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Entries in friendship (12)

Thursday
Jul252013

Ramadan Mubarak. Mubarek. Okay, Blessings.

I talk about it on last week's podcast of Hey!That's My Hummus.

This Jewish guy that's on the show talked about some stuff while I updated my Facebook status. I joke, I joke.

For more episodes of Hey! That's My Hummus! an interfaith podcast hosted by myself and Mike Scheinberg, check us out on iTunes.

Wednesday
Aug082012

Not a Recap: #BlogHer2012

My first BlogHer conference was in New York City in 2010. 

I almost didn't go. The tickets were purchased and the rooms booked. My baby wasn't even a year old, though. I was still nursing him, and I thought he would be very uncomfortable without me. Truth, of course, being that I was going to be uncomfortable without him. I received an e-mail the very day I planned on canceling my travel arrangements that informed me that I would be a Voice of the Year and had also been selected to read at the Community Keynote. 

The invitation to read my post at the Keynote made me assume naively that being a Voice of the Year was going to ensure that I would be welcomed with big, warm hugs as soon as I arrived at the Hilton. This was not the case. Everyone who has gone to a blogging conference will agree with me: your first one is a mass of people looking for people and it always seems that they're looking for everyone other than you. Being lonely is terrifying and depressing. It is only exceeded in misery by being lonely in a room full of people. Of course, many people insist in response to these sentiments that every conference is "what you make of it". 

I agree… mostly.

When a new person enters a space, it's very difficult to break into existing groups. Ideally, we would walk towards a group, make eye contact with a member of the group, smile, say hi and introductions would be made fluidly and easily. Even though ideals are the measuring stick for evaluation, they are almost always a description of exceptionality. The majority of the time, our hearts lurch into our throats and we can't imagine walking up to a group of strangers and inserting ourselves into a conversation that is already in full swing. Also, nobody is making eye contact with us. Nobody is talking to us and we are standing RIGHT HERE, I mean, COME ON. 

This state of separation is not only the responsibility of the new person in the space. And the separateness doesn't have to be overcome only by them. Newbies don't always have to step outside of their conference comfort zones, and, frankly, I'm tired of people judging them for not doing it. The people who are part of the group are also basking in their comfort zone. They are also not taking the time to introduce themselves to new people… so, you know, lay off already, people.

Three years ago this month, I met Peter and Anissa Mayhew. Interestingly, Anissa and I also went to high school. She worked at an after hours coffee shop next to a night club that I practically lived at between 1995-97, too. Seriously, I think I may have paid them rent at some point. We met, however, on the Internet in 2009. She e-mailed me because we were on a group e-mail together and Adam mentioned something about high school. After a few exchanges, we figured out that we'd both attended the same high school at the same time. Unfortunately, she was a slacker and I was nerd queen, so never the paths shall cross.

I was pregnant when Anissa and I met on the Internet. She sent me a baby shower gift even though we'd never met in person. I'll never forget that. It was such a kind thing to do. It was sort of like that thing I was talking about earlier. I'd only been blogging about a year, I was standing on the outside of a group and one of the people in the group gave me a smile. Except it wasn't a group, it was the internet and it wasn't a smile, but an ill thought out nursing cover up that I never really used because after all the weight I'd gained it made me look like a five foot four giant baby in a paisley bib. But, it was a nice gift. It meant a lot. It still does.

A few months after that, Anissa had a stroke and was in a coma for several days. Her road to recovery was long and it is still not, in apparent ways, a full recovery. She was different than before, most notably she was in a wheelchair. But she started blogging again. She continued to amaze people, be popular, to own her imperfections with grace and, wow, be followed by, like, everyone.

She showed up at BlogHer three years ago this month to do a panel. It was then that  I met Anissa's husband, Peter, and he mentioned how he was nervous about speaking at a panel they had the next day about grief and loss. I told him I'd show up if he thought it would help and plus I wanted to finally meet Anissa in person. After their panel ended, I quickly introduced myself and gave her a hug. There were a lot of people wanting to meet her, so I let her move on to being gushed over by them. 

Later that night, the CheeseburgHer party was in full swing. CheeseburgHer is my favorite party -- the vibe of it is laid back and fun and everyone knows each other a little better by then. It's more relaxed. Anissa's stroke had left her sensitive to noise and light, so she was in a wheelchair at right outside the front door of the party with Pete when I arrived. At that moment, I didn't care about going into the party. At that moment, I remembered the woman who had sent me that large baby bib-slash-nursing cover and all I wanted to do was stand outside of the party with her. I wanted to be near this person even though she was on the outside because when I was on the outside of the party, she noticed me.

Three years later, my new friend is one of my dearest friends. We work together, we worry together, and, goodness, we laugh together. Anissa is the reason that I try to smile and say hi to every person I walk by at a conference. She's the reason I introduce new people to the people I know. Because you never know when you're about to start something beautiful and you never will if you don't try.

I know the traditional BlogHer post is supposed to be a recap, but this is what BlogHer and blogging is about to me. It's about people taking a genuine interest in one another. It's getting out of your own way - your expectations, your hopes, your fears, your arrogance -- and taking a chance on a new friendship.

And completely succeeding.

 

Faiqa, Anissa and Una (She's my Ethel).

 

Thursday
Mar292012

The Drift

Realization: I am, without a doubt, just a plain old human being.  I know.  Devastating, really.

Tonight, I’m thinking of “the drift.”

The drift occurs when the emotional space between two people expands at a seemingly infinitesimal, yet constant rate. It is what begins as forgetting to return a phone call and ends in a faint memory of someone you knew quite well a very long time ago. The drift is painful, hopeless and, 99% of the time, permanent. There is no "un-drifting" once you've drifted.

When you walked in, I felt a peaceful knowing in my heart that we were going to have great adventures together. You looked shy. I knew you had no idea how beautiful you were. I was going to show you that.

I mean, for me, my life is full. I have to make room for everything, anything.  If I want to breathe, I have to look at my to do list. I have a space between 11:45 and 11:50... I can breathe in those five minutes or I can make an awkward phone call. I barely have time for the people with whom I have relationships that are not awkward and forced, so who needs that?

As I convinced you that you were just as beautiful on the outside as you were on the inside, you taught me to believe that I was brave, wise and strong. With you by my side, I no longer had to pretend to be that. I was that... because you saw that when you saw me. Your eyes made me real.

People will say things.

"Make time to fix this thing."

"Friendship is important."

"Hold on."

"Don’t let go."

And other lyrics from ".38 Special."

Others understand. This is who I am.  My life is this way because I want it to be this way. I seriously don’t have time for this kind of thing.

Even when there were oceans between us, we were inseparable. Two thumps in one heartbeat... blood rushing in, blood rushing out. Absent from the day to day of each others’ lives, one phone call would cascade in a blanket of reassurance. You are loved, blood in, you are perfect, blood out.

We’re all grown ups here and while I realize that some people prefer their reality sugar coated, I'm more of the "hold the sugar, give it to me straight up" kind of woman. My heart is too full and my life is just too busy to harbor a silly, childish hope that we can just pick up right where we left off. There is now only time for picking up socks and groceries and kids from practices.

You loved, accepted and admired me without any reservation or envy and, most importantly, without any expectation. You are the only person I have never feared I’d disappoint. If I am honest with myself, no one had ever loved me like that, nobody has loved me like that since, and I suspect that nobody ever will.

When the drift happens, it happens because it’s what both of the people want. People will fight to protect something they need. People let things that are no longer relevant to them fade away. Either way, it’s important to note that everyone in the situation is making a choice.

Conscientiousness optional.

I looked up one day and you were simply not there anymore. I was hurt, alone and, yes, a little angry. Babies have been born, rings exchanged, people buried. Suddenly, I realized that I couldn’t even remember the last time I looked in your direction. I also realize that nobody seems to ask whose fault it is when a book ends. This isn't much different.

The drift itself, while painful, is not the excruciating thing. The real pain shows up when it hits you that there will probably be more drifts and that everyone is a potential drift candidate.

You will never be replaced. I cannot move on. There is no “letting go” of you. There is only an ache in my heart, a lump in my throat, and the horrible realization that there is nothing I can do. I don’t know you anymore and you don’t know me and we are past the point of pretending with any degree of credibility that this is not the reality of who we are to each other. I cannot pretend this is not happening anymore.

The drift is the best reason to hold the people still in your life a little tighter today. Because those moments after a drift, you’ll find the certainty that all this won’t last forever firmly, if not tragically, renewed. Sometimes, you've got to just take a deep breath somewhere between 11:45 and 11:50 and pay attention to right now. This minute. Here.

Goodbye.
Wednesday
Jan182012

Lyrical Life: Best Friends @missbritt

Dude.

This is the only picture I have of you.  Of course, there are thousands on the Internet with you being famous.  But this is the only one I have that I have taken. This is a photo of me proudly watching you do something cool.  In fact, you're taking an incredibly cool photo right then.

This was our first "date."  I never actually expected you to say yes when I sent you that e-mail asking you to go the Obama rally with me. But you did.

I drove and got us lost.

You gave press security your check card.

But we got in.

It has been an amazing (almost) four years.

Being friends with you was not hard then. But.

It is now.

Because I miss you.

Britt at the Obama rally, 2008.




I knew when we collided


You're the one I have decided
Who's one of my kind

Hey soul sister, ain't that mister mister on the radio, stereo

The way you move ain't fair you know
Hey soul sister, I don't wanna miss a single thing you do tonight


-- "Hey, Soul Sister," Train


Monday
Jan172011

Significance @missbritt

The tendency to analyze friendship simply through the parameters of time is great.

We acknowledge a person's value in our life often by the amount of time that they have simply been present.  They have been there through all of the ups and the downs, we tell ourselves, and so they will forever retain a place of honor in our hearts.  And this is valid, this is true... this is a fine parameter for evaluating another person's significance in our lives.

But there are other parameters that can imbue a friendship with such significance that we push down our insecurities and lavishly append the word "best" to describe the kind of friend they are to us.  And those parameters are wholly independent of time.

These are parameters that we cannot quantify.  Parameters that denote shared perspectives and beliefs.  They indicate that our eyes are the same as we imbibe the significance of seemingly benign moments, relationships, words, love, of life itself and then transform them into an often similar context of value and meaning.

These are the friendships that remind us that we are not alone in our searching, in our being, in our longing for more.  These are the friendships that complete us and that we would be less without.

These friendships operate independently of time.

They stand timeless because they are the finding of our own soul in another.

Though we have only been friends for three short years, dear Britt, you are my forever friend... and you will be eternally significant to me.

Happy Birthday.



obama rally October 2008




Photo by Miss Britt


*Speaking of saving the world and true love (what?!), you can read about how much I love my Prius on Buy-Her today.