What is there even to say about Ira – a lot, there’s a lot. For starters, the friend whom I’m dubbing Iramor on this blog is the person I consider to be my first friend, and without her knowing, she’s one of the biggest influences on who I am today. In fact, many of the virtues that others seem to see in me, I attribute to her.
Any display of open-mindedness, tolerance, or work ethic – as well as admiration for such traits – I could probably trace back to her. However, I suppose to explain how she affected who I am now, I need to start by discussing who I was before.
As a child I was isolated, had a whole lot of internalized bigotry, and possessed an ego large enough to power a small country. I attribute a lot of this to my family, who raised me with the belief that I was more intelligent, more competent, more capable than any other child. They put these expectations on me with some pretty outlandish beliefs, and I didn’t question much of it – I didn’t even know there were other acceptable colleges aside from Harvard, Princeton, and Yale until well into 10th grade.
I was a child that was eager to please. I still hold an inordinate amount of respect towards my mother, my father, my grandparents, and everyone in my family for different reasons. All of them are such strong individuals with aspects I hoped and still hope to emulate. However, as a conservative Korean family, there were a lot of microaggressions bandied about in my childhood, particularly regarding socioeconomic status, race, and sexual orientations. Basically everything.
Although I did not agree with everything that my family said, in most cases I didn’t disagree either. It had nothing to do with me, I thought, so I didn’t really think for myself. Rather than disparaging, it is safe to say that I was impassively ignorant.
When I think of the initial stages of my friendship with Ira, I remember being uncertain about a lot of things. At first, my initial interest in her was because my mother approved of her – god, don’t I sound like such a sheltered rich kid, I could be a fanfic protagonist – and as a result, I wanted to get to know her. I had never really made a proper friend before, and I didn’t know how to get her to like me without me liking the same things, and we had very little in common to start with due to my isolated upbringing.
Ira knew many things I didn’t know about – music, TV shows, online video games – things that you might notice on this blog that I greatly enjoy in present day. In fact, I suspect that if it weren’t for her, I would’ve continued only listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and a selection of baroque songs until my adult life. She introduced me to some songs she enjoyed at the time, and although they were eclectic, it was through those songs that I learned that music could tell a story.
Actually, it’s from those songs that I learned that there are some pretty fascinating stories to tell, too. Then she introduced me to, back then, a server of Ragnarok Online, and the number of interests that sparked off are too many to name – technology, MMORPGs, video games in general, roleplaying, and computer programming, to name a few. Some of the things I did back then online are appalling and cringeworthy thinking back, but at the time it was immensely fun and I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.
Wow, wait, I actually only just realized that I never would have bothered to gotten to know computers or attempt to learn code if it weren’t for Ira. How can this be when so many people know me as the go-to tech person. She’s had more influence on me than I thought, and I already knew it was a lot. Wow. Moving on.
In contrast to me, Ira knew quite a bit about world issues. Her parents worked for the embassy of her country, and she knew more about politics before I was even sure what politics were. Ira was open-minded and thought bigotry was stupid, which although I knew was true, was still a shock when I grew up surrounded by microaggressive individuals. I’m actually not sure when I would have learned that LGBTQ issues are a thing if it weren’t for her – yeah, laugh it up, I didn’t know liking the same gender was a thing until like 8th grade. I was aroace, I thought liking people happened in your twenties or something.
And then there was the fact that she was hardworking – I hadn’t realized that was a virtue before. However, watching her want a certain result and then make an effort towards it, I found myself admiring her and feeling compelled to do the same. Honestly, I think getting to know Ira in my life has been nothing but positive – she’s been nothing but a positive influence on me, and I am grateful I ever got to know her.
Iramor is an inspiration to me. Ever since I first met her, I found her wit and dry humor fascinating, and the story ideas she shared with me were a precursor to my own love of creative writing. Her humanitarian nature (although she’d deny having one) was the key to getting me to see that there is a world that extends beyond me and my family, and also that the real world has problems that need to be acknowledged.
In my memory of her, even though I haven’t seen her in person for at least five years now, she was poised. God, her posture was good, I need to fix mine – and she usually met joke with a bright grin or polite snickering (as polite as snickering could get, which was surprisingly polite). When something could get a laugh out of her, it was an achievement with a bright and warm reward.
She always knew what to say. She’d deny it, but that’s the impression she gave. Ira was incredibly courteous towards my family, and it’s incredibly difficult to navigate a conversation with my parents, but she could. In fact, over the years, I’ve only found more things to admire in her, and I can’t believe how emotionally intelligent she really is. I still seek to emulate her in some ways.
Oh, as you might have noticed, she’s actually met my family. I remember my grandmother trying to set her up with my cousin;; That’s higher praise than Ira will ever know, complimenting mind, appearance, and heart all at once. Like hell I’d let Chad/Alex/whatever-his-name-is now ever even get a date with her though, she’d be wasted on him.
Fun fact: Iramor is the only one of my friends who has ever seen the inside of my house. She knew me before my mother put the isolationist policy in place, ahaha.
I have much to thank Ira for, and though we haven’t seen each other in years and only skype chat on occasion, if she ever needs anything of me, I will always be here to help. She was there in my formative years to help build the foundation of the city that would become my mind – my MindMap, actually, but that’s another post. If it weren’t for Ira, I don’t believe I would ever have gotten into writing, and I wouldn’t have this blog, and I wouldn’t be writing this post telling you about how wonderful she is.
Wow, I didn’t cover enough at all – I might need a followup post or to edit this, but it’s the deadline, exactly 10:02AM. I guess I’ll have to wait. Ira, if you read this, you’re great!!