…You had to walk into mine.”
(Yes, I totally cribbed Casablanca.)
Have you ever wondered why certain people come into your life? Of course, you have.
I am a total believer in synchronicity. I believe that people come into your life for a reason (not that we always understand that reason). Sometimes they stay, while others are there briefly and then leave like the darkness when a light is turned on. What did those visitors to your life receive from their limited stay? What part were you gifted (yes, it was a gift) to play in their lives? For some, the relationship took time to develop. Time, and care, and nurturing. Then they were gone, and you were left clutching your heart to keep it from breaking. Others hurricaned into your life and you gasped in their wake, an exhilarating affair that left you a little confused, a little bruised, but no worse for wear. While still others were complete train wrecks. What did they take from you, and what did you receive from them?
Then there were those instantly deep connections that have never left. The ones where you feel as if you’ve always known the person. The ones where you could talk for hours, and you sometimes do until you are both hoarse from overused vocal cords. Your best friends. Those people that make you sparkle and shine and laugh and cry and dance. These are the people who you know are true gifts. The people who choose you day in and day out, despite your bad temper, your foul mouth, your depression, your bark and your bite. Usually these are people you see every day in your life. You go out and have drinks or go to movies or just go out without a particular destination in mind. But what happens when these people live far away from you? What if the only contact you have with these people is through electric and digital wires? Can you still have a deep connection with them, and if so, is it real?
I want to tell you a story about how I met my three best friends. I was 15 and a sophomore in high school. I’m not really sure which one I met first, Tracy or Michelle, but I met both the same year 1987-1988. Michelle was a friend of a friend and new to the school. We started talking and somehow ended up friends to this day. We never had a class together but we always somehow ended up with the same lunch period and she is completely responsible for The Scott Brown Affair. Tracy, on the other hand, I met in Dance Class that year. All it took was one look at a notebook in her hands, a gasped word, one look at each other’s face, and that was it. We were constantly together from that point on. Thing is, she was a senior that year. Two grades ahead of me and three years older. We took a break from the friendship for a time but when we came back it was as if we’d never left, not really. We’re not as close as we used to be (some friendships wax and wane like the moon) but we still talk and get together when life lets us. Then there’s Laura. About midway through 1987-1988 I sent a letter in to a teen magazine that had a section for pen pals. Yes, I really did. My letter was published and Laura’s was the first letter I received, June 1988. We wrote non-stop for years, but we didn’t physically meet until 1998. Our lives run very parallel to one another’s. What happens in mine, happens in hers in a lot of ways. It’s a little spooky just how parallel because she lives in Chicago and I’m in Texas. I may not know for certain what’s going on in her life because we don’t talk on the phone much. Well, to be honest, I don’t talk on the phone much. Never have. (Except for that one summer.) But we text as often as we can, and we visit when we can, although she’s come to me more than I’ve gone to her. And when we do get together it’s often like having never been away. But being away helps me appreciate her being in my life even more than if she, and Michelle (in North Carolina), were closer. These are the women I consider to be my best friends. Michelle (who would somehow get me into trouble), Tracy (who would be the person we’d call to come get us out of jail but would say “hold on, let me see what I can do because I’m out with Mom right now”-you don’t mess with Tracy’s mom, trust me), and Laura (who would wire the bail money after Tracy called her and then buy us a drink to laugh it off).
With the exception of Laura, both Tracy and Michelle were my friends in life, not wires. Laura was what I’ve always called my paper friend in my head because she was there on paper until we physically met. She’s the one most like a lot of relationships made online. And yet, we have a deep connection despite the fact that it took us ten years to meet. And it’s real. As real as the ones I made with Michelle and Tracy. For a very long time, these three women were my only friends. That changed a year ago when I shoved myself out of my comfort zone and joined my writing group where I met two funny, fantastic women. One of those women led me to four other women, every single one of them a diamond.
I used to think that I had a hard time “making friends.” Well, duh. You can’t actually ‘make’ a friend. So, of course that would be hard. You become friends, and really, that isn’t actually hard. What is hard is the “keeping” of friends. It requires effort and care. Unfortunately, some people are just not going to mix well with your particular brand of personality. And that’s okay. Friendship isn’t a gift, despite it’s being given to you. A gift is something you can’t take back, and friendships can be taken away. Friendship is a choice. It’s me saying ,”I choose you. I like your particular brand of crazy.” It’s a compliment and a decided action. I recognize the diamond underneath the dirt in you. You are my Friend. It’s a very powerful and emotional word. It means that there is someone who loves us. Even more, they like us, which is a lot harder than love in some cases. Even better, they don’t always have to like us. But they choose us even when we make it hard for them to do so.
Which brings me to Lizzi. I met Lizzi last October through the October Poetry Writing Month challenge. I knew she was something special from the start but I didn’t know then how dear she’d become to me. Again, it’s Through The Wires so it’s hard to know what will last and what won’t. But this one has lasted to date so far. Lizzi grabbed my attention from the start. Her poetry is something on a whole different level but it hooked it’s fingers in me and hasn’t let go yet. Just like Lizzi herself. And it’s not because she’s British. Well, not just because. Actually, it’s her voice. Yes, definitely the Voice. 😉
Lizzi is…Lizzi. I’ve seen her face, I’ve talked with her upon occasion, and the one thing I can tell you about her is that she is a warm hug. I know she doesn’t think so. She self-deprecates and I know a lot of it is because of her past. But I don’t care. The Lizzi I know is a loving and generous person. She’s funny, brilliant, and makes me feel as if I need to spend a lot of time flying among the clouds to even come close to writing the way she does. Or maybe I need to go visit the fairies and drink nectar and eat flowers. Whenever she’s down, I want to do anything I can to cheer her up (okay, so that’s just me…I’m a nurturer and highly sensitive to other’s emotions). When she’s happy, she makes me feel as if I shine. She very ecstatically supports you and her compliments send me soaring. If she’s read something I’ve written and I’ve managed to make her write in all caps, then I know I’ve written Something.
Lizzi took part in April’s poetry challenge along with me. During that time she had a Big Important Life Changing Event take place that threw her for a loop. She used poetry to help her out with it, and the pieces she created were stunning. I live in a state of constant awe around Lizzi’s work. I’ve told you…it’s a whole different animal. I only wish I were as good as she is. I feel as if I’m a pretender to the Poetry Throne and the crown belongs to her. Not that I think my work is all that bad, but compared to Lizzi’s? I can’t tell you why all the people who’ve been in my life have been there. I don’t know all the reasons. But this I do know. Lizzi has made me expand my thinking. She has influenced my work in subtle and not-so subtle ways. Exactly the same as she’s touched my heart For Real.
Yesterday was my birthday. I received many well wishes, but Lizzi’s stole my heart. (AJ, your text was second because I can’t believe you remembered-I love you!) I’m not the type to go begging for attention even when it might be ok, nay required, to do so. Lizzi’s Voice lit my heart up. I received it right when I was sorely needing a friendly voice. Hearing her well wishes shored up the floodgates that were about to burst.
Lizzi wrote a poem during April that left me completely gutted. She was worried that the person she wrote it for wouldn’t like it, and the whole time we were discussing that I was thinking “I wish someone would write like this for me.” It is truly exquisite. And, I think it reflects more of Lizzi in it than she realizes.
My Darling Lizzi, thank you for what you don’t know you did. “Parading her heart so shiny like fool’s gold/Though you know it’s a diamond/and she’s constantly undersold.” – You are a diamond of inestimable worth to me. *hand on heart and bowing*
P.S. Please go read the full poem of When You Have Something Precious. For me, it speaks about all the women I am honoured to call my friends.