My mother had this saying when I was growing up: “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.” At the time I was quite unaware of the amount of wisdom that saying possessed, and of course being young and a know-it-all, I laughed and shrugged it off (although not to her face because she would have smacked the hell out of me).
Now all these years later it turns out my old lady was actually right, as mothers usually are. Not until recently have I made it a point to employ that same pearl of wisdom as a compass of sorts when navigating through this thing called friendship.
a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.
Synonyms – confidante, soul mate and companion.
I have found the word “friend” to be a term so many of us have used incredibly loosely throughout our lives. We don’t really understand the true essence of the word nor do we comprehend the weight we place on someone when we hand over the title to them. Most people gladly accept it without fully comprehending the role they are about to play in our lives.
For some people, the word friend seemingly rolls off the tongue without much effort. People tend to use it casually and throw the word it at anyone they have a good laugh and a couple drinks with. When in truth, some of us will never know what it’s like to have an actual true friend. They will never come to know the true value of the word. I know! Sad right?!
I’d be a liar if I wasn’t forthright about the fact that I too am guilty of using that term casually at various points throughout my life. It took me a very long time to realize that I was foolishly and prematurely handing out the title of friend. I would hand it over before a person had actually earned the right to wear the friendship badge. It’s one of those life lessons that, if you’re lucky enough to learn early, will save you from an enormous amount of pain, suffering and feelings of disappointment and betrayal. Being betrayed by someone you consider a friend can be one of the hardest heartbreaks to get over. It can take years to to heal from the devastating blow of betrayal and learning to trust people again is no easy feat.
I have been lucky enough to have a select few people that I can call actual true friends.They embody the word in every capacity. They personify it and they make it look easy. I know that if I needed either of them they would be there for me no matter the circumstance.
They can expect the same in return from me.
One such person that I am lucky to call friend, it just so happens, celebrated her birthday a few days ago. I am forever grateful to have survived the past twenty years with her by my side and our friendship intact. When you find someone who proves their loyalty, love and friendship, you keep them for life!
February 3rd is the birthday of one of my oldest and dearest friends. Simone and I go all they way back to middle school. We were together in the same 7th grade classes at James Madison Middle School to be exact. I remember passing notes to her in Ms. Tillman’s Social Studies class to make the time go by faster because we were bored out of our minds. I have never been into formal schooling and Ms. Tillman didn’t help!
I laugh thinking back at Simone shaking her head and laughing whenever I was kicked out of class for my behavior, which happened quite frequently let’s be honest. I still recall sneaking into prom and her having to hide me when the school administrators came around to the area we were congregating in with our other friends. No, I was not allowed to attend my prom because of my behavior in school (long story we won’t get into today) but true to form, my ride-or-die chick had my back.
Somehow we have developed the skill to talk one another off the ledge whenever all hell is on the verge of breaking loose, which used to happen often. Not many people possess the ability to reel me in when I’m about to unleash, but she remains one of the few chosen ones to this day.
One of the things I love and appreciate most about our friendship, however, is that in the last twenty years we have perfected the art of saving each other. We went from late night rides to burst out car windows with crowbars (allegedly) to becoming intelligent and mature adults (somewhat).
It still makes me laugh recalling her look of complete and utter horror at my shitty-of-a-first apartment in East Hollywood when I first moved to LA. That was nearly a decade ago. The memory of coming home from work to her scrubbing the walls of that god forsaken place, which had to be about 100 degrees in there, still warms my heart to this day and I still appreciate it and I smile. That’s a memory that’s engraved in my mind and I will never forget it.
That’s a friend!
So as she celebrates another year of life, I celebrate with her. Not even the distance of 2,600 miles between us matter because at this moment, in my heart, we are standing in my mother’s driveway, leaning on her neon yellow Mustang and singing “Aint No Mountain High Enough” and laughing.
Happy Birthday Simone!
I love you
Simone and I