on old friends

In my own mind, I’m a shy wallflower who feels awkward and paranoid in unusual social circumstances. To the casual observer, however, I think I come across more like an over-talker who likes to play Toppers. I can’t help it…I don’t really want to top everyone, but I do like to compare stories with people. I mean, what’s a conversation if not a sharing of common experiences? Anyhow, the continuous stream of words that come out of my mouth when I am nervous in a group is typically fueled by the #1 side effect of booze — loose-lips syndrome. It’s a vicious cycle, really. I drink because I’m nervous and I want to loosen up. But then I get irrationally paranoid that I am running at the mouth. I can’t stop it, though, as I watch the words come out of my mouth like in a cartoon bubble.

This is why I am so happy I have a tight group of very old and dear friends with whom I spend most of my free social time. These gals have known me since I was in my early teens, presumably before I become the messy whino I am today. And they accept me — even embrace me — for my quirks. That’s saying a lot, as I can be a pretty difficult person to be around, what with my judgments and know-it-all behavior. These friendships have helped to define me as a person, and certainly have helped illustrate my life. I feel much sadness for women who lack strong female friendships…a phenomenon I think is quite common as women tend to their husbands and children and (wrongfully) believe they don’t have time to maintain outside relationships. I may not have kids, but most of my friends do, and though we don’t spend as much time together as we used to, they make every effort to get together as often as possible.

Like most women living in places not nearly as glamorous as New  York City, I have compared my group of girls to the Sex and the City foursome, have even assigned “characters” to each of us. I, of course, am Miranda, much to my chagrin. While their lives are absurd and their problems unlike any I can really relate to, the fact that they make each other a priority is very familiar. That is, until they made that hideously misogynistic and racist sequel movie and I ended all imagined association with them for life.

My long-standing friendships are my life source. I love my husband and my family, but they can drive me crazy. I take comfort in knowing that I have friends I can call any day about any matter. They’ve seen me through break ups, good and bad decisions, career moves, geographical moves, illness — you name it — and they love me unconditionally. As I get ready for a big dinner with one of those lifelong friends, I consider myself incredibly lucky.

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