I mentioned in my last post that I've been obsessively watching (and at times fast forwarding through) the Canadian television show Being Erica. The concept of the show is (in a nutshell) about a girl who has moments she'd like to go back in time and fix.
The show has me really thinking. What if I could go back in time and make some changes? What are my major regrets? What would I redo? Would it make a difference? Would it be better? Would I make it worse?
Because I've been working on planning my crazy high school reunion (ugh, 20 years!!!) My thoughts have been straying a lot to those days at Perris High. The Amber in those days was not exactly the girl you see before you now. I was so obsessed with people-pleasing, so into being accepted, so into trying to assert my individuality without sticking out too much, that I often fell flat on my face.
If you have been hanging around a LOOOONG time, you found out in the Paths series that I was pretty insecure in those days. I felt ugly and unpopular, and my attempts to fit in backfired more times than not.
When I moved to the area I live now, back in 1987- the year of huge changes- I ended up starting high school right at the beginning of the year... my first year of high school but the rest of the 10th graders had already a year under their belts. I was in the AP program, so these kids had been together for a loooong time. In fact, because our reunion is coming up, and because of the magic of Facebook, I'm being able to see group pictures of the lot of them way back in elementary school. This group was tight.
And me? I wanted to get in fast. I knew if I could break in, I would have my future with the 'in' crowd' sealed. I did what I could for fashion on a tight budget. I crimped my hair and slouched my socks and wore my teal mascara and desperately tried to make friends. The group didn't know what to make of me at first. One day, they tried some good-natured ribbing. I put my head down and pretended to cry. They felt awful, began to apologize...
And then I did the thing that would wind up to be social suicide...
I lifted my head and giggled... "I'm just kidding. I'm an actress. Had you going, didn't I?"
The group did not find this endearing. There was stone, cold silence..."You're a b*#$@." someone finally said. And that was it. My nickname from the group for the next three years.
When I was thinking of moments I'd love to redo, this is the moment I thought of first. I would go back, I thought, and never do that dorky dramatic tease. I would laugh it off, or ignore it, or come up with something witty to shoot back.
But upon further examination, I realize that, though I guess I would still like to press 'ctrl z' on that moment, the experience was the beginning of something really cool. First, I learned the important lesson that people don't like to be manipulated. That would prove to be very valuable in the years to follow. Next, I was forced to look beyond friendships from which I thought I could gain popularity and status and instead accept the gifts of friendship that God sent me, without worrying about status.
In fact, every single dear friend I made in the weeks that followed, I have and cherish to this day. If I would have become part of that group, I may never have recognized the value of deep, meaningful relationships that go beyond the surface and into love and acceptance and forgiveness.
I have come to understand that going back and fixing the past might make for better memories in the moment, but long term, I am so grateful for that day in 1987, sitting in English class at a new school, in which I sealed my social death. In fact, I wouldn't trade those lessons or friends for all the chocolate in See's.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, have been called according to his purpose. who