Won’t you come over Valerie?
Women. You can’t live with them and you certainly cannot live without them. I have been hurt so many times, that when I sense danger, or impending doom in a friendship, I close my eyes and banish them to the list of women who didn’t make the cut. As I grow older and wiser (cough) I realize that the close female friendships I have today are way too important to take for granted. You see, after years of fine tuning my list of besties, I cannot afford to spare a square. The list has been modified, put to the test and frankly, I love these women like I do my own family; they are sisters, tried and true.
For your amusement I have prepared a list of reasons I have let go of friendships in the past:
1. She thinks you want her husband.
2. You think she wants YOUR husband.
3. You find yourself at the bottom of her priority list.
4. She is at the bottom of YOUR priority list.
5. Hysterical Outbursts (my in-laws live across the street and have been traumatized by things I did while drinking. After seeing me naked on the roof, screaming I don’t care what the fucking neighbors think, I highly doubt they want to hear you babbling I’m pregnant at the top of your lungs.
6. She is a drama queen and lastly,
7. You are a drama queen and don’t need the competition.
Oh the melodrama….it exhausts me. But the women who have made the cut understand me in ways that truly knock my socks off. I am not an easy person to love. I go through bouts of depression that leave me unable to attend church, social functions and sometimes, to be honest, life. I have an Irish temper that some would call criminal, however I do manage to keep it in check since alcohol is out of the picture. I am stubborn-not your everyday stubborn-if I think it will piss you off-well hell could freeze over and I won’t budge.
This is not to say that I don’t have some redeeming qualities: if you are my friend I will love you like nobody’s business-but I expect the same devotion when it comes to my fragile heart. I am highly sensitive, as my gal pals will tell you. Misunderstandings come and go, but the love is always there.
I want to tell you about these women. They have helped me through a traumatizing, if not interesting adulthood. They are my rocks and I consider them to be sisters. They understand me in ways that most women don’t, and that is worth its weight in gold. They have survived and even conquered the test of time, which is incredibly important post menopause. Not many friends will, say, wait five minutes until you regain your train of thought; or listen to your fiftieth meltdown over your husband’s cluttered sock drawers. And when you get to the ripe old age of 54, you treasure the women who are likely to get you through the golden years.
I’ll start off with my oldest and dearest friend, my sister. To say that we have gone through some drama is like saying this year’s election is a bit confounding. We have put each other through some heady crap, and I am happy and blessed to say: we are stronger and better than ever. She is there for the crazies, the impossibly ridiculous and the mundane. I love her more than I ever thought possible. Do I want to hit her over the head with a cast iron frying pan? Not nearly as much as I used to.
Then there is Tracy-who sat loyally by my side as together we watched our church ministry crumble to the ground around us. She is the funniest person I know. And she is my sister in the macabre. If anything stupid is going to happen, it will happen to one of us, and that is part of the mystique. I thought I had cornered the idiocy market until I found her. But we laugh in the face of danger, and I will love her until the day I die.
Pamela is my therapist. We are so much alike, that when I fist began seeing her, she gave me a Bob Dylan necklace, peace sign and harmonica included. She cried at my tears, and made me laugh out loud-even in my misery. Occasionally, my husband will call her to tell her I am acting crazy again (which in all honesty means I am suicidal, and thankfully Pamela knows enough to call me a week later and ask how I’m doing.) We are both redheads (I can already hear the OMGs and WTFs at this mind blowing admission-I was born with red hair; L’Oreal just brings out the blonde in me. She is my partner in crime, and again, to do without her friendship is unthinkable.
Jackie speaks the same language….she is fluent in Godspeak and is one of the finest women I know. Last year she made me enter the local Lebanon County Fair, under vintage arrangements. I was so nervous the night before the entry: I spent hours picking out just the right flowers, just the right container. As we arrived at the fairgrounds, I knew she was genuinely sorry to see I didn’t place. She had entered her zucchini (she laughed as she told me she ran out of the house and grabbed one off of the vine) and we almost peed our collective pants as we turned the corner and saw Best of Show attached to her vegetable. Her face was bright red, and to this day she feels guilty. Silly girl.
Dot is my grounding force in life. She is the voice of wisdom and common sense. Recently we had a misunderstanding, yet she is in my life again, only this time I won’t let her go. She was a sister to me when I was going through initial sobriety, and I make her laugh-which is delightful to me in more ways than I can say. She is the only person that can call me an idiot magnet and get away with it……..because I know she loves me just as much as I love her.
So, tread lightly in the girlfriend arena. It’s okay, and even necessary to argue with your better half. But your girlfriends are your tribe. And friends of this magnitude come once in a lifetime.