You’ll never guess where the inspiration for this blog post came from! Never. Okay … maybe. Oh yes, you’ve got it – The Brave Girls Club.
This morning I got this email from those clever little birdies and it got me to thinking about my friends. The good (thankfully the majority of them fall within this first category), the bad (there has been only one) and the ugly (well, she wasn’t physically ugly, but the friendship sure as hell turned sour in a hurry!).
*After typing, deleting, retyping, contemplating and generally being very indecisive, I have eventually concluded that pseudonyms (and pseudo-groups) are probably safest. I must also include some kind of disclaimer to anyone who feels left out if I neglected to include an anecdote about OUR friendship. So this is it. If there’s something funny YOU remember about US as friends, post it as a comment to refresh my memory 🙂
The Oldest Friend
I don’t mean she’s old old, but she is older than me. By one year and one week exactly. She was the first person to say something kind to me, when I walked into our Standard 7 (Grade 9?) phys-ed class. Back then, I didn’t think what she wanted to do was particularly kind – but I was the new dorky Zimbabwean kid in a big co-ed school in Jo’burg and I needed friends. Fast. I also had ridiculously enormous glasses, a hair cut resembling that of a early nineties Backstreet Boy and a severe lack of confidence. So I went with it. They wanted to give me a makeover (Clueless had coincidentally been released a couple of weeks before) and took me under their wing. I had friends. THANK GOD. One of the first things this friend asked me, in terms of girly advice, was whether or not there were pubes sticking out of the side of her costume before we had to jump into the school swimming pool. I should have known then, that this would be the kind of friendship that would stand the test of time. Here we are, 16 years later, and we’re swapping embarrassing “dairy-cow” breast-pump stories. Who would have thought it?
The Newest Friend(s)
It’s literally impossible for me to choose one single “new” friend for this section. Between the “mom friends” I have made after having Luca, the old school friends I’ve reconnected with after 11-odd years, Facebook and Twitter friends, colleagues who have become good friends over the years and, in particular, over the last couple of weeks and months. A colleague has become a really special friend – along with being easy to chat to over our regular morning coffee breaks and just being an all-round stunning person, she shares a similar history to mine. She too, lost her mother when she was young, making her way through life doing the very best she could. Just like me. She overcame adversity and has achieved much along the way. Also, like me … She recently left our team (WE MISS YOU!!!) but is, thankfully, only a block or two away from us. So we can lunch 🙂 This friend is definitely someone I hope to know for many, many years.
Another friendship has developed, with a woman who overcame fertility and became the very proud mother of beautiful twin girls. Her babies were born around the same time that I went back to work (full-time) after having Luca. I met her when she popped into the office to visit her husband, who was one of the creatives I was working with when I was obviously mentally unstable and enjoyed working in advertising. She came in with this HUGE twin pram and enough baby paraphernalia to sink a small island – organized. I could tell from the moment I met her that this girl was organized. And in the seventeen months that I have gotten to know her better, not only have I confirmed my initial impression of her incredible organizational skills (this mama works, blogs, looks after her beautiful girls and awesome husband, put together an inspiringly perfect first birthday party and still finds the time to send personalised cards and notes, all while being thoughtful and supportive at every opportunity) but I have also found myself another BFF to call my own. Thank you for being a completely judgement-free ear to yack into when I’m frustrated – you truly are an exquisite orchid of a friend.
Another mom friendship is slowly gaining momentum. All I will say here is that I love what we chat about (a lot of non-mom stuff) and our boys are serenely cute and calm together. For now. I’m so glad I found a fellow Gleek and Foursquare nut. My husband was starting to think I was the only one 🙂
Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow Friends
These are friends like Luca’s Godmother, darling “Z”, my little Mole and @paparabs, who I can pick up a phone/drop an email to after weeks, months or even years and we literally chat away as if we only spoke moments before. As far as I am concerned, these are the ones that last the longest. There is no pressure to be a BEST friend ALL of the time and a common understanding exists of how busy and involved each party’s life is. It’s not always possible to be in touch with someone ALL the time. No matter how much you treasure a friendship, when you get older, become a wife, have a baby and work full-time (in two instances here, on totally different continents) it’s nearly impossible to nurture those friendships on a daily or even weekly basis. But it’s that familiarity and understanding, that makes it work.
My GBF and my Noodle. Words escape me. You two are more fabulous than Paris in the spring time. More delightful than macaroons from The Patisserie. Hell, you two are like eating macaroons at a French patisserie in gay Paris in Spring! More amazing friends I literally COULD NOT IMAGINE. I know you will both be around forever and that makes me very, VERY happy. I love you both madly.
A friend who was involved in one of the most important days of my life – my wedding day – turned out to be something pretty frightening. Someone who betrayed me at our place of work, while I was pregnant, just to spend time with an imaginary (I kid you not) boyfriend in Dubai. A religious fanatic (who I forgave of this quality because I believed, at the time, that she was genuine) who, in a drunken stupor on Christmas Day (a religious fanatic, drunk on Christmas Day – how ironic), sent malicious SMS messages, accusing me of being a terrible person because I had not invited her over for Christmas-eve dinner. Scary. Anyway, she forced me to stand up for myself and for my family. I told her, to her face, that I was appalled at her behaviour and that I wanted nothing to do with her, from that moment on and forever afterward. Best decision ever. One less psycho in my life. Nuff said.
The Friendship That Left a Bad Taste in My Mouth
A little over a year ago, a former BFF and I “broke up”. It happened after not having seen each other for a couple of months, and the “break up” started during an IM conversation. Never a good way to have a deep conversation. She blamed me for being a bad friend. I was hurt. I was a [new] mom, still coming to terms with leaving my baby boy to go back to work. She had done something that I considered to be stupid and I didn’t give her the sympathy she thought she deserved. Therefore I was a bad friend, in her eyes. Over the next couple of months, I put constant effort into making arrangements to see her and on every occasion, at the eleventh hour, she cancelled on me. Citing “an exhausting week” or “I’m in a bad place” as her excuse. I tried. I really tried. One of my Fabulous Friends (mentioned above) told me that it was a good thing that we were no longer BFFs. She had her own falling out with this person a while before, as well. My (now ex) BFF had essentially accused said Fabulous Friend essentially of ripping her off … I won’t go into detail here, but the crux of the matter is that the ex-BFF has issues. Serious issues. About herself, about commitment. She over-analyzed everything. A little like Carrie in SATC. Over-thinking a comment made in passing, judging people who didn’t fit into her ideal of what was right. I will admit that my behaviour mirrored hers while we were friends. I spent beyond my means and lived a life that wasn’t really what I wanted. Having Luca made me realize that people like her are really very unimportant in the greater scheme of things and when I did realize that, I felt good. I don’t feel that the 4 years we had as BFFs was a waste of time, as we definitely had great times. But I now see it as a lesson. A lesson along the lines of “you can’t choose your family, but you sure as hell can choose your friends”.
And that’s precisely what I’ve done since having Luca. I’ve meticulously selected the people (many of whom I haven’t mentioned here, but know that mean this about ALL of you) with whom I want to spend my time. I’ve chosen people who make me feel like a better person, people who build me up, instead of ruthlessly tearing me down. I love (yes, love) all of the people I choose to interact with, on many different levels and in may different ways.
I have friends who understand Nicki the girl, Nicki the wife, Nicki the mom, Nicki the girl who lost her mother and who still cries at night when she thinks of a world in which her mom is still here, spending weekends at our house and showering her grandson with love. It is these people who have inspired this post and to all of you I say, thank you. Each and every one of you mean the world to me, Dave and Luca. You are all flowers in my garden of friends.