When I was younger, I fit in anywhere. I could instantly find friends anywhere. I had no pre-conceived notions about who would/wouldn't make a good friend. Boys were not "Icky." Girls were not pretentious. I could slap a coffee filter on a G.I. Joe figure to have him parachute from the third story window immediately after cuddling my Cabbage Patch doll.
I knew what I believed, but was happy to hear everyone else's views. Many Sunday mornings, after sleeping over at my best friend's, you could find me with her in her Lutheran Sunday school class. I went to Catholic school. At lunch, among friends, I debated the value of Yom Kippur vs. Catholic confession (9-year-old me was quite certain one day of fasting and coming to terms with G-d myself was much preferable to cowering in a confessional being judged by a priest and 30-something-year-old me still feels exactly the same way).
So many people fear public speaking. Not me. I love it. I'm comfortable in front of crowds. I wanted to be an actress. I'm a born leader and I enjoy (almost) every minute of it. The best compliment I ever received from my mother was when she asked, "Why did you never become a rabbi? You know all this stuff. You've always been a leader. You would have been good at it."
Now, though, I find it increasingly difficult to fit in. Among most of my friends, being Jewish makes us the odd ones out. With one group of fellow Yids, we're too observant. With others, we're not nearly observant enough. With some people, we're the wrong religion entirely and therefore not even a candidate for friend. I have to bite my tongue around some friends so as to not make political comments that I know will tick them off. Many of my friends are far older. A number of those have grown children, so when I'm exasperated by the toddler tantrums, my friends look at me like I have three heads and go back to helping their daughters' plan their weddings. Others are young and single and are equally baffled when the toddler tantrums or the kindergartner insists on wearing his Batman mask, bathing suit and not much else. They're too busy planning their road trip with friends (from which they will post ten THOUSAND pictures to Facebook) to hear my explanation.
So it's nice that we have finally managed to find a little space in the world where we've collected people with whom we feel comfortable. I can randomly bust into song and not only will no one stare, but some friends will actually JOIN IN and sing along. One or two might even grab their guitar or play along on the piano. And that, right there, makes all the slings and arrows in life so much more bearable.
"You meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet. But sometimes you meet those people you can`t forget. Those are your friends." --Dana Scully "the X-files"