I check postsecret.com every Sunday morning. It has become part of my ritual, a sort of reverse confession — I spent a few moments reading the secrets of anonymous strangers who sent their confessions on beautifully created postcards to a man they don’t know and will never meet. Some secrets are beautiful, some are heartbreaking, some are just plain disturbing. In the pages of the Postsecret book, which my sister gave me for Valentine’s day, I just recently found my favorite.
When I saw it, and read the words written on the reverse, I couldn’t help but smile, because it struck me that we all steal small things from the people we love. My love of electronic music was taken from one of my best friends in high school, who had his own radio show called “The Electronic Music Pulse” that I used to listen to, initially only out of loyalty — until one day I started asking him for recommendations. I, a self-respecting New Englander who has never seen the Pacific, have been known to say the word “hella” in conversation: I stole the word from my Californian friend — the same friend who came to me in a fluster a week ago because she had adopted her new British boyfriend’s word for paper towels. I steal my friends’ dance moves (although more often than not to make a joke), their mannerisms, their jokes, their tastes in music, food and movies, their study habits (for better or worse), and their stories (this one time, Maia’s friend…)
We all do. Who we are as individuals is a direct result of our experiences and the relationships that shaped them. The fact that I have finally ridden a roller-coaster, saw my first concert, understand the British education system, or had the courage to leave my friends, family and beloved school earlier than I ever wanted, is a direct result of the influence of my friends. I don’t share this strangers desperate fear that he might forget how much he loves his friends, because I too have the stolen artifacts to remind me of how much I love them. I couldn’t possibly forget my friends without forgetting who I am.
And to clarify, I love who I am.
So, thank you, to all my friends. I love you.
P.S. I’m meant to post every Sunday, and failed to do so last week. I’ll refer to Douglas Adams’s claim “I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by,” and beg your forgiveness for my indulgence.