friendship. oof. this is one of those things that i haven’t talked about in a long time. in fact, one of my very first blog posts was about friendship. about how baffling and heartbreaking it is to have a friend walk out on you. at the time i wrote that blog post, a girl i had been friends with for about a year suddenly blocked me on social media for no reason. literally zero reason. when i confronted her, she said she didn’t want to be friends with me. because i had everything and she was jealous. oh and by everything, she meant a husband. she didn’t factor in my crippling financial debt or my husband’s furlough or literally anything else that might make me a relatable human being. and that exit strategy of hers, well it burned a massive hole for me. and there have been others since then. others that have done something similar. and i used to lay in bed and rattle off all the reasons why it was happening. that i wasn’t a good person or i wasn’t enough. or sometimes, that i was too much. but that ain’t it. because even though i am a lot and i one thousand percent take ownership and accountability to that statement; i will never be too much. i will never be so much that you can’t handle our friendship like a grown up. with anything but respect and a genuine attitude that speaks to what we had or have. friendships are relationships. they are just as freaking important as any other relationship. you can quote me on that. and so when one friend walks out, the door is left wide open for a different one to waltz in. and that always is the case.
nine days after i started chemotherapy, my best friend of twenty years and i parted ways. over text message. my cancer diagnosis was burdensome in so many words and she couldn’t stomach the idea of being my friend through it. well not without me holding her accountable. she asked me to give her windows of time in which she could add to her calendar to remind her to send a check in text. me. remind her. while beginning carcinogenic drug treatment. nah, i am all set. actually, i am good but thanks. that’s pretty close to what i said. i shouldn’t have to beg for decency. and there’s this maroon five song called maps. and the lyrics go “why did you run away? i was there for you in your darkest times; i was there for you in your darkest night. but i wonder, where were you? when i was at my worst down on my knees”. and i think of those lyrics often. because of how many times i have been left behind. even during the darkest parts of my life. and i mean, DARKEST. and y’all know capital letters are not my jam. and before you get all hotline dialing on me. dark times can happen. having cancer was a dark time. it brought dark moments. where i was violently ill on the floor of my childhood bathroom. where i sobbed on the shower floor. where at one point i was seeing a therapist five days a week. where i wasn’t eating. or drinking. where i was too weak to drive or climb the stairs. when i was sweating through my sheets. and fighting a mrsa infection. when i was at the hospital downtown for daily medication drips. it was dark. peeling my skin off. swishing four different kinds of medicinal mouthwash. grieving the loss of my whole freaking existence. saying goodbye to my life as i knew it. mourning the loss of my hair and my skin. of my routines and my normalcy. of my body and the shell i had created. saying goodbye to the things that carried me. my job. my relationships. my brain. and making room for what is. and in it, it also meant saying goodbye to a person who could no longer love me in this season. and the universe constantly reminded me that even though it was so hard to end a friendship that had been around for decades; it no longer served who i was. it couldn’t be woven into the fabric of this existence. the cancer fabric. the surgery fabric. the remission fabric. the survivorship fabric. and while i have five other blog posts currently battling each other to be posted, i hit edit on this one. because something happened this week and honestly, it shook me a bit and pushed me into, yes you guessed it, a real big place of reflection. it felt semi similar to the former friends exit strategy a few years ago that i blogged about. and it honestly triggered me a little to think back to the loss of a two decade long friendship too. it just had some similar vibes and it left me a little jaw hanging. so i hit pause on the other blog post i was deep into writing and jumped back into this one. because friendship has been on my mind lately. and the universe has been screaming at me. reminding me that even when you have the closest army, some of them can push back. some of them can test the waters. some of them can walk away without the slightest word. some of them can leave you clueless or with your jaw dropped. some can make you question your heart. some can pull the knife out of your back and forget to drop a bandaid off. and not every friend is a friend forever. some friends are here for a short season. to teach a lesson. to be a bridesmaid. to coach you through a hard week or hard year. some stay for years. some a few. and people walk in and people walk out and some step all over you in between. but it doesn’t make me smaller. and it doesn’t mean i am not enough. and it doesn’t mean i am too much.
sometimes it’s the other person. sometimes it’s me. sometimes it’s the other person. and sometimes it’s me. but even when it’s me, it doesn’t mean i am not enough. it doesn’t mean i am too much. it doesn’t mean i don’t deserve true friends. the ones who will hold you up in the darkest of times. the ones who have your name on their cancer shirts. the ones who fly from nebraska just to eat chicken nuggets on the couch with you. the ones who bring you smoothies to chemo treatments and hold your hand while you shave your head. the ones who make soup with you even though you can’t eat and the ones who watch you cry, even though it makes them cry too. the ones who sleep on your couch the day you come home from a bilateral mastectomy so your husband can sleep in a real bed. the ones who bring you your favorite meals or make you a blanket. or mail you chipotle gift cards. or call you just to hear you moan and groan about having cancer and surviving cancer. the real mvps. they are out there. but it ain’t a big crowd. it’s not the whole varsity cheer squad like ya thought it was in high school.
it’s the gemstones of the world. the rubies. the emeralds. the diamonds. the deepest crew. the ones that hold you up to the light when life is dark. it’s the ones that make a map, that help lead you back to, well back to you. even in the darkest days; even when you can’t face the world or get out of bed. friend circles aren’t mosh pits at concerts. they are your top eight on myspace, for real for real.
so don’t settle for the ones who are fair weathered. who stay til the rain comes and then cut & run. don’t settle for the ones who come around when no one else will. love the ones who hold the umbrella the whole damn time. and then hold your hand when the rainbow shows up. the ones who hold the map, when you are more lost than ever. the ones who shine so bright, you find your way home.