When I got married at 22, one friend in particular thought I was making a mistake. She did her best to smile for me, but I knew. I’d known her my whole life. She’d known me. We’d always been deeply in tune with one another. We used to say we were soul mates. That’s how deeply felt connected.
At some point in my marriage, I guess she could no longer mask her disapproval, and I (trying to do everything to make the marriage work) stopped communicating with her for nearly two years. It’s hard to make a decision solely for yourself when you have voices in your head swaying you one way or the other. So I didn’t talk to her. The same person I would literally stay on the phone with for probably 12+ hours a day during summers in grade school. The one who knew everything about everything. My best friend since I could remember.
Life is funny. How it changes. How we evolve. How we try things. How they work sometimes. And don’t sometimes. How we think we know stuff, and we really don’t. How we have more questions than answers most of the time. How we always have plans, but really it’s the plans that have us. We get lost in plans all the time.
When I left that marriage, it wasn’t even two weeks before I called her. I asked her to meet me at a restaurant. She agreed. We cried for the entire 3+ hours sitting there catching up on where we were in life and how we’d gotten there. I told her everything. She told me everything. It was like we hadn’t missed a beat. She understood why I had to do what I had to do. I didn’t want regrets. She had to do what she had to do. She couldn’t continue to lie to me.
Ah. Friendships. The real ones. Are everything.
Fast forward to today.
We’re far removed from the days of talking 12+ hours and getting into trouble together. Man, that was my road-dawg, you hear me?! We were thick. Homies. Sisters. Like, she’s fought for me, and I have smooth lied without blinking an eye for her. Lol. Yo, we LIVED! Do you hear me? ON the edge like a MUG! Thank God for keeping us! Whew! The stories are cray!
Now she’s a mother to two beautiful baby boys. In a committed relationship, and living the life she swore she never would. And here I am, doing the same. At 16, we each wanted the opposite of the lives we currently have. I wanted two boys and a loving husband, a house, and white picket fence. She wanted to live the city life and be an independent kinda woman. I was like, uh-uh… I’m a dependent kinda woman. Lol. I NEED a man. I WANT a husband!
But we were 16 then. We’re in our thirties now.
And this morning on my way to work, she said something to me that made it all play back. The whole journey to now.
I think you’re better than you’ve ever been.
To which I paused (as the playback flashed) and then responded:
I think so, too.
What a thought to think that after all my trials and errors, I finally feel like I’m home.
And it’s not in a house. It’s in a condo. And my fence is not a white picket one, but a black rod iron one. My back yard is not filled with trees and birds chirping, but buildings and trains whistling. I don’t have two boys, but rather one amazing little girl. And I am dependent on no one. Only myself. I don’t have a husband, or even a boyfriend, or even a regular guy friend… okay, wait. Yes, I do have a regular guy friend (or two or so). But I can’t give too much of that away right now, because you know... I’m just exploring and enjoying. Really, really enjoying. Trust me. Dating is… amaze.
Point is: My life is NOTHING like I planned. But it’s currently more than I even knew to ask for or imagine. You know? Because above everything, I just feel like my best self. Despite where I’m living, or how I’m living it’s what’s happening on the inside that is causing me to feel this way. It’s honestly the journey itself. The self-discovery. The part where I get to sit back and think about my experiences. Write about 'em. Do something with them and about them. Put the lessons into action.
So, this is what the truth feels like.
Feels like freedom.
(And this isn’t about divorce. I do not advocate that. I write about my experiences, but I don’t feel that anyone has to leave their situation in order to find their own freedom. This is my story. We each have our own.)
But AH! I’m so free.
High on my life right now. Flying. Soaring above it all.
I saw a quote the other day that stopped me in my tracks. It said:
“how wild it was, to let it be” –Cheryl Strayed
How wild it is that all my plans fell through, yet I’m better than ever! How wild that my friends all say, “Bran, you finally look like the free spirit you’ve always been.” How wild that I’ve written about my imperfections and errors and failures in dozens of essays, yet the people read them to receive #goodvibesonly –wild!
That I am able to live this way. Completely transparent. Flaws exposed, and feel so beautiful.
AH! OMGeeeeee! As I feel my nose tingle and eyes fill… I am okay! I am better than okay. I’m alive! And
what’s more is I actually FEEL alive.
And as my dear friend caused me to ponder, I am better than I’ve ever been.
And now I know for sure that Grace is SO Amazing!