I’m having trouble coming up with a focused blog topic. I thought I’d write about women and friendships with them. I had a wonderful/awful week with women friends…just showing the complexity of these relationships…and then I went and used the word relationship, and my mind spun off into an entirely different direction. Then I started thinking about men. Then Biff. Then me and Biff. Then the many, many reasons why at 37, I am willing to drop him and our relationship at every little bump in the road.
I tell my students not to use clichés, but I’m too tired to be clever.
I can’t make sense of this. Not all at once. So. Back to women and friendships. Here’s what I know: I used to hate women. Growing up, I never had many friends and then when I had a girlfriend, I’d grow dependent on her and then she’d break my heart. Katie Horvath and Rachel Schwartz did this to me in 6th grade where they took me out into the middle of the playground and Rachel fluffed her feathered hair and told Katie to say it. Katie didn’t want to, I think because I would go over to her house after school. We’d dance to Madonna videos and she’d play the piano and I sing whatever Lionel Richie song she had sheet music for.
But I looked into her blue eyes and she said it anyway “We’ve decided you’re not cool enough to hang out with us.” I was devastated. Heartbroken. You’d think I’d gotten divorced. Hadn’t we had a relationsip? Didn’t we eat sundaes together and sleep on the floor in sleeping bags watching MTV. Didn’t I tell her that she could be Madonna’s younger sister? I didn’t trust women for a long, long time after that.
Why? Why are my friendships with women so intense? They’re like this with men sometimes too. When you trust your self…Your Self…with someone, you open your heart to love but also disappointment. It’s like you’re Achilles and you say “If you want to kill me, strike me right here on this here soft heel”. Trust is like that. Love is like that. “I’m going to trust you with this because it will bring us closer, and in the end you can use it to destroy me”. Katie Horvath did that to me. I did it to other people. Women…we’re great…and we’re mean. And we’re extremely loyal.
In college I had another close/torturous friendship with a roommate. I loved her. I loved her platonically but wholly and then when I started dating a guy, I gave more time to him and I broke her heart. She and I could’ve been the kind of friends that lasted a lifetime. We lasted one year.
Over the years, I’ve gotten better at being a friend. And I like women now. I get them. We can communicate with just a blink and say everything from “Cute shirt” to “You step anywhere near me and my man and I will kill you and suck out your soul.” We also understand all the nuisanced rules of dating so we can commiserate when a guy fucks up…and he will fuck up because our list of rules is gigantic.
When I’m broken and bruised, I call my girlfriends. I call Rae who I’ve known since college. We don’t see or talk frequently, but she’s always there, and she always supports me. I call my sister. We didn’t talk for 7 years…but that’s nothing. We’re close as ever now. I have other women friends (and a few gay guy friends) and I know that no matter what choice I make or decision I fuck up, they’ve got my back. They’ve got my back because they love me.
That’s what a true friendship is. It’s singing Lionel Richie songs with them and forgiving them for sucking. It’s growing old together and telling each other every time you see them “You look amazing”. It’s listening and when a friend is confused saying, “Whatever you decide, I’m here for you.”
I like women now. I love them. They’ve taught me to be a better person, and a better partner to the men I’ve had in my life. Now, of course, not all women are great influences on me. I’ve had to say goodbye to friends that brought out more of a darkness in me than a light, but I don’t think that’s because they’re women. It’s just that our friendships grew and changed and then we moved on.
Right now, I’m trying to figure out how to be vulnerable again, how to love again, how to protect my heart but leave it open too. And my girlfriends are right along with me. They don’t tell me what to do, exactly, they just sort of walk along with me, even if I’m wearing totally wrong shoes. They know I’ll figure it out eventually.
What I’m saying here is that somewhere along the way in growing up, I went from hating women to needing them in my life. There’s no great moral here or anything, just a general shout out.
As for relationships with men…that’s a whole different blog post. But I’m learning there too. And I’m trying not to sprint for the door at every available opportunity. I’m trying to…as a fortune cookie said…just enjoy being happy for now. And on Wednesday night, I’ll be hanging with some new girlfriends gluing sequins to sombreros to promote “Blunder Woman” because this is what girlfriends do. When one friend is need, everyone comes carrying a glue gun and vodka.
Look at that. There’s a moral in here after all.