This is me and my best friend, Alicia.
We tried to start a podcast together once.
It was fun trying.
We’ve known each other 26 years. (keep scrolling to see a photo of us from 25 years ago!)
We met at summer camp and lived on opposite sides of the state of Michigan. We were “bicoastal” in that regard. We now live on the same coast but 75 miles apart.
And it’s okay. Because technology. And cars. And, well, we’ve only ever known our friendship as a long distance thing.
She’s a Taurus. I’m a Sagittarius.
Alicia met me at 14. That crucial year you start high school and see adulthood on the horizon. We drifted apart from the ages of 20 to 28 but when we met for coffee it was like no time had passed.
Alicia gets excited about other people’s dreams. She encourages them, is interested in them, and makes you feel like anything is possible. She’s motherly and calming and a homebody who likes to travel. She is gracious and kind and thoughtful. She’s also open minded and reasonable and stubborn.
She’s known me and accepted and loved me since the years I was living in my abusive narcissistic family cult. And, while we’ve both changed, I also take comfort in knowing I’m still the same me I was at 14 & Alicia reminds me of that.
When we come from trauma we sometimes want to wipe out the person who was living a lie to protect their abuser. We wonder if we were bad or inauthentic or somehow not valuable because we just kind of survived without knowing if our feet were touching the ground of reality.
Did we do things to keep people at bay? Were we annoying or controlling or insensitive or manipulative?
I was. I was a teenager.
I distinctly remember Alicia and my other friends yelling at me during summer camp siesta to shut up because I thought I was hilarious and wouldn’t be quiet. I remember slight jealousies over the opposite sex and moments when we misunderstood each other, like the time I jumped in the lake with my jeans on and carried Alicia from the dock to the shore on my shoulders so she wouldn’t get wet only to have my big toe get caught in the cuff of my jeans and send us both flying into the water. (She was convinced I did it intentionally as her dad, the camp director, couldn’t stop belly laughing.)
But that’s part of being human. Finding our way. Learning how to be. Making mistakes. Growing up.
And I take comfort that there is real, lasting love in this world. A love that sees me for me and accepts all of me as I flounder through figuring it out.
I found a similar love in my boyfriend. Also a Taurus.
And while I sit like a potbelly stove with a fire that won’t quit next to my favorite Taurians
And set shit on fire — within a contained safe space, burning off what is unnecessary and refining that which is lasting —
I feel anchored to the earth.
Like I don’t have to separate from myself. While they hold space for me I hold space for them.
They are grounding anchors of Love and security.
And this is what it is to love: To be. And to be seen. And to expand and become together.
Alicia is my best friend, partly because she’s my oldest friend. She has loved the me that I wanted to abandon. And I feel seen. And therefore, I feel loved.
I believe I’m really lucky to have someone like her in my life. And I realize not everyone gets that experience.
And I wonder, can we be our own best friend?
Can we look back on our 14 year old self and say, “Hey, I see you, you little punk. You’re awesome. And I love you. And someday you’re gonna look back on these days and know you were becoming who you are now. And you’re gonna smile. Cuz life gets better the better you feel in your own skin.”
I think we can.
And we must.
Love you, today. You’re worthy.