The other day my mom and I were talking about being a mom. We were talking about my post from Saturday regarding seeing little boys in a different way once you have sons. I asked my mom if there was ever a time when I was young that she felt I was vulnerable, because I never really considered myself the vulnerable type. She brought up fifth grade.
I hadn't forgotten about fifth grade. It was horrible if I remember correctly. In fact, I think I enjoyed junior high and high school so much because I held out through the worst of it in fifth grade. I even wrote a multi-chapter book titled "Why Fifth Grade?" when I was in fifth grade. (I was a BIG Judy Blume fan, so the title and book itself is a big tribute to her. :)) It was 52 pages of pure drama and shenanigans.
Fifth grade started out great - I had a huge group of friends - popular friends - surrounding me. I probably even had some poor sap "boyfriend" (i.e. the one boy in the entire class I would ignore more than any other boy until it came time for recess, where we would hold hands while standing as far apart as humanly possible, not saying one word to each other the entire time.) I was on top of the world. I can remember the time and place that it all changed.
Warning: The following comes completely from my memory and may have been distorted in my favor with time. We were at a Varsity basketball game - my dad would always take me to them so that he could watch high school basketball while I ran around the cafeteria ignoring above said boyfriend and giggling way too much and too loudly. It all began because another boy showed me a note from my friend that called me a bad word. It hurt my feelings so I told her so. Now, my memory may be a bit off, but from what I can remember that was all the ammunition she needed to turn every friend I had against me. The days that followed were every little fifth grade girl's worst nightmare. I was completely friendless. My old friends would get the boys in our class to throw balls at me during recess. They verbally made fun of the fact that I wore my pants at my natural wasteline - (which, in hindsight....fair enough.) They always found some reason to let me know I was inadequate. Which makes me wonder what type of person I was before all of this happened. I wasn't raised that way, but if these people were my friends, did people consider me to be the same way? To be completely fair, we WERE in fifth grade so our social skills were not exactly developed at this point. I even consider some of these girls friends again at this juncture in my life. AND I could also have a completely distorted view of how this all went down. However, none of this matters because the point of all this isn't how mean everyone was to me. The point is how nice Heidi was.
I would be REALLY surprised if Heidi reads this blog....in fact, I never see or talk to her anymore (although we are friends on Facebook. :)) The reason I'm even writing this post is because ever since my mom and I had this conversation on Sunday I have been thinking about Heidi. H took me in under her wing within days of all this happening. She was pretty, nice, and she actually wanted to be my friend, even though she already had her own friends and didn't need me. H taught me how to be a friend - a true friend. I wanted to transfer schools and run away, but H gave me a reason to stay. She loved me unconditionally. Even when my old friends decided that they wanted her to be friends with them (I still fell short of that honor), instead she was loyal to me. A few years later we drifted apart (again - this is my memory of the situation). However, she still holds a very important place in my history. I hope that Heidi will someday know how much her friendship changed my life and made me a better person.
Now, I know you are all wondering about this silly novel I wrote. I still have it. It still makes me laugh. Only a few people have read it. It is pretty laughable. What seemed like a very serious situation back then has turned in to a laughable, yet life-changing moment. The book is bound, and hand-written - all 52 precious pages - and even has a dust cover (all done by yours truly). I even inserted black and white photographs of Heidi and I as the illustrations (perhaps a precursor to my future career?). The funniest part when I look back at the book is how I switched my character with Heidi's - or how I felt about Heidi. Anyone who actual reads the book would think that I have completely full of myself. The truth is that I gave the character with my own physical features the traits that I found so endearing in Heidi. It's now embarassing to read, because I describe myself (or the character that was based on myself) as generous, beautiful, and very cool. The reality is that I felt the complete opposite of that - and thought of Heidi as all those things.
So the moral of this long-winded and ridiculously insightful post is to say "thank you" to Heidi. Maybe someday she'll read this. Maybe someday she'll realize what she's taught me. And maybe someday I can repay her for the way she has touched my life. My wish for the world is that everyone can have a Heidi at some point in their lives.