My oldest, dearest, and most loyal friend is a chick named Lisa B. She is my person. My go to. My boo. My bestie. We've always poked fun at people who use and say the word "Babe," but lately our joke has become quite the theme of our reality. She'll have to deal with it. She's my mega Babe.
We met each other when we were 11 years old. She is exactly eight days older than I and to this day still holds it over my head even though we're almost 31. My family and I moved to Orange County for a fresh start following the closing case of my sexual abuse. Lisa was my first OC friend and my second chance at an ordinary childhood. She is witty, funny, sarcastic, caring, and most of all loyal. She's the friend I called at 3am from jail after getting a DUI for a ride home. Her response was, "What are you tryin to one up me or somethin?" Lisa had just gotten laid off the day before. She makes big time scary surfacing life events seem trivial and sinks them with her humor in a loving way. Did I mention she's funny? She has a way of tenderly teasing me and my weaknesses which in turn forces me to see my strengths.
The only time our friendship has taken a slight detour was during our early twenties when we explored romance with two equally douchy dead beat dudes. We found ourselves in unhealthy relationships and back then even joked that maybe "that's just the kinda love we're gonna get in this life." After many years of my miserable love I finally mustered up the courage and ditched my disloyal, abusive douchebag. Unfortunately Lisa hung onto hers for quite awhile longer. Long enough to put a strain on our friendship. Long enough to have a child with him. Long enough to learn a whole lot about herself. Long enough to find that her treasured quality of loyalty needed to be paired with healthy boundaries. Long enough to prove to herself that no matter what life throws at you, you can always rise above your pain and find clarity. Lisa is a badass.
In the past year our friendship has blossomed into a whole new dimension. We still joke incessantly, but the tone of our bond has evolved into a more open space of growth and a mutual motivation of investing in each other's well being. Lisa was the first babe to brave her soul bare to the Brave Babes Movement. She's struggled over the past year in finding her strength, but she's never given up. She seeks the tools and guidance from outside sources to continue to move forward. She opens her heart to me in a way she never has before in our twenty years of friendship. I'm so proud of her. I would like to share a recent email communication between the two of us brave babes so you can see our truth in action.
This email contains our communication in regards to LB going to therapy and giving me the update:
Of course, I was nervous. There was so much that has happened since our last session. I walked in and got down to brass tacks. We started off talking about Greg and the end of our relationship and his "involvement" in Mia's life. Since he had met Greg before he knew a little about what I've endured. Narcissist, is a word that would best describe a person such as Greg. The stress that comes with dealing with that is pretty unbearable at times. Then dealing with the guilt and shame that I feel failing as a mother and woman who has picked such a disappointing father for such an amazing daughter... that is heartbreaking.
We talked about my strengths and weaknesses, loyalty is something that falls into both categories. I give it to people who take it for granted, yet I feel like everyone needs a person in their corner. At the end of the session, he told me "there is no doubt you are extremely loyal."
He actually added RESILIENT to my strength category. Even though we've only worked together for a short time he can tell how much more open I am, and happy I seem. And that I'm very witty and funny...duh!
We talked about my home life. The way my family dynamic has changed and how I'm dealing with that. Watching a woman I've always seen as strong and independent slowly losing herself crushes my soul.
We talked about my dating life since Greg...
Basically, he told me that as a whole I have quite a lot that I'm dealing with... from how I am pretty much a single parent doing the best I can with what I have, to accepting the reality that my mom will not be getting better and to find a way to adapt to better equip myself so I don't let myself go tick tick tick BOMB... as I tend to do. Feeling misunderstood by my friends when it comes to these big topics in my life makes me feel lonely. I am the only single parent out of all my friends who have children and I am the only one who has a parent with progressive neurological disorder. People only want to give hateful advice because of my history with Greg, but what they don't know is how incredibly insulting and condescending it is. Then when it comes to my mom, I just can't handle the blank stares.
I'm a person that feels... A LOT..
I have a lot of good and love to give but I also seek to be understood and feel connected...
I'm sure there's more but that's what I have for now..."
BABE! This email left me FLOODED with emotion B. The first thing I want to address is the character trait that I admire the most in you-Loyalty. Your loyalty to our friendship has literally shaped me as a person. LITERALLY! You have been the only constant in my life. No matter how many times my mother uprooted mine and my brothers existence, you have never judged me, left me, or made me feel inadequate. In fact, you did the complete opposite. You’ve continually reminded me that I am not my mother, that I have a the option to make better choices. You’ve made me laugh when it was clear that laughter’s sweet medicine was the only remedy to the unthinkable turmoil my family has endured. I met you months after one of the hardest days of my childhood. I sat up on the stand at a courthouse and revealed my deepest most embarrassing secrets to a room full of tearful adults. Kathleen took advantage of me emotionally and physically. The innocent child in me didn’t understand the depth of the situation at the time, yet I knew nothing would ever be the same inside of me when I saw the way my parents looked at me like I was damaged that day. It was and still is one of the most confusing events of my life. The saddest part is I felt that I let my parents down that day. That I had allowed their little girl be stolen from them. I felt anxious and afflicted knowing that I let someone take advantage of me in a way so sickeningly horrific that I can feel that same particular sickness rising this very moment in my throat.
So mom moved us far away from the misery and into the brand new. She found us a brand new shiny city, with a brand new rich husband, in a brand new two story house house, driving us to school in our brand new black benz, dressed up in my brand new gap poster child attire. I wanted to forget all that ever happened and I almost managed to push it far out of my head and heart successfully. I couldn’t quite kick the disgust I felt for myself back then…. Until I met you. You rode bikes with me. Walked to school with me. You shared orbitz drinks with me. Ate Carl’s Jr with me. Had sleepovers with me. Watched movies with me. Stayed up late with me. Made fart noises with me until we laughed our heads off. You did twelve year old things with me that made me realize I was still just a kid. I could still do kid things. I deserved to do kid things no matter what had happened to me. You and our friendship is not only one of the most significant stories of my childhood, but a shift in my perception of reality. You were my light at the end of the tunnel. You and the innocent friendship we shared shaped me and made me feel worthy again. As we grew into teens and young adults, time and time again my mother proved her lack of interest in her children’s needs and her self destructive choices constructed the path of instability in my life. Yet, time and time again you never failed to be the stability I so desperately craved. The latest conversations we’ve shared regarding our take on loyalty fascinates me. You being too loyal and myself so easily and quickly being able to cut people out of my life. We are pieces of our parents whether we like it or not. Your parents taught you how to stay and my mother taught me how to run. I am so grateful you always stayed and never allowed me to run. I voiced to you my concern about you setting healthy boundaries (particularly with men) and I hope that you’ll uncover what loyalty to yourself means for you. From what I see you’re on the path to discovering what you want and need which in turn will help you set healthy boundaries. You proved that it’s become important for you to seek answers to these questions. (I’m so proud of you) All in all I never want you to view your loyalty as anything close to a flaw, because it’s the part of you I love the most.
Our friendship took a serious turn when Greg came into your life. There’s so much that's happened in the years that you two spent together that I couldn’t possibly remember all the reasons I’ve always wanted to kick him in the balls, but there were a lot. Mainly, I knew he was taking advantage of your loyalty. Whether it was intentional or not, it was happening and it was very hard for me to watch. Being the opinionated, outspoken little bitch that I can be I hadn’t yet learned to express myself maturely when I voiced my concerns about you being with Greg. I came off as judgmental and petty. It was unhealthy and I’ve apologized to you multiple times for the reactions I chose in regard to your relationship with him. I know you’ve forgiven me, but I hope you know even then, when it came out wrong I just couldn’t stand watching him steal your light. Your light carried me through life and he was successfully dimming it with deception and taking advantage of the loyalty I so cherished in you. It was heartbreaking to bare. As far as your friends not understanding the relationship then and the dynamics now. This holds a lot of truth, but not so much for me personally. I hate admitting this but I’ve learned a lot from Greg and I even have some sort of odd affinity towards him. I truly do not think he’s the scumbag of the earth. Do I want to kick him in the balls sometimes still? Yes. To wake him up to the beauty he allows to pass him by in the opportunity of being a good father? Yes. To the frustration, rage, and disappointment that leaves you feeling helpless? YES! I don’t fault you for having those feelings B and no one would. But that’s besides the point. The point is what’s best for Mia and you have proved that that is what’s most important to you as well. This is where I start loving and admiring you again. You’ve managed to finally leave this man and have found yourself again. All of that in itself, especially the amount of shit you put up with for so many years couldn’t have been (I KNOW it wasn’t from my experience with Justin) easy to come to terms with. It’s hard work to love yourself. You did ALL of THAT, AND have managed to be a good mother. Of course you have your “What in the ever-loving FUCK” moments in motherhood, but you’ve managed B. You. You alone. Successfully. Mia is smart, more than capable, and you’re teaching her passively to love herself by all of the healthy choices you have been making for yourself this past year. Bask in that. It’s hard work and I applaud you for it. You and I have never been too keen on the idea of work, but I think we’ve both come pretty far in proving that we’re capable. The beauty of all of it is not only are you my person, but I am yours as well. Don’t ever forget that. I may not understand how you feel at times, but I will always listen and I will never leave. Our love is constant, is unbreakable, and unconditional.
As far as Sherry B, I will also never understand your personal pain to watch the changes in your home and in your mother, but just as you never judged or left me I will provide the same stability for you. I may not always know what to say, but I’m here. I may not know what to do, but I’ll try. I love your mom too ya know? I love her so much that you actually hid her illness from me because you knew the emotional effect it would have on me and in turn would make it harder for you. I understand all of that. I do, but please don’t ever forget the love I have for you and your family is indestructible.
I hope you find relief that you don’t have to be a ticking bomb Lisa B, you just need to confide in your best friend who will always do her best to help you find your way. I’m right here. Forever and shit.
I love you very much and I hope you know how lucky I feel to have you as my best.
-Chinny, your pint sized side kick heterosexual life partner