I have been the recipient of all kinds of compliments in my life. Before I had my babies and they sucked the memory out of my head through my breast milk, I could remember about 67% of all the compliments I have ever gotten. Here are some ones that remain today:
"Christie, you are so much less angry this summer than you were last summer." -- T. Swain, summer 1995, referring to my "angry summer" of 1994. At the time, he meant it as a compliment and I took it as such.
"You don't seem like a lawyer." -- always meant as a compliment and often taken as such.
"You're not a bitch at all." -- anonymous friend giving me a pep talk after someone said I was bitchy during a fight wherein I told someone to stop being such a "pussy."
"You are a great cook!" -- B. Aranyi, December 31, 2005, after making him and his family fajitas (that is, I grilled the chicken and heated up some tortillas. Genius.)
"I thought you were a plain jane, but you've got so much angst you seem positively edgy." -- College boyfriend after seeing me try to control my eating disorder while on a trip to France.
"Christie's short haircut is hip. She looks like Janet Reno." -- Someone who is lucky to still be alive after making that comment on Easter weekend, San Antonio, Texas, 1999.
But, today, today I got a compliment, an affirmation so unexpected and so delicious that I am recording here so I can remember it forever, even after I get Alzheimer's disease and no longer know that I come from the great state of Texas.
It's an affirmation that I want to hold close to my heart forever, because as I sit here now, 6.5 hours after hearing the words, I already think I made it up. I already doubt that I heard those words in reference to me.
Did HE say THAT about ME?
Holy toast points, I think he did. By God, I think he did. It made me cry. Well, first I blushed and then I felt like I needed a barf bag and then I started to cry. (Yes, that sequence is as hot as it sounds.) It was the good kind of crying. The crying that comes from feeling utterly defenseless against someone's esteemable opinion about me. The crying of sheer vulnerability and trembling joy. It was not a cry of desperation or resignation. Is was the jubilee cry. It was the cry of Sally Fields getting her Oscar and saying, "you like me! You really like me." (Or did she say "love"? I have no idea; I was born in 1973.) Anyway, it was good. It was great.
But was it real?
If I write it here, will it feel more real? Will it last? Will that make it truer if I write it down and click "publish post"?
I don't know. But, let's find out.
Today, my therapist said to me:
"You were born to be a writer."