Diary of A Mad, Interesting Woman

Welcome to the random (and sometimes ratchet) ramblings in my head about life, love and pop culture.

Tag: girlfriends

What I Know For Sure

Birthday Reflections & Ish Like That …

So … #ThisIs38

A few years ago I was included in the “What I Know For Sure” section of O Magazine and I shared perspective on not being defined by the roles we lead (i.e. mother, sister, daughter, etc.), but prioritizing and nourishing your individual spirit and soul in order to be the best you can for everyone else (and I’m paraphrasing in case some of yall are still holding on to your copies). As I learned recently at #Blogalicious9, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” Hallelujah and moment of silence for that little piece of wisdom …

Today is my born day (one time for #ScorpioSeason) and I can’t help but consider what I know for sure at this point in life. Seems that I’ve recently been involved in lots of deep conversation with girlfriends, my Hubby Honey, my Mama, my Boss and others about the lessons I’ve learned and the level of “sureness” I feel cloaked in these days. More important, it wasn’t a magical occurrence that just happened to me. My “sureness” is the result of intent. I’m living my life like its golden and operating within a level of freedom that I don’t think I’d ever experienced before now. I made the choice to be happy, to believe in myself and to throw a (metaphorical, and at times, tangible) middle finger to distractions. I’m living a life that I’m proud of and truth defined by me and only me. I. Am. So. Free.

As I celebrate this 38th *ahem* year of my life, here’s what I know for sure:

  • I no longer require any form of external validation to inspire or empower my internal thoughts, beliefs or ideas. For years, naturally, I sought approval from my friends, needed my lover(s) to assure me that I’m pretty, needed my managers to validate my smart thinking and my family to champion my tireless role as protector and provider. The expectation and necessity of the validation was so subtle that it took me a long time to pinpoint it was there. It drove me to seemingly inconsequential insecurity that metastasized into anger and resentment when I didn’t receive it. I finally decided I don’t need it. It was a cross too heavy to bear. Removing the focus from receiving my validation externally and empowering that positive energy inside has been likely one of my greatest rites of passage as a woman. Doing so has created this powerful level of self-awareness, self-love and self-confidence. It’s been one of my wisest intentional moves.

  • I’ve created healthy boundaries (for the most part) in my personal and professional relationships. For example, my loved ones (which include my Hubby Honey, Parents, Siblings, Girlfriends and extended family) are my lifeblood. In this life, it has been a privilege, and at times, a burden to serve them. It’s cost me peace of mind more often than I can reasonably quantify and I realized that it is 100 percent MY FAULT. We show people how to treat us, and too often, we operate within our familiar roles at unsustainable levels. Your loved ones don’t intend to overstep or abuse your over-commitment, but it happens. And it was happening to me. A LOT. So, I took a step back about three years ago and began to redefine my role, my expectations, my preferred level of commitment and the healthy level of reciprocity I needed within my familiar relationships. Doing so has freed me to support my loved ones absent of guilt, resentment, fear or worry. And, if someone doesn’t agree with my level of interaction or commitment, I leave that as a cross for them to bear. Cause as my Nik Nak taught me long ago – “What you eat don’t make me sh*t”. Word.

  • My heart is big. My tongue is sharp. My patience is thin. I’m extremely passionate (a true Scorpio). And, I’m funny as hell. I used to be reticent to say that about myself because it felt obnoxious to speak it, but no more. *picks up megaphone* I’M FUNNY AS HELL! Maybe not stand-up comedian funny, but I’ve been known to draw a crowd and bring down the house. #realtalk … my inner spirit is doing THIS most of the time …

Moving on …

  • I have a new found spiritual connection to my sexuality and pride in my body image that has skyrocketed my confidence. It’s not JUST about my looks (though your girl is killing it these days with this snatched waistline and size back to what I was in high school *hair flip*), but rather my internal confidence, keen self-awareness, my energy and this connection to a sense of … “knowing” about myself. My Grandma Mable used to say to me, “One day you just gone know what you know.” I never really understood that until now. Today, I own my confidence without shame, fear, ego or vanity. It’s my truth. It’s just as real as breathing.

  • I love being a woman, and more specifically, a black woman. There’s the fun stuff about being a girl like dressing up, makeup, all things shiny and sparkly, etc. But being a black woman comes with this Herculean strength, unicorn-level magic, enviable sense of wit, epic ability to clap back and shade and multidimensional talent. I am every woman and I BAWSE up in every gawt damn aspect of my life. Boardroom, bedroom, kitchen. I cooks, Baby. While my awareness to this perspective has been slow, my pride and ownership of it is SO here and SO real for me right now. I believe its actual tangible energy that even others feel when they are with me. I’m beaming in the skin I’m in. And loving every minute.

  • My relationship with God is real and tangible. It used to feel mythical. Perhaps because it was the product of the articulation of other people’s experience with Him. Today, we have our own vibe. My Jesus is trill! He MUST be because He created me and I stay on level trill at ALL times. I can feel Him … tangibly feel Him, hear Him and sense Him in all that I do. It’s pretty incredible. There’s not a moment I’m not mindful of Him, chatting in my mind with Him and hearing His response. I’ve tapped in and He’s reciprocated in the most beautiful fashion. It’s provided a much-needed compass as I carry two of my most important roles: Wife and Mom. And it’s endeared me to Him in such a personal way. #IluhGod #youdontluhGod #whatswrongwithyou

So … here I am! Big, bad and bold AF (said in my Ike Turner “What’s Love Got to do With It” voice – LOL). Loving myself and every aspect of my journey. I regret nothing. I’m present in every moment because I don’t want to miss a thing. And with that comes a continual birth of my being … which I am SO here for.

#ThisIs38

And many mooooooooooooooooooooooooore 🙂

Love You. Mean It.

@AskThePRGirl

Dear Stacey …

A #Blogalicious9-Inspired Note From My Heart to Yours 

I’ve had the privilege to share space and time with many exceptional women. From corporate execs to dignitaries and celebs, I’ve encountered them all. And as such, I’ve quite possibly seen the best and worst of personalities and character. You don’t know “diva” until you’ve really and truly encountered a diva. It’s a cute term to toss around until you’ve actually got to deal with one. Throughout my career, I’ve experienced the powerful energy and earth movement when women come together around a shared cause, and conversely, the devastation from the effects of women who live to tear each other down. Unfortunately, the latter has been more prevalent so when the former occurs, it’s noticed. It leaves an indelible mark. It awakens you from slumber. It’s a fresh breeze to the spirit and a balm to the soul.

You, Stacey … are the fruition of every girl power dream. I watched you while at #Blogalicious9 this year. Didn’t know you. Didn’t know what I’d encounter. Didn’t know your true intent in hosting this conference. So … I watched. Really and truly watched you. I saw you work the room, meet new people, hug attendees, thank sponsors, encourage speakers and lead business like an incredible BAWSE. I saw you give. I saw you invest. I saw you encourage. I saw you laugh. I saw you cry. I saw you love. I saw you vulnerable. I saw … your heart.

We only connected twice briefly for a matter of seconds at the conference. Once when you approached with exuberance to thank me for coming, sing my praises and encourage me to have a great time. The second was when I hugged you goodbye as I rushed to catch my flight on Sunday. Alhough it was in the middle of Danica Kombol’s EPIC closing keynote, and I caught you at an awkward hug angle from behind, you grabbed on tight and hugged me with your whole heart. You whispered your appreciation that I attended and well wishes for safe travel.

Be Blogalicious brings together a diverse fraternity of women who are shaping our world’s conversation about a diverse array of topics. From fashion and lifestyle to politics and social good to business BAWSE moves, each woman who attended is living a life of leaving a mark to change the world. Each woman a beautiful representation of living life out loud and by their own rules. Each woman a wonder. Each woman an enviable, pride-filled being of love, light and hope. And equally important, each woman encouraged, carried, loved, believed-in and championed by YOU.

I didn’t know you before the conference and I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with you. But your presence … your love and light filled every square inch of that hotel. You gathered close to 300 women and men, filled them with as much good stuff as you could and returned them to their space in the world to do the same in their own way. You (and your incredible team) empowered an army of game-changing, hair-flipping, BAWSE-ass women. In four days, you did nothing short of changing the world (if you really think about it). I mean, really! Think about it! And this is the NINTH year!

I believe that a ministry can take shape in many different forms as long as the result is nurturing and growth of the soul. I’m honored to have experienced you and the power of your ministry. You are some kind of wonderful, my friend. And I thank you. Thank you for being … you. And I’ll say it again, I’m here if you call. Consider me a member of your tribe if only to pray your continued strength and growth.

BTW – I didn’t get a chance to share it, but the devil TRIED IT with your health this summer because he wanted to STOP God’s flow from you into the lives you touched at the conference. He knew the exponential goodness you’d generate and wanted to dead it before it even had chance to see the light of day. His plan didn’t work. God said not so. You were meant to touch and encourage our lives and you did. I praise God that He carried you through and saw fit for you to push almost 300 points of light into the world. I pray for continued health and wealth for you, your covenant and your children. #Selah

Love you. Mean it.

#TribeUp #WOCaffirmation

@AskThePRGirl

The Warning Shot Heard ‘Round the World & Other Insecure Ish

I’m not a traditional recapper of episodes giving a play-by-play of what happened so if that’s what you’re looking for, I’d check for another blog. I DO appreciate a good post episode query to ensure I’m not in these skreets thinking these thoughts by myself. Mmmkay?  So umm … er … let’s dive on into my top five gut check moments in episode 14 of HBO series #Insecure: Hella Blows:

  1. #Hoetation – Issa ain’t about this life she’s tryna live. I mean, she really sucks at it. We all see it. It takes finesse to truly have a hoetation without your name and deeds being in the skreets. You gotta be on some “eff yo feelings, I’m gettin mine” WITHOUT alarming your “prey”. And you CAN’T be thirsty!!! She’s TOO up in her feelings, painfully uncoordinated, odd and slick destructive in her approach. Who shows up to a dude’s house that you’ve only banged once and gets mad when someone else is there? Better yet, who bangs the guy who lives in the same building?! I was taught to never sh*t where you sleep. Clearly, I’m a dying breed. Raise your hand if this is normal behavior? IF you DID raise your hand, I’m gonna need you to collect your belongings and skedaddle right the hell up off my page. We’ve talked once before about your questionable life decisions and I won’t suffer you in life or blog. I just … can’t.
  2. #BlackatWork – Lawrence encountered that good ole tokenism at work. Nothing like working with folks who absolve themselves of the privilege and supremacy collar simply because they hired a black person, but knowingly treat you with condescension-laced tolerance. Me thinks it’s learn your effing lesson day for Lawrence this season. Everywhere he turns he’s getting a nice little sermon (chapter and verse). And looks like old girl at work is here for his awakening. We shall see where they go with that.
  3. #Shade – For forever and a day, “Girl, shut yo light-skinned ass up” will remain the ultimate no clap back shade. And it’s shade that only WE can say and ONLY to a good friend who know she saying some tom f***ery to begin with. When Molly said it to Tiffany, my heart warmed. It’s one of those unspoken black girl rules that you take advantage of when you with your real girls. Yet another reason why I love this show. They always tap into the real and deliver it effortlessly.
  4. #ThatDROstroke – I hate this path Molly is traveling down. I hate the license she’s given herself to sleep with this married man simply because she woke up to real life about her parent’s very adult relationship. I hate that she’s sacrificing her relationship with a lifetime friend. I hate that she represents a woman having it all, but nothing at all. I hate that when she gets what she’s been looking for, she ignores it for the thrill of complication (I mean … nothing’s more exciting than sleeping with the guy you KNOW you ain’t supposed to be touching). I hate that she’s taking the LOOOOOOOOOONG road to happiness and threatening her ability to get there because she backtracks 10 steps for every one taken in the right direction. BUT (and I say this hating myself as I prepare to type these next lines) Dro’s stroke is nectar of the gods. My man ain’t puttin in light work, he’s literally throwing his back into it and coming with that mythical light-skinned love! You KNOW what I’m talking about! Sistas get with chocolate brothas like Daniel, Lawrence, etc., because we know that stroke is coming from deep in the hills of the motherland. Light-skinned dudes (aka pretty ninjas) don’t be in there right because they’ve been with too many girls who are happy to be with the pretty ninja and didn’t tell his a** that his stroke is terrible. Thus, he goes through life thinking he’s THE MAN and he sucks. Somehow, Dro got that “spirit of Jidenna” stroke (i.e. you start hearing “Bambi” as soon as that ninja drop his draws and your soul cries a native African scream). That be late for work stroke. That call your girls and tell ‘em you ain’t gone make it stroke. Lawd ta mercy … #IJS. She ain’t right, but the b*tch is only human.
  5. #TheShot – Now … maybe I’m wrong, but we DID hear Daniel say, “Oh sh*t! You ‘bout to make me come.” In my experience, that’s when you pull back and use your hand if you don’t want to be shot in the face or swallow. If you gone be down there working it out and puttin him on notice that you came to win, you must engage all your chakras, be listening with your ears and looking with your third eye. THAT WAY, you don’t end up … like Issa. Listen, we’re adults, right?? It’s not the most pleasant sitch. We’ve ALL been there. I’m not tryna judge Issa that it happened, but I’m slightly confused at her reaction. What did she think was gonna happen? And can somebody hip me to WHEN we start givin head to ninjas that ain’t your man or regular d***?? I missed that memo about the same way Issa missed Daniel’s warning, child. I aneono. Yet another reason why Issa need to get out these streets.

So basically, everybody is a mess and resisting any and all common sense. Right?? Mmmkay.

Well, next week looks to be a doozie with everyone meeting up and having their mess on Front Street. Jesus be a ram in the bush. These people got my pressure up in ALL the right ways and for all the wrong reasons. #issamess

Until next week …

Love you. Mean it.

@AskthePRGirl

 

*All gifs courtesy of Giphy.com and HBO

AskThePRGirl and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Trip

Lessons in clubbing while “old”, girl tripping and understanding that the road to hell is paved with good intentions

Traveling is generally a fabulous thing. At this moment in my life, anytime I get free/me-time absent of wife and mommy responsibilities, I’m so excited. It’s hard to find moments that allow you to steal away time to simply think about self, have fun and do crazy lady things. So you have to know that while leading the planning for my Sissy-in-love’s bachelorette weekend in Miami wasn’t my first choice, especially considering my daily schedule and demanding career, I realized that attending (and having a KICK ASS time) would make up for it. That’s as close to a win, win that you get in my book.

Six ladies traveled together to hot, sexy Miami to celebrate Sissy’s upcoming nuptials to my little brother. We came from far and wide to kick it with her and help shepherd one more moment of debauchery before she turns in her card. A VIP experience + six HOT women + Miami = The. Greatest. Weekend. Ever!! Right?

Wrong.

The East Coast was hit with a massive storm the night before our departure. All canceled flights were pushed over to our travel start date. We were hit with major delays and cancellation after cancellation. I’d booked a first class ticket for the bride to meet me in ATL and fly together to Miami. Unfortunately, Delta canceled ALL flights to Miami from Nashville which left her stranded. After spending almost 10 hours in the airport, hours and hours on the phone with Delta, hours and hours of standing in line with gate agents and an inside Delta rep doing her best to help, we rebooked the Bride on a flight the next day. She was forced to miss the first night of her big trip.

Shit.

Well, I can’t control the weather, but I felt I could ease the disappointment by ensuring from the moment her feet touched the ground in Miami, it was FABULOUSITY. I sent a car service to pick her up from the airport. I put out welcome bags stuffed with small liquor and drugstore treasures for the crew, and prepared myself to be her bitch for 48 hours. All I needed was a five hour energy, a couple shots and prayer.

*gulp*

The day went well! We lunched off Collins and sunbathed poolside at the Shelborne. We were queens for the day. Dinner was DE-LISH. We got VIP entry to LIV, and after a day of drinking, we were ready to dance it off. Now … I’m starting to feel the lull and severe exhaustion. Let’s be fair – I’m generally in bed by 10pm on most nights. At this point, it’s 12:30am and DJ Mustard (the featured DJ) had yet to spin. BUT, I’m a soldier. I can do this!! I used to shut the club down! It’s just like riding a bike, right?? Wrong. By 2am when DJ Mustard finally hit the stage, I was delirious with exhaustion. Add that to all of the drinks I’d consumed over the past 10 hours and my body was on the brink of legit collapse. I was so tired (and drunk) that my vision was blurry. I was seeing, but not seeing. I had to pee, but couldn’t find the bathroom. And the girls – they were dispersed all over having the time of their lives.

At 4am, I realized we needed to get the hell out of there. The club closes at 5AM and no self-respecting woman should be there when the “clean-up crew” comes through. You know what the “clean-up crew” is, right? NO?? Well, let me explain. It’s the dudes who wait for the club lights to come on to find the sad, desperate bitch still standing there so that he can take her home. Now … I’ve shut down a club in my day, but I’ve NEVER been around for the “clean-up crew”. What I look like?? #howboutdat

Like herding cats, I gathered every giggly, crunk/drunk one of us to exit the club and order an Uber. Poor, poor Uber driver. He was marginally cute and didn’t speak much English. The girls were SAUCED and began to touch his arms and neck and head telling him how cute he was.

“Do you work out??”

“You look like you work out.”

He didn’t. It was the alcohol talking.

We made it back to the hotel safely with only the mild complication of a missing phone in the Uber. He returned it. All is well.

The next day, we go to breakfast and I feel … like death.

My skin hurts. My eyes hurt (I forgot to take out my contacts). My knees hurt from standing, walking, dancing in stilettos all night. My elbow hurt and I didn’t even know why. I wiped off only half of my makeup so I woke up looking like I’d been mugged and sexually assaulted in a dark alley, fought off my attacker and went to iHop. #truth

The bride wakes up looking fresh, beautiful and energetic. And so did her friends.

Ugh. I really hate young bitches.

We go to lunch and food makes me feel better, but the threat of something dark and ominous is still looming inside. After lunch, the girls decided we should walk down Ocean, see the sites and people watch. After five or six blocks, I broke a light sheen of sweat. And I’m not talking sweat from the hot Miami sun. I’m talking the type of sweat that communicates your body is trying to purge something nasty. In that moment, I didn’t know if it was coming out the bottom or the top. All I knew is that it was coming OUT. We stopped for water on the beach and while the girls decided whether to beach it or keep walking, I made my quick exit.

“Welp! I’m gone leave y’all too it,” I said abruptly while walking away.

“You’re leaving?!?” said The Bride

“Yep. I’ll meet y’all back at the hotel,” I said as I scurried off as fast as I could.

I’m sure they were thinking, “WTF??” But, to preserve my dignity, I got out of there. My 37 year old body made it clear that if I didn’t get the hell out of dodge, it was going to embarrass the complete shit out of me and all of them. The problem is that we were down on 5th and Ocean (give or take) and our hotel was at 18th and Collins (#FML). I started walking and just when I thought I’d pass out, an interesting, very butch Lesbian scooted up to hit on me. Oh yeah. I forgot to tell you it was Gay Pride as well.

“Hey, Baby! You look real sweet. You wanna ride?”

“Ummm. No thank you. I … wait … you know what?? Yes. You mind taking me to 18th and Collins??”

“I’ll take you anywhere you wanna go, baby. Get on.”

And thus is how I popped my cherry and rode a lesbian 13 blocks. *sigh*

Desperate times calls for desperate measures. At least she was nice … and she only reached back to grab my ass once … or twice.

I chilled at the hotel poolside and napped in the shade. I purged a few times in the bathroom, and when I woke up, I felt better. Felt like I could make it for our last night on the town. Unfortunately, drama unfolded which sorta derailed the evening, but what’s a trip with young bitches if some reality TV, I’m all in my feelings, I never learned how to use my words, passive aggressive, let’s talk about her but not to her, frenemy shit don’t pop off at SOME point?? *Ye shrug* It’s just par for the course to make the weekend memorable. The best “remember when” involves good drama. Ask my girl Nikki. We got young bitch stories upon stories from back in the day. #truth

I managed to make it back to ATL in one piece albeit after a three hour delay (freaking Delta). And I learned / remembered a few things along the way:

  1. You must hydrate when you’re going to consume an intense amount of alcohol. It’s the ONLY way to survive it without nearing the seventh circle of hell.
  2. The art of the shoulder shimmy and carefully synced head nod will save your feet and knees in an environment when everyone is dancing, and you’re too old to keep up.
  3. People don’t dance no mo. All they do is twerk. They bend over and wiggle. I remember a time when bitches had routines to go to a party or club. For real! Watch House Party (1 and 2). Those were the days …
  4. Men don’t approach anymore with style or swag or the type of confidence that makes you giggle. They literally just grab you by the arm like a f***ing police officer while you walk by, or in my case, grab your ass while sliding their fingers between your cheeks. I. Shit. You. Not. *blank stare* #wheretheydothatat
  5. Aging is mandatory. Maturing isn’t. Young bitches are still young bitches. Nothing shows you that like being among them for a weekend. That’s how I learned that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. You can’t please a person hell bent on negativity, being petty and miserable no matter how hard you try. BUT, you learn and you grow. Hopefully. And at 37, you look back on all of your own young bitch moments and smile with perspective.

All in all, I survived it. And like Alexander and his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, I realized things could have been worse. I DID have fun! And the Bride enjoyed it, too (well … most of it sans the weather delays and the slick messiness). So … maybe it wasn’t so terrible after all?

Love you. Mean it.

@AskThePRGirl

(Post and artwork inspired by one of my kid’s favorite books: “Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst, Illustrated by Ray Cruz)

Unconditional Love

Pic of us

One of the longest, most intimate, time-consuming, ridiculous, heart-wrenching and powerful relationships in my life is with a woman … and I’m not talking about my Mother.  Actually two women.  For nearly 20 years, I have been in love with two women.  They have been my road dogs, my confidents, my diary, my sounding board, my fashion advisors, my edifiers, my good times, my shoulder to cry on and my “do you remember that time when …” partners.  We have experienced just about everything you can possibly imagine and we’ve done it all together.  Men have come and go.  Jobs have come and go.  Other chicks that thought they understood friendship have come and go.  Through it all, we have been hopelessly committed to each other.  We made a pact years ago that no matter what comes and no matter how much it hurts, we will love each other and ALWAYS be honest with each other until the last of us takes her last breath.  We’re a tripod.  Together we’re powerful and can do anything.

No sooner than you make that level of commitment to another person, you will be tested.  It’s as if the universe, Murphy’s Law and the devil all sit down for drinks and say, “Okay. These bitches think they want to be friends for LIFE. *insert doubled over, finger pointing laughter* Well, let’s see just how bad they want it and what they’re willing to endure to have it.  Five bucks say they’ll have destroyed each other by the time we’re done with ‘em.”

In the beginning, things were good.  We argued sometimes, but we always got over it.  Hell, two of us even got into a physical fight over a broken VCR.  Chile … THAT was a day.  But, we moved on.  We always did.  We stuck together and got through the tough times as one.  Then, one day, things changed.

I fell in love.  Hard.  And my love was moving to Los Angeles for a new job.  Not only did he decide to move, but he declared and decreed that he wanted me with him.  Steve Harvey says a man shows his love by “professing, protecting and providing.”  He did ALL of that and then some.  So, I moved to California to begin my new life.  I don’t know that I fully assessed how it would affect my tripod.  I thought they’d be happy for me, and though we wouldn’t see each other as often, things wouldn’t change.  There’d be more phone calls and budgeting to fly to see each other, but we’d be fine.  Boy was I wrong.

In every relationship, there is a “star”.  The person that everything revolves around.  The person that brings the fun.  The person whose participation is necessary in order for the group to have a great time.  The person whose opinion weighs the most.  The person everyone comes to for advice and leans on for stability.  In our tripod, that person is me and I had NO idea. Well … maybe a small idea, but I don’t think I realized the responsibility that role carries.  I was off living a “fabulous” life in Los Angeles.  The other two were home missing me and feeling shredded by my decision to leave.  While they were happy for me and in awe of my bravery to follow my heart, they were also a bit disgruntled that I not only contemplated leaving, but I actually did it.  Little did they know I was completely miserable.  I missed them so much that I cried every night the first six months I was gone.  I wanted so desperately to have my love, my career, my family and my girls.  I wanted it all, but life wasn’t working out that way.  I felt like I had to be happy with only two thirds of the life I wanted.  I finally brushed away the tears and decided to move forward.  I loved my girls.  I knew that would never change.  I no longer wanted to miss present blessings wishing for something different.  I had to grow up, put my “big girl panties on” and live.

When I moved, the distance created the opportunity for negativity, judgment and resentment to creep in.  If felt like every five seconds we were in a silent fight about something stupid.  You know what a silent fight is, right?  It’s the fight you have without actually fighting.  No one actually verbalizes a hurt or disappointment.  Instead you are “chilly” with each other over the phone and smoothly throw “shade” with a chuckle and a “Girl, you know I’m just playing with you!”  Meanwhile, you’re talking to the other friend about “this bitch this” and “this bitch that”.  Yeah … there was a LOT of that happening.  And it was beginning to take it’s toll.  You could feel the shift happening though none of us wanted to consider that we were … growing apart?  Nah!  That’s not possible!  We vowed unconditional love for life, right?

Years later we (Hubby and I) finally moved back to the South.  We were all so happy because we just KNEW things were going to be just as they were before I left.  We were closer so we could see each other anytime we wanted.  We could just pick up where we left off.  Yeah … that didn’t happen.  I had a career and they had new lives.  They had introduced new friends (something I was NOT at ALL happy about).  I was married and soon to have a baby.  We weren’t in college anymore.  We were adults.  If we were going to have that close bond we once shared, it was going to take a lot of effort … effort that neither of us was willing to give.

Then, it happened.  The fight.  You knew it was coming, right?  🙂

One day (and I remember this day so clearly) I was called by one member of the tripod and told that she didn’t like my attitude.  She said I was acting “high and mighty” all the time.  She said that I was judging her and “feeling some kind of way” about her life choices.  She was tired of the shade I was throwing and wanted to put the sh*t out there.  Now, you should know that the day she decided to hit me with these headlines about her feelings, I was at the mall shopping for an evening gown because I was to be honored by an amazing organization at the Beverly Hills Hotel.  This was a HUGE moment in my life.  And she knew that.  In my mind, she ruined something very important to me to call me and tell me some sh*t that didn’t amount to much.  She wasn’t calling to tell me she was dying.  To me, and I am giving you my side at the moment, she wasn’t telling me what she was REALLY mad about.  Instead, she was creating a fight about some completely unsolvable sh*t in her head because she wasn’t brave enough to tell me what she was REALLY freaking mad about.  And. That. Pissed. Me. Off.  World War III was officially on and popping.  I was now mad at her.  She was mad at me.  Our other friend was stuck in the middle trying desperately (and failing) not to take sides.  The legs of our tripod had been kicked out and we didn’t give a damn.

We became frenemies.  We still spoke on the phone, but not as much.  We were there to support the BIG moments in each other’s lives like birthdays and child birth, but our hearts weren’t in it.  Truth be told, we only did it so that “that bitch can’t say I wasn’t there for her BIG moment”.  And what’s worse, we were tearing each other apart.  Things got bad.  Real bad.  We went from rarely speaking to total radio silence.  I was a new Mom and desperately wanted her to be a part of all of the special moments she was missing, but pride wouldn’t let me call.  Pride wouldn’t let me admit that I still needed her.  It was like one of those T.V. moments when Good and Evil pop up on your shoulder.  Good told me to call my friend because I missed her.  Apologize for hurting her and move forward.  Evil told me that this man-less, jealous bitch could kick rocks with open-toed shoes down a dirt road in KKK country.  I sided with Evil.  Ridiculous.

Though I moved on, I was in agony.  It was like someone had chopped off one of my limbs and I was feeling phantom pain from where it used to live.  Even my smile was hollow.  I was totally and completely miserable.  It was that moment I decided to let God in.  I finally got on my knees and prayed about it.  I decided to get past my sh*t, and again, grow up.  I told Him that I didn’t know how to get past my own hurt to love her unconditionally as I pledged years ago.  I didn’t know how to just let it all go and move on. So much had happened.  So many awful things had been said.  How could I possibly right the wrong?  Could we really move forward?  Unconditional love sounds good, but the work that’s required to provide it feels impossible sometimes.

After much prayer, God finally revealed to me ALL of the things I’d done to hurt my friend.  It was like a “Who’s Who” list of all my sh*t.  I was horrified.  He showed me how I’d taken her for granted.  How I’d thrown my life choices in her face and judged when she didn’t parallel her life to mine.  He showed me how I’d left her alone when I knew all she needed was a call, but I didn’t feel I had time or just didn’t feel like being bothered.  He told me (and this makes me cry even as I type this) that I’d literally broken her heart.  She needed me and I abandoned her.  I went off to my “fabulous” life in California, rubbed it in her face and never checked in on her.  When we did talk, I was passive aggressive (a skill I learned from my mother) and made things seem like she was causing our fight.   I changed and I didn’t take her along on the journey.  I “grew up” and I punished her for not being clairvoyant.  I wronged her.  I hurt her deeply and had the nerve to be angry about the way she tried to communicate it.  I valued my “moment in the sun” Beverly Hills awards ceremony over her needing me.  I turned my back, walked head high into my destiny and never looked to my side to make sure she was still with me.

When she called that day I should have dropped everything and ran to her.  Why?  Because I promised her I would.  The moment she tested that, I dropped the ball like Braylon Edwards.  I was ashamed.  So, so ashamed.  I’d charged her with the responsibility of being the friend I was unwilling to be.  I expected her to live a truth I was unwilling to accept.  I expected perfection from her, but accepted huge, gaping flaws in myself.  I’d even wrote her a letter (standing very tall on a soap box) and made the future of our friendship her decision by way of her immature, unloving choices.  Yeah, y’all.  I went there.  ALL the way there.

Long story short, I made it right.  After understanding my role in the breakdown of our relationship, I realized what was required to make it right.  It took maturity and most importantly it took humility.  I had to humble myself and be wrong.  No ifs, ands or buts.  I had to make up for all the ways I destroyed the most precious thing in my life.

I am proud to say we fixed things and we are stronger than ever.  I’ve learned how to really and truly love my friends.  I understand that loving them doesn’t mean shoving my opinions down their throat, only accepting them when they agree that I’m right or when they play into my ego of being our “star”.  Loving them is being willing to be Robin instead of Batman.  Hell, sometimes it’s being neither.  There are times when your role is to play background to the background.  Sometimes, you’re only the grip on the set of the movie and you definitely get no love during the Oscar speech: still important, but there’s no prize or acknowledgment for your contribution to the journey.  Loving them is lovingly sharing the truth they need in the moment when their spirit is open to receive it and not shoving it down their throats because “it’s the truth and she needs to hear it now!”  Even if that means not sharing the truth at all for a time and allowing them to reach it on their own.  My 20-year history with these women has taught me so much about my ability to love, but more importantly, it has been my greatest joy.  I am who I am because these women carried me to this place.  They’ve always been my safe place to land.  It’s tough to fail with that type of safety net in life.

Real, true unconditional love is the hardest love because is it a perfect love.  It’s a Godly love.  I challenge you to audit your life and find those places where you’re failing to provide it.  Once you reach an understanding of the responsibility to give it and receive it, you’ll reach … heaven.

All the best, AskThePRGirl