Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Welcome Wednesday Guest, PJ Sharon - BFFs: the good, the bad, and the lessons learned

Do you remember how many times your mother told you that you needed “better friends?” Well, at least mine did—countless times. She seemed to have this view of me that I should know better than to hang out with anyone who wasn’t a straight A student, didn’t come from a two-parent “normal” family, or otherwise address her like Eddie Haskell with “You look lovely today, Mrs. Cleaver.” Not surprisingly, those “perfectly nice” friends were the ones who had the
most issues. They were also the cliquey kind of “fair weather” friends that I had no desire to be associated with—no matter what status they held in the high school food chain.
What my mother didn’t understand was that the friends I chose were friends because they weren’t trying so hard to be perfect and fit in. They were real, they were genuine, and they made me feel like I belonged. Now I won’t pretend that they didn’t often lead me down some precarious roads, but they were the kinds of friends who stuck by me and wouldn’t ditch me when times got tough. I learned a lot from them—both good and bad—and I think they learned a lot from me. 

When I created BFF’s for Penny, my character in ON THIN ICE, I wanted to show both sides of the friend fence. We have sweet, innocent Katie on the one hand, and troublemaking, seventeen-going-on-thirty Sami, on the other hand. Both girls have their issues and it’s clear that neither has a perfect life no matter what it looks like on the outside, but what strikes you throughout the story is how the three girls stick together and support each other in spite of their differences. The lesson learned is that friendship is not so much about what we share in common but that we share the common bond of love and loyalty.

Since I was fortunate enough to have some BFF’s from grade school right through high school, I can tell you that my mother was both right and wrong about them. Maybe my home girls didn’t catapult me into the sphere of Ivy League colleges, but I also didn’t end up a streetwalking hussy as my mother feared. The girls I hung out with were as different from me and from each other as girls could possibly be. I think it was our differences that attracted us to each other as much as anything we had in common. We balanced each other out. What I did learn from the friends I chose was loyalty, honesty, and acceptance. Lessons I’m sure every mother would like her daughter to learn. For better or worse, the lessons we learn from our friends will be lessons we take with us through life. So quit biting your nails, moms, and as my smooth-talking young adult son once said, “You did a good job raising me, Mom. Trust that I can make good decisions.”
Okay, readers, what did you learn from your BFF’s?
PJ Sharon is author of several independently published, contemporary young adult novels, including HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES. Her stories have garnered several contest finals, including two awards for ON THIN ICE, and a place in the prestigious Valley Forge Romance writer’s contest for SAVAGE CINDERELLA.
Writing romantic fiction for the past six years, and following her destiny to write Extraordinary stories of an average teenage life, PJ is mother to two grown sons and lives with her husband and her dog in the Berkshire Hills of Western MA.
ON THIN ICE is about a 17yo figure skater dealing with her mother’s cancer while trying to live up to the expectations of her family. Penny has to face issues like anorexia, a teenage pregnancy, and family secrets that threaten to change her life forever. The story is a complex, richly woven tale that deals with the consequences of hiding the truth of who we are, and making sacrifices for the ones we love. Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy. Standard contest disclaimer applies.


CareyCorp said...

Great advice PJ. What I learned from my BFF is that she was with me for the long haul. After highschool, no matter where life took us or how estranged we became, she always welcomed me back. In fact, all my BFFs are like that, they're family. Rebecca, Michelle, and Lorie - I am so lucky to have you in my life!

PJ Sharon said...

I'v had that same experience, Carey. My BFF Debbie, is always a phone call away. We found each other in 5th grade and have stayed in touch for over 30 years no matter where we are. Those people are truly a blessing!

Cat Kalen said...

Great Post PJ. I met my best friend in grade eight and we were inseperatable. I was the one her parents warned her about. LOL, but we got through the high school years supporting one another and no one is a hussie walking the streets!

PJ Sharon said...

That's funny, Cat. I was the girl every mom wanted to be friends with their daughter. I was "level headed", a straight A student and like Penny of ON THIN ICE, was a figure skater. I was "perfect" on the outside, but lots of deep, dark stuff happening on the inside. I was lucky to have my friends to support me through some very difficult years. If thos emothers had only known...I would have been the one they warned their daughters about, LOL

Catie Rhodes said...

I met the best friend I ever had in 1st grade. We were both skinny outcasts. What I learned is that we didn't need to be popular to have fun. Watching Romy and Michelle's HIgh School Reunion always reminds me of our antics. We took different paths in life and haven't spoken for almost 20 years. I truly miss her.

Melissa Landers said...

Welcome, PJ! I've learned much from my BFF. I admire her drive and her dedication to her family. Even though she's stressed beyond believe managing a retail business, she finds time to put a home-cooked meal on the table most nights. I work (read:write) from home, and I can't even manage that!

PJ Sharon said...

Catie, those friendships are so formative. I still stay in touch a few times a year with a friend I've had since kindergarten. Some bonds can never be broken. Thanks for stopping by.

Melissa, thanks for having me. We all have our own strengths and i would bet your BFF envies your ability to sit down for hours at a time and make up stories that other people want to read, LOL. Maybe she could invite you for dinner.

Anonymous said...

As I have grown older I realize that when my mother, and more likely my grandmother, disapproved of one of my friends, they were right. However, perhaps my solution of not having friends at all might have been a bit overboard.

Lorie Langdon said...

Welcome PJ!
Here, here to friends who allow us to be ourselves!
I've learned over the years that your true friends aren't going to judge you or expect you to value all the same things they value.

Your son sounds very wise. :D

Thanks for sharing with us!

PJ Sharon said...

My mom was never really wrong about my friends so much as after seven kids, she resigned herself to the fact that I wouldn't listen anyway, so she didn't complain too much.

Thanks for having me Lori. My sons are remarkably wise young men, I'm happy to say. But no matter how smart they are, the male genetics makes them unreasonably stubborn. Gotta alove them!

Gail Ingis said...

My mother was still telling me who my BFFs were when I was married and had kids. Would you believe? To this day, I am not sure she was right, but I always respected her opinion. She was a pretty smart lady. It was sad though when I was around 10, she didn't like the friend that I played with in the mud. Playing in the mud, making mud pies, smearing mud all over, oh what fun. I guess she didn't like the clean-up.

PJ Sharon said...

Very funny Gail! Moms are always moms I guess. Thanks for stopping by.