April 29, 2008

Friend 2: Sati

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Another day, another friend to talk about who I dearly love. Today's friend is Sati. I have known her for almost 15 years. We met in high school, in choir class. She was a new kid, and I had lost my best friend over the summer (no she wasn't dead, she just didn't want to be my friend anymore), and we were immediately friends.

She is another friend who has given me great perspective on how easy I've had it and how lucky I got with my parents. Sati didn't always have an easy life. Although she was in contact with her father, she doesn't see or talk to him on a very regular basis. I watched her struggle with her relationship with him and it helped me to realize how good my relationship with my own father was, even though I didn't always feel that way. Her mother was, for much of the time I knew her, raising her 4 kids primarily on her own, and it wasn't always easy, and she wasn't always the nicest person. She never realized how lucky she'd gotten with Sati until her two younger daughters grew up and started getting into trouble. For much of the time when Sati still lived at home, she was one of the primary caregivers for her younger sisters (8-10 years younger than her).

S didn't always have great self image. For 5 years starting with our junior year in high school, she was unhappy. She didn't know her own worth, and she started gaining weight - a lot of weight. With the weight just came more unhappiness, bitterness, and not liking herself. Throughout that time, the amount of time we spent together grew and shrunk. In high school, and right after, we spent a lot of time together. In 1999 I met my now-husband, and the next year we moved. A while after that, Sati moved to the same area and I got to see her more. In December of 2002, Sati had gastric bypass surgery. Now, I have issues with my weight as well, and according to BMI charts and the internet, I am obese. Sometimes my self image is up, sometimes it's down. At the time that Sati made the decision to go through with the surgery, I felt weird about it. I didn't necessarily agree with her decision. I always thought that this was 'the easy way out', that people should try harder etc. Because of this, I didn't talk to her a ton between then and my wedding in July of the next year. She lost a lot of weight very quickly. I'm sure there was a part of me that was jealous. I wished that I could take that way out too. Unfortunately, because of my biased behavior, I missed out on having her more involved in planning my wedding. Luckily, she was still part of the ceremony. Within a year of the surgery I had no doubt in my mind that it was the right decision for her, and that it had completely changed her life. Sati became one of the happiest, most caring, compassionate and generous people I know. It's like through her physical transformation she was able to be her true self, and become the person that she's meant to be, and I love her all the more for it.

The first time I drove a car, I was 15 and it was in Sati's car. We were in the parking lot at school and I was so freaked out I didn't even want to press down on the gas pedal. We walked together in our high school graduation ceremony. We got our first apartment together the year after we graduated. She was there when I started dating my now-husband, and became close friends with him as well. We've spent birthdays and holidays together. She visited me in the hospital the day I had my son, and then told me later that she always knew I was meant to be a Mother and that above everything that's what I wanted to do - something I didn't always see myself.

In high school, we had sleepovers on the weekends for weeks and months in a row, we ran outside and danced under streetlights in the snow in the middle of the night, we took shots of Captain Morgan's and Black Velvet at parties we were invited to. Sati and I loved watching Remington Steele and decided if we weren't married by the time we were 30 we would kidnap Pierce Brosnan and live out our days in a secluded cabin with him. In our senior year, we skipped prom and the senior trip and instead saved up our money to travel on our first trip all by ourselves to California and did a whirlwind tour of Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Six Flags, Sea World, and the San Diego Zoo. It was amazing.

I've worked with Sati at two different jobs - one of which was my first job. We worked together in the kitchen/cafeteria in a Bingo hall in the town where we went to high school. It was definitely an odd job, and you would go home every night smelling like gravy. We had some really great times there and learned together how to use the espresso machine, how much it sucks to clean a hot dog machine, and how much it hurts when you spill hot nacho cheese on your hand (sticky!). Later, we worked at a call center together, and I remember her teasing me when I met now-husband and telling me that he liked me.

No matter how much time goes by in between our visits, we pick up where we left off. Now Sati has a wonderful boyfriend, and it's amazing to see her going into the kind of love that you have with someone that you're really going to be with. We've both matured at our own rates, but we go back and forth in who is 'ahead' and always catch up with each other. I can't wait to see where her future takes her, and I think that one day she'll be a great mother to a child of her own. I love it that I can call her after months and that she'll still be one of my best friends, we'll always have that connection. I picture us sitting around chatting as old ladies, and I can't wait.

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