Building bridges, making connection, learning to trust again, and feeling authentic and vulnerable are all things I’m working on. It isn’t easy, in fact it’s uncomfortable, but the consolation is that all of this work is necessary, and the rewards far outweigh the difficulty. I have my friend Kevin in my life, and he serves as the perfect example for how far I’ve come in developing myself.
I met Kevin in the ubiquitous but vague arena I refer to as “online”. We began our friendship communicating to each other through texts that were lengthy, but full of substance. We met once for a quick lunch just before the holidays, but our first bonding experience occurred when I was 900 miles away visiting family. While communicating through text we came to the realization we were both watching Erin Brockovich at the same time (Don’t judge. It’s a good movie). When I came back from visiting family, we met up for beers a few times, we discovered our mutual affinity for Modern Family, and quickly built a friendship that has continued to evolve and grow.
We now get together at our favorite bar every Monday night to laugh, talk, and even cry. Our conversations have ranged from travel, Kevin’s love of reading menus, our past relationships, our failures, our successes, and exploring the terrain of who we want to become. He has joined me in watching my soccer team play, he has helped me heal from my knee injury, and he has effortlessly joined my circle of friends I trust my life with. His boisterous laugh and infectious smile are unforgettable.
In the beginning of the year I invited about 30 people over to my place for a brunch potluck, and Kevin was someone I hoped would show, despite the fact that he didn’t know anyone. Not only did he show up and bring a ridiculous amount of food, but his courage to come showed his true character. His affability instantly won over my friends. I can’t imagine how awkward I would feel to walk into a room filled with interconnected people, a group to which I did not belong. My introverted self would run and hide or turn around and walk out the door. But he did the opposite, and I remain impressed by his sense of character.
After our most recent Monday night gorging of beer, Modern Family, and fancy ice cream (this time barley was the flavor du jour), I opened up and told him how happy I am to know him, how thankful I am that he’s in my life, and how I may be very selfish, but I don’t want him to leave this city for the big adventures he has on the horizon. This wasn’t easy for me, but again, it was necessary. I could feel my upper body filling with brio, and while I choked up a little on the happiness, I knew I’d found a friend that will be in my life for as long as possible. This is how I’ve grown; I am practicing love and gratitude, and I am reaping the rewards.