Connecting Introductions

The nostalgia level in me right now has gone way beyond obnoxious. Maybe that’s why I keep asking people to guest blog for me: It strengthens and deepens connections. So when I think of you, the bursting of my heart will be that much more powerful. Also, I respect your writing, and your appearing on my blog is a great honor. Please stay tuned: I might ask you next.

I thought I’d give a little background on tomorrow’s guest blogger, Sarah.


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So, that’s what I think of her, at least on her birthday in 2007. And maybe now. 😉  Below are some of her words from 1994. I don’t have any current samples, and she doesn’t have a public blog, but once I broke out the old notebook from our senior year, and once I reread what Sarah wrote, I knew her thoughts would more than suffice. It’s kind of a personal letter to me, but this really showcases her thought process. Fine, she was 18 years old, but she still maintains tightness and integrity in her writing. She’s thoughtful and poised and sensitive. And honest. Today, she’s a wife and a mom and a yoga instructor and a cake decorator, so her post tomorrow might pertain to her current life, but she’ll still be Sarah. The following is only an excerpt – the beginning of the letter, because it’s A Very Long Letter and she might be ticked that I’m even using even a snippet – but it’s enough to form a pretty dang great impression of her. (You might also get a sense of some of the vocabulary words we learned back then.) This letter speaks to Adolescence and Transitions and especially Friendship. Something she wrote 15 years ago, not long after we introduced ourselves to each other, is an apt introduction of her to you, here, now, when it still could apply. It still does. Used without permission, of course. 😉


May – Where can I possibly begin? Although it’s only been a little over a year that we’ve been close friends, it seems like a lifetime, yet at the same time a lifetime does in no way seem long enough. I can’t remember exactly when we started to form the bond that has developed into such a strong relationship – I just know that somewhere along the line, because of the crazy AP English class with Mrs. Faircloth (and of course Study Hall), we really connected. I remember you in tenth grade, when you sat all the way across the room (alphabetical order) and I thought you were so incredbily quiet. We were these naive, timid sophomores in a class dominated by Juniors and Seniors. I don’t think I said more than two words to you that year, and I regret it.

But then we went on to eleventh grade and our lives were changed forever. Little did I know what a difference you would come to make in my life. I began the year with a lot of misconceptions and I was extremely judgmental. I began sitting with you, Jenny, and Becky in lunch, and then we began having those long talks in Study Hall, and I started changing. It’s funny, those times in Study Hall when we talked about stupid things our brothers and sisters do, about our most embarrassing moments, about the toys we played with when we were little – they seem inane on the surface, but they were the foundation of a really strong system of communication between us. We felt comfortable, the six of us, sitting in that blue room and simply being open; being honest. I realized that you are incredibly compassionate, patient, dedicated, honest, and loving somewhere along the line, and despite the short time I’d known you I felt I could trust you. I respected your intelligence and admired your entire person – time was no factor in my decision to allow you to see me. But I didn’t just let you see me, I let you help make me – I chose to make you a part of my self and some of those qualities I so loved in you started to become my own. You taught me infinite things – patience and a true desire to listen [are] just two of them. I noticed how you benefitted from stepping back and taking in life instead of always having to be at the forefront. You are so observant. You had an instinctive understanding of me and the way my mind operated. At the end of last year, we got so close because we realized what a strong connection we did have and we didn’t want to spend a whole summer apart. We didn’t want to become estranged, but we should have known that with a connection like ours, that was not possible. No lapse of time or distance could deny the structure we had already built.

Fanning the Nostalgic Flame

This blog is nearly as old as my time here in New York City. It has become a decent body of work; it’s an okay chronology. I was never this diligent in journaling during any other part of my life, and I’m so glad to have developed the habit.

I revisited the archives this morning, as I tend to do, with “Hometown Glory” at least semi-permanently stuck in my head, and stumbled upon an entry from April 10, 2007. I’ll copy and paste it here. A friend of mine had just moved from the city the week before, and I had a really hard time with it, crying on the train, on my way to my therapist’s for an appointment, and I had cried all the way back home, gotten ready for bed, and gone to sleep. Emotions bombarded me, and the following week this post happened:

Depth X Height X Intensity

In high school, friendships tend to go deep, fast. You’re in many of the same classes, even extra-curricular activities. You spend your spare time together. Factor all that in with what it means to be a teenager: self-discovery, learning critical thinking, drilling into everything’s deeper meaning, even if it doesn’t have one; hormones raging; angst flying. Identifying with Rand or Salinger or Hemingway or Dickinson; Pearl Jam, Counting Crows, Sting, Tori Amos. It’s a pretty intense time.

Not everyone has the same experience. Some coast along until they get to move away from their parents. Others live those years with moderate intensity. Others still dare to push, to challenge the limits of their very young characters. Paradoxically, these are the old souls, the kindred spirits.

These were my peers. We didn’t wear our hearts on our sleeves, per se, but I know we had angst, though not the destructive kind. We jammed and cruised and tossed some ideas back and forth and flicked others away, like lint. In the classroom, in somebody’s living room or a porch or a trampoline; out at a park, in the car driving to nowhere in particular, or perhaps coming back from bowling or eating.

I wouldn’t trade those times for anything in the world. I’d die first.

The intensity tapers as life goes on, in varying degrees. The people are different; the transitions suck. Relationships aren’t as much intense as they are weird; they are dis-tense, and the wordplayer in me morphs that into distance, which is the obvious space between me and these other people who don’t seem as kindred – we don’t want to get too close. They notice it too.

Old souls in high school aren’t the only ones. In fact, that phase of life has thoroughly prepared us to spot one now, a mile away; years later, or maybe a few hours. We recognize a certain gentleness and power, a familiar warmth in the countenance; a subtle thawing, like the conversion of winter into spring. Then, the intensity picks up again. You know how it goes.

Another transition comes along, and we haven’t forgotten how much it hurts to say goodbye. And that was 13 years ago. Or even last week. The key is to cherish it as much as you can presently, even if it means an unbearably poignant departure. The key is to cherish it as much as you can presently, even if the thought of goodbye keeps sneaking in on your forethoughts, which bear the trite truth: there’s no such thing as goodbye.

The key is to remember that you are old souls, kindred spirits.

When you do part ways, the key is to be so happy and excited for your friends, so grateful for your paths crossing, that you cry and cry and shudder and hiccup and snot everywhere and pray and cry yourself to sleep; so that eventually, you can look back fondly at all the good times, and giddily anticipate a sweet, joyful reunion. Every single time.



Needless to say, I’ve found some old souls, kindred spirits in New York City. I’ve been blessed enough to get to know you, to have been found worthy to be a part of your lives. Some of you have left recently, and I didn’t get the chance to tell you how special and incredible you are; how much I miss you. I have hugs reserved specifically for you. Some of you will leave with the next outgoing tide. Some of me will go with you.