It's Day 30 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge, started by Two Writing Teachers. I am writing around the theme topic of "What I Know For Sure." (See Day 1 for a full explanation.)
Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.
You know that ugly cry kind of movie? The kind that just rips your heart out? Well, Steel Magnolias is one of those. Libby once told me she doesn't cry at movies, and I challenged her to watch that one without crying. I won. Before the tragedy part of the whole movie, though, there are some priceless and hilarious moments. Moments that inspired my friend, Lisa, to analyze the characters and try to peg each one of them as one of us. By "one of us" I mean the five of us. The five that have been best friends for a LONG time. If you've read my blog for awhile, you know the ones I mean. I write about them often. You know that I've known Karan and Lisa since grade school, and Jill and Annie since college. You know that we've celebrated Friends' Thanksgiving for 26 years and that we go away together every summer on a girls' trip. This friendship we have is the real deal. We've been through graduations, weddings, births, birthdays, illnesses, the death of one of our dear friends, divorces, our children going off to college, laughter, and tears. I can't imagine life without them.
Lisa and I had fun coming up with who represents each of us in the movie. No one is actually completely spot on, of course, but it was still entertaining to try to figure it out.
The easiest: Karan is Truvee, Dolly's character, because she is moved to tears often and sometimes without obvious reason. Truvee says "laughter through tears is my favorite emotion" and "I have a strict policy that nobody cries alone in my presence." Truvee, aka Karan, is kindhearted, positive, funny, and sweet, just like our Ka. Karan had breast cancer several years back, and showed us all how to deal with adversity with incredible faith and even fun - she hosted her own Ta-Ta to the Ta-Tas party when she decided to get a double mastectomy! Truvee and Karan are both artists (Karan is an incredibly talented potter and teacher of ceramics), colorful, and have lots of beautiful hair! They are endearing and true blue friends.
Lisa: Keep in mind, Lisa pegged herself as Ouiser, Shirley McClain's character. ;-) Ouiser's famous line is "I'm not crazy, I've just been in a bad mood 40 years!" Lisa is far from crazy and not in a bad mood at all, but that kind of self-deprecating humor is definitely Lis. Lisa is practical, hilarious, and extremely smart. Karan once innocently called her "abrasive and snide" when comparing her to someone else she knew. We've given Karan a hard time about it ever since, especially Lisa, but we don't mean it. Karan said it affectionately and lovingly.;-) Lisa sees things pragmatically, and yes, maybe sarcastically, yet optimistically, and keeps us laughing. What I love about her is her tender toughness - totally Ouiser! She doesn't take things personally, and is incredibly resilient. She went through an incredibly difficult divorce not too long ago and after a tough grieving period, came out swinging.
Jill: a little harder to peg which character she might be. Lisa and I decided on Annelle. My favorite Annelle line that embodies Jill is "Miss Truvy, I promise that my personal tragedy will not interfere with my ability to do good hair." Yes! Jill has been through her share of life experiences, but she continues to be optimistic and has great hair! ;-) She's endured two divorces, and her daughter was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 3. Yes, that is somewhat ironic since Steel Magnolias is about a brittle diabetic. However, Ellie is in much better health and has a bright future. This is in a large part due to Jill's vigilance as her fierce and loyal mother. When you meet Jill for the first time, you might think she is whimsical and slightly tipsy (yes, she has been accused of that when stone cold sober). One person said of her, "No one can be that nice." Yeah? Well, she really is. (BTW, that person is no longer my friend.) But don't let that niceness and whimsy fool you. She is tough as nails. She also happens to be a blast to be around.
Annie: the only two characters left are M'Lynn (Sally Fields) and Clairee (Olympia Dukakis), and Lisa pegged me as Clairee. That leaves M'Lynn as Annie, which isn't perfect, but I'm going to do my best. There are a few times in my life when I've laughed so hard I was crying, barely able to recover. Those times have always been with Annie. I met Annie at the end of my freshman year in college because we were going to be on the same RA staff. We became fast friends and then roomed together our junior year. She is much more animated than M'Lynn and has the most distinctive voice ever - throaty and sexy! She has an exuberance that is contagious, exclaiming "That's fabulous!!" over everything. My girls love her because they feel so validated around her. She makes everyone feel special. She is currently getting her doctorate and is one of the smartest women I know. Unfortunately, she lives 7 hours away. I wish she was closer because when I'm with her, I feel happy. That's how she makes you feel. M'Lynn is compassionate, strong, and funny. Just like Annie.
And that leaves me as Clairee, according to Lisa. You can draw your own conclusions about that.
What I Know For Sure: I've chosen the best 4 friends a girl could ever have. When I look over this post, I realize they have several things in common: they are smart, funny, strong, positive, resilient, and compassionate. I am an only child, so I get to choose my sisters, and I choose them. I love making new friends, but there will never be friends like these; I am blessed.