Crowning Glory

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.

~~ Henry IV, Part II, 3.1

I was on the search for something quick and whimsical today, and I think I may have found it:

Australian retailer BlackMilk just launched its Princess & Villains collection inspired by the ladies of Disney. To be clear, this is a line for adults. As in, adult humans are encouraged to wear this clothing on their bodies. (h/t Jezebel)

I’m pretty much in agreement with Jezebel’s Kara Brown about the ugly/tacky quotient on these. Seriously. This is a line of clothing I am not particularly upset doesn’t run into plus sizes. (I know: from a general fat activism perspective, it’s troubling when any high fashion line perpetuates thin-ness as the only body type worth draping in fashionable clothing. But speaking only for my own personal taste in clothing? I’m not real upset to have this particular line barred from me on account of the sizing and sourcing choices.)

But if nothing else, it’s a good excuse for a bit of a link-fest. (That turned into something more substantive than I originally expected. I quite literally cannot stop myself from pontificating, sometimes…)

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First off, some things I learned existed while Googling for this post: Disney wedding dresses. And haute couture adaptations of Disney Princess gowns. (Who knew?)

And then there’s this gallery on DeviantArt that presents Disney Princesses/Heroines garbed in “their” Princes’ outfits. True confession: There’s a number of these folks I don’t recognize at all. I used to keep up with Disney releases, but clearly I stopped doing so longer ago than I thought I had…

Anyhow. This Princess-to-Prince gallery I remember seeing back when it went viral last fall, but this one, which presents more historically accurate gowns for the characters, was new to me today.

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Princess-Culture-590x442“Princess Culture” is a bit of a tricky, problematic thing.

In one corner of the debate are those who point to its influence as another source for the misogynist miasma that helps reinforce the ways girls/women should be primarily focused on their attractiveness and marriageability. For example, Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella At My Daughter:

It’s part of this culture that encourages girls to define themselves through beauty and play-sexiness—and eventually, real sexiness—and I don’t think that’s the yardstick we want our daughters measuring themselves by.

Experts say femininity, identity and sexuality have become a performance for girls. Girls perform sexual confidence but they don’t connect it to erotic desire. It’s not about their own desire, their own self-determination.

As a parent, I didn’t realize how much of my job was going to be protecting my kid’s childhood from being a marketer’s land grab—companies telling her who she should be.

See also: Merida’s attempted Princess makeover.

Disney’s redesign of the character tamed her unruly hair, expanded her breasts, shrank her waist, enlarged her eyes, plastered on makeup, pulled her (now-glittering) dress off her shoulders, and morphed her defiant posture into a come-hither pose. The bow-wielding Merida of Brave — a character who explicitly fought against the princess world her mother tried to push her into in the film — was becoming what she hated, and inadvertently revealing the enormously problematic nature of Disney’s Princess line.

And yet, there are also those who see Disney Princesses in a different light. Possibly as a mild expression of societal — I would say “patriarchal” — values already embedded in the culture. Values more strongly caused and propagated by other sources:

It’s true that princess culture is complicit in keeping in place many of the troubling stressors women and girls suffer. But when you talk to me about impossible beauty standards and eating disorders, I’d point to Photoshop and the “obesity epidemic” before I’d point to stylized animation. When you talk to me about early sexualization of children, consider the retailers selling padded inch-thick push-up bras in the kid’s department before looking at Disney’s chaste kisses between adults. (Unless you think a kid shouldn’t see their parents kissing, in which case… I don’t think we’ll ever be on the same page.)

These are problems, sure, but they’re not problems Disney created, and Disney isn’t the primary villain here. At least not while my seven-year-old is walking by billboards for Victoria’s Secret the size of a school bus.

And then there’s even a more pointed critique of those wishing to critique Princess Culture:

Some say “Princess Culture” promotes materialism, patriarchy, and a sadistic need for long, shiny hair. Many moms worry a Snow White doll will turn their pre-K Amazons into simpering ninnies more concerned with looks than grades and goals. But they’re wrong—and I speak from personal experience. The truth is, Princess Culture helped me become more confident, more adventurous, and more okay with being different. It also helped me understand and embrace the concept of feminism at a very early age. Seriously. (Elle.)

I have enough passing nostalgia for my years loving Disney animation that I can definitely feel the pull to defend what may have been treasured bits of childhood. Still, I’m more on the side of those who remain troubled by Princess Culture. To quote Orenstein’s book (as excerpted here at NPR):

It is tempting, as a parent, to give the new pink-and-pretty a pass. There is already so much to be vigilant about, and the limits of our tolerance, along with our energy, slip a little with each child we have. So if a spa birthday party would make your six-year-old happy (and get her to leave you alone), really, what is the big deal? After all, girls will be girls, right? I agree, they will — and that is exactly why we need to pay more, rather than less, attention to what is happening in their world. According to the American Psychological Association, the girlie-girl culture’s emphasis on beauty and play-sexiness can increase girls’ vulnerability to the pitfalls that most concern parents: depression, eating disorders, distorted body image, risky sexual behavior. In one study of eighth-grade girls, for instance, self-objectification — judging your body by how you think it looks to others — accounted for half the differential in girls’ reports of depression and more than two-thirds of the variance in their self-esteem. Another linked the focus on appearance among girls that age to heightened shame and anxiety about their bodies. Even brief exposure to the typical, idealized images of women that we all see every day has been shown to lower girls’ opinion of themselves, both physically and academically. Nor, as they get older, does the new sexiness lead to greater sexual entitlement. According to Deborah Tolman, a professor at Hunter College who studies teenage girls’ desire, “They respond to questions about how their bodies feel — questions about sexuality or arousal — by describing how they think they look. I have to remind them that looking good is not a feeling.”

As such, I’m very glad to see signs of the Princess Counter-Culture. Like Orenstein’s media and activity suggestions for interested parents — including a Hiyao Miyazaki shout-out!! Or Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor giving career advice on Sesame Street:

Or Goldieblox:

And yet. True confession #2: I have these on my desk at work:

pop-vinyl-queens

Plus a Cruella de Ville stapler.

cruella-stapler

So I’m as complicit in this commercialized mess as anyone….

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Image credits:

Replace the princess: http://saraelyafi.com/2013/05/14/it-is-time-to-replace-the-princess-with-the-woman/

Pop! Vinyl: http://www.toywiz.com/mini2packmalqueen.html?gclid=CjwKEAjwjN2eBRDbyPWl0JLY5lYSJACPo0Ui-tViTSQrsDJ_yiUBBT-KxYkbnS8F4leDh8iEbSD3eRoC8yXw_wcB

Cruella: http://whirlyjoy.com/2012/12/11/why-my-mascot-is-cruella-de-vil/

Validation and Valediction

I chose not to give a valedictory address when I graduated high school.

This was less of a break with tradition than it might initially seem: unlike most high schools, my school didn’t automatically tap the class valedictorian to give a commencement address. Instead, individuals wanting to give a speech at this event were asked to submit an application in hopes of being selected for the honor.

Obviously, there were many years where the speaking line-up demonstrated how the sort of go-getter likely to become class valedictorian was also the same sort of go-getter likely to want to make a graduation speech.

But not every year. And not my graduation year.

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When I tell the story now, I jokingly say that by the time I got to high school graduation, the only message I would have wanted to share with my classmates was something pithy like Fuck off, all of you. And, as I have rehearsed the explanation nowadays, however brassy and outspoken my parents were, I thought that level of candor might have gone beyond their comfort level and thus decided that silence would be the better part of courtesy.

It’s not as if that narrative is too far off the truth.

girls-night-out-quantum-physicsI recall my high school years as miserable ones. My teachers were good, and I’m not going to be so hyper-dramatic as to claim I was entirely friendless or outcast. But the prevailing tone I recall from those years is the unceasing, oppressive  cultural message from my peers that I was too smart for a girl, too ambitious for a girl, and definitely too outspoken for a girl. And despite all my “inappropriate” displays of intelligence throughout my high school career, I think a good number of my peers were shocked to have a girl come out with the #1 class rank, simply on account of my gender.

So yeah, by the time graduation rolled around, I was in no mood to say a fond good-bye to my high school class. Instead, I was ready to close that door and get on to the next stage of my life, in hopes that my intelligence wouldn’t be so scorned and devalued in my college career.*

And yet I know that underneath all the teenage bluster, all the self-protective layers of scorn and judgement I held for my BMW-driving, Reagan-loving classmates, was also a part of me that didn’t want to risk making a speech from a place of fear and exhaustion.  Fear of becoming a target again, of being snickered and whispered at. The exhaustion of feeling as if I was swimming against the tide during so many minutes and hours of my existence. Yeah, I was ready to close the door and move on, but I still can’t tell you how much of that feeling was rooted in a sense of victory and how much in defeat.

———-

My recollections are prompted by a post today on Everyday Feminism titled 5 Ways Girls are Taught to Avoid ‘Smart.’ The author, Kelsey Lueptow, begins by stating “I started censoring myself in the seventh grade.” She then goes on to outline the cultural mores and messages that help encourage her, and me, and however-many bright, ambitious girls besides, into the habits of self-betrayal and self-suppression.

The list hits some of the highlights you might anticipate: the cultural value placed on female attractiveness, the primacy of the marriage plot as a goal for women’s lives, and the social enforcement of passivity — both through the positive reinforcement of “ladylike” behavior, but also through the negative responses to female displays of intelligence (everything from the infamous “bossy” label to more overt verbal/physical aggression).

It all reminds me of this recent PSA by Verizon that got some airplay a couple months ago:

As Amanda Marcotte analyzes in Slate:

This ad gets a couple of things right. The first thing is that the ad focuses on the parents and not the girls themselves. So much of our efforts in trying to encourage girls end up treating them like they’re the ones who are screwing up, either with too much “body talk” or being lame for playing with certain toys. This ad shifts the focus, arguing that girls are born fine and it’s the rest of us who screw them up.

Just as importantly, despite the punch line of lipstick over science, most of the ad is not reductively focused on body issues and beauty. It’s all too easy to fall back on the notion that the focus on looks alone is what’s holding girls back, in no small part because it allows liberals to hand-wring about the “beauty myth” while simultaneously allowing conservatives to scold about the evils of female vanity and sexuality. But this video tackles a much more insidious force holding girls back: the general pressure on them to be, for lack of a better term, more ladylike. It points out how we not only value beauty, but also prioritize neatness, quiet, and safety in girls while encouraging risk-taking and confidence in boys.

I don’t regret skipping out on the notion of giving a valedictory address. We all make the best choices we can at any given moment in life, and I don’t have the kind of time and energy it would take to start second-guessing this decision and all the other human, possibly-flawed things I have done in my 45 years on this earth.

But I do find myself wondering about the level of self-silencing that existed within that choice, and wondering, as well, how these cultural messages against female intelligence cause me still, even today, to silence myself.

* A hope that, fortunately enough, came to pass. Yay for women’s colleges.

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Image credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1357755/Why-DO-smart-girls-dumb-men.html

A Test of Spiritual Maturity

So, my next retreat weekend is in two weeks. Yup: very close in time to my return from The Trip, so I’ll admit I’ve been wrestling a bit with the decision of whether to go or not.

On the practical side of the scale against going is the fact that I just got back from a big ol’ trip and I’m not really loving the idea of getting in another plane and missing more workdays so quickly after the big vacation. It’s also true that I’ve come back to the office in time for a couple intense projects, which makes me even more uncomfortable about skipping work. Especially since one of the projects coming to deadline during this fortnight is one that I’m particularly excited and inspired by.

On the practical side of the scale towards going is the value I hold for this work, and the ways I know to my bones that it has helped move my life and my soul’s mission forward.

So, looking rationally, there’s not a super-strong weightiness towards either choice on the should I stay or should I go? see-saw. Which at some level, isn’t surprising. My life at work and at home here in Massachusetts are sufficiently rich that I bet I could always come up with a list of reasons to blow off a particular retreat weekend.

But I don’t ever skip the weekends. Like I said last time around: the weekends are always hard work, but I have never regretted going. In fact, I have always felt the gratitude and benefits of going.

And so, a week or two before The Trip — well after my usual 5-6 weeks ahead of time discipline in buying plane tickets and making travel arrangements — the fact that I hadn’t been able to bring myself to make time off and travel arrangements had me really curious. Some part of me, some strong identity, was really not wanting to go to this particular weekend. And the resistance was stronger than anything I’ve felt before.

I mean, I’ve had times where I contemplated skipping a weekend — there was one right after we moved into the house here, and I remember taking a good long look at whether it made sense to be on a plane so soon after moving. But the temptation to skip was never this strong this far into the game, so I really began to wonder if maybe the soul-centered decisions this time around was to stay in New England after returning home from Europe.

So I was putting a lot of reflection to the question. Like, a spinning myself into a panic level of reflection. After talking to a couple friends and classmates, I realized that, being as the source of my resistance was in the energetic/instinctual/emotional realm — and quite frankly, being that the primary value I hold in the work is similarly energetic and instinctual (though probably energetic/instinctual/spiritual rather than emotional) — this was not a decision I was going to be able to think myself to. I can make all the pros and cons lists I could possibly wish, but that sort of rational tool isn’t going to help me make what is ultimately a soul-based decision.

So I let go of the question and prayed to Spirit for a sign. A nice, clear, brick to the face kind of sign.

Nothing pertinent showed up during The Trip itself. (Not too surprising: there was so much to see and learn on other fronts, what room was there in the days for a message about this particular question?) So, Friday morning, I used my normal journal-writing time to pull cards on the question.

And the cards were as clear as they could possibly be: it is in my best and highest good to go down for the retreat weekend.

spiritual-disciplinesAnd I have enough spiritual discipline and maturity to follow through when the signs are as clear as this one was. So my plane tickets are purchased, and I worked with my teachers and the Center to create a somewhat-modified schedule that will allow me to balance my responsibilities to work and then take the last flight out of Boston Thursday night.

But I’ll say this much: it’s a hell of a lot easier to follow Spirit’s guidance when the cards are telling you to do what you already want to do. In this case, when the the ego-identities and emotional body are still running strong with resistance and rebellion? It is a veritable challenge to hold centered in that.

At some core, mature soul-centered place, I know I’ve made the right choice. (The sign in the cards was that clear. Really and truly.) Now I just need to hold the ego-identitites and fear-selves with a mixture of compassion and discipline. I know you’re scared. I’ll keep comforting you, and I’ll be here the whole time. But we’re going. Together, we’re going.

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Image credit: http://sportsandspirituality.blogspot.com/2011/11/personal-inventory-sports-spirituality.html

Knock on Wood

In addition to lots of laundry and lots of sleep, one other thing I’ve been doing since getting back home from The Trip is catching up on the video lectures and quizzes for the Coursera course I’m taking about the Beatles.*

In a lot of ways this is a “gimme” course: I’ve watched, listened and read enough about the band and its members to be reasonably well-informed from the get-go. Still, it’s fun to hear this professor’s take on things, and I have learned a new thing or two along the way.

Like the full story embedded in the lyrics to Norwegian Wood.

In the song, a young mad is “had” — i.e., fooled — by a comely lass when he accompanies her to her (pretentiously under-furnished) apartment expecting sexytimes, only to be rebuffed when she says she needs to get a good night’s sleep prior to the next workday.

That much I’d understood. But this next part was the part I’d missed: when he wakes up the next morning alone, the song’s narrator sets the girl’s apartment on fire in revenge for the (so-called) cock-blocking.

To quote Paul McCartney (the co-lyricist), looking back at many years’ distance:

[A] lot of people were decorating their places in wood. Norwegian wood. It was pine really, cheap pine. But it’s not as good a title, Cheap Pine, baby…

So she makes him sleep in the bath and then finally in the last verse I had this idea to set the Norwegian wood on fire as revenge, so we did it very tongue in cheek. She led him on, then said, ‘You’d better sleep in the bath’. In our world the guy had to have some sort of revenge. It could have meant I lit a fire to keep myself warm, and wasn’t the decor of her house wonderful? But it didn’t, it meant I burned the fucking place down as an act of revenge, and then we left it there and went into the instrumental.

He sets her apartment on fucking fire. (Who knew? Okay, bad question: evidently everyone in the world knew but me.)

Norwegian_wood__by_CyberfishTalk about a disproportional response to sexual rejection. In his discussion of this song and the story its lyrics tell, the professor said something mild about how the song could be seen as “sort of misogynistic,” and I found myself spluttering at the computer screen, “you think?!?”

I kind of get why the professor chose not to open up the topic for much further exploration. Although some elements of historical and cultural context are inevitably coming into the discussion, his chosen approach is primarily to be taking a musicological quasi-close-reading approach to the stylistic features of the songs and albums — melody, harmonics, orchestration, lyrical complexity, etc. At some level, I suppose I could be thankful he at least called out the misogyny of the scenario, rather than allowing the song’s portrayal of sexual entitlement to remain normalized.

Still, I am so wishing I had magic access to Paul McCartney right now to ask some follow up questions. When you decided that in the song’s world, this guy deserved his revenge, did you mean to portray that as a reasonable response, or an UNreasonable one? You were about 23 when you wrote the song — do you think you’d want to tell a similar or different sort of story if you were writing about sexual miscommunication and rejection today? What acts of friendliness are permitted between two individuals before one is seen as “leading the other on”?

Alas, my press pass is expired (on account of me never having one), and I still haven’t made an appointment with Mr. Ollivander to collect my magic wand. So my curiosity will have to remain unsatisfied.

By the way? Check here for a handy-dandy chart that’s been making the rounds to let you know when a woman owes her partner sex. And despite the geneder-specificity of the graphic, it really cuts both (all?) ways: no individual (gender-inclusive) ever owes another individual (again, gender-inclusive) sex.

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Image credit: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Isn-t-it-good-Norwegian-wood-165422713

* Yes. I am an epic nerd. I’m okay with that.

J is for Jetlag

Okay, so there have been a few glitches here in JALC-land.

First off was a certain irregularity in the pace of scheduled posts. This has nothing to do with WordPress and was purely operator error: I had time before we left for the airport to tag and schedule the first 4 of the 6 posts I had “in the bank.” I chose an every-other-day pace, because I assumed it’d be easy to find little bits of time during travel and evenings to quickly tag & schedule the remaining 2 posts, and also to take my Game of Thrones idea and lay some quick text down.

Except then I got swept up in vacation mode, and the pace of travel and excursions was so intense, that the blog pretty much completely left my head until I sat down on our last at-sea day (21 July) to lay down that Game of Thrones text and realized — much to my chagrin — that nothing new had ben posted since the 16th. ‘Cos I’d never actually tagged and scheduled songs number 5 and 6, you see. Whoops.

jet-lag-is-comingSecondly, I know I’ve been a touch delayed in getting back to writing since returning home. Chalk this up, as well, to a touch of over-optimism on my part about my available time and energy. We landed early evening Wednesday, and although I was wise enough to know I wouldn’t have any writing in me that night, I did expect to be ready to type something quick come Thursday. Friday, at the latest.

Reality check. I am not as young as I used to be, and it turns out I was sufficiently tired-out and jet-lagged that I was in bed at around 8:30 both Thursday and Friday night. (Yup, partying like a rock star.) So, obviously, no blogging either of those evenings.

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first-world-problems-shampooNow, Im hoping that none of this is coming off as whining. Because a few missed blog posts and a little bit of jet lag are a tiny price to pay for a once-in-a-lifetime European trip.

So please understand: I am not complaining about any of this. (Were I to do so, it would really be the obnoxious epitome of first world problems. To the extreme.) I am filled with gratitude for where I have travelled, what I saw, what I was able to learn. What I am sure I will continue to learn as I reflect on these weeks, and as the unwinding of my life’s journey brings new layers of meaning and insight to these events and sights.

Instead, I’m simply reporting out on the various bits of foolishness that have led to JALC being in a bit more of a gone fishin’ mode than I’d expected or hoped might occur.

Now that I am (mostly) caught up on my rest and feeling (mostly) human again, I expect to be catching up on the news, which will likely inspire the occasional feminist screed. And yes, there will be some reflections on the trip and what I learned, and my usual hodgepodge of ongoing learning, reading and introspection.

TL;DR: I’m back at the keyboard.

It’s good to be home.

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Image credit:

Jet Lag: http://www.fitacrosscultures.com/jet-lag/

First world problems: http://moneyramblings.com/first-world-problems/

 

25 Songs, Day 7: Of Battles and Beautiful Banality

(Part seven of my exploration of the 25 songs in 25 slightly-more days blogging challenge — a way to bank and pre-schedule a few posts for JALC while I’m off a-travelling.)

25-songs-25-days

Day Song 7: A song that reminds you of the past summer

Since we are are still in the midst of summer 2014, I began thinking about this prompt by casting my mind back to the summer of 2013, even looking up a couple of those “songs of the summer” lists. And there were a few titles that jumped out at me. Imagine Dragon’s Radioactive playing into the closing credits for season 6 of True Blood, as a group of Hep-V vamps closed in on Merlotte’s to attack it. The mini-kerfuffle around Daft Punk backing out of their appearance on the Colbert Report, and the brilliant dance video Colbert and friends concocted in response to the “crisis”:

But when I really thought back on my summer, it became very clear to me that my song choice needed to go in a different direction:

Obviously, I’ve mentioned here and there about our move from Philly to Boston, but I don’t think I’ve talked in detail about how things unfolded. I came up first, in March, signing a short-term lease on an apartment so I could start the new job that was precipitating our whole New England adventure. Meanwhile, Mr. Mezzo stayed behind to put our house on the market and start his own job search.

And we have much to be grateful for around this, because things went about as smoothly as you could possibly hope for. The Philly house sold within a couple months, Mr. Mezzo had a job offer in the same couple weeks we were executing the house sale paperwork, and he and all our worldly goods were up in Massachusetts come late-July.

All told, we were only apart for about 4, 4-and-a-half months: a much shorter time than it could have been, and a much shorter time than we’d feared it might be.

Still. I don’t recommend it, and it was NOT fun. So we tried to be very intentional about doing things to stay connected to one another, even while living apart. And one of those things was our weekly Game of Thrones date night.

Even though most of our TV-watching is done via the commercial-forwarding magic of the DVR, we made the commitment to watch each new episode during its first telecast. (A commitment easier to keep by HBO’s lack of commercials and the knowledge that real-time viewing was going to be the only way to stay ahead of the water cooler recaps in our separate offices come Monday morning.) Then, as soon as the final credits and “exciting scenes from next week” had concluded, one of us would call the other and we’d talk and compare notes. What scenes we’d enjoyed, what we thought would happen next, what plot twists had surprised and shocked us. (I’m sure you can imagine our conversation after the Red Wedding episode…)

It was a completely everyday, frivolous, fun sort of conversation. And that’s what made it so wonderful. Amidst all the other things we were needing to talk about — contract this, inspection that, employment status here and there — having this weekly ritual helped us stay connected with the sort of everyday, seemingly-banal sort of contacts that are such an essential part of weaving the tapestry of a shared life together.

So, thank you, George R.R. Martin. You may be a murderous bastard who kills off everyone I most love in Westeros, but you gave Mr. Mezzo and me the gift of connection during a tough time. Honor and gratitude.

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Image credit:

25 Songs, Day 6: You’re My Best Friend

(Part six of my exploration of the 25 songs in 25 slightly-more days blogging challenge — a way to bank and pre-schedule a few posts for JALC while I’m off a-travelling.)

25-songs-25-days

Day Song 6: A song that reminds you of a best friend

True confession: as soon as I read this prompt, Queen’s You’re My Best Friend lodged itself in my memory and it won’t let go. (Talk about an earworm…)

There’s multiple layers to my association, here. First is the literal content of the song, of course.

You’re the best friend
that I ever had
I’ve been with you such a long time
You’re my sunshine
And I want you to know
That my feelings are true
I really love you
You’re my best friend

(AZLyrics)

The song is all about “best friends,” of course. Which is probably why the song was featured in the Kenneth Branagh-directed film, Peter’s Friends, back in the early 90’s. I can’t find the exact clip on YouTube, but here’s the film’s trailer, which also features Queen’s song prominently.

The film is centered on a New Year’s Eve gathering of a group of besties in college, gathering ten years later. Various cracks in connection emerge, showing ways folks have changed and drifted apart, at least to some degree.  Yet there are stunning moments of connection, both in a nostalgic way…

…and also at the film’s conclusion — which I am not linking here on the odd chance that someone who hasn’t yet seen the film would want to do so. As such, I won’t reveal any spoilers about how things unfold, but I don’t think anyone will be especially surprised to hear that by the end of the film, the old friendships have been re-established — yes, evolved and transmuted from years of growth and change, but the connections remain sound.

best-friends-iAnd that’s the kind of thing that’s a total mystery to me. I feel as if I never quite got the hang of sustaining long-term friendships. What with my innate shyness and the frequency we moved during my childhood, it seemed as if I’d make a group of friends, and then lose touch with everyone when the family and I were yet again displaced.*

Facebook has helped me re-establish some soft connections with folks from my middle school, high school, and college days. And I truly, truly appreciate having that small chance to have a window into people’s lives, and to be able to make small pieces of contact — a “like” here, a brief comment conversation there. But I’ve not yet felt a deep enough level of comfort to really re-connect. Would I invite someone our for coffee, or even send a real personal letter or email? No, that would feel too invasive. Not really sure if that’s an accurate read on the situation, or if it’s my old habits of self-isolating coming into high gear.

So, despite my jaunty image, above, I kinda sorta feel as if I might suck as a friend. Which is probably why it’s easier for me to respond to this prompt with a memory of someone else’s fictional best friends than any songs connected to my own friendships.

* Have I talked about this before? I think I’ve talked about this before. Too strapped for time to go check.

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Image credit: http://didthatjusthappenblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/i-have-the-best-friends/