To My Lifetime Friends:
This is my proclamation to you.
I have had the pleasure of meeting lots of people.
Listen, I didn’t enter the human services and social work field because I didn’t love people. Those connections were like air to me. A large part of my life has been made up of friendships because I didn’t have extended family growing up. My friends fulfilled the void of extended family I never had.
Through the years, I am still learning how to identify which plants to water and which ones to let go of. Truthful moment?
Like many of us, my need to feel accepted outweighs my judgment most of the time. I want to believe the best in people just as I want people to believe in the best of me. Since I don’t operate on the thought of “better than,” I tend to be less selective than I’m learning I need to be. Not everyone deserves all of you anymore than they deserve any of you.
I went through many friendships that I interpreted as losses at the time. It took heartache to realize that what I perceived to be a loss was more about my need to re-evaluate my selectivity in who was invited into my sacred spaces. While I struggle with the difficult realization that not everyone is an honorable and worthy recipient of my heart, I often dive in head-first anyway. I have nearly drowned more times than I’d like to count. I have also had to bow my head knowing that unless I participated in the culture of dishonoring women, it was likely the narrative that those “friends” were able to engage in would challenge my own character. I’d like to say it hasn’t happened often, but the truth is.
There is another side to the scarring pain though and that is being able to recognize the difference. If we didn’t suffer the pain of the fair-weathered friends, we wouldn’t be able to identify the ones who have the honor and dignity to ride the waves alongside you. The real friends who sit beneath the surface of those who aren’t clothed in imagery, a lack of character and ego.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I have a select few who have been lifelong friends for decades. It amazes me how distance, detours and differences don’t detract from our genuine love for one another. They have taught me that real friendships don’t just weather what is easy. They are prepared, willing and insistent on weathering what is hard.
Why? Because of no other reason than true love and friendship.
It’s taken me some time to spot them. Hell, it’s taken me a lot of pain too. There are many times I have been on the receiving end of the many ways (and methods) by which women seek to preserve their images, egos and the narratives about themselves they desperately need to cling onto. It has tested my values and I can admit that there have been many times when participating in the dishonoring of women in an attempt to honor my truth has been tempting. Truth is, it doesn’t serve anyone and the people it would aren’t worth it anyway.
I’ve always said that I would rather have a few good women than a bunch of women I know wouldn’t weather a nasty storm with me. I am thankful I have those tribe of women who I can call upon through pain, struggle, imperfections, inconveniences, shame and fear who will remind me I’m worthy of walking it through with. I can assure you that it has made for one hell of a friendship because hell is when you find out who is waiting to walk you through it.
I have those women and they’ll forever have me should they accept. They know who they are too. They’re not fair-weathered. They’re the women who await the storm and are ready to extend the hand when I need it. Stop watering the dead plants. Chances are they wouldn’t have thrived anyway. It may be time to plant and nourish new ones.
Here’s to our lifelong friends. Be sure to let them know you see them for all of the many ways in which they’re committed to seeing you!
In Love & Truth,