I don’t remember the first time I met my mom’s friend Laura–it was definitely when I was in high school, probably when Laura was on a visit home from New York City, where she’s lived for years. But I know she hadn’t seen or talked to my mom in a long time. I remember talking to her on the phone once to give her my mom’s cellphone number, and I remember that when I did meet her, I thought she was cool as hell. That’s probably why my mom introduced us in the first place.

Laura works as a designer in New York, although these days, I think she mostly travels as a buyer. She’s always wearing something neat with interesting makeup–when I saw her last week, she was wearing a leather studded jacket–and her personality is just the type I mesh well with. At some point, someone got the idea to visit her in New York, so when I was 17, I flew up with my mom and her best friend, Lisa, and we spent the weekend in Laura’s studio apartment with her showing us around the city. It was probably one of the most fun trips I’ve ever taken.

At some point in the last few years, Laura (and Lisa, for the record) got on Facebook, and I was thrilled to have that connection to her. We’ve seen her a little bit in the years since the trip.

I saw on Facebook about this time a year ago that she was home, but I didn’t get in touch. I probably mentioned it to my mom, and I probably assumed that if she wanted to get together, she’d reach out. She didn’t.

I have a holdover still–and someone remind me to bring this up with my therapist when I get around to scheduling with him–from the Craig fallout where I just assume no one really wants to talk to me or hang out with me, even when they do talk to me and hang out with me. I’m not sure that they’d see it this way, but going on as though nothing was wrong when people were mad at me and intentionally leaving me out felt like a lie to me, and it fucked me up more than I think any of us could’ve predicted. The result is said holdover. Basically, I don’t believe that people are genuinely enjoying my company, even when all signs suggest otherwise–because let’s be real here, I had no real indication that anything was off with the Craigs, so it’s like my brain thinks everyone else in my life will act the exact same way. It’s essentially a combination of low self-esteem with a nice, big heap of insecurity and a side dish of trust issues.

But I made a New Year’s resolution to be more proactive, essentially in an attempt to push myself out of that negative, distrustful mindset. My goal has been to stop waiting for someone else to make the first move and to do it myself, to move away from the assumption that I’m undesirable as a friend and put the responsibility on other people to be honest with me if they don’t want to talk or hang out as opposed to assuming they don’t from the start. And believe me, it’s not like I haven’t considered that this insecurity works both ways, that the people I’m assuming want nothing to do with me because they’re not taking the initiative might have the exact same fear that that’s how I feel about them.

This hasn’t been easy, and it hasn’t always worked, and I haven’t always done it. But I have done it. A baby step is still a step forward.

So when I saw another post from Laura about another trip home to Pittsburgh, without even hesitating like I would usually, I told her that my mom and I would love to see her if she had some free time. Because the catch with people visiting from out of town is that a lot of their time gets eaten up quickly with visits and whatever else they want to do, but Laura had some time for dinner Monday night.

And damn if that wasn’t the one night I got stuck at work ridiculously late. It actually wouldn’t have made me too late for dinner, and I was able to warn my mom I’d be late–maybe around 15 minutes–but the place we picked, The Titlow, apparently gets crowded on Monday nights and I had trouble finding parking. Which is weird for Fayette County, and Meloni’s across the street will tow you if you use their lot. Wonder if they’d still do it if, like, I stopped over for a drink and cannoli.

I wrote about dinner itself over at my other Fayette County blog, but in short, it was good but a little disappointing for Laura and Lisa. My mom joked, though, that with Laura living in New York, it’s got to be hard to find truly good food in Fayette County. In fact, our first choice of restaurant is actually closed on Mondays.

We sat and hung out for a good while, and Laura actually thanked me for getting in touch and getting everyone together, even though I passed off the actual planning to my mom. But it was nice and fun and I’m glad I did it, and it was kind of a lesson learned about my interactions with people.

Tuesday brought more out-of-town visits I was late for, this time with Scott.

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