Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day 257

continued from a previous post...

Add that to the fact that I changed schools all the time because we had to move constantly and it made for a nice delicious adolescent stew that tastes burned at the bottom.  I graduated with a gaggle of girlfriends who all leaned on me for support and stability and got a job at a local grocery store while I waited to leave for college with one of them.  I remember going over and interviewing with two of them so we could all work together.  Oh, and all my best friends were the popular beautiful kind.  Being funny and a good listener helps break down all social walls in girl world.  They got hired on as checkers and I was sent to the back of the store in boot and jeans land.   

The store had just opened and the pay was lousy so we were all teenagers, even the managers ended up being since any legitimate employee would quit soon after being hired.  I wasn’t active in church at the time.  I felt like a black eye on the perfect face of the ward I belonged to.  I didn’t share their past, their inside jokes were lost on me, and I’m not sure they knew how to handle this new kid on the block.  So I worked Sundays and quietly slipped off of radar I’m not sure I was ever on anyway.  I liked the kids I worked with.  We were from all walks of life, members of the church, non members, hard drinkers, kids heading to college, ones finding themselves, we were a melting pot in produce and dairy and non foods.  All the blue smocks seemed to equalize us.  It was the first time since I moved into this state, that I felt at home.  We would sometimes hang out after work.  One of my friends, a beautiful one, would ensure that any guy in the place would be glad to hang out with us.  I started to find out these boys were content to just be friends and that friendship with a boy was a commodity that I had sorely lacked.  It was enough just to have a few laughs and get into a few scrapes and the camaraderie was what I understand that everyone else had always had and now I finally did. 

More and more of these friends who were boys would spend their breaks back in boots and jeans and I would pretend to sell them dinner sized belt buckles or we would try on real leather upper ostrich skinned boots and they didn’t like-like me, they just liked being with me because I was fun or funny or newly confident or something.  I was used to being popular among the girls, but now I just felt popular.period.  It was heady for an eighteen year old girl who should have known better.  Maybe I could be compared to a Victorian novel character who was just “coming out” into society or something.  I wasn’t dating anyone, but I could smile and look at a guy.  Wow. 

One night we went out with a guy and his cousin.  The guy was a flashy one and all the girls drooled.  I didn’t.  I was way beyond that by now.  I found I didn’t even look at a guy in terms if he was desirable or not because why bother?  I took my usual step back and all the girls flirted up a storm with him and his cousin.  We took two separate cars and I was in the cousin’s car.  Two of my modelesque friends were there two.  They leaned into to him and admired and all the like.  I listened and was content just to be.  The next day, the cousin, I will call him John, came back to boots and jeans.  He had been there before as one of my “pals,” but now he asked me out.  I had very very few points of reference for this.  Why did he ask me when my friends were throwing themselves in his direction? 

I will call this guy Alex.  I loved Alex, everything about him.  He had played football all through high school yet had a grace like a dancer which he would kill me for mentioning.  He wasn’t a member of the church which shocked all my friends, but he tried to be supportive and even came to church with me a few times because I asked him too even though I still wasn’t going regularly at the time.  He didn’t listen to his CD’s with the parental advisory lyrics at least when I was in his truck and I never mentioned it.  I won’t go into all of it because the fact is it doesn’t matter.  It’s the same story everyone has about their first love.  The only thing was is that there were a lot of people in the store that thought I was dating someone else.  There was a college boy named let’s call him Steve that had been going to ask me out, but Alex and I were an item too quickly.  It would take me a long time to realize that he may have been a smarter option, but as it was I only had eyes for Alex.  Looking back, I didn’t realize that Steve had feelings for me, but if I had been more savvy in the world of boys, I would have realized that he was always there for me and it must have been hard to have our heart to hearts everyday and not have me understand his feelings. 

Anyway, I was going up to Ricks college with all my friends who went to church each week and my parents were EAGER to get me away from Alex and up to the Zion of the North quickly.  The night before I left we stayed out all night and almost got arrested.  I cried all the way to Rexburg because I couldn’t forget his face watching me drive away. 

It was for the best.  I broke a lot of rules jumping over the fence of my dorm and there were literally times I know the Lord intervened and carried me away from situations that would have had irreparable consequences, but I was spared.  I am still eternally indebted to Him for that, but I certainly wasn’t trying to be wise, but He had always had a way of protecting me even from myself.  Once I made the decision to stay up there and not come home, Alex and I were no more.  It was painful, but it was he who ended it.  He could see the writing on the wall even if I refused to.  Later in a crazy twist of fate, his mom would be my boss and I know she was instrumental in that breakup and it was a good thing.  I heard he was sleeping with the next girl he was with and all I could think of was that I was so grateful it wasn’t me.

After that everything changed for me.  I made up for high school in college and enjoyed the dances and attention I received.  I only dated one darling cowboy from Wyoming consistently who sang to me and who ended up not going on a mission and wound up living with his next girlfriend.  I had to think, they left me and ended up getting into trouble…hmmm….

If was the first time in my life I felt pretty and the other girls were always raiding my closet so my confidence was vastly improving.  I came home intent to work my way into a mission since I still had no idea what I wanted to study and the Y was a daunting prospect since I had no desire to marry until I had finished education, mission, blah blah blah.  I dated people and there was just nothing there.  I just didn’t feel a connection.  RM’s scared me and I was hard on guys.  I wasn’t the best about returning calls if they didn’t float my boat, and I said no sometimes or if they did something that made me mad, I would just walk away no questions asked.  I got a great job and had another strong support of girlfriends which had always been my saving grace.  To be honest, I still didn’t really believe anyone would want to marry me.  My relationship with my dad had not improved and the walls I had built up around myself were thick.  I had become active in church again at Ricks, who could help it?  I attended a student ward now and the shark tank feel there was not my bag.  My friends started getting married.  I would laugh and be grateful it wasn’t me.  I was thinking about putting my mission papers in.  I went to singles’ dances just to laugh at it all and because that’s what friends wanted to do.  I wasn’t impressed with anyone there, probably mostly because it was my defense mechanism from getting hurt. 

 I met a tall smart RM who wanted to be an accountant and was going to the Y.  He was so into me and I couldn’t be.  He called and called and called.  Finally, I felt bad and thought I should give him a chance, but he didn’t call again.  One of my “friends” had told him to forget it.  So it was me feeling guilty about that situation that caused me to say yes when a certain T would chase me around the next dance I went to and asked me out.

to be continued...

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