At the start of the year, I was blessed to travel to the Washington, DC/Maryland area to celebrate the 40th birthday of one of my dearest friends, Dru Ealons. I guess I’m thinking of that today because I fell asleep last night after watching “Love and Hip Hop” (don’t judge me) and the “friendships” on there had me shaking my head without even intending to. Plus, January 2014 was the last time I’ve been on a plane and I’m about ready to take to the skies and have some fun again. Pass me a Biscotti and a Ginger Ale and take me somewhere please!
We had a Blast with a capital “B” in DC!!!!!! As with most times of gathering together, the journey to what is now one of my most favorite memories was long-fought and hard for me! Because none of us are picture shy we took the luxury of capturing our adventure via camera. The pictures were priceless, fierce, meaningful, beautiful and candid, and they captured who we are as sister/friends. What you don’t see is the behind the scenes financial finagling, unexpected events, schedule remixing and so on and so on just to be able to be there, with and for each other.
Many have commented on how women can’t be friends. We absolutely can, but friendship requires commitment and dedication. Sadly, the pictures of “friends” we often see derive from the unfortunate portrayals in the media and on reality television, where commitment and dedication are dismissed for dismissing each other, tossing glasses of wine and throwing shade. And still, we all long for that sisterhood that we were created to experience and need in order to exist. But that takes work. Like a car, or your relationship with your “boo”, friendship also requires maintenance. They sometimes breakdown. They sometimes get shaky. They sometimes provide smooth travel and other times the ride is bumpy. That’s life, people. That happens anytime two or more humans decide to come together and operate in their humanness. And still, there is a way to do it and get through it.
We are honest with who we are and honest about who the other is. (There are no lofty or unrealistic expectations here allowing the pedastals to fall down. However, there is also personal transparency that evolves as the relationship does allowing the masks to come off.)
- We appreciate each other’s uniqueness. (We clearly recognize and still love the late one, the critiquer, the perfectionist, the louder one, the quiet one, the one who won’t partake in a “beverage” and the ones who will.)
- We protect the circle. (I am blessed with a few circles of friends. Even with my assortment, rare is the time that those circles mix within each other, or include others in our more intimate times of gathering. Our time is our time, even in the individual groups. Knowing the different facets of friends and providing a space for each of those forms to exist is key.)
- We’re not afraid to speak the truth in love, AND hear the truth in love. (Sometimes a girl just needs to say the truth or receive the truth then work it out with a best bud and a brownie.)
- We share the spotlight and sounding board allowing each person time to shine and share.
- We don’t hold each other to standards that we don’t hold ourselves to. (We’re not mad if we haven’t received a phone call, text message, invitation or email when we know we’ve not done the same.)
- We are not looking at the friendship as a fixer. (Friendship is not meant to account for things that are lacking. It’s sent to accent that which we already have. Looking to each other as the cure to our past or present woes, or for validation or acceptance is unfair to all parties.)
- We don’t envy or compare.
- When know when to grant space and when to step forward.
- We laugh, a LOT…with and at each other.
- We respect each other’s time, space in life and circumstances, being proactive and thoughtful in planning.
- We keep it confidential. (What goes on in the friendzone stays in the friendzone. Point. Blank. Period.)
- We’re not easily hurt or offended because we assume the best rather than the worst of one another.
- When it does happen, (and it does) we talk about what has hurt or offended us rather than resurrecting walls of defense and retreating.
- We don’t spend a lot of time together (possibly on purpose) to make us appreciate the time we do have. (The older we get the less time we are likely to have, so by default “hanging out” or “chit-chatting” becomes more and more rare. And that’s okay. Knowing we have someone we can call on when we need them is about 75% of true friendship.)
- We celebrate sincerely and support in times of trouble.
- We say and accept “Oops”, “My bad” and “I’m sorry” (as often as we should).
By no means am I saying any of my sister/friends and I have this whole friendship thing down to a science. We don’t and are nowhere near the pinnacle of “we’ve mastered this”. But I can’t imagine doing life without them, and therefore we work at it and allow ourselves to be worked on with hopes of it working.