Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: friendship

Denver Trip, November 2014

In November, I visited Chelsea, one of my longest standing and bestest friends, at her home in Denver, CO. It was a spontaneous trip, whose incarnation went like this.

Me: H and I would love to visit Denver in the spring.

Chels: Well, what if you planned to come with H in the spring, but first booked a trip in the next few weeks…by yourself?

Me: Um. Actually, sure. I could totally do that.

That simple. Being 30, with a steady job and few responsibilities has its perks. Spontaneous travel to see one’s best friend is one of them.

Over the 4 days, we hung out at her apartment, sampled a bunch of beer, visited the famous Fancy Tiger craft store and made our own crafts at Upstairs Circus (a bar with crafts? crafts with a bar? whaatttt??), ate VooDoo Doughnuts (my first one) and tacos and fancy pancakes, had an amazing dinner with probably too much wine, visited the Dushanbe Tea House, talked about and browsed books, and spent some serious quality time together.

Chels’ apartment is all of these separate rooms laid out in an L-shape, with wood floors, very tall windows and a cozy, old-building feel (nothing like we have in LA). The VSCO app filters on the photos remind me of the cold outside and the warm, heated air inside. It makes me miss fresh air, brick buildings, snow… and Chels.

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Move-A-Body Friend

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

Piqued

Twas a good week, finally. Yay.

Steph was back in town – we walked the neighborhood, watched Elizabeth Gilbert on Super Soul Sunday (highly recommend) and took selfies with Carter Cash.

Balance to the Universe restored.

I booked a flight, pretty much on a whim, to visit my friend Chelsea in Denver. Hi Chels!

We still have absolutely ZERO plans for Halloween. Maybe b/c we have to be up at 6am the day after.

And I’m getting some quality home alone time while H is at a math conference with his best friend.

Here are a few links for you this weekend:

7 Strange Questions That Help Your Find Your Life Purpose. While I’m so over the self-help culture and how it’s exploded into a black hole of lists to make you feel bad about how you’re living your life, these questions are funny and thought-provoking. Enjoy.

Found Shoestring Adventures (total weekend warrior porn) because they interviewed on of my fav bloggers ever Jillian Lukiski. She’s a metalsmith, blogger and photographer who lives and breathes nature, takes amazing photos and writes like a banshee.

“I make what I make because I live in the interior West and this space has carved my spirit and my life. This is the land I know by heart. These are the mountains I hike and run and ski. These are the trees I know by name. These are the wild animals I watch and cherish and hunt and fish and witness and take into my own life cycle on a daily basis.”

My college roommate and I knew this, but coloring is soooooo relaxing. I can just smell the crayons now.

Some straight office/productivity advice: don’t answer emails that lack questions.

And a little combo of hippy and good advice – do it anyway.

“At one point, she (Cheryl Strayed) was talking about uncertainty, about how to keep going when you don’t know how, when you aren’t sure of the outcome, about how to take that step when the deck is stacked against you: she said that you have to say a prayer to the god of doing it anyway.  You have to take a deep breath and go for it even though you have no idea how it will all turn out.  You have to find that teeny bit of faith so that you can take the very next step.”

I usually don’t link to funny videos, but H and I couldn’t stop laughing at this kid:

 

#30daysofdresses – day 12

Where in I get to spend an entire day with one of my best friends from college…

(Technically, this is day 13 but I have yet to get a photo from the work event for day 12’s dress, so yeah.)

Saturday morning we were up and out fairly early to pick up Jo & L. Jo and I have been friends since freshman year at college in Boston. (Also, she sang at my wedding, so she’s kind of a big deal.) They were visiting LA this weekend and had all day Saturday to hang with me.

We took them up to a short 3m hike in Malibu to see the ocean view through the haze, back to our house to drop off the dog, and out to Plan Check Kitchen for lunch (one of my fav burgers ever). Jo thanked me for “not killing” her on the hike and we reminisced about living together and tried to catch up on all the people we know collectively from that time. We ate burgers and drank Mexican Cokes out of glass bottles. We talked about music and our parents. We filled each other in on work, school and daily lives. We shared our dreams of relocating, living near friends, getting out of the cities we’ve been in.

We took the afternoon off – H gave Carter another bath and I vacuumed and finally put down some diatomaceous earth on the throw rug to combat the fleas (note: now 3 days later, this seems to have worked #boom). We showered and napped.

Back on the road, we picked up Jo and L and took them to Wurstkuche for beer and brats. When we walked into the back a dj was spinning, the lights were low and the room noise was loud, full of people talking and eating. “Welcome to the quintessential LA restaurant,” I said to Jo. She ended up being too full from lunch to finish her brat. L ate two brats and drank two beers. He was a fan. We spotted the cool chick who cuts our hair and waved to her from our table. H came back from getting a glass of water smiling – and pulled his wedding band out of his shirt pocket – where it has been “lost” for at least 6 months.

Jo and I traded stories of ruining things because we’re clumsy. She spilled a bottle of carrot juice and also dumped a cup of coffee into their bed. I said, “Pen. Everything I own is covered in pen.” H nodded in agreement.

Our last stop was to an improv show – can’t beat $10 for an hour of laughter. That’s where we took the photo above. It was awesome to be with someone who’s known me for so long.

When we said goodbye, we hugged tightly and whispered good things to each other. I’m so proud of where she’s going and what she’s doing – and happy she’s happy. Lindsey said it best in her post I linked to this weekend on friendship:

“I’m always amazed by how swiftly we slip back into comfortable patterns and by how easy it is to be around each other, because so much of our history is known and doesn’t need to be explained.”

It’s been two years since we saw each other and it felt just like it used to when she’d walk into my bedroom (which was the living room of our 1-bed split) and sit at the table, eating breakfast and talking my ear off about how she couldn’t find her shoes… or keys… or homework.

I didn’t know it then, but the friendships I made in college truly shaped who I am today.
Love you Jo
xoxo

Friendship Over Tacos

“She took a step and didn’t want to take any more, but she did.”
The Book Thief

Living in a large, transient city like Los Angeles means that people come and go. And as my group of friends approach their 30s, everyone is settling in to the dreams they plan to pursue in adulthood.

Many of these plans involve leaving LA.

Last week, I said goodbye to Stephanie, the 4th of my girlfriends in less than two years to move on. She’s off to grad school in Maryland to become a nurse.

I remember reading her grad school application essay while we sat at my kitchen table. I remember giving her some advice on how to tighten it up, but to be honest, I felt unworthy. The essay was already well written, and it was clear she’d put more work into writing and rewriting it than I had into any project I’d ever done for school.

She not only studied her ass off to go to school while working full-time, she not only got into a prestigious school, but she received a substantial scholarship.

She is going to be fine, I know it.

Stephanie and I met in my last semester of college in a conducting class. I was abysmal at conducting, but I could tell that Stephanie, with her focus in film scoring, knew what she was doing. So I asked if she’d tutor me. I don’t know why. I struggled through 4 years of music school and not once did I ask anyone else for help.

Not only did she tutor me, but we hit it off immediately. We realized we were both from adjacent towns on Long Island and that we shared a love of books.

Fast-forward two years later, and Stephanie is doing a trip to scout out LA before she graduates. We grab tacos for lunch and pick right back up where we left off.

And that’s how it all began – my luck of getting to call her a friend for the past 6 years.

Since then we’ve gone on long hikes, run the beach path in Santa Monica, had a sleepover or two, went out for delicious breakfasts, given each other tiny gifts, gushed over Elizabeth Gilbert, shared books, and rode bikes. I listened to her while she went through really difficult times, and sent her mail when boys sucked. And she listened to me while I was manic with work anxieties and stress.

I watched her travel to countries alone, so in awe that she had the guts. And she flew across the country to attend my wedding.

Besides grad school, this year she also ran the fucking LA marathon *and* fell in love with an awesome guy.

I’ve watched her grow from a driven, lost girl, to a successful, joyous woman.

She is the most generous person I know. And I miss her like hell already.

I couldn’t be more proud of you Steph. xo

PS – We started the LA portion of our friendship over tacos, and we said goodbye over tacos last week, as you do in SoCal. Can’t wait till our next taco date!

This Grateful Season – Friendship

This week I said good-bye to a friend, Elizabeth, as she packed up to leave LA. She’s moving on to a new life with her boyfriend on the East Coast. The three of us were in classes together in college and they’ve always gotten along. They reconnected last year and have been going long distance coast to coast. Having experienced that stress on my love before, I applaud them for making it to this moment.

It’s crazy to think I have friends, including Liz, that I’ve known for 10 years. And somehow many of us have ended up in Los Angeles. And if there’s anyone I can thank for getting me here in the first place, it’s Liz. We lived together for the last year and a half of college – which covered one of the worst semesters of my love life too – and all the while Liz dreamed of LA.

Due to a combination of the terrible year of my love life, college ending with no where to go and Liz’s utopian descriptions of Cali, I thought “fuck it”, dropped a class, called my parents and extended my college career one more semester. Labor Day September 2006 we landed in sunny Hollywood and never looked back. Through episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, both of us adopting our dogs, breakups, moving in with boyfriends, jobs in and out of the music industry, nail salons, interns, roommates and my wedding (!!) we’ve stayed friends no matter what side of the city we lived on.

And tonight, as she drives off to visit the Grand Canyon and makes the trip cross-country, I am sending her all of the love she wants and deserves. I would not be in LA if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have had an amazing wedding without her, and I certainly wouldn’t be as excited for her if I didn’t love her. Safe travels for this next leg of your life’s journey Sos – lurve you.

_______

For the month of November, I write each day about something I’m grateful for and call it Grateful Season. It’s my way of reviewing the amazing year I’ve had and helps me focus on blogging during the crazy holiday season uptick. Feel free to join me – just make sure you let me know!