We have a beautiful new HerStories essay today, written by one of my favorite bloggers, Carisa from MCarisa.com. You will love her unique style and humor as she shows us how two people who may be very different in some ways can be unbelievably connected.
Leslie and Me
By Carisa Miller (MCarisa.com)
~ She has chosen not to have children.
~ I, eyebrow deep in tiny pink clothes, am mother to two daughters.
My children have loved Leslie from birth. They leap forward into her arms as though she is also their most intimate friend. It is remarkable, especially since they see her only briefly every few months. They must sense my love for her and her love for them.
~ She does not drink alcohol.
~ I enjoy the bounty of fermented fruits from our glorious local wine and beer economy.
Far from the days of mass consumption and hangovers, I prefer to keep my faculties sharp. I need to preserve my remaining brainpower since my supply was greatly diminished by the onset of offspring. Contrariwise, sometimes by the end of the day my brain requires a Pinot Noir rinse.
~ She does not shave.
~ I have succumbed to the odd societal standard that pre-pubescent-esque hairlessness is sexy.
She attended my wedding in a flowing sleeveless dress. My father elbow-jabbed his cousin to point out the girl who was “smuggling gophers under her arms”. Leslie loves that joke.
~ She is the official spokeswoman for a well-contemplated life.
~ I’ve still got some catching up to do.
Time spent with Leslie is likely to include discussing the downfalls of mono-crop agriculture, the movement to rebuild a healthy local ecology, and the state of our personal lives in regard to our lifetime goals and ideals. The woman runs deep.
~ Her style is timeless.
~ Mine is attempting timeless, but generally runs in more of a covered-in-boogers direction.
Prior to children, I enjoyed the hunt for new clothes. Now my apparel shopping consists mainly of me lying in wait to steal whatever Leslie is wearing when she comes for a visit. I’m not kidding. One time she barely got through the door before I had nearly talked her out of her new purse.
~ She is a gardening dynamo, has a vast knowledge of botanical latin and is a certified Master Gardener.
~ I fake it. Sure, I’ve learned quite a bit over the years but I still usually just drag whatever plant I want to whichever spot I want it, throw it in a hole and cross my fingers.
Gardening is a way of life I didn’t know before Leslie. She inspired my now insatiable lust for ornamentals and taught me the great value of self-grown edibles.
~ She eats the bejeezus out of leafy greens.
~ She never ceases to be amused by my ability to subsist primarily on cheese.
Beginning with Leslie, I’ve come to understand the value, deliciousness and responsibility of eating organic and local food…covered in cheese.
~ She is of the Baha’i faith.
~ I believe in a my own personal blend of Natural Pantheism, Moon Worship, Paganism, Buddhism and Atheism.
One year, I participated with Leslie in the Baha’i month of fasting.
For nineteen days we did not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. She appreciated my support. I appreciated the sunset.
~ She plays the cello.
~ I’m all about ballet. However, in high school I was accidentally a cheerleader.
~ When she was single, she was not the least affected by a desire to not be.
~ I was so eager to be in a relationship, I frantically scrambled around trying to grab at and squeeze love from a bunch of jerks.
Leslie tirelessly repeated how deserving I was of a healthy relationship and pointed out all evidence indicating I was heading in the wrong direction. Instead of giving me up for lost each time I cycled round through the same old drama, she showed up on my doorstep with flowers ready to listen to me cry. Once I joined her in believing that I was a worthy woman, she taught me how to spot a decent man and I eventually got it right. <enter husband of my dreams>
~ She is engaging. She truly listens.
~ I struggle to find questions to ask people about themselves. Though I strive to be a good listener, it doesn’t come naturally to me.
Leslie cares to know about people. She hears what they say and asks follow up questions. I greatly admire her caring and considerate nature. I tend to be too absorbed in my own thoughts to be very engaging.
~ She knows where everything goes.
~ I cannot hang a piece of art, arrange flowers or furniture without trying to see it through her eyes in order to get it right.
Meaningful living and aesthetic design may not, at first, appear to have much in common. But Leslie and I understand the pleasing beauty of a perfectly arranged bookshelf can be as enriching as the contents of the books contained within. She turned me on to the elements of design. We spend a lot of our time together waving our arms around and discussing use of space.
~ She is blunt and honest, with no frilly facade.
~ I am that way too, with Leslie and a few select people. With most others I am easily nervous and tend to blurt nonsense instead of what I mean to say.
My relationship with Leslie contains zero fluff, tiptoeing and sugar coated bologna. With all the time and effort we save not skirting around truths, we are able to scrape at the depths of ourselves and give attention to the guts of our lives. If she thinks I’m not seeing a situation clearly, or acting appropriately, Leslie tells me flat out. If Leslie is about to quit her job to pursue hoola-hooping full time, I’m the first to call her crazy. (I made that up. The job part, not the hoop. She’s pretty good.)
~ She lets herself be known.
When I asked Leslie if I could write about her, she was all for it. When I asked if there was anything off limits she told me she preferred to live out in the open. Well put. I am all for this.
~ She lives by her beliefs.
~ I am spoiled by comfort.
No matter whether I think it is a great idea to stop sending all that water down the pipes, I’m not disconnecting the drains from the sinks in our house to collect usable gray water or switching to composting toilets any time soon (read never).
If you were keeping score while reading this you will have arrived at the conclusion that Leslie is a loving, sober, hairy, well dressed, artistic, engaging, educated, musical, faithful, forthright, lettuce loving contemplative gardener living by her convictions in a house with a surprisingly delightful waterless toilet. Which makes me a baby toting, wine lipped, cheese clogged, snot covered, stubbly, nervous, babbling, loud mouthed, water wasting, faithless dancing plant terrorist. Yep, that sounds about right.
Some of our differences are significant, but our shared traits and passions are far more so. The respect Leslie and I have for each other is tremendous. Everything she shares with me enriches my life, most of all herself. Leslie is a woman of unequivocal quality. I am blessed that she calls me her friend.
Carisa Miller is a sarcasm wielding, cherub lugging, cheese devouring nut job living in Portland, Oregon. She is in love with her astoundingly patient husband, two fireball daughters, and an ill tempered cat. Her haphazard adventures in baby raising, gardening, crafting, cooking and everything else are strewn across MCarisa.com, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
Do you have a friendship story to share? We are accepting submissions for essays approximately 500-1000 words in length, along with a 2-3 sentence bio and any photos you wish to share. Please contact us at email@example.com
Don’t forget- HerStories is currently running our first giveaway! All you have to do to be entered is to leave a comment below- any comment! We will be drawing a winner who will receive an autographed copy of Shasta Nelson’s book, Friendships Don’t Just Happen! The Guide To Creating A Meaningful Circle of Girlfriends!
Aw! This was really touching. Despite whatever differences you have, your love and respect for each other was shining through in this post. The close bond you have is evident and so beautiful to see!
I’m delighted to hear my caring for Leslie showed through the pit hair and toilet jokes. : ) I can’t seem to write anything truly serious. My smart aleck remarks always find a way in.
Totally touching and proving opposites do get long and complement each other, too!! :
Thank you Janine. Leslie was touched too. A friend who is happy to let you plaster her business all over the Internet to promote your writing, is a true friend indeed!
How lucky for both of you that you have each other! I am much more like you, Carisa, but I would love a Leslie in my life.
We are a bit of an odd pair, but over the years we have grown a bit towards each other in the way that we do and see things. Me more towards her, I’d say and for the better! Thank you for reading Dana.
I always love how in your writing you blend your ability to be very aware and thoughtful of the world and people, yet throw in your sarcastic and humorous “real” outlook too. Leslie seems like a grounding foundation, and I am so glad she imparted you the wisdom of the importance of cheese. The two of you sound very complementary, each you filling in missing pieces of the other (probably even ones you didn’t know were missing/that you wanted) to make both you even more whole!
Wow Pech, just when I think I can’t be more touched by one of your comments…you go and write all that. Thank you, my fellow cheese lover.
I love about reading different writer’s take on the same topic, it’s so fascinating to see the same subject illuminated from such a different angle each time and this post truly was unique. I love the sense of humour, the format and Carisa and Leslie. Another awesome post in a great series!
I have also enjoyed each different form that these essays have taken. So many amazing friendships, limitless manners in which to tell their stories. This could go on and on forever…(fingers crossed). Thank you Katia.
That is my favorite thing about this series- its diversity in style and content. Everyone’s stories are so unique, and it really is limitless. I am so excited for everything that is to come! Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful writing, Carisa, and for all the great comments, everybody!
What a beautiful, touching tribute.
So touching! I find some of my best and most enduring friendships have been with “opposites”! It’s a pity but sometimes it seems I fight too often with people too similar.
I love it. What a lovely tribute to your friend and how great it is that the two of you are there for each other for everything important in spite of each being unique and different in so many ways.
Oh and I subsist primarily on cheese too. Behold the power of cheese!