Posts Filed Under friends are the fucking best

Do you ever wonder why the hell we trust people?

by renegademama

Just sometimes, ya know? Like when somebody you absolutely knew was trustworthy – somebody you considered family, somebody you invited into all areas of your life, somebody you would have sworn felt the same about you – turns out to be a goddamn liar without any particular capacity for, oh, you know, integrity?

It’s impossible to write this post without being annoyingly vague, but that is the burden we must bear, for this isn’t a story I can detail. I can, however, tell you this: A person my entire family loved like a fucking brother – a non-blood relative each of my kids called “uncle” – betrayed the shit out of us, lied about it, kept lying about it, lied some more about just in case there were some lies left untold, and then, just when we were about to open conversation with him in the hope of some reconciliation, re-engaged unapologetically in the same shit that ended our friendship in the first place.

But the details are unimportant.

The point is, and the thing Mac and I have been asking ourselves since this happened a couple of months ago, after all the tears and rage and confusion – is how difficult it is to not simply shut down the entire friend division of life.

After a loss and betrayal like this, the feeling of “How could I be so wrong about a person?” is overwhelming, and I question my ability to assess character, morality, integrity.

And in the pain and confusion, there’s a side of Mac and me that never wants to open up to anybody again, never wants a new friend, never wants to let anyone come over on motherfucking Christmas.

As in, friendship closed for business until further notice.

 

Because truly, how can you love somebody so much and have them throw ya away for nothing?

For real, how can we be so goddamn wrong about people? 

That’s the thing, you know? That feeling of having been hoodwinked, played, taken for the ultimate heart ride. But this time, we included our children. This motherfucker caused serious emotional pain for our children.

And I had to navigate that, answer their questions about why he doesn’t come around anymore, and how much they miss him, and I had to come up with something to say beyond: “Some people are fucking assholes.”

Because that wouldn’t have been entirely true anyway, though I wanted to say it in the heat of my sadness. I wanted to rail and scream and tell them we were simply wrong about this person and fuck him and the boat he rode in on.

But that ain’t true, and I know it. And they need to know it.

Instead, I told them, “Well, he made some decisions that make it impossible for us to be friends, but we loved him, and he loved us, and we had some great times together, but sometimes love isn’t enough.”

Sometimes love isn’t enough. Sometimes it isn’t enough to counteract the brokenness and imperfections of a person, their inability to show honesty or decency or maturity, and you have to let both parts stand. Sometimes you have to accept a person is just too fucked up to trust.

Even though you want to.

I know, I know. “We don’t harm people we love.”

And to that I say, Lolllllllllll. That’s a good one. Either we do harm people we love, or no human on the planet knows how to love, because come the fuck on. Seems to me we harm the people we love often.

I’ve been harmed by AND harmed every single person I love most on this earth.

Seems to me we have love and we have all this other shit inside of us too, parts that do harm, and the people around us feel both.

But with most people, the people we keep in our lives, the support and love and devotion and service is way bigger than the harm, so we can tolerate a person’s humanity, their brokenness.

There’s a difference between imperfect and FUCKING TOXIC AS FUCK.

We gotta let the toxic ones go.

 

But then we’re left with all the love we shared and nowhere to put it. We’re left with memories of the pain and the friendship, and the confusion of where the fuck it all went wrong.

Part of me wants to shut off, shut down, shove everyone away. Mac and I took turns saying, “I’m never trusting anyone again.” We were joking, sort of. We were being dramatic, sort of. And yet, I see people who do exactly that. I see people hurt by the inevitable betrayal of humans, by the imperfections of those around them, and turning themselves into impenetrable fortresses.

I get it. We have to survive somehow. And honestly, in moments, it’s rather appealing.

But this isn’t a threat to my continued survival, and as such, it’s something that simply hurts, a lot, and makes me question what I thought I knew of people. Makes me wonder what I could have learned, and should learn, and will learn. I look for my part in all this: Where were the signs? What could I have done better? It’s all we can do, I guess. Try to gain some wisdom while also recognizing that sometimes there is nothing we can do, nothing to foresee, and people are just goddamn WEIRD.

I know in my heart that “never loving a new person again” is not the solution. I know that openness to deep friendship is not the solution. But goddamnit, I would have staked my life on this fool.

Bah.

I suppose I find myself making the ultimate choice again, to let the fucked up nature of humans exist alongside their exquisite beauty, and holding so damn close the friends who’ve stuck around, the family by my side—to remind me not only of the fleeting nature of connection, but the sacredness of the threads that remain.

I have never felt more grateful for the friends in my life who exist like rocks, have withstood the test of years. If nothing else, I see that, and it’s blinding in its brilliance.

So here’s to more ridiculous loving.

Mac gave me this card a few months ago, and it feels so right.

***

Join me in January

for the first workshop in my series, and then write with me ALL YEAR. 

Write Anyway” is for the person who:

  • has a nagging question or persistent feeling of “You should write this,” but isn’t;
  • can’t decide what to write about;
  • constantly hears the “you suck why are you even trying?” voice when she sits down to write;
  • is too afraid to write what they’re really feeling/thinking/experiencing;
  • is agonizing over what people will think;
  • is obsessing over perfection; and/or
  • getting bent out of shape for 3 days over assholes on the internet criticizing in ways that hurt (and somehow they always hit where it hurts). Insulting intelligence. Name-calling. Making fun. Crafting Reddit threads against you.

How I (sort of) manage Donald Trump and the rest of the bullshit.

by renegademama

For the last two years, almost every Thursday night, I get together with the same two families. We rotate houses each week, meaning every 3rd week, the gang comes to our place. The other weeks, we go to one of their houses.

And we are a motherfucking gang. Six adults and 9 kids between us, aged: 14, 10, 5, 5, 5, 3, 2, 18 months and 6 months.

My friend Kristi suggested this. I would never be that smart. When she suggested it, I thought “Well that kinda sounds like alotta work” but answered “Yeah totally” because I’ve grown to not trust my judgment when it comes to things like this. I’ve found that life hands you some pretty interesting shit if you say “yes” as often as you can, even if your gut is all “No thanks I’m fine right here in Land That I Know.”

I’ve also learned that something “sounding like a lot of work” is a crap reason to avoid it.

And so, we eat together on Thursday nights.

 

We eat together through death and grief and illness big and small. Through depression and joy and arguments and just another boring old Thursday night. We eat together in the dead heat of summer and the rainy chill of winter and we eat through tantrums and squeals of delight.

The kids blend into one another, a giant ball of love and limbs that kind of rolls through the house in an air of noise, the tiniest ones following behind devotedly.

I’ll hold the baby. Mac will hold the baby. Somebody will hold the baby and somebody will cut the kids’ meat and somebody will deal with the finger that maybe just got smashed in the door. Also, they should stop doing that.

We kiss, hold, hug, redirect and discipline as if all the kids were ours. They are, I suppose, all ours.

When screams come from a bedroom we look around and ask “Which kid is that?”

If an adult’s back there, we have another cracker. We know our friend’s got it.

We know our friend’s got it.

 

We sit together through crying kids who haven’t eaten enough for dessert. We sit through BS times in marriage. We sit through alcoholic family members and no money and a little money and vacations and rounds of strep throat and on Halloween maybe we dress up together. We sit together through pregnancies, the expected and unexpected kind, and we sit together through newborn periods and husbands working out of town and questionable mental health.

Each week when I ask “What can I bring?” or read “My house tomorrow, 5:45pm,” I know soon I’ll be at a table with friends who are just friends because we are friends. If that makes sense to you, you are a fucking blessed human.

We pass baby clothes around and it’s less painful because I know I’ll get to see another baby in those pajamas, on a Thursday night, as if he were mine. We all live within a mile from each other. Sometimes we walk to each other’s houses.

Sometimes we stop for a couple weeks, but we pick back up. Right where we left off. Just exactly where we left off. We keep picking up where we left off like a little crew that won’t give up and when the world is crashing and pummeling around me, when 10,000 things are happening that make me feel thrown around at sea, the chair at that table with my friends becomes a 10,000 pound anchor.

A built-in support system. A group of humans who already know because they’re already there. They’re always there. Sick? Soup. Depression? Company. New baby? Both. Out of town? Plants watered.

We know our friend’s got it.

I watch the three girls who’ve known each other since birth, in each other’s clothes, now they’re in a tattling stage. We tell them as they come, one by one, that they can work it out with each other. We laugh. They’re getting big. Ava and Rocket sit with us now at the adult table (none of us have a table big enough for 14 people). We talk and talk and talk. We get interrupted again and again and again. We get up, we clean up, we get annoyed, we discuss revisionist history, and a maybe a trip snowboarding this weekend. They all come out of the room without clothes. Somebody just poured water in her plate. Arlo is snatching toys. The three-year-old is on time-out. The baby’s nursing.

Everything is just as it should be, this Thursday night.

 

In times like this, when mosques are being fire bombed and Muslims spat upon and planned parenthood shot up and San Bernardino shot up and all the schools shot up and all the life bombed and Donald Trump white supremacist hate-conjuring as if the Japanese Internment never happened and old friends are dying and getting sick and newer ones too, and, and.

Each Thursday I sit at a table with my friends and our whirling-dervish mayhem, good food and love become a tiny shelter in an insane unjust bullshit world. It’s all falling apart, out there, it seems, but tonight we share something we made or they made for me, taking in the love of humans still in my arms, now in my arms. Our kids. Our bellies. Lives move on and on and yet stay right here at our table.

We don’t have to talk about it. We just pick up where we left off.

Our kids are the ages of the ones who died in Newtown. We don’t have to talk about it. We will, for a moment. For a moment somebody will say something, but probably not much else, as we sit down and serve ourselves and smile at the 2-year-old who just removed her clothes for the 10th time tonight.

What beauty. What luck.

 

People, I never tell you what to do, but I’m telling you this: Get yourself a crew. Find them. Show up. Cook some food. A lot. Pick up where you fucking left off.

Every time. Just pick up where you left off and know they’ve got it.

Know your friend’s got it. None of us were made to withstand the weight alone.

Mac kissing the head of a baby who isn't ours but is kind of ours.

Mac kissing the head of a baby who isn’t ours but is kind of ours.

****

Two spots left in my January writing workshop.

February is half-full.
Join us now!

WRITE THE MOTHERFUCKING WORDS.

(Also, hang out with me (well, via video). I’m way less batshit than I appear in my writing. LIES I AM WORSE.)

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