Beautiful & Hon…

Beautiful & Honest

“Your beloved and your friends were once strangers. Somehow at a particular time, they came from the distance toward your life. Their arrival seemed so accidental and contingent. Now your life is unimaginable without them. Similarly, your identity and vision are composed of a certain constellation of ideas and feelings that surfaced from the depths of the distance within you. To lose these now would be to lose yourself.”  ―John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Happy Birthday Marion!

The Friendships In Life That Really, Truly Count

I write this in honor of my best friend Marion’s birthday. Marion is in Germany and she doesn’t know I am writing this or that I’ve been planning on writing it for a while (I’m sneaky like that! LOL.), but she deserves to know just how special she is, and why. She deserves more than I could ever possibly give her, but I can still honor her in a unique way because that’s one gift I can give immediately.

As with everything in life, there is a journey from point A to Marion, in which I will take you on as briefly, and as honestly, as possible.

Like most people, I have had more than one best friend in my life. There was my childhood best friend, who had been like a sister to me since I was 4. I won’t name names because to do so would be to give someone completely undeserving credence, but suffice it to say, she betrayed me with her disloyalty when we were in our late teens. One day we were best friends, our families as close as super glue, the next day I was persona non grata. She never had the guts to say a word to my face or explain herself. In fact, the last time she saw me she behaved as though I might harm her in some way. She was terrified, and that only managed to amuse me. Show me you fear me and it will only make me laugh.

I had other best friends in junior high and high school. You love them individually in the moment, but they can start to blend together as the years come and go. It doesn’t mean that I loved any of them any less, it just means we got older, we grew apart, and there were no hard feelings, at least not on my end of things,

As we all get older and our lives change, I only remained friends with one person from those days until he decided to stop returning my calls one day. The dodging and ditching of me went on for MONTHS. We never spoke again. It was a sad time for me then losing that friendship because we were as thick as thieves, we spoke every single day, we did so much together, things I will never be able to share with another person. Those were our adventures & memories, so many of them priceless. He was the first person to really see me, and he was the first guy in my life to give me diamond earrings, which I still have.

I have no idea what caused that friendship to end because there was never any reason, nor was there any closure. There was no fighting, no argument, no discussion, no mis-communication, it was simply there one day and gone the next. I found him on MySpace a few years ago and decided not to even bother pursuing it. What would be the point now? He’d been my best friend, I’d been his, but apparently I was expendable. Why rehash it? At this point, I really don’t need to know.

As he began his slow departure from my life, someone new came along and she was like the missing link. I loved that girl to pieces. Two outspoken Scorpios, as alike as we were different. We clicked in the most bizarre fashion. I really, truly adored her.

In all our years of friendship, friendship close enough where we were roommates for a few months, we had exactly one fight. It was a disagreement with a lot of mis-communication, and the end result was us not speaking for ten years. After much time to think about what had occurred, and why, I was the one that made contact. I felt it was the right thing to do at the time, and I still stand by that decision. I apologized for my part in what had occurred, and things seemed like they might heal and help us move forward, but that didn’t happen.

I cannot and will not make excuses for her. She chose to stop speaking to me when her future husband came into her life shortly after our disagreement, which was part of the reason we did not speak for ten years. She chose to get married without me by her side. “Oh Lisa, you’re my maid of honor for sure! I couldn’t get married without you! I can’t even imagine that day without you there!” Clearly short-lived statements, though they certainly seemed genuine for so many years. She never apologized for her side of things, and after sharing a few e-mails she told me she’d gotten married to him three years after we stopped speaking and they had two children. I was supposed to be their Aunt Lisa, we’d talked about it for years, how I would be there for her through everything in life, how we’d make our friendship a priority through anything and everything, that nothing and no one would ever be able to break apart our friendship because it was eternal. I was hurt, but I never said a word to her about it. Part of it was my fault, yes, but the rest of it was her fault and her choice.

Because she was close with members of my family, I did contact her after my parents passed away to let her know. A few months after everything had happened, I got an e-mail from her saying she was sorry, that she had loved my Mom very much, and would never forget her and all she had done for her, and that she felt like she’d been a horrible friend to me. I responded by saying I understood that she had a life, that she had two young kids to raise, etc., but a few years later I realized it’s really important to stop making excuses for people because it’s basically giving them permission to treat you like shit.

She’s right, she was a horrible friend to me, especially when the fight happened, after it happened, the day I took her to the airport knowing I would never see her again, and when she continued to talk to someone else from our circle for years, all the while not speaking to me. I doubt I will ever get an apology for that, nor do I expect one. She’s on her own, even though we were supposed to be there for each other forever. When I say forever, I actually mean it. I fully understand that very few people share that kind of view on loyalty & friendship, even though she claimed to and still claims to. Hypocritical to the very end. It is what it is and even though I miss her sometimes, we’re extremely different people now and I don’t think it would work even if we were both willing to try. I can accept a lot of things, but being discarded? No. Being replaced as though I never even existed? No and Hell No!

The next person is someone I have been friends with for almost 18 years. I have seen this person through more than I care to discuss. You can’t be friends with anyone that long and not be there through thick and thin. I cannot even begin to describe the goofiness, laughter, adventures, and things shared between us. Sisters is the most accurate description. We’ve got matching opposite side diamond piercings. I will go on record and say that mine bled for YEARS throughout the course of our friendship and I haven’t worn the diamond in many years because I don’t feel that sense of connectedness anymore. I evened the piercing out by getting one to match it a year later, so I don’t think of it as “ours” anymore, nor do I think about it much. However, I’m relieved it’s a piercing and that I managed to talk her out of friendship tattoos, which I would truly be regretting right about now.

As things stand today, we have not spoken in almost three years. The second she met husband #3, she discarded me like a litter box that hadn’t been cleaned out in a year. I went from being this adored best friend to being nothing. It started with ignored phone messages just prior to him moving in, and escalated to ignored text messages and e-mails, but she had time to post things on Facebook on a damn near daily basis. You can’t say you don’t have time for someone and that you’re “busy with work” when the fact of the matter is, you’re choosing not to make time anymore, to completely exclude them from your life, even though you’ve always claimed they’re one of the most important people in your life and you couldn’t live without their honesty and support.

After a certain amount of time had gone by I wrote her a letter (I sent the 5th “draft” after writing all of the anger and hostility out in the others. I don’t think it’s cool to call your best friend names, even if he/she deserves it at the time. I think it’s important to be respectful, to speak frankly, and to let them know exactly where you’re coming from. Being nasty never solves anything.), letting her know that this friendship simply could not continue as it was. I was extremely honest and very fair, of which she can never say otherwise because she knows how I am in my relationships with others, as well as with her. I explained that our friendship deserves a certain level of respect and that by not communicating with me, she’s letting me know exactly what she thinks and feels with that silence, and that it’s extremely bizarre because one day she loves me to death, but the next she can go several years without speaking to me. I explained that while we are as close as sisters, she would never not speak to her own sister for three years, so why is it ok to treat me like that? It’s completely unacceptable, period. I explained that she had to decide whether or not this friendship truly meant something to her or not, and that we had to discuss it together, and come to a decision like two adults.

She e-mailed me weeks after I’d sent the letter, claiming she had just gotten it, and that she’d respond as soon as she could, probably within a few weeks. That response never came. Big surprise there.

There is so much I could say about this person, but right now the only thing I can really say is that when she does crawl back to me, as she always does after she’s gone 2-3 years without speaking to me, she is NOT going to like who she meets this time around. If you do something once, it’s a mistake. When you make a habit out of it, when it becomes your pattern in life, it is within the other person’s purview to exact justice. She has no idea what’s in store for her because I am that angry. Being a two-faced snake charmer will only get you so far with me, and I’m not going to make excuses for anyone. If I’m not worth being treated like a person, then neither are you. When you know what a friend has done for you and you discard him/her, but you always come back to them, then you truly reap what you sow.

All that negativity, both quite unfortunate and very fortunate, brings me to a best friend that other people in this world would KILL to have.

Marion & I have been friends for almost 18 years. She knows the previously aforementioned “best friend” and has always encouraged me to forgive her, that’s just how good SHE is, but I’m not that kind, nor am I that forgiving,

She has been there for me through some of the worst things I have endured in my life. She has patiently listened to me, supported me, cried with me, cheered me on, rallied behind me, agreed to disagree with me, and been just flat out amazing. She is one of the funniest women you will ever know. She will get off the plane, give me a big hug, and then say the most hilarious thing you’ve heard in a long time. She loves me. She loves my brother, even when he’s not very lovable. The same can be said for me, I’m not the easiest person in the world to be friends with at times. She’s met members of family and said “I have no idea how you are related to such people. Maybe we should double-check the DNA.” She has met new people in my life and said “You don’t need her/him.”, and she’s been right on all accounts. She has met old people in my life and said “I like him/her.” She has loved the men in my life for loving me, for making me happy, and then hated them each time they have hurt me and I’ve had to kick them to the curb.

She is the person that always reminds me that the right guy is out there, that he will show up when I least expect it, and she has supported me every single time I have started something new in my life, be it a hobby, a new career direction, or something as simple as this blog, which comes naturally to me.

She is part mother, part sister, part saint, angel with a side of devil, and the role in which she plays in my life is unmatched.

She is the one that always says “If you decide to become a single mother, I will fully support you. I will do whatever I can to help.”, and the woman is an ocean away. I know people that live 40 minutes away and cannot say that, nor would they, and that is telling as to how amazing this lovely creature truly is.

When she & I first became friends I worked for a professional athlete. I did Public & Fan Relations for this jerk, I mean, guy, and that’s how she found me. It was absolutely fate, because under normal circumstances we may never have met. Very quickly our friendship went from her interest in him as a fan to “Wow, Lisa’s really cool. I’d much rather get to know her.” She took a chance and so did I, we have been best friends ever since.

I can always be myself with Marion. I can say the wild, inappropriate thing about anything or anyone, and she will either agree or laugh with me. I can share a thought and not be judged for it. I can write something amazing and she will be honest with me about my work. She’s been reading my work from day one of our friendship, she knows my writing style and my personality, and she knows that as a writer I tend to work harder than people with a guaranteed salary because what I write and how I present it determines whether or not I get paid. I don’t have to justify myself to her, and when I make a decision, she stands by me. In life, we’re both pretty unselfish people.

Don’t get me wrong: We disagree a lot, but we don’t fight with each other. We always agree to “fight fair”. There’s no name-calling or insults, there is simply an honest exchange and sometimes we do have to say “Enough.” if one or both of us is simply too fierce about something. That’s part of what makes our friendship work. I’ve never had to sit around thinking “What a bitch!” or anything negative in regard to her. Not ever. I’ve never had to question my judgement in regard to her role in my life, which is also important because no one wants to have to question whether or not a person should be in their life at all. I feel safe & secure in her presence, and I know that my individuality is treasured and respected, just as hers is in kind.

We’ve all had good & bad friendships in life. For me, it is important to always love the person that I share so much of my head and heart with. You’re not always going to like your best friend, sometimes their views and yours aren’t going to be in sync, but that doesn’t mean that either of you has the right to be vicious or vile to one another.

Whenever I am in a relationship, I do not exclude my friends from my life. I never sit around and think “New boyfriend, time to ditch everyone who’s been there for me for 5, 10, 15, 20+ years.” If anything, a relationship might make me happier, but I would be completely miserable if my friends were taken out of the equation entirely. I cannot function in this world for one person and no one else, that’s not healthy and it’s not normal. As much as I could ever love a man, I still need my friends, and I encourage him to have his as well (whoever “he” happens to be at the time.). I don’t think it’s healthy to never see or speak to your friends once you’re with someone. If anything, this new person needs to be brought into the fold and shown that other side of your life, as well as the people in it, and the same is true for you learning about that side of his life as well.

Marion is my family. If I’m in a relationship with someone, then she’s one of the first people to know about it, often times before my actual relatives. If someone new cannot respect her, they will be out the door so fast it’s not even funny. No one is worth casting your friends aside, especially the friends that have shown time and time again that they are loyal and true.

When it is my time to get married, Marion will be there. She will be celebrating with champagne, She will help me find the right dress. She will care about all of the personal touches because she knows exactly how long I have been waiting for this. She knows it will be a heartbreakingly beautiful, bittersweet time for me and she will not let me go through that alone. She will gently talk me down off my bizarre ledge and remind me how I got to that day, that moment, and that person. That’s what real best friends do.

There is no single individual in this world that “completes you” and will be able to meet every single one of your needs. Life is not a romantic comedy with a good play list. Having your friends reminds you exactly who you are, even as you grow and make changes, as new things happen, it is all the better for having them to share it with. The good ones are the ones that are there for you no matter what. They can forgive your stubbornness, your stupidity, the fact that sometimes you’re so busy you forget something, but they cannot stop being honest with you. When you start walking on eggshells with one another, it needs to be nipped in the bud immediately, because allowing issues to fester is unhealthy, and you want your friendships to be healthy and mutually beneficial.

Life is short, we are all here on borrowed time. Be true, real, devoted, and loyal to the friends that show you they’re deserving of you. If someone continually shows you that they’re undeserving, just be honest with them. Let them know the friendship isn’t working, let them know when it’s over, and why, and accept it, even if it hurts the both of you, but don’t distance yourself or behave as though you were raised by male lions. Treat people the way you want to be treated.

In closing, Marion you are superior, special, beautiful, smart, hilarious, kind, caring, giving, genuine, and you have an incredibly amazing heart. I would be lost without you. Man or no man, you know where you stand in my life. Never above, never below, always to the side. For in this life and hopefully in the next, you are my very best friend and I will walk by your side through the fires of hell. You are one of, but a handful of people in this world that I would gladly take a bullet and/or kill for. God blessed me with a real life angel the day you came into my life and I am a better person for it.

This may not be the gift I really want to give you (a billion dollars and your own private jet), but it is real, heartfelt, honest, and no one is more qualified of being able to celebrate you in such a way.

Happy Birthday Pom Wonderful!! I miss you and I can’t wait for our next set of adventures and our laughter marathons.

Love you doll. XOXOXOXO…..Li