Tag Archives: friends

Burned Out Stars & The Hardest Parts Of Growing Up

girlshug

I’ve been spending time with hollowed out souls lately. Each of them is falling apart in different ways, twisting happiness into a pretty bow that sits in shop windows on the streets of Manhattan, as if it is a thing to be ogled but never touched.

What a terrible lie. What a sad way to go traipsing through today, sure that tomorrow isn’t getting no better. Tomorrow isn’t shining no brighter. Tomorrow isn’t singing no sweeter.

They deserve a fire in their stomach, firmness in their step, a flush in their skin, a flicker in their smile.

They deserve to feel alive.

They deserve a ‘just because’ postcard from a forever friend. Footsteps before the knock on the door. Kisses on the forehead. Thinking-of-you text messages and thought-you-might-enjoy-this emails.

They deserve warm tea and diner booth conversations and hopeful mornings after train wreck nights. The payoff of an old, patient family recipe. Melty chocolate chip cookies. Days without alarm clocks and breakfast after noon.

I want so much for them.

I’ll tell anyone who asks and even the ones who don’t: I want so much for them. But nobody gave me a guidebook for how to tread lightly on the subject of self-worth, when your hands are empty and your bank account is dwindling and your days are looking like a remake of Groundhog Day because nothing ever changes. Those are the hardest parts of growing up.

I want them to see hope in new places and faces. I want them to brush the tears from their eyelids and promise they’ll never let adulthood weigh them down.

They are stars in my life, so bright for so long, burned out before I had a chance to realize. It took me too long to realize.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry. It took me too long to realize.

And so I can only hope they find happiness in moments instead of years, in hours and minutes instead of months, in the kindness of strangers who hold doors and wave you to make that left turn when you can’t quite see whether it’s safe. The crossed-off to-do list. The clean house. The freshly laundered sheets. The shoveled sidewalk.

It’s hard to fall in love with the way this world takes and takes. Harder still to find happy in the chaos. This life can feel like whack-a-mole, but I hope their moments are bright and their eyes are wide and their hands are ready to catch some magic in the mundane.

I want to tuck a story of hope inside their frayed shirt pockets. Let them feel it beating against their heart.

My Friendship Manifesto

Over the years, I have watched the push and pull of friendship. This is what I know and what I believe. In fifty years, it may be different.

MY FRIENDSHIP MANIFESTO

I believe in group text messages.

I believe in saying “best friend” and meaning it. In sitting in diners with a cold cup of hot tea for two hours.

I believe in answering the phone at two a.m. At four a.m. I believe in listening, no questions asked, to the voice on the other end of the line.

I believe in emergency meetups and gas money and thank you notes just because. I believe in virtual hugs and smiley face emoticons and email rants and Words With Friends games that go on just so you can stay close while far away.

I believe in sleepovers and Skype sessions and silly quizzes from beauty magazines. Inside jokes with origins long forgotten.

The feeling you get when you’ve missed this thing, this place, so bad that your heart aches when you return.

The split entrée. The designated driver. The one who agrees, reluctantly, to put the bumpers up at the bowling alley.

I believe in games from Target. Games in Target. Loud music and wet cheeks.

The feeling you get when someone knows what you need — even if you don’t.

I believe in reaching for the phone before it rings and more-than-obligatory congratulations and the communal sadness when It Doesn’t Work Out.

I believe in three a.m. meteor showers and spontaneous road trips to the beach and theoretical plots to egg houses in redemption.

I believe in writing their hearts onto these pages.

I believe there’s no designated time for friendship, no opportune moment for catastrophe.

If you are on the ground, hugging your knees, with no will to live, you call me for one reason. For ten thousand reasons. For a human voice on the other end of the line.

I believe in faith where there is none, in encouraging special talents, in nominating someone for what they deserve.

I believe in friendship that’s not half-baked but fresh out of the oven. Cookies saran wrapped and plated for the new neighbor.

I believe in giving generous servings of it, this little thing called friendship, hoping someone might return the favor.

Mostly, though, I believe in the kind that stays with you through all the awkward stages of growing up until you are ready — eager, even — to repay that favor.

She'll think Feeling Normal is just a matter of scanning the bread aisle, throwing a loaf in her cart.

Target is the last place to take a broken girl.

broken girl sitting alone indian style upset weheartit.com

via weheartit.com

No, she’ll walk up to the jewelry counter and pick out all the Christmas gifts she’ll never receive. She’ll pick out an oversized sweatshirt from the men’s section to hide the body she wants to cover up. She’ll muse over cheap sunglasses to conceal her tear-streaked, tired eyes.

She’ll start telling you about this time she and him slipped and fell in the cleaning products aisle when they neglected to notice a Wet Floor sign. Or the day they wasted an hour rating the softness to price ratio of all the bath towels and argued whether the magenta ones really were softer than all the rest.

She’ll ask to sit down in front of the picture frame collages because all of the fake family models look so happy, so perfect, so carefree.

You’ll have to tell her stories, like that the mom battled breast cancer and had a mastectomy and that’s why her daughter is standing in front of her chest. Or the son used to get bullied in school because he’s short for his age. You’ll end up making elaborate invented life histories for them until you a) feel awful and b) believe it.

And then, of course, she’ll start sobbing all over again for these aching strangers.

The store might distract her for an hour, making her think Feeling Normal is just a matter of walking down the bread aisle, throwing a loaf in her cart, and moving on to decide between Tide and Purex. Or maybe between the liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets.

Pretty soon, though, the mountain breeze fragrance smells just like this one sweatshirt of his she stole last summer after it rained during a minor league baseball game.

Scent is our strongest memory trigger, so stay far from the candles that smell like cinnamon rolls and pumpkin pie.

If she does wander into the big Red and White, yank her outside as fast as you can.

Bring her instead to a park in some random county three towns over. Be there, quiet and solid in her wake, for the moment her knees give out.

Hold her hand or let her cry. She might tell you all the things she always hated about him, really, if she’s going to be honest.

Nod and let her list them. Some things will be true and others she’ll just wish. Let her do what she wants, but don’t make her face Feeling Normal until she’s ready.

Maybe, just that first day, you can buy her milk and m&m’s. You can hold her pack of travel tissues while she tries to clear her head, her whole memory perhaps, of a time when things were different.

Maybe that is all we can do, praying it is enough.

Why You Should Never Take A Broken Girl To Target

how to handle a broken hearted girl, broken girlTarget is the last place to take a broken girl.

She’ll walk up to the jewelry counter and pick out all the Christmas gifts she’ll never receive. She’ll pick out an over-sized sweatshirt from the Men’s department to hide the body she wants to cover up. She’ll muse over cheap sunglasses to conceal her tear-streaked, tired eyes.

She’ll start telling you about this time she and him slipped and fell in the cleaning products aisle. How they missed a Wet Floor sign. Or the day they wasted an hour rating the softness to price ratio of all the bath towels and argued whether the magenta ones really were gentler than all the rest.

She’ll ask to sit down in front of the picture frame collages because all of the fake family models look so happy, so perfect, so carefree.

You’ll have to tell her stories, like that the mom battled breast cancer and had a mastectomy and that’s why her daughter is standing in front of her chest. Or the son used to get bullied in school because he’s short for his age. You’ll end up making elaborate invented life histories for them until you a) feel awful and b) believe it.

And then, of course, she’ll start sobbing all over again for these aching strangers.

The store might distract her for an hour, making her think Feeling Normal is just a matter of walking down the bread aisle, throwing a loaf in her cart, and moving on to decide between Tide and Purex. Between liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets.

Pretty soon, though, the mountain breeze fragrance smells just like this one sweatshirt of his she stole last summer after it rained during a minor league baseball game.

Scent is our strongest memory trigger, so stay far from the candles that smell like cinnamon rolls and pumpkin pie.

If she does wander into the big Red and White, yank her outside as fast as you can.

Bring her instead to a park in some random county three towns over. Be there, quiet and solid in her wake, for the moment her knees give out.

Hold her hand or let her cry. She might tell you all the things she always hated about him, really, if she’s going to be honest.

Nod and let her list them. Some things will be true and others she’ll just wish. Let her do what she wants, but don’t make her face Feeling Normal until she’s ready.

Maybe, just that first day, you can buy her milk and M&Ms. You can hold her pack of travel tissues while she tries to clear her head, her whole memory perhaps, of a time when things were different.

Maybe that is all we can do, praying it is enough.