chapter four

Here’s a bet for you all.

I honestly bet that I have more Disney and animated VHS tapes than all of you.

Seriously, and I’m not just trying to toot my own horn here. My nana (my mom’s mom) probably got me every single kid’s animated movie that ever came out since 1992 or really before.

(She even got me Jurassic Park because she knew how much I loved Land Before Time and dinosaurs…obviously by the time the t-rex ate the man from the bathroom and I was bawling we realized that it wasNOT kid-friendly).

It’s so fascinating how impressionable we are as humans, especially as kids. What we take from our surroundings, how it forms us.

Even our Saturday cartoons play a part in forming our characteristics, whether that be our humor, our dreams, our perspectives.

I was definitely a Disney girl growing up. Perhaps that’s why I’m so idealistic, it almost confused my perceptions on romance and what should or shouldn’t be. I was too dreamy, I expected that everything would fall in to place as it should when in reality, it’s much harder than that. You have to work so incredibly hard for what you want, you have to make sacrifices and difficult decisions constantly. And you have to step up to the plate and take control of your life when faced with those situations.

Some of these learned perceptions are obvious lessons of these movies, some are ingrained into our minds subconsciously, but if we’re too young, we may not understand a cryptic and deeper meaning.

I see kid’s shows nowadays and laugh at how cheesy they are when they come to the “moral of the story.”

Were all the cartoons so obvious and silly like that for me when I was growing up? Was I so young that I found it hysterical anyway?

I mean…probably.

But I was participating in my favorite pastime of Facebook home page creeping (haha), and I saw something about Winnie the Pooh, a children’s show I used to love, that a friend posted on her wall. It resonated so deeply with me that I just had to share. 

:)

Director/actor George Takei posted the following quote on his Facebook page.

“One awesome thing about Eeyore is that even though he is basically clinically depressed, he still gets invited to participate in adventures and shenanigans with all of his friends. And they never expect him to pretend to feel happy, they just love him anyway, and they never leave him behind or ask him to change.

He still gets invited.

His friends love him…never leave him behind or ask him to change.

They just continue to be his true, kind, and supportive friends.

Wow.

What a powerful statement about what it means to be a good friend. I wondered how I had never happened upon it before.

I was so moved after I read it that I went on a Winnie the Pooh binge on Youtube. It made me nostalgic for my Nana and my childhood, back where relationships weren’t so complex and convoluted.

As I watched Eeyore and his mannerisms I was suddenly so sad. How had I not seen before how self-deprecating he was? His outlook on life was a distorted negative bubble, and while some of his moody statements had a touch of humor to them, he reiterated over and over again how incomplete and unworthy he was.

He would try to be someone he was not just to feel better about himself, but we all know that doesn’t actually fulfill happiness (it’s okay, you’ll learn 

:)

 ).

He was a wallflower who was sometimes too afraid to join in on the fun because he didn’t want to ruin anyone else’s time.

I watched so many clips about him and every word from his mouth rang with the sadness and emptiness that I know many people experience. It touched my heart so dearly that I couldn’t believe I had ever overlooked it.

But maybe I hadn’t realized because I had the naivety of a child years ago. Eeyore was everyone’s friend, no matter how sad he was! Why would his friends not hang out with him and love him wholeheartedly?

May seem easy to answer but…

So why in real-life, do some friends not do the same?

Especially for people going through a hard time that may be a little irrational and sad, but just need the presence of someone who loves and cares about them?

Friend. That word.

You think it’s so easy to define, but down the road you find out real friends are harder to come by than you’d expect.

I know when I was getting to know my boyfriend Jeremy the thing that struck me most about him was his friendship with two of his best friends in Kentucky. The three of them would do anything for each other, they’d drop anything even if it inconvenienced them to help one another. They’d pick me up an hour away at the airport when they didn’t really know me just because I was important to Jeremy. They’d drive him anywhere when he needed. Favors weren’t a burden to them like I felt they were to some I called my friends. They would happily do anything because well of course…they were friends.

Real, best friends.

Friendship can be such a beautiful, inspiring thing. My most fulfilling, and best friendships have been with the people that I completely give my heart to and they give theirs to me. It doesn’t work when you give and give and the other person doesn’t reciprocate.

I can count those friends on one hand, the ones who even right this second would drop anything and everything to take care of whatever I needed. That I could trust with anything.

Less than five people.

And you know what? I love that. I wouldn’t trade them for anyone in the world. You weigh out having a few true friendships over trying to have five hundred.

Many people will still come in my life and many will leave. I am not belittling any friendships I have ever had with anyone. So many have made me the happiest girl in the world at a time. Some have flourished because of that; some have changed and moved on without me.

All of this is a part of life. And I know this now:

1. Be a good friend to those who need you. In their darkest time. In their lightest time! It shouldn’t matter what state they are in, it shouldn’t matter if they’re an Eeyore or a Tigger. It should matter because they are your friend.

If you don’t know how to handle them…don’t. Just be there. That means more than anything.

2. I used to cling on to friendships. I never wanted them to peter out. But people change. And that is totally okay, so let go! It’s important to accept it and move on, because you’ll only hurt yourself by hoping someone that doesn’t care as much as you do will suddenly care.

3. Stop making excuses for bad friends. Period.

Instead, find those people that lift you up, that believe in you. The ones that don’t immediately judge you, the ones that listen with an open mind and heart to figure out what’s best for you.

To all the people I have once called a friend, thank you.

Thank you for the laughs. Thank you for the tears. Thank you for helping me along in my life journey for better or for worse.

I have learned so much from all of you.

And I have so much more to learn.

Love,

Kirstin

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