One thing that I pride myself on is that I have an amazing support network of friends that care deeply about me, as I do them. My biggest hope is that I am as good of a friend to them as they are to me. And I believe that I am. There is a well-known saying: “Friends are the family that you choose.” I have lived my life believing this to be true, and I take friendships seriously.
My family life has never been the greatest. I won’t be going into any details on that here, except to say that over 85% of families are some level of dysfunctional and mine definitely qualifies. But this post isn’t about them. I only mention it because it is part of my motivation for creating the strong and supportive friendships that make my life as wonderful as it is today. I thought about listing them, but quite frankly there are too many.
My friends come from all types of backgrounds, and the thing they all have in common is their uniqueness. And one of the best things that I have learned is how much they get along and enjoy each other’s company when I blend them together. It is truly a thing of beauty to be a part of.
More than that, my friends are people I know will support me in anything, probably including murder (although I have never tested that theory). I have a comfort level with them that I don’t have anywhere else. These are people I can express my hopes, dreams and successes with. These are people who will help me process my failures and overcome my fears. These are people who will help me slay my demons while helping me find the better angels of my nature. And sometimes they help me embrace the demons too.
And that is what makes them more family to me than family.
My friends are as responsible for helping me find myself as I am. I get to learn not only from my experiences, but also from theirs. My friendships are where I feel most at home. Most like a unique and loved and supported individual. Most like a whole person. Like most people I am closer to some more than others, but I can tell you what I love most about each person I have in my life. And seldom will it be just one thing.
A friend will tell you not to kill someone who has wronged you. A good friend will tell you where to get the gun. A great friend will help you bury the body.