This is the photo K posted to our FBs tonight, with a very loveful message. I met up with K and Betty Nebraska for happy hour/lovefest and it was equal parts happy and loveful. Over wine and appetizers, we talked about life and love, work and play. We planned upcoming events and giggled over shared secrets.
Here’s something I don’t talk about much: big crowds of strangers scare me. For about a year before Slim and I broke up, I avoided large groups of strangers as much as possible, to the point of avoiding seeing my friends. I disappeared. Fell into what J calls Boyfriend Land, although it was much deeper than that, something beyond a girl who gets too wrapped up in her relationship and forgets her friends. Although that happened. And I’m ashamed and wish I could go back and do things differently. I can’t though. All I can do is learn and move forward and avoid falling into the same patterns.
These ladies, though. These ladies are so very dear to my heart. When The Universe told me to value the Yeehaw quality of my friends above all else, it meant these women. When my heart was broken, they set aside their hurt over my disappearance, accepted my apologies, and generously offered me grace and love and held my hands as I healed. And I was honest. For the first time in a very long time, I was honest about my fears and my disappearance and why crowds are scary. I opened myself up to the possibility that K and Betty were capable of understanding my fears and, more than that, could help bring me to the other side.
They did, y’all. They so totally did. They encouraged me as I made a plan to deal with my fears. They invited me every time they went out, while making it clear they would understand completely if I couldn’t make it, if I got to the point of leaving the house and changed my mind at the last minute. They accepted and loved me where I was, for who I was. And that, I’m certain, made all the difference.
I became brave. I forced myself to face scary situations because I had strong hands to hold, kind friends upon whom I could lean. And they cheered for me and celebrated with me and continued to pour their love out into my life.
I owe these ladies so much. Just three weeks ago, I was driving K home from another evening out with just the three of us. As we pulled up to her apartment, I mentioned thinking it would be fun to get a group together for dancing one evening. And she stared at me and, grinning, squeezed my hand and told me how amazed she was at how far I’d come. I’ve gone from being the person who was afraid of groups to the person who wants to surround herself with a huge group of loveful friends.
My girls made me realize how brave I could be. Their forgiveness, as well as their unwavering belief in my bravery, pushed me forward and I will love them forever for that. I look forward to many more happy hours, many more girls’ nights, many more years spent with these women. I admire them for their intelligence and strength, their passion and their convictions. But mostly, I just love them. Where they are, as they are.
Just as they’ve loved me.