Saturday, December 28, 2013

Day 17 and 24: Stand-out friends are everything sometimes.

These two prompts go together quite well for my purposes, so I'm knocking out two at once today.

Day 17: What stands out? Share a moment that stands out. Is it moving? Awkward? Infuriating? Ecstatic? Who was with you? Where were you?

Day 24: What are you grateful for this year?

I was talking a few weeks ago with one of my besties. We dated years ago, and there have been a lot of weird moments, some fights, a couple times we dated again for like 5 minutes, but generally, just a lot of being there for a hug and an encouraging word for each other when, often, it felt like nobody else was. It's been a very transition-full and rough year in a lot of ways for both of us, and he said something on that day, some weeks ago, which made me sad. Something I was unable to relate to. He said he felt like I'm the only friend he has who he can really talk to. The only one who really gives a damn as opposed to someone it's just convenient to hang out with sometimes.

I could not give him a hug big enough. I mean, I'm very glad to be there and be a person who anyone feels like they can trust to care for them. Sometimes I ask a lot of my friends, but in general, I just disclose my problems and my emotional needs to the ones I feel like I can trust with that vulnerability. They tend to come through in radical ways.

There's Jessica. My old roommate from the last time I lived in Indy. We kind of rescued each other. She took care of me on nights when I was so depressed and/or weepy-drunk that I couldn't even make it to my room. She put me on the couch and gave me water and just let me cry, and she was one of the people who talked me into seeking treatment for my depression and anxiety. She told me I wasn't just being weak, and that it was going to be OK.

I remember she used to date the most messed-up guys, and I was honest to her about them even when it made her angry. I gave her such an earful the time I found out that the reason her car was in the shop was because she drove home drunk and damaged her car in the process, and to the best I know, she never drove drunk again. I told her she could call me any time, even at 4 a.m., if she needed a ride, and I kept that promise. She's gotten into AA pretty hardcore these days. I forget exactly how long she's been sober at this point, but it's at least 2 years if I remember right.

There's Tyrone. I met him at a student journalists' conference on sexual health and STD prevention when we were in college. Even though he lives all the way in Wisconsin, Ty made me keep him updated on my job search when I was working one of the many jobs I've had that felt like an abusive lover, and I had to get out. Then my laptop stopped working. I was frantic. My job was killing me, and it was only $9 an hour, and I was barely covering my expenses as it was. He spent a little over $400 to get me a new netbook so I could keep looking. Privileged people can look down upon the working poor for having things like cell phones and computers, but in this day, access to a computer with internet access is not a luxury if you want to get a job. And not everyone has a car or a library close enough to walk to, or perhaps they work hours that make it hard to get to the library while it's open.

There's Jenny. Jenny is my oldest friend. She's known me since we were 5, and she could tell you more embarrassing stories about me than anyone. I was a weird kid. I'm a weird adult, too. And she's still here. She lives in my home town of Petersburg, so I don't get to see her nearly enough, but I've never known her to not answer her phone. She owns her own catering business, and even on her busiest days, she doesn't neglect me if I need a friend. I'd drop everything and run to spend time with her if I heard she was in Indianapolis right now.

There's Augie. He's in a class of his own, my favorite punk douchebag libertarian troll. When I met him, we were both dressed kind of like BDSM freaks because it was Rocky Horror Picture Show. He's pretty much the only person who has ever seen just how crazy I can get, and who actually stayed around after seeing it. We've pretty much literally kept each other alive more times in the last year than I care to get into. He'd also lived more and seen more crazy crap by the age of 16 than I probably ever will. He seems to frequently think that he's a worthless and awful person, but I mean, he saves lives for a living. And even if he didn't do something special like that, he'd be worth a lot to me, at least.

There are Gretchen and Caroline, local DJ's in the Indianapolis goth community. It's a small scene, but a dedicated one, and Indy is a good location because we can easily plan road trips to St. Louis, Chicago, Dayton, Louisville, Columbus, and such if there is a good show going on there. Caroline has taken care of weepy-drunk-me in bars more times than I care to think about, and they still keep on hanging out with me and inviting me to join in their adventures. I'm sure they're relieved that I'm better and that they won't need to babysit my pitiful crying butt anymore. But they never left me hanging, and they know I'd do the same for them in a heartbeat.

And, finally, there's the first guy I mentioned. Mike. I could probably cuddle and watch crap sci-fi original movies with him for days. He kept me from being homeless in 2008, the last time I moved to Indy. I stayed on his couch for months, and it was weird in some ways, as it's bound to be, when your ex brings home a girlfriend and you know exactly what you're missing, but when I remember those days now, I wouldn't trade a day of it. There's nothing funnier than walking in the door after work to see Mike and several other guys re-enacting Boondock Saints scenes with whiskey and Airsoft pellet guns.

My friends are probably all just as certifiably insane as I am. They're definitely a stand-out of 2013, as they have been every year before that. And I'm terribly grateful for all of them.

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