I don’t have a lot of friends, but the ones that I do call my friends are very special to me. There is my friend from elementary school, a girl I can assert I grew up with. We’ve had our shares of ups and downs. Our closeness to each other even waivered throughout the years. I can still remember how incredibly jealous of her I was, but also how thankful I was for having her in my life. This was the girl that taught me everything I needed to know about owning myself. To be unapologetic in nature just because it makes someone else uncomfortable. She taught me how to be confident and hold my head up when all I wanted to do was hang it. And even though we aren’t nearly as close as we were in elementary school, we are still considerably close. She can come to me for advice and I can offer it to her. And every time we talk, I can just see how proud she is to call me her friend because I haven’t given up yet. Because I won’t apologize for being me just because it makes some people uncomfortable.Then there is my friend from high school. I can still remember the way I had begrudged her for her affairs with love. Her ability to draw the attention of a suitor without really having to go out of the way to do so. The way relationships seem to just fall in her lap. I’ve also learned from her and have much to thank her for. She was the one that showed me a relationship is what you make it. That love doesn’t always show up on a white stallion with a Prince on its back. That sometimes you have to take a risk or two to obtain the happiness you really desire. That regardless of how bleak the outlook may be, that happiness can never elude those that want to be happy. My optimism can only be credited to her. The one would go out on a limb for me and defend my happiness, even if she’d questioned it’s validity, because at least I was happy. Every time we get together I can also see the proud look on her face as she proudly proclaims me her best friend, because I refuse to allow anything to deter me from achieving happiness.
And there is my friend from college, who in the grand scheme of things I haven’t known nearly as long. Our contact is spotty now, but we still remain close. Catching up in never really catching up, as much as picking up where we left off. But she also faced my scrutiny like all my other friends did. The way she would leap into situations headfirst without questions. The way she was always so willing to give. The way she’d offer herself up to anyway without so much of a question of what she would get in return. It made me protective of her. But as protective of her as I became, I also learned from her. Life isn’t always about what you can get in return. Life isn’t life if you are hoarding all the good that you are and not sharing it with others. Life is much more about giving than it is about receiving. The few times I’ve seen her since graduation, we’ve both shared proud looks with each other. She’s finally found someone worth giving her all to and I’ve finally stopped validating everyone’s presence by what they can do for me.
I’d never say my friendships are perfect, but each of them are very special to me. And these are just the ones that are the most special. They were forged with people that many may look at and turn their noses up at because of their actions and attitudes, but without these people, I wouldn’t be nearly half the person I am today.
Yes, there are those ups and downs in which I want nothing to do with one or all of them. And yes, there are those days that they do things that make me groan because they should have known better. And yes, there will always be that tinge of hurt from time to time because a line was crossed that shouldn’t have been, and now there is no going back. But at the end of the day, they are my good friends and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
And while I can honestly appreciate my friends, more than others could appreciate our friendship, it doesn’t mean I excuse them from their shortcomings. I hold them accountable, in the way they need to be held accountable. In the same way they hold me accountable when it is required.