My friend Larisa recommended this green powder super food thing to me.
“You’ll shit like a demon,” she said. “But you’ll feel better than you've ever felt.”
Friends. Fuck, how I love my friends. Dionne and Stevie did not have a toehold on telling us what friends are for.
Our friends tell us what they’re for every day. They’re for The Awesome. And making us laugh with a well placed statement about shit. And growing and bouncing shit off of (hopefully not literally, unless you’re into that). And being not just a shoulder, but a sweet soft space-holding equally vulnerable place to cry. Our weaving together makes us stronger. Soft, coiled together. (Yeah, in typical form I could not help but continue the poopoo metaphor.)
My first best friend (who continues to be my BFF) is Stef. At five she taught me how to tie my shoes. She was wearing an orange vest that had lambswool inside. Always a fashion plate. We text all the time, sometimes so quickly that pet names are made: currently we call each other “Coco,” because of an XOXO gone wrong. We used to watch Grease pretty much every weekend and can still recite the whole thing. I wrote a lot more about her on my perfumery site here.
And then there are the people for whom I consciously asked the Universe. (I decided to narrow by that criterium, because as I started to write about all the wonderful friends I realized I would write an entire book if I didn’t somehow narrow this down. And a book should be written about all of the people for whom I’m so grateful. Just perhaps not at this moment.)
Can I tell you about Sara, Nic, and Casey? Holy shit. I met these soul sisters because we all signed up for the same Carmel Writing Retreat with Linda Sivertsen. The magic. If you do not have a soul-sisterly tribe like this yet please please please ask the Universe for them. I mean it. I almost don’t even want to write about them because they are so special. But I’ll try.
Sara: fills me up every time we talk and even when we’re not talking, just to think of what she would do, what fearless joy-filled action she would take is a soul-boost. Always knows the right thing to say. Pushes me in the way I need to be pushed and makes me think without ever making me feel bad, even about uncomfortable stuff, like making the world a better place, checking privilege, figuring out dementia, love, Jesus Christ, so much.
If I could climb into Nic’s smile and live there for the rest of my days I would need for nothing else ever again. But then she’d, like, have me all stuck up in her grill and I need Nic to be able to go about her life because she teaches by being herself, by always being true, real, honest. Meeting her was magic and has continued to be. Oh, and her editing skills are stellar. But that's the least of it, and that in itself is a lot.
Casey’s magic is exquisite and nearly unspeakable. This woman. Santa is real and it is Casey. But joking aside (only like half joking because: magic), I look at Casey’s face and I’m like, “I’ve known you for centuries. And centuries aren’t even enough time. Everyone should be so lucky.” That’s not to mention the space this woman holds, the ALL of herself she gives. Her writing. Her voice.
I keep this Truthbomb in my Desire Map Planner. Casey gave this to me when we met and it opened my whole world. It took me back to my childhood and into my future simultaneously. (Who knew Danielle LaPorte made little square time machines?) In The Rules of Inheritance, Claire Bidwell Smith writes about people who unlock you. With Casey I have felt unlocked and understood and seen and loved.
Ask the Universe. Then the friends show up and hand you stuff like this. It’s fucking ridiculous.
Speaking of asking the Universe for soul sisters, my friend Sophie — I am so lucky to call her my friend — is such a love I hardly know what to do with myself to talk about her. She celebrates so purely the people she cares about. Never in our friendship has she ever tried to fix or change one hair on my head. Also I am addicted to having tea with her and she reads tarot (though she doesn’t really need the cards, to be honest) like no one I’ve ever seen. I feel like I blabber on and on when I’m with her because she is one of the most excellent listeners I’ve ever met. Sophie took me to my first breast MRI appointment earlier this year at 6:00 AM and instead of being tired she said in her beautiful French accent, “I love to see the world at this hour. It’s like a whole different city.”
That’s what a stellar friend can do — make you see the beauty in 6:00 AM and a breast MRI (the socks are the cozy upside, Sophie made me understand). Invaluable. My words here can only pay modest tribute to such luck and magic.
And let’s not forget you. Knowing I have you to write to has opened so much in my heart. Thank you. I bow to you.
And to take this full (poopoo) circle and end on the happy-crappy side of sappy, I wouldn’t be your real friend if I didn’t share with you two tremendous tricks (of the trade?) that have been helping me for the last few months. Fiber and probiotics. (Make sure the fiber is a combo of soluble and insoluble and switch up the probiotics once a month. You can go back to the original probiotic after a month, if the bottle has more than 30 flirty capsules.)
I can’t promise you’ll shit like a demon, but you’ll feel pretty damn good. Because that's what 41-year-old friends are for.
Let's keep this grateful negating hateful thing going! Tell me about a friend, someone who's unlocked you. Or, hey, something that's helped your gut.
It's me, Jennifer Bernice (rhymes with "Furnace": it was my Granny's name) Sutkowski
• More details about my writing here.