I get my fair share of the “Not Good Enough” voices. Those little monsters that remind you nothing you do is actually worth very much or important to other people and if you THINK it is, you’re a self-centered sociopath who everyone on Facebook makes fun of…
Last night at a party, a dear friend shared that she really connected to my writing. A warm little bunny in my tummy whispered, “See? Some people like it. You can keep writing and just not worry about who thinks you’re good and who doesn’t.” Then the bunny wiggled it’s little tail, giggled, and went to sleep.
Not everyone that you meet is going to be a Ride or Die. (For those of you white people who don’t know, Urban Dictionary defines Ride or Die as “the people in your life who are there through thick and thin. They’ll do what it do to make it through with you. The ones that’ll stick it through till the end.”) You might THINK they’re RoD once they’ve been with you 5, 10, even 20 years. But you turn around one day and poof. They’re out.
As I’m wandering through this “sad part” of releasing my divorce, some new crud is coming up at the thought of the people who I thought were RoD friends. These people who watched me proverbially writhing in pain on the ground in a big puddle of divorce muck and in a really sweet, loving voice whispered, “Call me if you need anything, OK?”
I mean…yes. Yes. I NEED something.
They’re the ones who found the loopholes in the Ride or Die friendship. They picked out the parts that might offend someone else, or might make them uncomfortable, or might require them to grow, and they dropped a card down next to me and said, “I’m always available” and walked away feeling satisfied they “showed up”. But as I get older, I’m getting really clear on the people who use those loopholes instead of getting down in the dirt with their love.
I’m also noticing that in order to have Ride or Die friends, you have to be one.
One night in my Senior year of college, I decided it would be a good idea to snoop into my ex-boyfriend’s email to figure out if he really had cheated on me with another girl in the theatre department. I expected to find nothing but innuendoes, but instead I found a 2-page letter he wrote to her about what a wonderful time he was having with her and how much he adored her. And I, in turn…how you say…lost my ever-loving shit. I immediately called my girlfriend weeping and throwing things around my room and trying to described what I’d read but mostly just making blah-blah sounds. “I’ll be right there,” she said. And she was.
She walked into my room, me a pile of tears on my bed, and she curled up behind me. She held me while I cried for a while. What she did next, though, is the kind of friend I always want to have in my life: she cleaned my dorm room. She put everything away and folded my laundry. She ordered me a pizza and some soda and she sat on the bed with me while I ate it laying down. She tucked me into my bed and kissed me on my cheek and left me to fall asleep, all cried-out.
She’s not my friend anymore. She hasn’t been for a long time. And I wonder, now, if we aren’t friends because she showed up like a Ride or Die and I never did. I didn’t clean her room when she cried or hold her when she was scared or order pizza when she was lonely. Why not? Because I was selfish. I had “my own problems” and I was “really busy.” It never occurred to me that the next time I needed her, she wouldn’t show up. And I sure don’t blame her.
From this point forward in my life, I want to be Ride or Die for the ones who did it for me these past two years. Even though life fills my schedule everyday, I want to say, “You know what? We’re eating tacos instead of a homecooked meal because my friend needs someone to show up today.” It’s the reason I make Bear’s breakfast every night and set up his coffee. It’s the reason I stop what I’m doing when I think of someone I love and TELL them. It’s the reason I go say goodbye to my friends’ dog before he dies, invite a girlfriend out for dinner when I feel like she needs it, hug an extra long time when I just know… And you know what? These things inconvenience me. That’s just the truth. But the people who sat in my living room after I broke my leg and listened to me babble in a pain killer-induced haze about how sad I was that I couldn’t have my son…they probably had other shit to do. But it meant the world to me that they showed up and never once smiled and winked and said, “Call me if you need anything, ok?”