Good ole India Arie playing in my background talking about getting things together on her “Voyage to India” cd. When listening to this great song I’m reminded to choose life in spite of any hurt that comes my way. I let out a big sigh with no tears…Let me take a deep breath before I share my voyage with you.
Recently I’ve lost the two pillars in my life due to an unjust cause. Pillars in my world served the purpose of being a sounding board, accountability partner; someone to help me overcome past hurts from childhood and to see a better way of living. You know help me bring out the best in me. Some of us call them girlfriends who were closer than a sista, thick as thieves or Thelma and Louise. My pillars were people who understood me and accepted me without the pressure of conforming to being them. I believe all true friendships should be a give and take. Some can handle a 50/50 relationship and some 60/40. I prefer to base it off of the person because everyone is different and everyone can’t bring the same thing to the table. Looking back I grew up being a chameleon to my family and childhood friends’ needs until I turned 25. What changed then you ask? I quit providing for others and returned to college and tried to finish what I started for me. My education was the ticket out of that rat race living to please someone else’s needs. I did it all alone, no family and no true friends. That’s how life is sometimes it seems. It’s that word often called “unfair”.
Yes, I was successful at completing that goal and it felt wonderful to be a first time graduate. However, I was still alone and did not have true friends. During this transition of finding myself in my mid-20s, I’d learn living for others was killing me and that I’ve lived enough for them. Drained I tell you, just done stick a fork in me. The biggest downfall was that I really didn’t know myself yet. Living on campus and being the oldest student helped me to learn myself and others quickly, so I thought. I lived with a totally new generation who embraced things that were taboo for me growing up. I considered myself to be traditional and “old school”. Seeing the new style of dress, music, relationships etc. was like taking a crash course in anything; but I passed and became open to learning more about myself while trying something new. Embracing new generational things quickly came to a dead end, but it was a fun experience. The funny thing was that at the same time I was still much closed about allowing others to get close to me. I was afraid of being hurt, used or going back to what was comfortable. Yes, living for someone else.
Once I graduated, matured and moved into my career field and settled into a new city; I began to build a foundation for myself away from home. I could always recall my father saying “everyone is not your true friend” when I began to meet new people who would try to get close. As I began to network and meet new people in order to stay knowledgeable in my field, it seemed that I became more open to others getting closer to me. I can’t speak for others, but being alone is no fun all of the time. My first pillar friendship began in the church and the other through work. These two became over a long period of time my girlfriends/sister. We shared a lot of commonalities that went beyond where we shopped for clothes. Oddly, we all found out that we attended the same church that has over 5,000 members, the same career field and had similar goals in life. Both were still on their first marriages and I was the single one. All were respectful women in our communities who were reserved and independent. None of us hung out altogether; it was always me and one without the other. This was due to personality conflicts, but I seemed to be the commonality. I was okay with it, but they both became my pillars and I was theirs. Each of our families embraced each other’s’ and all was well. There is nothing worse than to put your trust in someone who appeared to be so worthy. By nature I am a loyalist and motivated by friendship over money. I would give the shirt off my back because I know another one would be supplied, by hard work.
My first pillar crumbled after an invite that changed my world and life perspective. In paraphrasing the situation, I was allegedly invited to start life over in a wonderful city to learn it was a hoax. This was my Thelma and I was Louise per the husband. The joke was on me after I put in my resignation, relinquished the opportunity to renew my lease and gave away my belongings to lighten the load for travel purposes. The second pillar crumbled when being offered a job because of the first pillar situation. I was grateful and slowly trying to pick up the pieces from the first fall. Quickly it was determined I was hired to be a foot stool and a cover up. Tisk…tisk…tisk…and shame on me. Eventually, I had to advocate for myself and speak up against what was happening. The most shocking part was this was my girlfriend, my pillar, closer than a sister. Still employed but lost a friend. How could I have known that they weren’t forever friends, but just a season? What a powerful lesson to learn in a short amount of time. They ended the friendship just like that.
What a season this has been, looking back I think “how often have I allowed someone else to get close and never really assessed their worth correctly?” Being honest we’ve all done it at some point with family, work relationships and friends. It’s a very hard lesson to learn, and if you’re like me having a sure is ideal when you are striving to be that yourself. I hear people mention seasons come and go, but now I’m starting to become convinced that NOTHING lasts forever. Who want to explore this entire world alone? No one I’d hope. Yes, there are things that I don’t mind doing by myself like a good movie, dinner during the week if I’m not dating or even going to the club. However, there are times you want to share things with your girls because we can relate.
Yes, we as women can be known to possess the 3 P’s Petty, Particular and even Possessive; but when it comes to having a “true” girlfriend that is close to you like a sister those qualities should not be dominate in friendships. Your girlfriends are the ones who you share the deepest secrets with, hold each other accountable and encourage each other when the world seems to be against you. They are a part of your cheering squad when you have a vision to try something new. When you want to step out and up your game to date a man you’d never before. They are your sounding board if mom or grandma is not present. I’m talking about healthy relationships, not the ones who are just out to take, take, take and always try to be the attention grabber.
The funny thing is even I’m learning, like anything and everything else “girlfriends” too can be seasonal. What a hard pill to swallow knowing I let my guard down. Take it from me life is always going to be a big risk and we all have to sharpen our assessment skills. As India reminded me “choose to live and not die” even after someone hurt me. This will be the biggest challenge yet to overcome. I will take time to heal, but not rest my feet as this voyage must go one. I am more than a conqueror with many things to accomplish. Dreams and visions to begin and this just can’t be the end all for me.
As, I reflect on my recent events while enjoying a warm piece of emotional chocolate cake known as comfort food, watching my CAVS game (All-in) and listening to good music; it is concluded that pillars weren’t made to always hold something up. They too get old, chip away and at times wither. My assessment tools are no longer effective and it’s time to create better ones.
I will choose to live and learn to breathe and accept this new season. I will continue this voyage called life and learn to live it with or without someone. Now I exhale.