Twelve years ago, when writing my college application essay, I theorized that if Judy Blume were to write a tween novel about my life it would be called “The Cheese Stands Alone”. Yes, it was a slightly pointed title that should have caught the attention of a certain “dairy-centric” school in the Midwest, but in the years leading up to my college career it was true. Persevering through whatever life was throwing out at me, I was the modern major general in a one man army in the fight for Rebecca.
Not saying I didn’t have friends and I was a loner, but I subscribed to the idea of pulling myself up by my own bootstraps. I believed if there is a fight to fight -I am the best person to be on the front lines. When I would be made fun of me in high school, I didn’t pretend I was sick the next day…I went right back to school. When I was “bullied” by bunkmates at camp, I didn’t ask to switch bunks…I just kept going back summer after summer. When I was knocked down in life’s proverbial ditch, I just dusted myself off and scaled my way back out.This theory was actually proven true through my post-college acceptance life also. Even though I had MORE friends and a larger support system, I still didn’t want to rely on anyone else. My problems were my problems and the only person who could have the correct solution was obviously going to be me.
2011 though, has thrown this theory for a loop–last year’s ditches were more like meteor-sized craters. Firstly, as you all know from my first blog entry, that I lost my job in July. Super scary and unexpected and something that I didn’t learn how to handle at Rebecca’s Army Boot Camp. Knowing deep down inside there was going to be some way to get myself out of this hole, I called my friends to let them know what had happened. As I spoke to them, they insisted that I shouldn’t spend the night alone and the best weapons for this new battle I was about to fight were them and a dirty martini (extra dirty, 3 olives). Usually the lone ranger, I was not used to planning my war games with others-but I have to admit that the fight has been easier to fight because my friends didn’t let me fall so far into the ditch.
The second one, I am sorry readers, but it is one I have kept a secret from you. My boyfriend (of 2.5 years) and I broke up. In respecting him and our relationship, I didn’t want to take to the blog and publicize immediately what had happened. I also think it was just too hard for me to see in print. But there it is. Not going into too many (if any) details, but I had been unhappy. I didn’t tell anyone and it was building up inside of me. And at lunch one gloomy November Thursday with my mom and sister, with one simple question from my mom, it all came spilling out like verbal “rhea” if-you-will. But once it was out in the air, it was as if I had already felt better. Once it was over and done, I had again called my friends to just fill them in on what was happening. When I was able to finally reach my first friend (it was like 3:30pm so everyone was clearly at work) the conversation went something like this: Me: Are you around this weekend? Friend: I think so, why? Me: Well, X and I just broke up, so I think I’m going to need someone to hang out with. Friend: This weekend?!!?!! Are you home?? I’m going to get on a train and can be at your apartment in about an hour. An HOUR! And that wasn’t even the end of it. That day, nay, the next 72 hours were a constant revolving door of friends coming over, inviting me to their apartments, calling me, going for dinners/brunches/movies/manicures. I even had a friend who was texting me late into that first night because, surprisingly, the hardest part about breaking up was not having anyone to say goodnight to. I didn’t even have time to fall into the ditch this time because everyone was already in place to catch me!
It has been 12 years since I first stated my “cheese stands alone” theory and I am actually THRILLED to realize that I was wrong (for the first time in my life ;-))!! I certainly, undoubtedly, without question am not better at battling any of life’s quagmires by myself. It doesn’t mean I’m not as strong and brave as I once thought I was–I think it is BRAVER to reach out and find support. I’m now even more prepared for what 2012 is going to throw my way. And let’s be honest, a hunk of cheese on a plate all alone is kinda lame…it’s better together with friends on a platter!!