Posts tagged friendship
Posts tagged friendship
a friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself. Jim Morrison #quote
I miss NY
I’m weird…that goes without saying. My oddities, unfortunately, have made forging new friendships a bit of a challenge, however.
The word “Best Friend” doesn’t mean the same as an adult that it did pre-puberty, in high school, or even college. Those wear-it-on-a-necklace, parade-skipping-through-the-streets-holding-hands, wear-matching-outfits-to-school, share-everything-even-gum kind of friendships tend to disappear when you grow up and realize that there are more important things in life…things like a career, relocating, personal goals, money, romantic relationships, etc.
I want to say these things shouldn’t change relationships, but they do…no matter how much we may wish otherwise.
Why is it that in my adult life I have only been able to find the closeness I used to share with my very best girlfriends, with guys? Guys who’s hair i’ll never braid, who will never split a best/friends necklace with me, who will not sit beside me for a bi-weekly mani/pedi and or a a sit-and-bitch about mom calling me every ten minutes, or how much I hate mushrooms, or how cute the guy in accounting is…but nevertheless, these relationships seem so much easier for me.
It may just be that i’m weird…which has been my go to excuse for many things i can’t explain.
Or maybe it’s because I don’t have to worry as much about being weird with guys, or about showing interest in things I really don’t care about…maybe it’s because i feel less judged for being the uniquely odd less than feminine girl who prefers weekend watching the LOTR trilogy back-to-back while splitting a meat lovers pizza over an all day boutique shop-a-thon trying on two-sizes-too-small skinny jeans while lamenting my body’s shortcomings. You never really have to concern yourself with mutual self-loathing while spending time with the guys…kind of like when we were kids and that stuff didn’t really matter.
Ironically, even though my inclination towards male friendships has once again come to fruition while establishing myself on the other side of the world, i find, more often than not, that i miss all the ladies i have left behind…the ones that took the time to get over my flaky inability to commit to plans in advance, my chronic lateness, my dislike for most of their female friends, my odd obsession with diner food and breakfast for dinner, as well as my need to share everything we do in social media. I didn’t appreciate or even recognize how rare this kind of patience is…or how selective i was when deciding who i would let get that close to me.
I also miss not having to have the “it’s never going to happen” conversations with my guy friends. This had already been mutually established with my best guy friends at home…It’s so weird starting over. I find myself having the When Harry Met Sally debate over and over again. Lucky for me, it’s worked out in my favor a few times since my move. Even if my relationships cause many a raised eyebrow and some awkward conversations in the office, there are a few wonderful new friends (mostly male) who have decided to take me as i am without judging my sometimes tomboy, sometimes insanely emotional mood swings, who understand where i came from, and generally like who i am—quirks and all.
i lost a friend last week. i found out the day after that he was gone. i found out a week after how he went. the days in between were an emotional conglomerate of questions, doubts, tears, emptiness, sadness, and self-pity. i question over and over again what could have happened—what his last moments were like. only a few years older than me—all i could think was it could have been any of us—it could have been me.
five years ago, i can remember, the happiest time of my single life. i was living the life of a make-shift sorority sister in a club comprised of friends and neighbors, only doors between us. we played and partook in all the usual girl-bonding activities, and like any good sorority, we had our brother fraternity to entertain us. he was one of them—he was my first friend when i moved back in. he always had a girl, always proud to talk about her, and he was my first friend of my adult life…the rest followed suit.
i remember when he got engaged—how our morning commute with the loud crowd turned into Turkish lessons and diamond school. i learned everything i know about engagement rings from him. i remember how he bragged about her. she made him so happy. i remember being so happy for him.
the years passed…the summers grew shorter, and we all grew apart…grew up. some got married, started families, and, over time, all moved away—Facebook the only thing that was holding us together. he finally married his girl, bought a house, had a beautiful baby girl. for all any of us could see, we were all happy. weren’t we?
So young, just starting his new life. was he sick? was it a freak accident? there was so much i didn’t know.
the group of us from back then were brought back together over text and email and in this virtual space, the distance that had grown over the last few years became as clear as a brick wall standing between us. regrets amassed, longing for missed opportunities to reconcile differences, i finally found out through a text message days later. it was suicide.
not really sure how i feel right now, but i have a million unanswered questions. i’m sure i’ll have much more to write…eventually. for now, all i can think about is how i had no idea. none of us did. we were once so close, and in just a few year we grew so far apart that a cry for help from a friend could not be heard. did he ask for help? did nobody hear? could this have been stopped? what of his wife and little girl?
how can we make sure this never happens again…
i know what that’s like…and it’s very special.
“should’ve” is the worst word in the English language.
A single word which embodies so much lost opportunity, lost hope, so many wishes and so much regret. For a word nerd, like myself, it’s pretty hard to admit such distaste for any specific grouping of letters, let alone one that does not have cruel meaning or harsh emotion attached to it….but “should’ve” is one that I try to often avoid.
There are so many things in our lives that, when reflected upon, we can only use the word, “should’ve,” to describe—“I should’ve taken that job,” “I should’ve made that bet,” “I should’ve shared that last bite of s’more,” “I should’ve asked for that raise,” “I should’ve said thank you.” I’ve had a lot of these lost opportunities, and I have taken from them certain learnings that prevent me from missing out again…one “should’ve” I vow not to relive is “I should’ve told him/her how i felt…”
Sometimes the hardest thing to say is, “I want you in my life…” This emotion comes in many different forms. For some, “I love you,” for others, “I feel a distance between us,” and sometimes it’s as simple as “please stay…” There seems to be so much emotion and vulnerability attached to this expression, that the words are often not said, and the one word we are left with…forever entwined in the beautiful reflection of what was, poisoning all it’s goodness, is “should’ve.”
I’ve learned that we have so much more to regret by always protecting ourselves…not in the physical sense, but emotionally. Bruised pride, fear, disappointment…these are feelings that none of of seek out, but can be experienced when we open ourselves to possibilities, allow ourselves to hope, and are let down…but I bet one thing you will never say is “I shouldn’t have tried.”
…and in those times when maybe things don’t work out, that’s what I am here for…
Sometimes your friends really do know what’s best for you…sometimes.
…and sometimes they don’t.
I’ve learned that I don’t always make the best decisions…more importantly I’ve learned to admit that I don’t always make the best decisions. But, aren’t mistakes part of life? And, isn’t learning from them part of what makes us grow? What makes life so interesting? If we all did everything right all the time, what would we even have to gossip about? Ok, forget the gossip…anyone who knows me knows that’s really not my style, but honestly, if everything was right all the time, there would be no news, nothing to report on; There would be no counseling, nothing to worry or stress about; There would be no human resources, everyone would always be trusted and treated fairly; Hell, no need for government—no #occupywallstreet (my current obsession) …our society is founded on the fact that we are flawed.
So, stop trying to save me.
I’ve got something in my life that I am proud of—something I am happy to be a part of—something that nobody can touch, and yet, I have received insurmountable unsolicited advice regarding the subject. At this point, to all those who are trying to save me from screwing it up, I have this to say to you:
No, thank you.
My happiness belongs to only me, it is my responsibility, and perhaps partially the responsibility of those intimately involved, and I believe all affected parties are kind of kicking ass as their job right now. So, why question it? Why would my friends question it? Why even raise a doubt where there is no doubt to be had?
Granted, although older and wiser than the naive fool who has countlessly dropped the ball and suffered the consequences, I am still young at heart, still have much to learn, and still much more fragile than I may let on. I understand that those close have my best interest in mind and are looking out for my own well-being. Noted.
But, please stop.
I will happily continue on in my blissful ignorance and if the day should come that I should falter again, I will gladly celebrate with you as you chant your “I told you so“‘s…but not today.
Today is mine.
You might think by the picture above that I’m about to get very off topic…
Anyone who reads me would say that this blog is about love. If you really read me, you would know that it’s actually about relationships…both romantic and not. I’ve written about friends and family, about experiences I’ve shared with others, and experiences and emotions that I want to share with my readers…that is my relationship with you.
Today I have been thinking a lot about a relationship that actually does not belong to me…but one between someone very close to me and someone I have never met, but hope to someday.
We’ve all seen movies and read books about the bonds women form with their friends…emotional, lifelong friendships between two people that will be forever linked by experiences and milestones (and for any guys reading this, you know you have willingly or unwillingly bore witness to this kind of “entertainment.” Not asking you to admit you’re a fan of Lifetime tear-jerkers, but you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about). What we rarely see, outside of the recent Bromance genre, is this kind of emotional relationship between men…we don’t see it in media, but we all definitely see in in our everyday lives…in the lives of men we are close to.
Why has it taken us so long, as a culture, to be comfortable elevating these relationships? Some might argue that we always have…That great poets like Shakespeare and Twain and Whitman have always exploited love (platonic and not) between men, however their sexuality was always a factor in evaluating their work.
Ok, before I go off on a rant—and I could, I have many opinions on this topic—let me get back to the relationship that inspired the above babble. Have you ever had a friend you would do anything for? One that you would go any length to ensure their happiness? Someone you can depend on, that you want to be able to always depend on you in return? Outside of my sister, I’m not sure this kind of purity exists in any of my friendships, but I have seen it more frequently between the men in my life. These relationships are few and far between, and if you’re lucky enough to experience it, even if it is just from the sidelines, it is something to be cherished…If you’re really lucky, you will get to share in part of what is so amazing about it.
So dearest friend, which is what I hope to call you myself one day, know that through our shared relationship, you are in my heart today, and have been in my thoughts long before. You are in good hands…The best even.
There are so many ways to physically connect with someone, but I always felt there’s just so much you give up when you hold someone’s hand. It feels almost like a whisper, something so private, often experienced in space that’s so public…for all to see, but shared between only two.
Like it’s our little secret…
Maybe it makes me old fashioned, but the palm-to-palm interaction—the affectionate linking-of-fingers—seems to me to require a certain closeness and a certain amount of trust.
65 years later, my nana can tell me exactly when my pop first held her hand. She can still affectionately reminisce about a sweet-sixteen he tagged along with her to, and how he reached out to hold her hand on the walk there…she laughs at my shock at the sheer boldness of it. There was no first date, they hadn’t been intimate at any time before…he just asked, “can I come?” and took her hand for the first time as he walked her to the party…and then he never let go.
There’s a symbolism in hand-holding. A wide-spread cultural understanding of togetherness, friendship, and/or affection. As much as it is a whisper, it is a billboard touting a bond between two people. Another reason I chuckled at my grandmother’s story. Pop was marking his territory.
I remember saying once, in a moment of vulnerability, “I’ve never gotten this far…I don’t know what comes next.” I really didn’t. I still don’t. In response I was told, “Just hold my hand…” and I wanted to. Those few words made my palms feel warm and then the rest of my body followed suit…and in my own little world of worry, I wore an uncontrollable grin…and I felt close, and I felt trust, and I knew I would be ok. That moment was just between us…that was my whisper—my “everything will be alright.” And when I finally allowed it, I believed it. That was an intimacy that I guess I needed. I think it even surprised me a bit.
Everyone’s got their one thing…the way they just know…for me, it’s always been the question, “do I want to hold your hand?”