Archive for the ‘Identity’ Category

Why hello again, Invisible Audience. I haven’t written you in ages.  I apologize for my absence as the school of life has taken its toll. Its easy to get caught up in fluctuating work schedules, daily house chores, and commitments to friends and family. Despite it all, sometimes when I am quiet its because there is no major storm being weathered. Sometimes, its because more has happened than can ever be put into words. Its been a surreal blend of both as of late.

Recently, I have been focusing on what it means to really be a friend to someone.  Once upon a time, I thought of friendship purely as loyalty and honesty, but those lines have been blurred and needed some redefining.  I think I am starting to wrap my mind around the concept of true friendship, and it has taken me to the ripe age of 26 to start to get it.

At the moment I believe:

  • When a friend answers the phone, he or she can pick up where the conversation last left off despite the distance and time between calls.
  • A friend is willing to go the distance when they can make a difference.
  • Friends protect in the best interest of those in need.
  • Friends directly tell the truth no matter how difficult it can be and be respected enough to be heard.
  • Friends can agree to disagree.
  • Friendship is more than a balance of give and take. Sometimes its about “Sharing”.
  • Friends remember the good times, cry through the bad times, and take time to collect their thoughts before taking action.
  • Friends admit his or her wrongs when needed.
  • Friends forgive one another after admitting his or her wrongs with a committed promise things will change,and then move forward together.

Not so say that I have covered everything, or have defined this to be all there is to friendship. I do think this is a good place to start.

Which leads me to reflect…In some ways, I fear I haven’t been the best of friends to those I have loved along the way. I have missed out on some key life changing moments for those I love. I have also let youth’s impatience lead me to take gambles that I shouldn’t have. Yet in the same breath, I also think I have gone above and beyond for those I truly love. Recently, a coworker had mentioned that she never saw anyone pack up and leave work early to drive hundreds of miles to take care of a friend in need. I have done this on more than one occasion for more than one person over the years.  I think of my friends as I would my family. They are special because they are the sisters and brothers that I choose to have in my life. So to prove my human nature, for every thing I have done wrong I have also done things right. I can see this, and therefore TRY to move forward with as little heaviness on my heart as possible.

That does not mean that I haven’t recognized where I have let the ball drop. I have a list of my friends in my head that starts from grade school days and encompasses every single person that molded me into who I am now as an adult. I can outline mistakes I have made, toes I have stepped on, and things I regretfully have done. Despite the downsides, I miss you all, love you all, and thank you all for making me into the strong woman I am. There isn’t a single person that I have called friend that hasn’t taught me important life lessons. Regardless of where we end up in the world or who each of us become, I love and am thankful for each and every one of you. I apologize for my short comings and promise to continue to work on becoming a better friend in the areas I need to work on.  You all deserve the best and I am working on finding my best.

As I grow into adulthood, I learn more and more about myself. I am starting to fill these once awkwardly large shoes, and I like who that is making me become. I have found I am a friendlier and kinder person that I used to be. I have let go a lot of  anger in the last 3 months since I now had the opportunity to focus on where I am headed and what I need to do to get where I would like to be.

Its funny to share stories with my new friends at work about my semi-gothic days in high school. They laugh and admit they can’t imagine me a broody type. It shows me that I have been making tremendous progress in changing the anger that used to lay dormant in my heart which was a key factor in some of my greatest mistakes. Despite a night and day transformation, I still feel like I have kept the key pieces of myself that make me who I am. There is no way for me to get rid of my sarcastic tendencies, for example. But without that anger crowding my thoughts, I have been able work on the bridge to my true potential and I vow to keep learning. I am in for the long haul; I had a customer tell me she is still learning at the vivacious age of 88, and I share her commitment.

My only wish is that all of those I have called friends over the years can find the equivalent happiness and blessings to fill each of their hearts with true satisfaction if they haven’t already done so, and that each of them can find it in their hearts to forgive my past mistakes as they trudge forward into their respective futures.

And never forget how much I really do love you.

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I have always had an affinity toward Fleetwood Mac, as well as Stevie Nicks. If we rewind to an evening in early October, my mother gave birth to her youngest child. It was her second daughter. She had a spat with my father over this daughter’s name. Would she be Stephanie or would she be Michelle? My father desperately wanted Michelle, but my mother won. That little girl, also known as me, was named Stephanie.

My mother wanted to name me after her idol, Stevie Nicks. Stevie had been born “Stephanie”, and took Stevie as her stage name. I went by Stevie with my extended family ever since, though to my friends I was always called Stephanie post 3rd grade when I mastered spelling my own name with confidence.

I share this little jewel with you because from time to time I will pop my Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits album into my cd player in my car, just to feel a little closer to home.

I grew up listening to a lot of The ‘Mac, as you could imagine. It just seems that the older I get, the more I actually understand and relate to the songs that I used to sing along to on the long road trips to my grandmother’s house. Each song has begun to speak to my heart and remind me of feelings and memories I can not express in my own words with such eloquence.

On my drive home from work yesterday, I popped the disc in after hearing my mother’s voice on my voicemail. The song that roped me in was an old one, but surely a good one.

“Gypsy”, written and sung by the one and only Stevie Nicks became my car ride anthem. I must have listened to it about 8 times before getting home. Stevie reflects upon a younger version of herself, and how from time to time that self shines like a lightening bolt lighting up a midnight sky.

It made me think about my prior post. I know deep down inside I am still that same old gypsy, though my actions are now a lot more careful rather than carefree. And from time to time, I can see my husband’s eyes light up when I do something quirky that reminds him of the person he fell in love with only 3 years ago. I have changed dramatically and aged quickly, but that gypsy is still twirling on the mountainside in my heart.

As I write this, I miss my mother. I have not seen her since Christmas, and can’t wait to hug her tightly again. I talk to her frequently on the phone, and last night I called her back after my drive home was complete. Almost as if I was destined to listen to “Gypsy” and reflect the car ride, my mom mentioned a little tree I gave her one Halloween. I was teaching at the time, and went to work dressed as a gypsy for the holiday. On my way out the door, my boss handed me a tree that was donated to the school to be handed out by a local nursery. Living in an apartment limited my ability to plant such a tree, so I drove from work to my parents farm.

I bounded through the door the way I did when I lived there, and my mother looked at me with smiling eyes. “What are you doing here!? Won’t Erik (my husband) be missing you?” she squealed with glee.

“Well mom….What do gypsies give out for Halloween?!” I exclaimed back, with my gift hidden behind my back.

She looked bewildered until I whipped out my tiny pine from behind my back. My mother giggled with delight.

She planted the little tree outside of the living room window where she could see it from her favorite spot on the couch. She was out shoveling every snow storm this winter to dig the little tree out for its own safety, and she is determined to keep it alive despite everything.

On the phone last night she was giving me my regular update about the little tree, but instead of calling it “your tree” as she usually did, she called it “The Gypsy Tree”. My heart smiled a little, as I accepted my little bits of happiness and reassurance.

I am still the gypsy after all, so I guess you can still call me Stevie.

I was once known to be a wild child. I was the renegade nerd girl that spent my youth being an inspiration to those who were close to me, yet I was invisible to those who were outside of my immediate circle. I was a social weirdo before I even learned how to try. I then basked in being the most unusual that I could be to give them something to find weird.

You see… I found it challenging to find my place in the sun when following behind the greats that my siblings were born to be. I had a genius for a brother and a social queen for a sister. I felt invisible. Don’t get me wrong. My family treated me well, but the shadow of their ‘bests’ was a dark place to be at times.

College set me ablaze. I became a blue haired, pierced ,indie-punk rocking, party princess. That eventually lost its luster and I felt no better than Jack Skellington realizing he was the pumpkin king all along.

The best gift that chapter of my life gave me was my fabulous husband. We were friends for two years as I dated one of his friends, but eventually we found one another. We dated a year, were engaged for another, and now will be celebrating our first year of marriage together on Thursday.

All is well and quiet. We relocated from Illinois to Wisconsin so he could advance his career. I left behind my sulking teaching career to create a new life and support the nerd I would die for…

But the question is who am I?