Ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok so: In middle school, my best friend was Julie. We never went to the same school, but we went to the same church, and we were INSEPERABLE. Like, completely. And then still to some extent in high school but we had started drifting apart by then, and really lost track of each other after that. A few years ago we get back in touch on FB, and HOLY CRAP SHE WAS EXACTLY THE SAME AND ALSO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT?! Like it's hard to explain but: ok.
Julie used to believe that evolution probably wasn't true and that the fossil record was probably a test from god.
Julie and I *both* believed that homosexuality was a sin, and I say that partly because I have no room whatsoever to judge her, right? We both had some really shit ideas. We were kids, it's what you do, and we were being told some very specific things at our church.
We both only listened to Christian music for a long time.
I don't remember some of her other weirder beliefs, but they were there. We were attached at the hip though, and for years it was her, me, and another girl, Angela. And then for a long time it was her, me, and her boyfriend Trevor. I had to be with the two of them all the time ("so we wouldn't have sex" she says matter-of-factly now).
Anyway tonight we saw each other for the first time in well over a decade. And it was great? My brain is a little bit complicated because there's just a lot to process but like, it was great. It felt like nothing had changed and no time had passed, but *everything* has changed. She has a kid! I'm a queer atheist! She's a Unitarian minister now! We both have gray in our hair!
When we got back in touch on FB, one of the first things I noticed was that she had a pride flag on her profile. She's completely supportive of every stripe of queer and trans folks, and she directly advocates for them in her position as a hospital chaplain. Her kid's only 2.5, but he sometimes says he's a girl and she's been pretty chill about that and letting him decide what he wants to do with it (male pronouns because kiddo changes this every week or so, and we'll see what happens). (He also told me about hydraulics tonight over a skype call. That is a VERY big word for someone who isn't even 3) We've talked a lot, and it's like, we used to have SO MUCH in common, right? And now we still do, but it's all entirely different stuff. Like somehow we seperately grew up very similarly. Weird, right? But also really cool? We had a really nice time and she told me all the things about the church culture in our hometown in Oklahoma, since she's back there now.
And that's where things get disturbing. Apparently a megachurch has pretty much taken over the state, and when we were kids that was something you only got in Texas, and we always used to make fun of them. Now this weirdo fringe group that was too conservative and weird for the Methodists (we were Methodist) has just, mushroomed out? And the minister at our church when we were in high school is still at our old church, which is weird as helllllll because normally the Methodist bishops or council or whatever will move people around way more than that. But he's making money for the church so they've let him stay way too long, and he keeps getting more conservative and now our old church is sort of culty. Which, my dad has never liked that guy, because he was the one who started getting our church into Promise Keepers, and dad was like "NOPE no absolutely not this is bad news bears" and now tomorrow I get to call him and be like "so you were SUPER right about that minister being bad news, well done there." And you have to understand, we had a youth minister that we dealt with more directly, but we were very close with our minister. We kinda worshipped him. Which makes the culty part make a lot of sense, right? He was fun and charismatic and went on all our mission trips with us. When my dad tried to tell me Promise Keepers was Not Cool I was like "well maybe Adrian just doesn't know, right?" but uh, no. When Julie was figuring out where she was going to go to grad school he went to her parents and told them that if she went some place "liberal" it would turn her into a lesbian liberal and there is clearly no worse thing to be. She had a big showdown with him at the Methodist annual conference. FUN.
I also found out that the third member of our trio, Angela, spends most of her time as an evangelical anti-abortion protestor in California. Like, the kind that puts red tape over their mouth and harasses women on the way into Planned Parenthood clinics and the like. NEAT. STUFF. That's very cool and exciting. In the way that makes me Homer Simpson into the bushes.
So yeah, everything is weird, but I got to see my friend and it turns out we still love each other lots and it's great.
In conclusion you can never go home again but sometimes you escape and when you find someone else who escaped there's a lot of bond there and things can be better than they were and different and good.
Also we took blurry selfies in the parking lot https://twitter.com/emilytheslayer/status/805252228294578176