Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Council of Friends

The last time we were all together... The Bitches, June 2000

I gotta tell you... I'm still looking for the bunnies and butterflies. I am working hard to rearrange some things in my head right now. I don't really want to bear my soul on the issues, and, luckily, I'm a grown up, with free will as you'll remember from last week's post, and I don't have to do so.

But I'm compelled to tell you of a soothing daydream I had today in which I called a council of friends together on my behalf. I laid my options and my heart on the table before them, asked their advice and was supported. And I just might call the council.

Because the worth and the power of truly good friends can't be underestimated. They help us to see the world more clearly, to admit our true feelings even when we haven't admitted them to ourselves. They rise in the brine of those who make up the days of our lives. They become our sisters and brothers, our own personal shrinks, our in-case-of-emergency contacts. Our strength.

My close circle of friends includes both women and men from every era of my life. Some of them don't even know each other. I see some of them on a regular basis and others, only once a year or even more seldom.

While I've gathered amazing friends at different places and at different ages, I came upon a goldmine of sorts my senior year of high school and all throughout my college years. I had the great and unending pleasure of becoming one of a fairly tight group of friends affectionately self-proclaimed as "The Bitches." You might not expect it, but we were four women and four men, and we were nice to each other and nice to others. And I honestly can't remember exactly how we came to be "The Bitches," but we did, and we are to this day.

What I do remember is having the time to meet for coffee, for lunch at the Union, for drinks, for trips home to see each other's parents, for shots, for guitar sessions, for moral support. We had standing dates on Thursday nights for NBC Must-See TV in the late '90s and met every other possible night in between. There were parties, study sessions and "conferences." There were hook-ups, upsets among friends and, eventually, a marriage when Shrek and I made it official in 2002.

I could write a book about those friends, our early days, and the way in which we remain connected, though spread in physical space. (And I might.) And on nights like these, I remember and cherish and celebrate the fact that I really could call any one of them, right now, and use a lifeline that wouldn't count against me in any way. Those friends would answer and would grant me the forgiveness, the favor, the friend I needed.

The idea of convening my council of friends changed my perspective today. It made me turn my head in the other direction, to see what they'd see. And while I still don't have the solutions, I can see the open doors through which I might walk. I know if and when I need that final shove, I'll have some friends to kick me the last few feet in the right direction.

So to my council of friends, near and far, thank you for what you did for me today. My bedtime has whizzed by me yet again, but I've stayed up late to have those conversations with you all, in my heart and in my head, that are worth the late bedtimes, the all-nighters, the rest of my life. Thank you.

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