I’ve had long time best friends become enemies, enemies become best friends then enemies again, I’ve had friends I would have counted as the closest to me fade, come and go, and it isn’t lost on me, that I am the common denominator. I’ve lost friends because of my inability to express myself or show my true emotions during bad times (a problem that does NOT afflict me when it comes to letting someone I actually don’t like have it), I’ve lost friends because of my career ambitions. I can go months on end mired in work, and when I look up, everyone’s gone.
I’m not the woman who has a constant group of girlfriends, I am the woman who went to boarding school (high school) with girlfriends who I’ll love for life, but live in other countries, or across the country. I am the private school, preppy black girl who found strength and purpose in discovering her black identity, and taking “like” and “omg” and other Valley Girl shit like that out of my vocabulary, convinced this purposeful “white accent” only fed into white supremacist ideology of what it meant to be an innocent, acceptability. I am the friend who will undoubtedly, pretty much do anything for my other friends if they need it, or ask it of me, even to my own detriment. I am the big-mouthed at work, but quiet and contemplative in public friend, who’s silence and inability to hide what I feel on my face makes for impressions of the “stuck up bitch” variety. I am the friend that you can talk shit about, and will still forgive and forget at the drop of a dime, because it takes so much for me to love, and once I have, it’s pretty tough for me to undue that shit.
I am, for better or for worst, the lone wolf. Why it took me until now to really admit it, and half way feel fine about it? Probably those series of failed friendships I mentioned at the beginning of this damn thing.
Although my silence at losing those friendships may seem to those people as apathy, it’s some sort of mechanism that kicks in. You know that hag that would come to you in your sleep when you were a kid? Robbing you of your ability to speak, and it wasn’t fear that grabbed you, but perhaps, a guilt at wondering what you’d done, I mean REALLY done, to illicit her wrath. That’s me. Strong in my convictions, obsessed with my work, a little cold, but mush when it comes to my friendships and family. Losing those friendships was like, death every time. And somehow, I started to wonder if I wasn’t worthy of the female companion that I could call and decompress to, or, the friend who’d come sit with my mom and I in the hospital as she almost passed away so many times.
So, while my mom fought for her life, with months of hospital stays and chronic illness, and I watched the person I considered my pillar of strength seemingly slip further, and I wore a mask like I didn’t give a fuck that these girls were gone, I wondered where everyone was. This was January of 2015. I’m private to a fault, I’m usually the strength, so I don’t reach out for extra. But you know what? When I finally did, when I said, hey, I kinda need a girlfriend to just be a sounding board, I’d realized, that I had friends, who were just as lone-wolfy as me, that were, and had, always been there. That watched in the wings as I gave my all to women who weren’t really, really my friends, but enjoyed the specter of it.
They weren’t the friends I always posted pictures with on Instagram, they didn’t want to go to the private “influencer” dinners or enjoy the benefits of my industry with me, they were the women who’s business had consumed them like me, who enjoyed rolling a blunt and sipping Shiraz on the couch all night. Who plotted on career moves and disappeared to get better, just like me. Super fabulous and humble, not mean girls, like me. They told me that real friendship, is a love that’s there through thick and thin, better or worse, if you act like a bitch or an asshole, and love you through it. When you’re not the most popular, or you are. When you’re in the limelight, on TV, or just moving back to Baltimore to get some journalistic chops, they are there. Present. Not on some bull shit. Although my ex-friends might not have been that for me, they are for someone else. SOMEONE accepts their bull shit and loves them through it. Someone has been their enemy, and became their best friend, and still is. Someone has been friends with them since they were kids, and will be their maid of honor, or best man, at their wedding. I am not it, and I’ve come to be okay with that. It’s okay that I’m a lone wolf, and disappear into myself quite often. There are benefits to my friendship, and even through my own bull shit, I deserve that love.
Why is a woman, in her late twenties, giving a fuck about all this friendship, drama, bull shit? Because friends are the stuff of life. They are family. They are an appendage. Especially when you’re a single 20-something who doesn’t have any kids, and small nuclear family.
I wrote this because, I’ve talked to a lot of women lately, my age, that I’ve met in my travels and through my work who tell me that the sisterhood just isn’t there anymore for them. They feel alone. And I just want to say it’s cool to make friends no matter what age you are. That “no new friends” shit is stupid. I’ve met people on this end of my life who know me, and relate to me better than ones I’ve known since I was a teenager. My girlfriend, who shares my same name with an addition of an “A” at the end said this, “In life we don’t need a lot of friends just the RIGHT friends!”