I find I am thinking about friendship, and what it has done for me over the course of my life.
Robert Hruzek was the catalyst. “What I have learned from friends” is the subject of his current writing project over at Middle Zone Musings. His theme is one of those that cause me to think, “well, a lot —of course.” But then narrowing it down, and writing about specifics?
Ironically though (or maybe the word should be ‘naturally’) I first sat down with a blank Word Doc window in front of me to participate no matter what the theme may have been, because Robert is my friend, and that was reason enough. I just trusted that coming up with something to say would happen, as writing my way through most things is my habit to begin with (and because it is for Robert, settle in and get used to these asides in parentheses. I love Robert; he writes like I think. The heck with brevity; it’s not always what it’s cut out to be).
After some rambling, writing snippets that were memories of times spent in different friendships (why do the wilder experiences, the ones my friends would say, “don’t you dare publish that!” come to mind first? If only you could see my morning pages today…) this is what I came to realize:
What I have learned from friends is just how complicated a person I can be. Good grief, I have learned about me!
About the ALL of me.
Oh my. My friendships have brought out the good (as in, this is really good), the bad, the ugly, but mostly, the extremely playful and courageous me. The me that will take off-the-wall risks, be completely impulsive and spontaneous, and just not care. (Well, maybe I will care, but I will also bring bandaids, and chalk the whole episode up to that fab place of no regrets.)
You see when I read back over my memory snippets (some very recent… shh!) I realize that I have done things with friends that I would never, ever, EVER have done with anyone in my family, not even when I was a teenager sneaking around with my brothers behind my parents back. Not with my husband (who really has been a best friend too, in a way” every woman knows that flirty platonic friendships with men are the best ones. Kelly, Neal, Todd, Aaron come to mind.) Not with my kids, even now as young adults I go drinking in Las Vegas with (the occasional “Mom!” outburst can really kill most impulses), and not even with distant cousins who chances are I’ll never see again until we both can’t remember each other’s names much less what happened anyway.
We love our families, but they can really kill certain opportunities, and that’s where friends come in.
Friends who are not family are completely safe; we trust them in a strange way, without any guarantee of “blood being thicker than water.” We are happier being ourselves playing in that flimsy-thin, but refreshingly clean water. We relax and float on it easily, we kick and splash with abandon, and we totally enjoy being the wet tee-shirt kind of wet. Yeah, so you saw it; is there any cold beer left?
So as a result, those mornings come, where we think about the day or night before, and we say to ourselves, “Damn, I cannot believe I did that.” But then we smile, because you know what? We’re glad that we did. We might even do it again.
Heck, we might even immortalize it forever in an OMG voicemail, an email littered with camera-phone pictures… or a blog post. (Okay no, not that. My friends can all relax now.)
(So what might this have to do with Talking Story?)
Does it have to?
I did write about FAVE book Vital Friends before, so maybe we can go revisit that in the archives: (the entire concept of vital friendship is tre-cool. Dwayne is a vital friend. So is Dave, Phil, Joanna, Amy, Christine and Doreen… ((there are women in the mix too)) Gosh, I could go on and on about online friendships and how those have given me new learning; mind-boggling.)
- Vital Friends & Family
- Vital Friends, The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without
- Are You The Favorite Person of Anybody?
But I know what I said in those links. I got an email from Aaron this morning, and another from David, and I think I’ll go write back now. There is a part of me lurking inside, who’d dutifully done the Rosa Ho‘ohana thing all week long, and she wants to come out and play for a while. (Another cafÃ© latte instead of a cold beer first, but still works.)
See you later. It’s Saturday; don’t hang around here ”“ go call one of your friends and enjoy the water.
Jump by Erathic Eric on Flickr.