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who are your friends?

i know who i treasure.
and i know who has my back.
and i know the bridges i’ve burned.
and i know when it was me who lit the match.    

but when i was recently asked, ‘who are your friends?’ – the question felt awkward, as if suddenly I had something to prove.
as if I had to justify why I broke up with someone: (‘but, he was such a great guy…’
aka: so what’s wrong with you?)

i answered the question, and after i walked away, i realized i felt open and exposed, as if i’d tucked my skirt into the back of my panties while in the washroom at lunch.    

that surprised me, as i rarely feel awkward.    

do you know who your friends are? 

can you count them on one hand?
or is it comforting to know that you have over two hundred names in your email address book?    

are you friendship monogamous?
or do you enjoy casual friendships with multiple partners?    

i had friends that couldn’t watch me self-destruct
and a few that tried, but couldn’t understand.
there were a few in-the-meantime friends
and a handful of fair-weathers.    

one or two who made better enemies than friends,
although they thought they were my very best.
and although I always thought of myself as loyal,
i did my share of disappointing others with hurtful actions and let-downs.    

party girls -jthe kind who didn’t care how I slutty I looked, how shitfaced drunk I got or who I went home with.
boyfriend’s friend’s girlfriends – we never were friends for very long.    

Just because I got older, doesn’t mean my friendship skills got any better.
i’m human.
we grew apart.
i met someone new who caught my eye.
i was busy doing the family thing.
she moved away.
life is busy.
i was wrong.    

sometimes we get it wrong.
oh well.    
Send them away with love.*    

and sometimes, it’s right.

we like to shop in the same stores.
i hate talking on the phone, but i will for hours with you.
you know every last dirty secret of mine, and still think I’m a superstar.
you’re my handpicked family.
sushi is better with you.
i like your leadership style.
you tell the funniest stories.
i admire the way you parent.
it’s important to find time to be together.
you’re easy to be with.
i tell you things I’d never confess to another living soul.
you’re my Oprah and i’m your Gayle King.    

i’ve got a pocketful of friends that i adore. 
not just one.
or three.
or twenty that I think I sort-of-know.
i’ve been blessed with a rainbow of powerful, inspirational and honest women; 
my family, sisters, girlfriends and soulmates whom I’m just damn lucky to love.    

and  for some obscure reason that I’ll never truly grasp 
cause you never really do when you’re on the ’getting’ end…
they just love the shit out of me.    

lucky me.

* Send them away with love. It’s a mantra I use when decide I need end a relationship or choose to try to rise above a situation. I wish them no ill will. In fact, I say a blessing for the person and wish them love, friendship and happiness as I cut them loose. And then I  just let them go. 

* image title: ‘Kindred Spirits’ by Brian Andreas (www.storypeople.com)