"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though they know that you are slightly cracked." ~ Bernard Meltzer
As infantile as it may seem, I take pride in being able to declare that I have "best friends" & meaning the crap out of that shit. Besties. BFFs. Woes. Baes. Girlfriends. However you slice it, I have some awesome and loyal friends. And, while I only need one hand to count the sum of them, I'm convinced that when it comes to the rule of friendship, quality wins out over quantity. Every. Single. Time. In fact, the quality of these besties of mine is MINT. So much so that they are no longer friends. Somehow, along the way, they've become my chosen, extended family (whether they know it or not!). Which begs the impeccably, multifaceted and Kanye-esq question...
That's right: "HOW?", as in "At what point does a friend become family?"
With every passing year, I find it harder to believe that I've known my best friends for the better part of my life; and by better - I don't necessarily mean that it's been all rainbows and unicorns since the day we met. I simply mean that in terms of time, I've known these people for over half of my existence on this Earth; some for two thirds of my life, even! Gross, lol! And still, I'm unable to pinpoint the exact moment when I decided internally that these heifers (*ahem*, I mean "these precious & select few people") each got upgraded from friend to "sister from another mister (my sFAM)".
Friendships are a funny thing, in that the best ones are usually the ones that effortlessly sustain themselves over time... The ones that seem to operate on cruise control. It's the ones that require constant "tab-keeping" and score-keeping that you've gotta avoid like the plague. Now, this isn't to say that friendships don't require work (as all relationships do). It just seems that the ones that have been the most valuable to me are the friendships that I've never had to defend to anyone within the circle OR to anyone outside of the circle. The bond I have with these women is quite unique because it also lends itself to a bond that they have with each other. We all mesh well together despite our distinct differences in personality.
Each sFAM in my circle seems to serve their own particular purpose in proportion to my life: from the "loud life of the party", to the "sensitive soul", to the "no-nonsense diva"... By having each of them in my life, I've benefited immensely because they each serve as my mirrors, reflecting essential traits that I might be lacking at times to keep me whole and balanced. And as a Libra, it goes without saying that I love me some balance, y'all!!!
Over the years, my girls and I have seen each other through many life changes: breakups, births, weddings, tragic losses, moves, and other major life changes... But despite all of these momentous events and milestones that have pulled us together, I'm not convinced that any of these events were the catalyst that changed the status of our relationship from friend to family. The transitional shift from one to the other has been so gradual and natural over the years that I'm quite certain it's not at all the big moments that cemented these people in my heart, but a culmination of all of the small moments in between these epic events...
(Gaaawd, I loath the word "epic" now. Even when I use it in its proper context, it still comes off so hipsterish!)
Much like a relationship with a significant other, there are specific criteria that befit a life-long friendship:
- The random check-in texts and calls just to say "hey, how's life?" when we're all too busy dealing with everyday "life";
- The inclusive pre-planned linkups whenever we know we'll all be in the same city;
- The inside jokes from our youth that seem to never get old...(and often seem even more hilarious as time passes, as nonsensical as they may be!);
- The ability to convince each other to try or do things that are often not in our wheel-house of comfort... whether we're playing the little angel or the devil on each other's shoulder (In the end, it's always out of good intent, and never malicious);
- The trust we have in each other to share our successes, failures, aspirations and fears - knowing that we'll either be supported with empathy (or at the very least, made fun of or constructively criticized in a way that only genuine friendship will allow).
All of those things make up a pretty solid foundation for the bond that we share and the respect we have for each other. I'm inclined to say that in one way or another, we are each other's mirror & rock. And even though our personalities diverge, the content of our character is the same and has been unshakable since the day all of our paths crossed.
I'm already fortunate enough to have a sister by blood who is nothing short of amazing. So to my woes, my girls, my squad, my crew, my dawgs, I say thank you for being my extra blessings. Thank you for being characters and having true character. Thank you for being inspirations, in your own individual ways. Thank you for your consistency and for keeping me sane on days when I feel like I'm on the verge of going down the rabbit hole. I can only hope that I provide you with some of the same tools. Y'all are my golden girls, for always, and if you wanted to start crowdfunding for our "retirement condo slash seniors frat pad" in Miami - I'm down for it. Just say the word!
Lastly, I couldn't complete this post without giving a S/O to my Day One 'golden friend' - the Blanch to my Sophia; the Amanda to my Bizzy, the Fury to my Crissle; the Synergy to my Jem... You are (without a doubt) truly, truly, truly outrageous!
And... outlandish... Preposterous, even.
Happy birthday 'Shizzle.