On the cusp of the new year, I find myself reflecting about relationships. Real relationships. True connections. Eye contact and hugs and feeling safe enough to be your authentic self, whether that’s letting go and crying or just saying what’s in your heart and knowing that you won’t be judged. Dear friends who take the time to listen and really, truly hear.
Real relationships make me grateful this December 31st.
There is B., who has known me since college, who not only went wedding dress shopping with me, but also was the one who helped to get me dressed on the big day. Who talked to me every day after I gave birth, while I wept uncontrollably from exhaustion and hormones, whose emotional support got me through the awful first weeks of nursing, and years of a difficult marriage and divorce. She is my true touchstone.
I will always remember the conversation with a work colleague and friend C., who shared her love of yoga with me, who told me I should try it—at the studio she went to—because I would love it. I listened, and she was right. So very right. And it opened up a whole new world for me.
There is A., whom I met in childbirth class, who then was the first face I saw in at the new mother’s support group that would become my second family for months and now, years. She sees me and hears me.
Despite the fact that I hadn’t spoken to one of my oldest friends and nursery school classmates, C., for more than 30 years, did not change the bond we shared and reestablished as adults and mothers. We never have to censor ourselves or hold back. There is no small talk or bullshit. It’s real, 100% of the time.
The marketing director G. at my local Y who was willing to have coffee with me, hear about my career goals and tell me about a job opening, which got me back into the workforce after a six-year absence. That job was a game changer, as it lead to my next job and then my own apartment. G. may not realize how instrumental she was in helping me to get my life back.
There are so many more, S.W. and S.F. and D.C., so many women who have given me some of the most incredible gifts through their friendship, compassion and hearts.
What I also realize is that my most difficult, painful relationships have taught me the most about myself. I have actually been grateful to learn what I dislike, what I will no longer tolerate, how I do not wish to act or be. They are critical pieces that have been shaping me and showing me truth. Now that I can start to see these relationships through a mirror of learning, I feel a healthy distance from what no longer serves me. It’s a process, for sure.
For me, 2016 was about making great strides emotionally. I am stronger. So much stronger. My true friends have bolstered me throughout this journey. And I hope, with all my heart, that I have done the same for them.
Happy New Year to all my friends.