Growing Up

Camera Exlporations
Peter and (sister-in-law) Jodi, September 2009. Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

I’ve heard it said that a true test of character would be if a camera (unbeknownst to you) were to follow you around, capturing moment by moment, everything you did. All your faults and virtues would be on display. Then, if you could see that video, you would have an assessment of your true character.

I’ve had this image in my head since I was in middle school. I’m finally at a place in my life where I am feeling secure in my relationships. And, tonight, I got that validation. It actually brought tears to my eyes. Everyone says that going through school is hard and that elements of being an adult are easier. Even if they don’t say being an adult is easier, most adults don’t want to repeat those awkward growing up years.

Growing up, in a small town, where the cliques were ingrained since pre-kindegarten with very little room for nuance, is hard. You’re trying to inch your way into these formed friendships, and in my case not feeling secure in my home life either. (My mother, siblings, and maternal extended family are great; but when dad leaves when you’re 5, your world gets shaken up.) So, the kids didn’t feel receptive to my presence. And, it was hard. And, I never understood why. And, sometime in middle school, I wanted a video camera to go through and document my entire existence so I could know what I was doing wrong.

It never happened. I never got the video camera.

But, I grew up. I made some mistakes. I made some huge faux-pas with my sister. (Sorry Stacer, I’m glad we’re maturing together, by the way.) But, I think I learned.

Pukefest 2010 Redux - 1
Peter and Levi (under the weather), Thanksgiving 2010. Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

The thing is, I remember that hurt. I remember how it felt to be left out, and I would never wish that on anyone. So, I try, really hard, to ensure most of my decisions reflect that value of being included. It’s a value that is so inherent to my core, that it just is. Meaning: I don’t always realize I am doing a thing that reflects that value.

Tonight, though, I was validated. Tonight, the camera was briefly shown back to me. Tonight, a friend kindly validated the choices I’ve made in dealing with a tenacious situation. Tonight, I was reminded of my core friends whose friendships I can be secure with because they see me how I want to be seen, and I see them as they want to be seen. As I am. As they are. Faults and virtues, all in one.

If someone had told me when I was in middle school that I would find lasting friendships with sincere people, I would never have believed them. I am thankful, in this week of Thanksgiving, for these friendship. Friends, I hope you know that. Thank you for letting me into your lives and into your inner circles. Now, as an adult, I can say that I am glad I’ve grown up.

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