It’s not an abstract title. This is literally a post about my best friend.
It’s largely inspired by the fact that I’ve seen her for the first time in about a year and our conversations are so sporadic that we fully miss the intricacies of each other’s lives. I have known her over a decade and apparently she drinks tea now, which is actually quite a huge deal for her. Bizarre as it sounds, this was a shock to my system. Shit, I thought. We just don’t talk, do we?
The single reason for this almost extreme lack of contact, despite it not being difficult or even particularly inconvenient to stay in touch better is that we have such deep, unshakeable security in our friendship that is now thirteen years’ strong that utter complacency takes over.
In fact, I look at all the people in my life- including my parents, my sister, my boyfriend and all my other exceptionally good and important friends and realise something profound: she is the only person with whom I am truly, wholly, completely myself. With her, I’m not afraid of anything. I don’t fear losing her. I don’t fear growing apart. I don’t fear her not liking me. I don’t fear her not understanding any part of me. I don’t have any expectations of her whatsoever, so she can never let me down. And most of all… I don’t feel afraid to tell her what I honestly feel. She is the only person who I will comfortably chuck out at 9pm because it’s past my bedtime. Yes, even when I’ve not seen her in a year.
And it does make me ponder.
Am I just a massive fake? Well no, that can’t be. I just have minor day-to-day insecurities that make me put pressure on myself to keep up with my other friendships because in reality, they simply aren’t bound by the unbreakable bond I share with my best friend. This is neither good nor bad: it’s simply factual. I don’t put all my eggs in one basket. I gain so much from all the relationships I’ve ever forged and what I gain from my best friend is just different to what I get from other people. That’s all.
The liberation I feel in being with her is something I long for in a more permanent setting. How else may I achieve it, I wonder? Quite simply, I think not worrying about what other people think. I look over the years that shaped the clay of our friendship and I recall that I’ve never once been threatened by her, competed with her, envied her and we have been such different people our whole lives that a clash was near impossible. Consequently, I’ve never once worried what she has thought of me. We love each other deeply for exactly who the other person is.
I remember when we decided we wouldn’t get each other presents that year. It was easier. It happened the following year too. Now I don’t remember the last time we got each other a gift. This serene lack of expectation in any given aspect of us drives us to be as comfortable around each other as we are. This is unconditional love. Why do we put conditions on everything? I think of how it would feel to strip my relationship away from expectations. To relinquish control. Let go. Surrender. Stop worrying about whether my boyfriend loves me or whether I deserve his love and instead just let it be exactly what it is. Society loves to tell us what we should expect from relationships. But if I applied this approach, I would soon realise that I already have everything I want because quite simply, I’m loved, cared for and respected. That’s all my best friend gives me. And actually… it’s kind of all I need (and sex, I need sex).
Finally I think of how I can lie on my bed whilst she lies in it, wearing my sweater, eating my cough sweets (she’s a bit sick, but I’m more concerned about whether she’ll infect me) and we can point blank open up about our biggest fears. She tells me she’s afraid of her own indecisiveness and uncertainty and she wishes she had a plan for everything like I do. I tell her I am afraid of everything from being late to work in case people think I’m lazy and incompetent, to my boyfriend leaving me because he thinks I’m as worthless as I sometimes think I am and how having a plan for everything is simply my way of exercising control over a life I have no control over.
And in that moment I realise I don’t need control over this. Over us. We just are who we are. She freshens my perspective and makes me feel less apologetic for being myself. She strips me of fear and replaces it with curiosity, disinhibition and happiness. Whilst I just glow with pride when she tells me she now washes up her dishes straight after using them. My girl has finally learnt the real way to live.
When I dropped her home 3 minutes before my bedtime, we said we should really meet more. Try harder. Not because we need to but because actually, hanging out with each other is really good. For both of us.