I have an alter-ego. That’s the grown-up terminology for “make-believe” friend. She’s not even really a very good friend because she brings out the worst in me. She is the brave one, the pretty one, the daring one. She is an artist. She has flair and can speak easily in front of groups of people. She is the life of the party. She is the fun one. Her name is Simone.
Simone wasn’t always with me. She came to me one day when I was doubting myself and she tried to get me to jump into a neighbor’s pool just for the fun of it. I told her no, I wasn’t allowed to do that. She told me rules were made to be broken. She jumped in the pool; I stood by the fence and watched her splashing and having all that fun. She giggled and I did too…some…but only from the fence.
Simone is the one that will do the crazy things when we’re together. She will speak to complete strangers and make snow angels in a public park. She picks flowers as she finds them. She has an infectious laugh. I never liked to laugh out loud because sometimes I sound like a hyena, according to my mom. Simone tells me over and over again that hyena’s are one of the luckiest animals because they are known for their laugh. She says it’s a good thing to be ‘known for your laugh’…far better then being known for your ‘bite’ like a gator or a snake!
Simone can hop on one foot the entire distance of a football field. I have never tried. I know I’d fall over anyway. Simone tells me I’m missing out on life. I want to tell her she’s careless but she’d just laugh and continue hopping. One time, when I was feeling particularly spirited (that’s mom’s word, not mine), I started galloping. You know, like the horses do! I was galloping all over the neighborhood. Simone found me and she said I looked like a carousel horse galloping proudly on my own. She galloped with me until we were both completely exhausted.
Simone grew up with me. In high school, when I tried out for plays, she would beg me to go for the ‘lead’, but I just couldn’t. I was never meant to have a leading role. Simone told me I could do anything if I’d just try! I thought she was wrong, of course. I have tried lots of things and couldn’t do them well. She reminded me she never said I’d be the BEST, just that I could do ANYTHING if I’d just try. I never went for the lead.
In college, Simone wanted to go out and party and hang out with people all the time. I really needed to study if I was ever going to be a doctor. Simone came to the library one day to find me and get me to go out dancing. She started pointing out all the other pre-med students around us and how they didn’t have a ‘life’ because all they did was study. I tried to explain it was a sacrifice, a choice to be made to make a difference. Simone said we can make a difference by just embracing who we are.
Eventually I realized I didn’t have it ‘in me’ to become a doctor and continue on in school for another twelve years. I wept. I felt like I had lost my dream, my purpose in life. Simone stayed with me and let me cry, for a little while. Then she told me to dry my eyes and she took me out dancing.
Simone loves to dance. She helped me see that school was just part of the journey. I didn’t even have to decide right then and there what I was going to do day in and day out forever. I was there to experience life and to meet new people and to challenge myself and my beliefs.
When I graduated from college and finally decided to move away, Simone told me she’d come with me to help me find a place to live. She came to Baltimore with me and sometimes we’d just sit quietly together on a pier at the Inner Harbor. We’d sit there for hours sometimes just watching the lights from the boats and people interacting on the street.
Simone ended up staying with me in Baltimore and she helped me begin to relax and enjoy life a little more. We met tons of people. We joined a “duck bowling” league, and we actually weren’t too bad. We went to D.C. as often as we could to visit the Smithsonian Buildings. In four years, we never saw them all. We did see the Hope Diamond and Simone wanted to try it on. I assured her the guards surrounding the wing would know immediately if anyone disobeyed the “do not touch” sign.
Simone convinced me to date. She helped ‘fix me up’ with some of the strangest characters I’ve ever met. I made her go with me on all the dates. There was the guy with the overgrown beard, wearing a plaid, wool sweater vest, in July. There was the guy who wasn’t concerned about cheating on his wife. He was concerned about cheating on his girlfriend. There was the guy who was certain I’d never met a more fascinating man in my life. There was the Italian who pretended not to know much English (give me a break). Simone thought each one had wonderful qualities. She reminded me we didn’t have to marry any of them. We were just having fun!
When I was laid off of a job, Simone helped me make the decision to return to school for Art Therapy. She said ‘we’re moving to Phoenix! And going to school!’ I told her we didn’t have time to submit a portfolio and I didn’t think I was that artistic anyway! She assured me this was the next leg of our journey. When I found out the program in Arizona was closed she just found the next closest one and we were moving to Albuquerque within weeks.
Simone loved Albuquerque, as much as she’d loved every other place. I didn’t even know how to SPELL Albuquerque, until I looked it up on the map. Simone loved how everyone embraced the outdoors. She loved the incredibly colorful sunsets. I enrolled in 1 class while I determined if I was actually going to attempt graduate school. God had other plans.
One day I told Simone I was through dating. She was nagging me to start back up again. I told her “NO WAY!” The only clubs we went to were the gay clubs…they were safe. I met my future wonderful husband the 3rd time I went. Simone was visiting with some friends we had across the place, and I was shooting pool. I saw him across the room and the rest is history…
Simone saw me shooting pool with him and laughing (my hyena laugh) and she knew immediately I was smitten. I told her I don’t believe in “love at first site! That’s crazy!” She told me the only thing crazy was how I was looking at this guy and I barely knew him.
My future husband and I made a date for the next evening and we were not apart (except for one trip home), for even one day until the day we were married. Simone gave us our space and let us fall madly, deeply in love. She helped me plan the wedding.
Simone has held my hand through the whole infertility experience. She reminds me every day that God has a plan for our lives. She reminds me that God knows my heart and He will never forsake me. She never tells me we will or won’t have a child…she just keeps reminding me what God says.
Simone was the one that got me to peek at the website on adoption. I was sure I would faint flat out with the whole overwhelming process. Simone just kept clicking away, unveiling another layer of the website and my heart.
Simone is more a part of my life now, then she ever was as a child. Simone is “the me” I most strive to be every day. Simone is “the me” I hope to be if I’m ever a parent. Simone is “the me” I hope to be as I step into the unknown to find my destiny. Simone is me.