In honor of one of my closest friend’s birthdays, I guess it’s appropriate to try and write about this even though I think I’m still marinating. Could be a little soon but I will give it a try.

This is a very unique friendship born out of a very old, immature relationship which didn’t work out. There were many years we both lived separate lives and didn’t communicate but I think it’s been about 6 years around this time since we have re-connected. Our lives could not have turned out more differently from each other’s but I think we’re both ok with where we landed most days. Sometimes I wonder if I missed out on having the life he has….not with him specifically but just more in general. He did the married with kids, live a good suburban life thing. I haven’t done that. I have had a slower journey to becoming an adult….somewhat of a failure to launch for a long time and just now catching up.

We message periodically about all sorts of stuff whether it be Game of Thrones, music suggestions, family updates and he’s there a lot when things get dark for me and I can’t open up to anyone else. Can’t risk my job and don’t want to worry my family. He knows when to check in and when to ignore me.

I am in communication electronically with all my friends. With the exception of any wakes and my visit with friends in Spain, he’s the only friend I have actually gone out with this year. Anytime I’m in a town where my friends live, I always mention making plans to meet up. It never works out or no one takes me up on it. When I was headed his way this summer, I threw out the same suggestion expecting nothing from it. He made plans and kept them. I think that says a lot about his character and why this friendship is so important to me.

Over the past 2 years, we have been discovering that we have political differences. More that mine have changed significantly from 20 years ago based on family dynamic and personal experiences which place me in the MeToo and Time’s Up movements multiple ways, unfortunately. Not to mention, in my 20s, I cared more about fitting in with guys, whereas I don’t care now. They should be worrying about my approval now. So, we are on very different spectrums. But we are both fundamentally good people. And he still has to survive a teenage daughter so we shall see how that goes for him 😄. He might need a little more of my perspective when navigating that. He and his wife are both very smart people which tends to produce smart children. Some smart teenage girls can be tame and obedient ; some can be assholes. Basically, you could get me or you could get my sister. Guess which one I was?

As you know from FB, I have gotten much more politically aggressive in recent months. I have PTSD which is easily triggered by shootings/bombings and the more those happen, the more vulnerable I get and the less time I have between episodes to build myself back up. I also found myself pretty traumatized with the whole Kavanaugh thing. I’m not being overly dramatic when I state that felt like being raped all over again. There is no other way to explain it. The more aggressive I get, the more I point out male privilege, the more offended he became which I didn’t know. I think he thought I was directing a lot at him. Yes, he lives male privilege and he doesn’t see it because that’s the beauty of it. They don’t usually see it and so many of them don’t perpetrate terrible things onto women so it’s literally invisible to them. That is ok. I understand it a whole lot. He’s still one of the good guys.

In a massive PTSD episode last week, I messaged him from this place of complete exasperation…hopelessness about our country and heartbroken for all the people so recently affected in mass shootings. He thought it was an attack on him and it got very ugly, very fast. In fact, I was making friends with a guy at a bar and talking to him when one of the messages popped up that just gutted me because I couldn’t believe what had come out of his mouth. The guy I was with said he saw something change very drastically in my eyes which gave away the seriousness of what had just been said. Honestly, I am so glad for the guy I was drinking beer with who talked me through the continued messages. Had I not had that diversion and calmness…I just don’t know.

I will not repeat what either of us said. But it was almost unforgivable. Actually, without additional context to us, what he said to me was life changing and unforgivable as was what he thought I meant by something I said to him. When that conversation stopped, I over drank to numb it down.

I spent the entire weekend upset with myself but also trying to understand who he was, how I could have missed these things and how could I ever move forward with him in my life. I had moments where I just thought our friendship was over and what was the point to everything else I’m doing in my life if I no longer have him to share it with? I got that crazy wanderlust thing where I wondered how hard it would be to just quit my job, sell my house and move a thousand miles away with no friends and just start from scratch. Funny, that was the same reaction I once had to him 20ish years ago when I actually did do that and moved to New Mexico. Same guy, same gut reaction.

But, I also thought about some things which are also just between me and him – some unforgivable things I have done to him in the past that he has forgiven me for. That forgiveness was an incredibly powerful gift which has helped ground my confidence in myself in the past few years, meaning I’m not as awful a person as I have been punishing myself for over 2 decades. His friendship gave me the release I needed to let up on myself. Therefore, I wasn’t going to reach out to him after last week’s argument but I was going to stand by. I decided either I’d never hear from him again or, if I did, if he asked for it, I would forgive him.

He reached out last night to apologize and wave a white flag – that we could have different views and either I could accept it or we go our separate ways….my choice. I chose to forgive him and accept it as well as apologize for my role in it. That’s what you do when you love your friends. And for him to reach out to my on his own means I matter to him. Very few people do that in life. I don’t have any real idea what I mean to anyone really. So I take his actions pretty seriously and through this odd friendship, I find myself growing to be a better person year over year. I only hope I can occasionally return the favor to him.

So happy birthday, bud. I know it’s been a tough year with some loss on your end. Let’s agree to disagree and not take my political rants or basically any of my literature too personally. And no, I am not crazy but, yes, I do have PTSD with wild anxiety so I do have irrational moments. I don’t think I can do much more to change that. Don’t throw in the towel on me and I won’t throw in the towel on you. Cheers to another year! I hope you get to at least enjoy a decent beer.