Sunday, June 28, 2015
The Search for the Real Lizzie McGuire
I don't watch Lizzie near as much as I used to, though it does make for some nice nostalgia material now and then. Still, just like with other previous favorite entertainment entities of mine, its impact is still felt to this day...but, in this case, more than any of the rest of them. You probably already know how Hilary Duff and her show changed my life forever, and woke me up to a whole world of entertainment I'd be missing out on otherwise; I doubt I would have ever discovered my later celebrity crushes or pretty much any show I've enjoyed in the past decade or so if it hadn't been for Lizzie. What you may not know is how it has also impacted my views on friendship, though whether that's for good or for ill is up for debate.
When I think of these shows, I have to ask myself: Where is my Lizzie, or my Miranda, or my Ally? (Yes, the last one was intended as a pun.) I'm not saying that I'm searching for some lovely young single blonde, brunette, or Latina to marry me; if you think that's my focus, you're sorely mistaken. In fact, the person who could fill that role could be already married, older than I am, or maybe even (gasp!) a guy; what I'm saying is, I'm looking for a best friend. In the past, I used to have some good friends who took me to the movies and such...but they're all gone now. Two of them won't talk to me anymore thanks to my own dumb actions, while others have passed away or moved away, if not both. While it's great to keep in contact with old friends via Facebook or even old-school style--i.e., on the phone--you can't deny that distance and time puts a strain on any relationship, even if it's completely platonic. Still, I get along with pretty much everyone at my church...but, other than one older couple and my family members, I hardly ever see them outside church events. I'm not sure I'd call most of them close friends, and I'm sure they'd say the same about me.
Friendship is a concept that has always proved rather enigmatic to me. I've had bad experiences with people who laid me out--sometimes in public--over nothing, or generally acted in a rather ugly fashion, yet others said of those folks, "They are your biggest advocates!", "They're the best friends you've ever had!", "She is your biggest fan!", or "He likes you and you don't even know it!" If I'm going to have friends, I expect them to treat me with respect, not constantly make me feel like I'm back in seventh grade, dealing with middle school bullies again. Seriously, when someone comes over to your table only to blast you over something completely innocent you said on Facebook...how is that not persecution? Where is the Christian love in that? I would say that a true friend wouldn't do such a thing...but others would say I'd be wrong about that.
Unfortunately, that just seems hard to come by; even people who I should have been able to trust did me seriously wrong. I found many teachers in school hard to respect because they acted like jerks; even my kindergarten teacher was rather cold and aloof. I had two different principals at my high school, and hardly anyone respected either of them; the first one got booed at a pep rally, while the second was complained about by many teachers, all because of their overreactions to certain situations. My family and I ended up leaving our home church of nearly three decades because of corruption within the leadership; they were doing whatever they wanted without regards to how the congregation felt, and many longtime members departed as a result. My parents often try their best, but, due to their age and everything they've had on their plate over the years--even just this year alone--they often don't have the time or energy to deal with situations as they'd like. I'd say I need a true best friend...but, I wouldn't know where to find one.
I will conclude by saying this: While I believe that anyone who wants to be my friend can be (Luke 9:50), in my experience, women seem to "get" me better than guys do. It's not that every female human I've known has had the utmost respect for me--I currently know a few who pay me absolutely no mind, though, in more than one case, I have no idea why--but, in most cases, the women seem to understand me while the guys just sit there flummoxed. I recall an incident at a high school youth retreat where we were discussing media discernment, and I proudly proclaimed that the only "R" film I'd ever seen was Vision Quest; when one of the girls heard that, she was shocked and quickly replied, "That was bad! You shouldn't have watched that!"...but, one of the guys thought it was no big deal. I have to say, I agree with the member of the fairer sex; in fact, I only saw that dumb flick because another guy in the group lied to me about its content. You might say that was just immaturity, but I've had the exact same problem since then countless times. That's why I'm more inclined to think that I would need a female best friend like Lizzie McGuire, Mindy McConnell, or Ally Dawson; then again, maybe I'm totally wrong.