“A best friend is like a four leaf clover, hard to find, lucky to have.” Anonymous.
Happily, I walked this morning. Chicago at 7 degrees feels so much warmer. My face and lungs felt a respite from the sting of the wind and the cold from the last few days. With my Saint by my side, the big ball of enticing yellow energized us for 2 miles. As we walked along the freshly plowed path, I thought about what it means to have a BFF, and how I’ve improved as a person from this very important and valuable friendship.
Like everyone, I have “my baggage”. I am an anxious person and this means I worry constantly. Add to that – anger issues, specifically, an inability to let go of my anger. Yes, for most of my past, anger has been a dark superpower of mine. Somehow, I was enabled with the skill to wield anger like a ninja star; carving a scarlet letter onto the perpetrator for all eternity. Aware of my hurtful actions after the fact, I was too embarrassed to return to the scene to try and fix things. Forgiveness on my part meant packing a bag and running away; my anxious mind would process the event, telling me this was what I needed to do to “save that particular person from me and my hurtful anger”. Years later I would learn that as a child, I never learned how to express anger in a healthy way, instead, I clung to it like a rope, until I eventually slipped off, falling into a situation far worse.
Then, I met my future best friend who had a super power of her own – letting go of anger. At first, I observed this from afar. I saw this person, get mad at someone, respond in a tone of anger, and then two minutes later she would be laughing and conversing as if nothing ever happened. There was no storming out, no slamming of doors, no leaving until it was safe to return, no drama-filled angst fueling the situation to last for days on end. This was freaking amazing to me.
As our friendship grew and our relationship got closer and closer, we eventually had a fight and “my baggage” became a sticky challenge. (Imagine the epic battle between two superpowers which one would be destroyed and which one would reign supreme?) When the clash finally crescendoed into the battlefield of no return, and the ninja star was hurled directly to the forehead, and the bags were packed – ready at the door, my BFF went to the bathroom. I took this as her signal of defeat, my rope once again slipping through my fingers, as I desperately clung to it even though it was choking the person I cared most about.
But then…something different happened. My bestie came out of the bathroom. And when she came out of the bathroom she said “do you know what time we’ll eat dinner?” (Yeah, she said that.) It was then, in that moment of surprise and disbelief, I let go of the rope. She was talking to me. This immediately caused me to become aware of other feelings… this person means more to me than anyone in the world. I love her and I don’t want to choke out this relationship. I don’t want to leave, and I don’t want to be stuck in feelings of angst and worry for days paralyzing my world. I am kind of hungry too.
When I let myself feel the love first, I released the anger. The rope didn’t have to control my destiny. Love is a powerful connection, so much better than a rope.
I still struggle with anger and worry, and always wish I could take back the ninja moments I’ve had in the past, but now I have love and trust, and each day they are taking over my thoughts more and more.
After 15 years, I’m sure of one thing, my best friend in life probably doesn’t even know the influence she has had (and continues to have) on me. I am so very lucky to have her in my life.