parables that get us through. Everybody really does have their story! I think back now to my perceptions, who could I have spoken to, who did I assume was mean when they weren’t?
Was that person scowling behind the cash register last week indeed a bitchy horrid lady, or were her face and manner betraying some heartache I could not know? After the last lot of brain surgery, it really sunk in that you could not EVER judge another without first walking in their shoes. Let you be the one to cast the first stone and all that. I try to live by it now.
I have a lot of people that perceived my situation when I was blind and learning to walk to be the suckiest horrendous of circumstances, but again this is a perception.
It wasn’t. It really wasn’t. I got to walk in a blind person’s shoes, and it was frightening yet fascinating. The eyes are not only the window to your soul but your perception. My other senses went into overdrive picking up the slack, and there wasn’t much I missed out on after 2 weeks. It was here I learned the art form of incorrect perception. We are visual creatures, therefore if you cannot see a person, don’t know what they are wearing, what their body language is doing or how they look; you can’t get a grasp on them.
Suddenly you start picking up on vocal cues, feeling with your gut instead of your eyeballs. People that I thought were sometimes super assured had voices that portrayed a hidden nervousness or shyness that I would never have supposed with vision. The only thing that was really sucky though was a house with double brick walls, if you walk into them, they are very unforgiving, and brick marks in your forehead aren’t a great Winter accessory. You think blind, you think fear, dark, vulnerable. But again this wasn’t entirely correct.
Learning to walk made me look later at babies learning to walk with a whole other miraculous perception.
I never again ran on these legs without a big smile on my face, to be able to run is a miracle. It really is. Trust me on that one. But my point here is, I had just about every physical ability taken away from me, and I had to earn it back. It was hard work, but I wouldn’t change it. Because it enhanced my perception of everything. You become an observer, and life is fascinating to observe.
It occurs to me regularly that the person acting strange or scowling might have something huge going on you know nothing about. If you are a teenager, an adult whoever you are, take a moment to See the person you come into daily contact with, heartache isn’t always apparent. Trust me on that one. Everyone has their pain and their journey they are on. Some are obvious and apparent, but most are hidden. You know what I am saying, you see the Facebook Memes.
If there is a friend you haven’t spoken to or you miss, ring them up. What is the worst thing that can happen? They might hang up. But you haven’t lost anything. I have lost a couple, and its an unfortunate thing to happen over the years. I’m not sure whether I left them behind at the supermarket or dropped them in the street, but they feel lost. Sometimes there’s a reason, sometimes its just distance or life in general. Sometimes it’s a good thing to release negative people from your life, of that I know about too. But if you miss them and they left a good imprint on your heart, it might be time to get in touch.
Life has bought me new friends, sisters whom I treasure beyond words.
One, in particular, had a new beau who was besties with my husband. They decided between them that it would be much more convenient for us to be friends. They dumped her on my doorstep and left us without a car. No chance of escape. I laugh now, we were like two rabbits caught in the headlights. We started chatting, and what do you know? Another Concave Polygon! We were inseparable from that day on. That was 15 years ago. We have both convinced each other that we’ve been friends for so many lifetimes now it’s getting ridiculous. Life is just that little more bearable with each other around. The life of a Polygon isn’t always comfortable.
I have another treasure which came to just sit on the sand with me last week, philosophizing and just being. Treasure. Pure Treasure.
Friends are a wonder in this world.
I am blessed to say I have a collection of beauties. We all share a few things in common, acceptance and a reasonable compass-facing-north-style perception and good bullshit detectors. Mine was pretty bad for a while, but it is getting better! We are all so different in personality its nuts, some a wealthy, some are not. Some are loud, so loud! Some are quiet and don’t say much, and some can be a royal pain in the derriere. But the only way to really know a person is through acceptance, don’t you think so? Maybe this brain is malfunctioning, I might actually become a bit soft…
So moving on, its less than a week away until I go in. I am surrounded by humbling prayers and support. There are a lot of little miracles going on every day around me. My perceptions are kicking in on a whole other level now LOL. I am surrounded by super friends, I shall try not to roll around in the dirt too much.
My bragging rights are epic!
My family is a powerhouse of collective awesomeness (thanks Anthea). We are having a good time together, laughing, crying and being a tribe. I have a feeling come December I will probably be cringing at my honesty on these pages, being naked and self-indulgent assuming you will want to read this. I pray your perception shall be pleasant! I have a child yelling out for me to find some socks and I have more potatoes to peel…