When I was in high school, there were a few people that I aspired to be. I had hair envy, I had body envy. But there was only one person who gave me brain envy. Her name was Valerie Veerman and she was the smartest person, I knew and usually the smartest person in the room. We were in several honors classes together over my 4 years of hell. I hated honors classes because I knew I was too stupid to engage in whatever activity the teacher would ask of us. But Val was different, she was always prepared and engaged and smart. She was always willing to give classroom support, when I had the balls to ask. She always seems so well rounded and stable in the most unstable times of high school. There were even times when the two of us would hang out outside of the classroom but I was too awe-struck to utter more than 2 words to her. High school ended and everyone went on their way. I had no idea Val would come back into my life 25 years later.
When Peter died, she reached out to me with compassion and love as many people did but Val was different, she kept reaching out with love and compassion, years after Peter died. Not because she wanted anything from me, except to know how I was doing. I thought that was the end of my dealings with Val but I was happily surprised when we decided to gather for a girl’s weekend. I was nervous at first because how could I get blackout drunk with the almighty Val watching. In my mind her opinion of me was still paramount, I couldn’t let Val see the true me, the messy me, the me that likes to let loose, even if it was 1000 years since high school. The first day of the first weekend, I was a mess. Desperately trying to maintain my decorum, eating Taco Bell with a fork, using a haughty fake laugh instead of my normal banshee scream. Our first evening spent all together at girl’s weekend made me realize that Val could not care less about my decorum. Her only concern for our group was how we were, were we content in our lives, fulfilled by our careers, our love lives.
The first weekend I spent with Val was eye-opening because I became aware of her. I really saw her as a person, not the legend I created in my head. What I saw was a kind, honest, genuine person that cared about the world around her. She is a woman that goes above the bare minimum in everything she does. The best thing about Val is not only does she have a brilliant mind; she has a brilliant heart. She is fiercely protective of the ones she loves and she gives that love so freely, you begin to wonder if it’s real. She truly is the perfect mix of brains and beauty. She carries herself with such ease, it would be easy for her to take over the world but she would never do such an evil deed. In our recent times together, she has become one of my rocks, my stability during unstable times, my go-to person when I cannot go-to myself. I am so fortunate to have spent the times I have spent with her but I am even luckier to call her my friend.
4 thoughts on “My Gal Pal Val.”
Your writing has matured since the last time I read your materials.If this is a personal note of praise about someone you like and admire, you nailed it. If it’s more than that, I’d have to know more before I could give you any relevant feedback.
As always, I admire your writing.
Best wishes, Diane Steendahl
On Fri, Jul 17, 2020 at 8:44 PM lifeinthewidowhood wrote:
> tenporath posted: ” When I was in high school, there were a few people > that I aspired to be. I had hair envy, I had body envy. But there was only > one person who gave me brain envy. Her name was Valerie Veerman and she was > the smartest person, I knew and usually the smartest” >
Thank you! I wrote this to cheer up a friend but any feedback you have would be appreciated!
Okay, then. I want a hint of what makes this a relationship. I think of friendship as being a mutual thing. Two people sharing a mutual bond. What was the bond you shared? Were you both from the same neighborhood? Attended the same grade school? Shared deep personal confusion? belief? goal?
Or is it a leader/follower situation? Were you each going though adolescent phases of development that complemented each other? Did you need help? (It seems you did) Did she need to give help? From what needs or complementary stages of emotional growth did the attachment/relationship grow strong enough to last?
You wrote about an encounter in high school, then a renewal of that encounter later in life, when Peter died, then, a final encounter. What did the two of you exchange?
What drew you back to each other is where the tension is. It could be something similar in each of you that manifested differently, or something opposite in each other that caused an attraction, but there was something.
She sounds like a motherly sort of person, generous in giving herself to others. Where does that come from? Is there a cost to her for being generous, a reward?
This story says something important about being human as a girl and a woman that I want to understand more clearly.
Here goes…Val was a person that everyone in our high school admired. She was smart and beautiful but mainly she seemed untouchable, perfect in every situation. I, feeling imperfect, ugly and stupid, looked up to her. A role she didn’t know she carried.
We had several classes together and thats how we began to get to know each other. I had been friendly with her on social media after high school but never really thought anymore about our friendship until a mutual friend had a girls weekend shortly after Peter died. That weekend I discovered she truly saw me as a wonderful being, not dumb like I always thought. The common ground between us that solidified our friendship is that I learned that she felt all of the same feelings that I felt, which made me realize that we are all humans with feelings and emotions, no matter how perfect the outside seems.
Val is very giving and I think the cost is she has trouble finding her boundaries for herself, she wants to be everything for everyone