Monday, March 8, 2010

Barbie and the Misfits

A few weeks ago I had a dinner with two of my grade school friends, one of which I hadn't been in contact with in over 15 years. The reunion was made possible because of the modern marvels of Facebook, the online social networking site. Bonnie had moved to Florida many years back, but she always held a special place in her heart for me and Kimi, the other grade school friend. Bonnie was back in the Bay Area on vacation.

As we reminisced, I realized what a different person I had become. I could barely remember a lot of the things that they brought up; things that they held near and dear. They were both so vocal about how much they loved "us" and how we were the only "real" friends both Kimi and Bonnie had. I smiled, wanting to reciprocate the affection and proclamation, but never really thought about it before.

I had many friends of all types throughout high school and grade school, and if I had to classify my clique with Kimi and Bonnie, I would call us the "misfits".

My "friend" adventures all started even before kindergarten, meeting my childhood best friend, Michelle, who happened to be my neighbor. Once kindergarten started, it was apparent that she was going to be the beautiful, and popular white girl, while I would be the far from popular skinny nerd. She made popular friends that somewhat accepted me, so I tried to make it work, but it just never felt right with the excess company around us. And let's not even talk about how mean the boys were.

A couple of her friends accepted me more than the others, but reflecting on the relationship, I now see that it was more of a tyrannical relationship. As long as I put up with their "sh!t", we had a good relationship. Or maybe it was my own fault, for never sticking up for myself. Nonetheless, there were some good times, though few and far between. I was never really myself 100% around Michelle & Co.

Meanwhile, apart from Michelle's popular clique, I met Kimi, the Barbie doll of junior high. She was exactly what you would imagine Barbie would be like if she were morphed into an actual human: blond, buxom, svelt, chipper, friendly. All the things I would never become. Her congeniality and harmlessness attracted me. That, coupled with the fact that we had a significant number of classes together made our friendship inevitable.

Right off the bat it was obvious that like Barbie, Kimi was living in her own oblivious world of innocence. She spoke her mind with no reservations, and I found some of the clueless things that would come out of her mouth to be hilarious. Being friends with her provided me free entertainment, exactly like watching an over-animated sitcom on the Disney channel. Unfortunately, I could tell by the look on others' faces, that they found Kimi's spunky personality more annoying than anything. This didn't bother me though; Kimi was my friend.

Kimi and I had two friends, at different times, that infiltrated our friendship of two. Bonnie was the first. A buxom, yet nerdy japanese girl with punk rock tendencies and a mouth like a sailor. You'd probably wonder how Kimi and Bonnie got along so well. Here's the likely answer: they had one thing in common, no reservations, they just spoke what was on their mind good or bad. Bonnie was into reading science fiction, and reminded me of this as we talked over our reunion dinner. She inspired me to pull out the science fiction series books that I bought because of her, and that I loved so much.

While looking for my dusty books, I came across one of my journals. I've always loved documenting my life, no matter how boring it was. For some reason, I stopped writing around the time that I met my future husband. I read an excerpt of my old journal. As I finished the entry, all I could think of was "damn, I was a good writer!" I had a point to my entries, and tied all the topics together so nicely for a finishing touch. I had to get that back! Maybe taking up reading again would help me in this cause?

I was a member of a few more friendship "cliques" after Kimi and Bonnie, including a clique of latinas, where I felt that I finally belonged at the time. The truth is that cultural similarities can only get you so far. There was still something missing though I still consider most of them "good" friends.

I've become aware that this reunion dinner of the "misfits" wasn't just to re-acquaint myself with Kimi and Bonnie. It was also for me to remember who I was back then; and I liked her. So it was that I decided, yes, Bonnie and Kimi were the most "real" friends that I had because they brought out the best of who I really was. We were the perfect misfitted clique: the buxom Barbie, Japanese punk rocker with a sailor's mouth, and me the introverted, happy-go-lucky Peruvian. Somehow in this crazy world, the combination fit, and these three misfits just fit together perfectly.