Move-A-Body Friend

by justine

I’ve been waiting patiently for months for today.

The day where I wish my friend Chelsea a happy birthday, and explain to you what a move-a-body friend is.

This is not my term. Brene Brown coined it:

When we’re looking for compassion, we need someone who is deeply rooted, is able to bend and, most of all, embraces us for our strengths and struggles. We need to honor our struggle by sharing it with someone who has earned the right to hear it. When we’re looking for compassion, it’s about connecting with the right person at the right time about the right issue.

We need a move-a-body friend.

(She continues to tell a story about a friend needing help moving her passed out alcoholic mother off the sofa before the kids get home from school)

“I’d call you because you would come right away, give me a hug, never look judgmental or disapproving or disgusted. And then you’d say, ‘Let’s do this.’

And that’s what I’ve decided Chelsea is for me. Someone who embraces my strengths and struggles and continually shows up for me as a friend.

I feel utterly responsible for so many people. People naturally trust me and share their honest and weighty experiences with me (many times without my prompting). This is part of my superpower, part of the service I bring to the world, but damn, if it doesn’t get tiring.

I was just talking to Chelsea the other day and said that it seems I don’t have a need for physically close friendships. Maybe because I’m an introvert, or spent so many years without best friends, or am close with my siblings, or have Henry, or because talking is my love language…

I have many female friends. Loving, deep, important, close, supportive – these are all words that come to mind for the friendships I keep.

But, while I need and love my female friendships, I don’t need them to be in my physical presence. I go to work and call one of them. While I’m driving I call another. We Skype, we text, we write emails and letters and Gchat all day long… but I don’t see many of them in person often.

And I haven’t seen Chelsea in years. So it’s only fitting that, at the strongest our friendship has ever been (at least, I think), I booked a plane ticket to see her this month. To visit her in the city she’s made a life for herself, meet her boyfriend and cat (though you could argue order of importance there haha #joking), and spend quality time with her.

Y’know, make her laugh in person. It’s gonna be awesome.

We met working retail in Boston. It was my first and only retail job. Our boss was a fucking nutcase, one rude comment away from full on sexual harassment. Chels and I bonded instantly with sarcasm, high levels of work and ridiculous chocolate chip cookies from the mall food court.

She quit. Then I quit. She left Boston. I left Boston. Maybe I left first…? And we stayed in touch.

I moved to LA. She moved to Denver. We stayed in touch but somehow had a fight, then a falling out.

And then, after some long cooling off period, we got back together. She is one of two friends ever that I’ve had more than one fight with and yet we continue to stay friends.

Lately, we talk multiple times per week for hours at a time, text every day, rely and depend on each other the way only close friends do. I can be my full, real, honest self with her. She shows up for me. And I hope I do for her.

I don’t think I have ever felt so fiercely about a friendship.

So, here’s to you Chelsea. Happy Birthday! Can’t wait to celebrate it with you in person in a few weeks xoxo

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