It is so easy to take the most important things in your life for granted.
We do it every day. Unfortunately, it's rarely a conscious choice.
As I've shifted and stumbled into my mid (hold me) twenties, I've shed friendships like a second skin. Some of them didn't fit within my "new life". Some of them imploded- firey and bright and blisteringly painful. Others just faded away- and one day I realized it had been weeks, months since I'd heard from that person.
2012 has been a YEAR. What is that saying? The only thing constant in life is change. My reality, things I thought were concrete and eternally true, splintered and fractured. I'm still trying to figure out exactly how to reset, expanding to fill a new space.
So, what remained amidst the chaos? Those friends. The ones who didn't self-detonate or disappear. The ones whose presence didn't feel like a itchy wool sweater but fit like a favorite pair of sweatpants and that little black dress that always makes you feel amazing, in equal measure.
They closed ranks. They brought wine. When I cracked jokes and tried so hard to pretend like I had it all together- they played along. They showed up.
In the midst of personal crisis, you are acutely aware of how much these people mean. You are constantly surprised by the ways they keep getting it right. When you are at your lowest point, when you truly begin to believe that the importance of your existence is equivalent to the dirt underneath the world's fingernails- they find a way to seamlessly integrate into the fabric of your everyday life, quietly but insistently reminding you that in some way- you matter. Filling spaces you didn't even realize felt empty. Anticipating the next backslide.
Eventually, the days get easier. You make the transition from crisis control to basic maintenance. When things are going well, or are simply interesting and mildly entertaining as opposed to catastrophically bad, it becomes easier to take those people for granted. To place them in a warm and fuzzy, albeit dusty, corner of your mind. Suddenly, you're wrapped up in a new romance or a challenging job or you've shrunk your universe to include only yourself and your priorities. You forget to be thankful.
So consider this a love letter.
To those people in my life who love me for who I actually am as opposed to the person that they expect me to be. And not because they are obligated to by blood relation, but because they have gleaned something organically worthy from my presence in their life. To the ones who show up. To the ones who let me keep showing up, no matter how flawed my approach or delivery may be. To the ones who pacify me on the phone for hours, even when they have a million other obligations within their own life to attend to. To the ones who don't reflexively send my calls to voicemail when they register my number on their screen.To the ones who tell me when I'm being an asshole, but in a way that is just subtle enough it feels less like a reproach and more like a compliment. To the ones who share their left-overs and their beds and their secrets. To the ones who are only momentarily mad when you eat their pizza at 2 am on a Saturday. To the ones who watch game shows and don't cringe when I shout at the screen and think nothing of drinking a bottle of wine on a Tuesday night. To the ones who know just what to say, and, more importantly, know when to say nothing at all. To the ones that encourage you to laugh at yourself because, let's be honest- nothing is that serious.
I pride myself on being a good friend. Conscious, loyal, present. Lately however, I've realized that isn't always true. Life has a way of disarming you. Lulling you into this peaceful haze where you begin to believe that you'll never see rock bottom again. My personal chaos taught me a lot about the kind of person I am, as well as the kind of person I would like to be. This striking self-awareness walks in step with some amount of self-absorption because, gosh-world... look at how well I'm doing, all on my own.
Truth is...I'm not alone. And haven't ever been.
For that, I should be forever grateful.
So here's to falling in love again, with friendship. Because nothing keeps you quite as warm, quite as self-assured as the glow of an inside joke, a glance across a room that shouts a thousand unspoken things. Nothing makes you feel as safe, as sure as when those you hold closest rally around you, to celebrate success or obliterate disappointments .
I'm making a conscious choice. To be madly, passionately in love with THOSE friends. To nurture those relationships just like I would any other, to value them and not let them lazily acquire rusted edges. To appreciate them, not only in big moments but in the thousands of quiet moments in between. To make sure they understand they (and their perceived problems, issues, downers) are never an obligation but always a privilege.
Because unfortunately (fortunately?) I already know who will show up when my world crashes down. And you know what?
They're pretty awesome.
So consider this my painfully awkward way of saying thanks. For supporting me, putting up with me..and letting me try to keep up.