I’m a grown-up, part trois

Just had a long conversation with Shan. I’ll spare the details and give the quick summary of what we both discovered.

Friendship is hard. My fifth-grade teacher once told us that, if you can look back on your life and identify two good friends, we should consider ourselves to be damn lucky. Almost 20 years later, I still hold those words close to me. I’ve had dozens upon dozens of friends, and each have served a purpose in my life in some way. Some were people to lean on for support, some were drinking buddies, some were there solely to keep my spirits up during a crazy period in my life, and some … well, I was the one there for them, serving whatever purpose they needed me for.

But I’ve found in Shan an honest-to-goodness, bona-fide, there-through-the-good-and-bad kind of friend that I don’t know that I’ve ever had the good fortune to have in my life. We can be businesslike, personal, goofy, sad, ecstatic and serious together, oftentimes all in the same sitting. 🙂 She often compares friendship to a bank account — everyone has to make deposits equally and withdraw equally, or the account goes bankrupt. It reminds me of the lesson I learned (in a previous entry) from watching “Married by America.” You really can’t do all the work or all the depositing, then have little or nothing left for yourself when it’s your time to dip into the well for some support. In that case, it shouldn’t have been a joint account in the first place.

I’ve had so many friends come and go in my life. I used to have dozens of people to call whenever I needed anything, but I’ve never had one person to call when I need everything. And now I do. And while I love everyone who has touched my life in some way, I’ve never really had a *best friend* before, not like this. Before I go into sappiness and sweetness and violins and shit, I’ll quit while I’m ahead. 🙂 But I won’t quit before saying that I love having Shan in my life. We’re equals. We have a lot of similar experiences and points of view, and when one person’s having a difficult time, the other one always comes in to save the day — whether with advice, ice cream, sympathy or simply a shoulder to cry on. I’d take a bullet for her, if I needed to. And I don’t doubt for a second that she’d do that for me. She loves me when I’m fiesty and fiery and moving 100 miles an hour on adrenaline, and she’s there when whatever is going on in my life has damn near paralyzed me with fear or sadness or temporary insanity. Fair weather friends, we are not. The bank account is always full-to-overflowing, and I can’t imagine who I would be without her.

She says I’m a lot different now than when I met her, and I had to explain that we met during one of the roughest times of my life. Everything was so out of control then. I had no money, no hope, no real authority at work, and no satisfaction with my living situation. I was unhappy everywhere I went, and I had no resources to get me out of that funk. Now, I’m making a little more money, I’m happier at home, and if I really want to get away from everything, I can actually afford to go out and have a good time, to lift my spirits. This is the Dawn I used to be. I’m not out of control anymore — I have regained my mastery of my own fate. I suppose it was always somewhat within my control, but I suppose I have relearned my old way of coping, which was to make change when things were going wrong. I can and have made a lot of progress during the past four months, and I’ve done it on my own terms. I can walk away and not look back with guilt. I can appreciate situations for what they’re worth, and I can either use them to my advantage or learn the lesson from the situation and move forward without any doubts. I can, in fact, survive, and I will. I’ll just do it now with the love and support of a truly wonderful friend, and that is what is really helping me to be the person I used to be.

That’s not to say that broken relationships can’t be mended. I just don’t have to wait around for things to fix themselves, nor do I have to get frustrated and just fix everything myself. Granted, I still have a lot of things I want and need to do to further ensure my happiness, but right now, things really aren’t that bad. Not bad at all. And that is the best feeling in the world.

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