Recently, I gathered all the mix CD’s and tapes I’d been given since 1999-ish just to see what sort of crazy compilation I could throw together from them. Standing in mesmerized awe, I realized that I own more than 40 customized mixes, not even including the dozen-or-so I’ve collected from significant others. (I’ve tossed most of them but still have a few CD’s I keep meaning to transfer to MP3′s so I can be rid of the tangible reminder.) That’s roughly four every year! For a decade!
A little less recently, I whittled down my Facebook Friends List from 900-ish “friends” to [an ever-increasing] 350-ish friends I find worthwhile enough to keep up with. (Once I achieved my petty quota of validation from learning that the douchenozzles who tormented me in jr. high grew up to be bloated, drunken, bigoted trust-fund kids, there was really no need to keep them anywhere close to my present life.) I took that time to look at the people I’ve been lucky enough to know personally and then back up and look at the whole motley crew objectively. I found myself laughing out loud at the absurd joy of my life as evidenced solely in the company I keep.
One of my friends is a singer/songwriter/siren who dominates rooms, disables jawhinges and makes people feel validated as humans simply by looking in their general direction. I have a friend who is an artist/performer/genius who lives in an old post office that he’s converted into a palace where he throws lavish, bohemian parties and plays his musical suitcase. One of my friends is an international celebrity who’s televised in dozens of countries on a daily basis to the amusement of 3-6 year-olds who cheer wildly as he steps off private planes. Two of my friends are writers who legitimately have the potential to revolutionize modern literature. One of my oldest friends is a gorgeous chemical engineer who listens to punk rock and plays alongside guys in male-dominated sports. A friend I’m sure I’ve known for a couple lives is an empath/healer with a cutting, brash tongue, a vast, uncompromising soul and a giggling mischief that pulls the disguise off his undeniable compassion.
Ooo! And I know an enigma! A real one! She’s beautiful beyond reason and quirky and complicated and when she laughs she opens the soul of the room she’s in and turns it over in her palms and hands it back to us. And she’s wild with passion and love that’s infectious and controversial and makes people love her emphatically [unless they’re scared of that sort of person and then they often choose to hate her for no reason.] I can remember a point in my life when she had three suitors who were all close friends and who lived for her every word and she knew it but she didn’t realize it and she held it all in a way that you couldn’t really envy her as much as share in her giddy, confused, confident laughter. And for God-only-knows what reason, she loves me and when she goes out of her way to let me know it I smile for weeks and feel unique and safe and special, unlike with anyone else.
I have an ever-self-sufficient friend who is a Republican bellydancer with a laugh that’s infectious and a rapid wit that is hilarious to watch [but hell to suffer] when in “Attack Mode.” (Despite her political leanings, we have yet to have a conversation where we don’t agree with 90% of what the other is saying… so she still has a perfectly-intact soul.) I have a wildly-creative, artist friend who is an effortless medium and who was everywhere that was awesome in the 1960′s (except Woodstock; she was in Daytona that weekend) and loves and knows me better than I know myself most of the time. I have three friends who look like tall, curvy, dark, bold-faced goddesses and would be terrifyingly powerful/dangerous to men and women alike should they ever meet. (Two of them live in NYC and I’m positive they should become besties, like, immediately.) I know world-travelers and political aides and a pure-hearted genius/prodigy who cleaned dishes with me with the same intensity that he implemented while working in international think tanks.
I know brilliant musicians and gorgeous models and driven geniuses (with souls! Those are the best kind of geniuses!) and revolutionary comics/playwrights and refreshingly unique entertainers and groundbreaking visionaries and neo-feminist SAHmothers and fucking phenomenal chefs (two are quite successful and both are female! score!) and recovering addicts/alcoholics with the craziest stories I’ve ever heard and bohemian artists who’ll never be understood but don’t seem to mind and incarcerated convicts who send me the condescending Christmas cards their relatives send them every year, marked with hilarious commentary and a stripper who is now teaching home ec in a schwanky jr. high and daring, colorful Burners (oh, how I long to be one of those) and crossdressers of both genders (both non-professional and professional) and founders of incredible non-profit movements and Broadway singer/dancer/actors and farmers/hardcore gardeners who make me want to sell everything and live off the grid starting tomorrow and the male, punk rock version of Mama Cass and feminista bloggers and quite possibly one of the greatest actors on the planet at the moment and two aerialists and a documentarian (who’s putting together a project that’s just going to be epic once released internationally) and the guy who was ranked one of the top trumpet players in the nation and a female bodybuilder and a powerhouse editor who fights for small businesses with a daily news syndication she runs by herself and young, rad, relatable missionaries who are going to revolutionize how the world sees American Christians and DIY crafters who are going to clothe the world, one hand-knit sweater at a time and people with the balls to immigrate to where they dream of living and a sweet Muslim model who very patiently answers all my idiotic questions about Islamic holidays and schoolteachers who are going out of their way to challenge the status quo (and call attention to the rampant apathy that rules our public school system) and freaking triathlon addicts and a designer whose stuff is now sold at Nordstrom and opera singers and a gorgeous, free-spirited woman who has been inadvertently and gradually coaxing me out of my shell by her inspirational lifestyle and mindset and…
And I get to be in the middle of it.
I honestly always thought that I’d have to be wildly famous or insanely wealthy to know as many uniquely radiant people as I do. And if I were ever to be surrounded by so many unnaturally dazzling characters I would never have assumed that they’d be the types to call themselves my friends.
And I’m not saying all the above-mentioned are in the “Nearest and Dearest Pile”. In fact, only about 3/4 of those could be considered “friends closer than acquaintances”, but I’m glad to be important enough to these busy people to have garnered at least one greeting in the last year from each of them.
However, I’m still unbelievably humbled when I review the list and realize how many I can call honest-to-God “close friends”. (You know. The ones who don’t ever judge and will take a phonecall from me at 2 a.m. and will blatantly tell me when I’m being an a-hole but don’t use that as a means of flat-out rejection and who’re happy for me and my little accomplishments.) So, it looks like my mom was wrong about that whole “You’ll only be able to count your close friends on one hand.” by at least a couple hands.
Anyway, To Whom It Concerns: Thank you so so very much. I hope I’ve let you know how much I appreciate you being in my life.