Don’t you just love a good Disney movie?
That title up there is from one of my all time favorites. Mulan has just gotten back from meeting with her matchmaker, who tells her that she “may look like a bride, but will never bring her family honor.”
I actually cry when I watch Mulan (shhh…. it’s a secret).
I cry because I know what it’s like to feel like you don’t quite fit in your skin and I know what it’s like to bloom a little slower than those around you.
When her father finds out how poorly things went with the matchmaker, he sits down next to Mulan and marvels at how beautiful the flowers are this year. Then, he points out one nearby that hasn’t bloomed yet, and says, “…but look. This one is late. I’ll bet when it blooms it’ll be the most beautiful of all.”
That’s always been one of my favorite scenes of any Disney movie.
My best friend in the whole, wide world is The Girl with the Yellow Glasses. I’ve known her for years, and if there’s ever been a slow-bloomer, it’s our friendship.
She and I were talking about that the other day, and wondering when we actually became close friends. I remember the first time we ever got coffee together, and I was SUPER intimidated. At first glance, Shasta and I are as different as two girls can be. She’s tall, vibrant and overwhelmingly fun. I’m quiet, intelligent and steady.
The first time we ever hung out, I was surprised by the ease with which we connected. I hadn’t expected that. We had coffee a few more times, then Shasta went off to Korea for several months. In my experience, when people travel, they completely forget you, so it was weird that Shasta called me from over the seas. It was really special because I didn’t at all understand why she’d waste phone card minutes (or whatever way she was paying for the calls) on me. No one had ever done that for me before. When she got back, we slowly but surely started hanging out: a cheap movie here, a coffee date there… and now we’re bffs. The first movie we ever saw together was GI Joe, which we only saw because Channing Tatem is a hottie. Since then, we’ve done lots of things together. We’ve been chased by skunks, visited new babies, prayed, danced, terrorized our friends with silly string pranks, gotten lost in bad neighborhoods, torn our ACLs (okay, just Shasta did that, but I was with her), read books, been hit by cars (okay, I’m the only one who did that, but Shasta was with me), escaped from life, cried… and each of those moments has added up to make us bosom friends. And we’ve realized that we aren’t as different from each other as first glance would suggest (except for the Shasta being tall part; the only time that’s not true is when I’m in 4″ heels and she’s in flats).
I was at our friend Ashly’s place a few nights ago, and ran across one of the early remnants of the Shasta/Katie friendship. Ashly and her husband have a book with blank pages in it that they let people write and draw on when they come over. It has pages filled with masterful artwork as well as stick figures. At some point in time, Shasta drew a really sad picture called “Shasta’s Island of Solitude”. There are fish in the water that have died and are upside down with (x) for their eyes. There’s a palm tree, and Shasta’s body is all torn to pieces and spread across the island. 😦
I don’t know why Shasta was being so depressing (actually I do… but I’m not telling you!), but I remember flipping through the book and seeing Shasta’s island for the first time. I almost couldn’t stand how sad it was, and I thought, I’m not going to let Shasta be that way – she’s not allowed to be like that. So… I drew myself onto her sad island, because I couldn’t bear to see her alone there.
That happened long before Shasta and I were truly friends, but it just makes me appreciate how patient she’s been with my slow-blooming. It makes me grateful for the steady nature of all of the true friendships God has blessed me with. They may be late-bloomers… but, without a doubt, they’re the most beautiful of all.