Friday, May 13, 2011

Saying Goodbye to a Good Friend

Moving day approaches for my good friend Jarek and his girlfriend Linda.  This is their last weekend in Fairbanks, Alaska and by the middle of next week they will be heading down to sunny Southern California with our mutual friend Zak. It will be a huge shift in my life because for the last two years Jarek and I have entertained each other with our adventures in bars, clubs, house parties, and wherever else a beer can be found.  We danced in the same studio sometimes as peers and sometimes in that bizarre teacher/student relationship I share with everyone who is about 10-15 years younger than I am. There was a lot of arguing and attitude that went with that friendship because we are both hard headed, oversensitive people who struggle too hard to understand the world and our place in it.  For the past two years I felt like he understood me more than anyone else.

Yet, the brief obituary to our friendship has triggered a huge reflection. My life had been much different before he came.  At that time in my life, I was in the middle of redefining myself; or maybe I was trying to define myself for the first time.  I've always drifted between the extremes of anger and depression (though Jarek would just tell you I'm always angry), but his brief interruption in my life curbed that anger probably more than he'll ever understand and made it so that I could find a new appreciation for my family and my friends and for myself.  I'm pretty sure the previous level of anger and depression is gone, yet I have not developed a full sense of where I want to take the next stage of my life.  People are always good at suggesting direction--a writer, a gallery artist, a dancer.  Yet, I'm not always sure which way I want to go.  And it is harder to hear when you have so many intense emotions clouding your judgement.

I suppose some people would question the amount to which I will miss Jarek, Linda, and Zak; primarily because I have not made a huge effort to spend a lot of time with them this week. After weeks away from my family (in LA and wrapping up our Spring Show), I have decided to just stay home; or go out and see the friends who got sacrificed while preparing for my trip to Dance Excellence. Maybe I've just accepted that acceptance is the first part of healing, and Jarek was definitely good at making me accept certain truths about myself and the world.  So here I am implementing what I learned.  I would be lying if I said that technology will bridge the thousands of miles between Alaska and California.  He is selective in the texts and phone calls he answers and hates to chat on Facebook.  I love social media, but even my bestest friend in the whole world will tell you, my conversations never translate to any kind of real personal connection.  I am a face-to-face person and the rest is just filler. Maybe someday Jarek and I will end up standing on the same patch of earth and sharing a beer; or maybe our beers will be in bars on polar ends of the universe where we are reading some intergalactic magazine that has articles about our latest achievements.  And I guess for me, that would be good enough.

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