Life is an ever evolving cycle of births, deaths, love, sorrow and joy. It’s fueled by the people we meet, the things we experience, the partners we walk alongside of, the children we have or don’t have, the families we are given and the ones we create, and the friends who enrich our lives whether for a moment or a lifetime. We are the sum of everything we feel, see, hear, touch, and smell.
It makes each and every one of us unique.
I’m lucky enough to have an amazing family I infinitely love and cherish. I’ve been married for many years, and my husband and I have two adult children who make us immensely proud. I also have my parents, two brothers with their families, an aunt, two cousins with families, and a large contingent of second and third cousins.
I also have friends. I mean, of course I have friends. Most of us do but some of mine are wonderful, fabulous, funny and incredibly supportive friends. Some are close by, others a little farther away. Some are even on the other side of the world. And some I have never met in real life, only spoken to via video calls, but they are great friends nonetheless. Some of these are ones I have found through my writing. We share a common bond and a love for storytelling, reading, and writing.
After being bullied for years at school, my confidence and self-belief were never very strong and even today, so many years later, the emotional scars from the wounds that were inflicted on me at a young age, are still there, and I fight against them every day.
I’m old enough now to no longer care too much what people think of me — at least on days when I feel strong — especially those who don’t matter to me.
One thing my childhood and the bullying taught me was how to be a friend to others. Essentially, it’s the opposite of how I was treated. I like to think I’m loyal, supportive and loving to those I allow close to me.
Amongst this not-too-large circle of friends, are some that struggle with issues beyond their control. Physical pain, mental struggles, self-doubt, family issues, things so many of us encounter on a daily basis.
Sometimes, one of them will say they don’t want to come across as whining, moaning, and complaining all the time. They don’t want to be ‘that friend’. You know, the one others start avoiding when they’ve had enough of listening to their troubles.
My answer is always that it’s what friends are for. At least, that’s how I feel a
friend should be. With me, they can be ‘that person’, but I won’t avoid them. I will seek them out, ask how they are, raise a brow when I know they’re trying to gloss things over, and smile when all they want is to forget their troubles for a few minutes.
I will listen, sympathize, empathize, offer advice if needed, give a different perspective, validate their feelings and reassure them they’re alone, but most of all, I will be there.
I will be there every time they need to vent. I will be there every time they want a friendly word. I will be there every time they need a shoulder to lean on. I will be there every time they go quiet to check in on them. I will be there every time they need to scream. I will be there every time they need to be silent but not alone.
I will be there.
I will be there.
I will be there because these friends, the ones I’ve built close ties with, the ones who feel part of my family, will be there for me.
They are not alone.
I am not alone.
We are together.
We are friends.