Sock it to Me, Sock it to Me, Sock it to Me
As Aretha sings, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, take care, TCB”. In this blog you’ll do just that—find out what it means to me. I’ve always thought that most people think similarly when it comes to respect, but as proven by hurt feelings, severed friendships, and damaged egos, I have proof that we don’t all think alike. She also sings, “I got to have…just a little bit”. I think we all do, don't we? I’ve had many experiences regarding respect with my girlfriends and me—so many that I wasn’t sure which one to write about.
How Respect has Evolved for Me
As a young kid, respect had to do with things like stealing pencils, being left out of the lunch group, and not getting invited to birthday sleepover parties. It seems so trivial now, but as a kid, those were the things that mattered. I believe they shaped our thoughts on how we wanted to be respected.
Which one were you? The one who stole pencils or was stolen from? Did you leave out a girlfriend in friend groups or were you the one left out? Did you fail to invite certain girls to your birthday sleepover or were you the one left all by yourself while you knew everyone else was having a good time? I bet we’ve all experienced both sides. I never thought I was that girl, but my guess is that I probably did some disrespectful things in my younger years. I (hopefully) have learned from those mistakes, and currently don’t repeat them.
Then there’s high school, which brought on so many more elements of respect. I had always been very independent, but it was in high school that I really began to take charge of who I was and who I wanted to be. This meant that I demanded certain things that I didn’t demand before. My independence grew the more I was left alone.
My mom left me with various people while she worked in the evenings as a waitress (now referred to as a food server). She worked late nights and I was too young (and too scared) to stay alone. Instead I often went to my Uncle Kenny, Aunt Judy, and my two cousins’ home until about age 14. This arrangement gave my mom the opportunity to do what she wanted after work (a story for another time), but it also provided me with a sense of security and established a nice foundation of trust. Two principles that were absent in my home life.
At the time of his rapes, murders, and burglaries, I was ages 9-14. I know that now, but at the time, no one had any idea when he moved on to a different city. So my girlfriends and I lived in fear throughout middle and high school years.Mom and I almost always lived in apartments, and at the time of his reign, we were living in a small, low-income housing apartment complex behind a grocery store chain. To get to that store and any other business in the strip mall, I had to walk through a very large, empty parking lot. (I can’t believe my mom let me do that!) On many nights, a police helicopter would circle low with their spotlight shining in every crevice of that parking lot. It was one of the scariest things to experience for a young girl.
Once I got a bit older I stopped staying with my uncle and aunt, and instead, began staying at my girlfriends’ homes, mostly Sydney's or Charlie’s. Their parents were welcoming and loved me as their own, and I loved them right back. I always felt safe in these homes, just like I did at Uncle Kenny and Aunt Judy’s.
I was the closest with Charlie’s mom. Today, most would say she wanted to be young like us and tried too hard to be our friend. Maybe that was the case, but in retrospect, she was just a loving mom who adores her children (you should see how she expresses her feelings toward them now on Facebook, haha).
Charlie and I were very close. I thought we did everything together during the school year, but that was just until summertime when we really did everything together! As soon as I woke up each morning, I would either hop on my bike or walk to her house. Her mom would either take us to the lake, the river, or Sydney’s pool and drop us off for the day. That lasted until one of us turned 16 and we began to drive.
Charlie and I and many of our friends spent our days laying on the beaches of Folsom Lake.
It was a beautiful lake back then. It spans over 11,000 acres and was surrounded by northern California's beautiful hills, trees, and wildlife. The problem now is the lack of water California gets. It’s so dry there which makes those rolling hills brown and the water level low. But back then it was the place to be.
Yeah, yeah. I’ll Get to the Point
You’re probably wondering what any of this blog has to do with respect? Here it is.
Once my entire group of friends started drinking in high school, Charlie was the one who, most of the time, was the drunkest. You know how some people can drink a lot and not seem to be affected, and then there are the ones who might fall down after one drink? For Charlie, the problem was the guys and those who wanted to take advantage of her.
How many levels of respect can we count here? Let’s see... The guys’ respect for Charlie. Charlie’s respect for herself. My respect for Charlie and her mom, whom I adored. But Charlie's respect for me is where I am going.
I was (and still am, actually) one of those drinkers who wasn’t easily affected, so that made me Charlie’s “caretaker” when she couldn’t stand up. For example, I would take out her contacts before she passed out. I would call her mom, act like I was Charlie, and say I was spending the night at a friend’s house. (I thought we sounded identical and her mom couldn’t tell the difference. But wait! Did she know the difference and never said anything?! Hmmm...)
I respected Charlie and our friendship. Did she have that same respect? I didn’t really know. So after a couple of years of caretaking, I told her I didn’t want to be her friend any longer. I didn’t want the reputation that she acquired. I didn’t want the burden of making phone calls to her mom. I wanted to be relieved of my “guard duty” and enjoy my time at parties.
Can you relate to this? Do you have that one friend where you are the caretaker, or are you the one who needs a caretaker?
The Lesson. There’s Always a Lesson.
I’ve learned over the years that I have respected and disrespected my friends. I’ve also been respected and disrespected. It continues to be a learning experience and a balance of what’s right and wrong and understanding what is comfortable and uncomfortable. Respect looks different to everyone, but if you're not communicating what it looks like to you, you may never receive it the way you want to.
I communicated my feelings to Charlie about how she was disrespecting me and herself, and we went our separate ways. But guess what? Months later, we reconnected. We once again were best friends, and have remained so ever since. She was my maid of honor when I married Pete, and is one of the reasons why I’ve started My Girlfriendships®.
Thank you Charlie for the good times...and the bad. We’ve been through so much in our lives...I’m grateful to be on this journey with you!
And to my other girlfriends, I love that you were with me today. See you next week!
Loopie A.K.A Lisa