Would You Ever Wake At Night And Realize, The Reason Why You Knew Me Then, Is Maybe I'm An Alien Too, Would You Ever Let Me Be An Alien With You
From an early age we're taught that everything we do has consequences. A butterfly flaps its wings in Long Beach and a baby falls into a well in Macon (though that would entail a rather powerful set of butterfly wings--we're talking the Arnold of butterflies). The mistake most people make, however, is insisting that it's only the choices we commit to that affect us in the long run. It's easy to see when you start a car and drive that your situation changes. Sometimes, though, it's the choices we decide against that also influence our lives as well. Sometimes it's all the places we never get to drive to that determines the course of our destiny.
A glaring example from my own life is the fact I'm convinced everything could have been different for me had I just gone to NYU instead of USC. It would have meant living far from the safety net of everyone I knew, it would have meant studying something I was truly passionate about at the team, and it would have meant experiencing living in a clime and milieu wholly different than that of Southern California. It's very easy for me to define myself by what I missed out on from that one fateful decision instead of what I gained from going to USC. I mean--it's just like my novel. There's a lot to be said about my personality being developed by harboring the "what if" scenarios in my head had I been transplanted to the East Coast.
However, I think the greatest number of choices regarding exploring what might have been and what I've given up as being influential in shaping who I am today has to revolve around my decision to be friends with a certain Little Miss Chipper.
I remember back at La Salle I had the option of visiting San Francisco for a weekend on the school's dime. Instead, I chose to stay home so I could watch the latest episode of Avonlea. At the time my fellow students questioned how there was even an option there. Most people in their right minds would have opted for the free trip, the free food, the free experiences, &c. There I was, choosing Canadian historical family drama over all that. Everyone thought I was nuts or obsessive, or both. Yet I still don't regret that decision because in the list of grand priorities what I was giving up paled in comparison to what I was getting. All those adventures, places I never got to see, during that weekend were and always have been blown away by the forty-four minutes of excellence I stayed home for.
That's similar to the sentiment I share about me and Lucy. A lot of my fondest (and not so fond) memories integrated into my life concern times when I chose to be with her, stick by her, or otherwise choose what we have over almost any other power in the universe. I can't think of a stronger bond between any two people. And yet as much as those times stick out in my recollection, a lot of my life in the last seventeen years revolves around people and experiences I had to forgo because of my friendship with her. A lot of what makes me, well, me is defined by having to choose between two solid options and opting to go with the one which further solidified the bond between her and myself. I suppose I could get into all the times she had to make some pretty crappy choices for my sake, but that would partly be conjecture on my part.
The thing about Breanne is she's never been easy to explain. When she was younger all the questions I received were always along the lines of what a seventeen-year-old senior in high school could see in a lowly eight grader. I had to field a myriad of theories as to what the attraction was, most of which did not leave me in a flattering light. My parents for one could only see the romantic/sexual angle and presented their skepticism in somewhat blatant expressions. My other friends, who I guess you could say were more age-appropriate, were also keen on jumping that particular bandwagon. Those first few years were marked with a lot of challenges to the validity of our so-called friendship and revolved around the idea that it would unravel at the seams at any moment. I spent a lot of time missing out on what it's like to have someone in your life be accepted immediately. I missed out on all the support from people I thought were close to me. And I missed out on having all my ducks in a row when it came to sorting out whom I could trust. Going into USC would have been boatloads simpler if I didn't have to contend with defending the single most important relationship in my life at the same time. All that stress and heartache and misery would have disappeared if I just had put Breanne on the back burner for a bit.
But I couldn't do that. I could abandon her as much as I could have abandoned writing. It was that vital to me and she was that important to me, even then. Of any decision I've ever made, the one to push through the aggravation of maintaining my friendship with young Miss Holins was a rather easy one. As they say, it was as easy as deciding to like being happy or pizza or music.
Skipping over all the toils I had to endure while we were dating, the trickiest part to juggling my time for her came when I started seeing Tara and DeAnn. Even when the four-and-a-half years age difference became less of a sticking point (especially considering that, you know, Tara was four years younger than me and DeAnn wasn't exactly the same age as me at three years younger), the whole having a best friend who was of the opposite sex did become an issue. Never mind the fact she was also my ex, the sheer crapload of arguments I found myself embroiled in regarding the nature of my feelings for Breanne at any given moment was truly comparable to running the gauntlet. First, there were the phone calls two or three times a week I had to clear with Tara and DeAnn. Neither Breanne nor I saw the harm in talking to one another... just as we've always done since the beginning. And to complain about the volume of calls or the frequency were only sub-arguments about the main fallacy. I tried to make them understand that I've never had many close friends so that the ones I do have I tend to keep rather in contact with as much as possible. I also tried to make the argument that Breanne had been a guy with whom I chatted with two or three times a week, they probably wouldn't have had a problem with that. I just couldn't comprehend why her gender made such a huge difference or what the taboo was.
For a long time I thought that's why those two relationships burned out as they did, because they were not as enlightened as myself or my friend. I thought as a lot of people think, that if they couldn't deal with the fact we were friends, well, then they weren't relationships I wanted to be in anyway. But now I see what I did was a choice. I chose my friend Breanne over my girlfriend. And while I didn't think it was a big deal, I guess it was big enough to force the issue. Who knows? Maybe my life would have been just as complicated being with DeAnn and Tara without Breanne in my life. Or maybe if I had just brushed her off, I might still be with one of those two. But I did make a choice and that involved giving up possibly two people that I really cared about. Believe me, if there was a way to keep all three in my life I certainly did my best to find it.
The truth is I've always been a person who gets easily distracted if I don't have something to focus on. It's the ferret in me (LOL). And that goes for people as much as it does for writing, as it does for every other subject. I've always needed someone particular to be the end-all, be-all of emotional needs. It isn't enough to have someone I could talk to. It isn't enough to have someone I could ask for assistance. I need someone to be the only one I think of whenever I have a problem, regardless of the make or model of the particular dilemma. If I had to flip through my phone deciding which of my friends or acquaintances were best equipped for each and every situation that arises, I would have been mightily annoyed a long time ago. It's easier to have someone I go to for everything. Yes, it's easier for me to be dependent on someone that much rather than spread the wealth around. And Breanne has always filled that niche admirably, not to mention willingly.
Yes, it's meant that she's had to accommodate playing my little sister, best friend, and ex-girlfriend at various points of my life, which precludes others from ever being able to fill those roles. And, yes, maybe I've missed out on connecting with other people to the same depth I've been able to connect with her. Those vacancies in my life do rank as something I've questioned as to whether or not they've really been necessary. Because I'm so co-dependent on her for so many things, I know it's kept me shuttered in from ever seriously looking for anyone else to fill those voids. Certainly, my approach to how I handle people isn't the norm for most people.
But I liken it to my recent unemployment woes. If you have the best job in the world that takes up all the time you want to devote to actually working, why in hell would you want to look for other jobs? If you're 100% certain that there are no better jobs out there for you and you get everything and more that you put in with the work you do, there's no call for hoping there are better pastures out there for you.
To put it another way, there's nobody I'm going to regret never meeting that'll match the gratitude I possess at having been so lucky as to have met my Breannie.