As a woman I have always had friend issues. Trust issues. Afraid of being back stabbed. Always hearing my name amongst whispers in the hallway. Being the brunt of name calling. Guys, never had a problem with the guys in school, in life, didn’t catch a whole lot of flack unless they happened to be with a girl who was into giving me shit.
And there were a few Jennifer Wells, Pauletta Whitehorn, Trinette Jones, who gave me more than enough grief in high school. Their names stained in my brain, faces stamped in my nightmares for years. I remember trying to figure out why, I was the target. What transgression I had inflicted, what had I ever done to them?
It never really mattered, if you asked them now, they probably couldn’t tell you what my crime had been. At work recently, a co-worker recalled a girl who she and her friends made fun of constantly – her transgression – her eye brows. How she chose to wear her eye brows. I am ashamed that I didn’t call her on why that was a justifiable offense, when she has a two year old daughter she is raising right now. And I wonder if my daughter will have to face her child, and defend something as trivial as her eyebrows. So alas maybe they can remember. But it doesn’t matter it just made it hard for me to trust women in general. Made me question anybody who had something to say that was nice or kind, I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting to hear what they really thought. There were days where I snapped and kept the line relatively drawn. There were subjects you didn’t touch. Days I just wasn’t in the mood.
And it didn’t hurt that I wasn’t small. I was 5’7” 150lbs and on the basketball team. I was fit, and not afraid of being physical. But self conscious and thought I was a blimp. But I wasn’t trying to be suspended. In my school suspension (i.e. days absent) reflected on your grades, and I didn’t have any grades or days to spare.
Then I met Candy.
We were Sophomores I think. She was in band. She was pretty. And Smart. And just as damaged as I was. She was church mouse quiet. But a blast to hang out with. She and the group of friends we quilted together Curtis, John, Candy, Myself, Johns girlfriend, later my boyfriend, and sister and my sisters friend who then became John’s second girlfriend.
And I remember this because I remember how that group of people, especially Candy got me through those last years of high school. And I remember how devastated I was when she walked away.
She got pregnant when we were in college together. She had actually left me long before that but she seriously stopped talking to me then. Our friendship as teetered off and on since then, most days me waiting for her to need me, miss me, call me. Me calling because I need her, miss her, and my God daughter. They live just far enough away that I can’t just stop by and take them to lunch. She’s had a second child. She’s still the smart one, still pretty, still the one I look at with wonder. The distance by car seems to equal the one in our relationship, long when you think about it, but actually kinda short once you drive it.
I mention all of this because my currently best friend, Spoken, blogs too, she will read this when I post it to wordpress, I have mentioned her in many a post, good ones, and not so good ones. But she is my ace. There no matter what. Our friendship has been stretched, pulled, and pushed, taken its lumps but she is still here.
We are fundamentally different, yet the same. I feel safe in our friendship. She’s got to cut down the cursing with my kid around. And I think my kid picked up “Stupid ______!!!” from her. Which caught my attention when it was “stupid mommy”. But other wise…
I don’t believe she is just going to disappear. In the beginning I did. But slowly, surely, we have crafted something, solid, that will not simply be put away. For me it was simply a matter of wanting a friend more than I wanted to not be hurt. Things happened at all the right times I guess. I had recently had it out with Candy about the state of that friendship. And I had come to peace with it. Misunderstandings were understood, and I came to accept what she could offer me as my friend, and let go of what we used to be to each other. So when Spoken came, actually she was given to me, I was alright with the relationships with the other women in my life. My mother and I are closer than we have been since I was – shoot twelve. I am so close to my Aunt. My sister is my hands down absolute BEST FRIEND on the planet, the way your sister should be, in that cheesy TV sitcom kinda way. But Spoken she came and gave me what I was missing. Someone who honestly chooses to be your friend. And if I were to die tomorrow, I believe Spoken would be there to tell Cammy who I was. In ways that Jerry and my sister would not think to say, she would remember the things I would want Cammy to know, that I don’t know to tell anyone so they know.
And I the post I’ve linked to previously Spoken talks a little bit about how hard it is to share thing with me, because she values my opinion, and doesn’t want to disappoint me. That she envies my life and my relationship with my family.
What she doesn’t know is as much as I love my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
I envy hers as well.
Spoken is honestly one of the most honest – at least when she’s being honest with her self – brutally honest people I know. My mother is the only other person I know who doesn’t even own gloves to take off, that’s how real they keep it.
She is honorable. And she has this awesome work ethic I hope she helps me instill in Cammy. She is smart. And talented. She speaks several languages, plays classical cello, and is single and free to do anything and go any where. She wasn’t afraid to leave her family and go. My biggest wish is that she trusted me enough to play for us.
But I envy her freedom, not in a I would trade what I have for it, but - I wish I had it too - way.
The funny thing is she’s seen my yard up close, she knows where the brown spots are and how much work it takes to keep my grass green. Its grass, my special mix of grass seed that works for my yard. Granted I use a special fertilizer, made by that family she envies. But its no greener than any other yard. And I know the grass is not greener in her yard. I’ve seen hers up close, its green, just not greener than my grass. She makes my grass greener.
So what I want to say to you Spoken, is ours is not to envy as individuals, because you have been instrumental in my world it would not be what it is with out you, and I hope yours with out me.
Yes I want you to relax and be happy and have fun, because I remember what it was when I was in your exact place, and regret is not something I want you to find after you settle down. My regrets are few and very far between, mostly because I chose to live! and I am still trying to hold that choice close to me. Enjoy the life you have been blessed with, ENJOY it. You do not get extra time later. Today is what you will remember tomorrow. This is what scares me for you, if I was ever to be disappointed, that would be why. If you live and die with regrets – real ones not the silly ones we spot in the middle of the night over Greys reruns, that would make me sad. Make it count, Spoken.