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Thank you for reading my stories, laughing along, and being brave enough to share yours! 

the friends

The wedding reading to end all wedding readings is complete. Following the ceremony and with the bride’s permission this will be available to you and yours for purchase. Bestie got the friendship fee of free but yeah, ya’ll are going to have to throw some bones down for this art. A lady has to dine, ya know? Rehearsing in my apartment I teared up imagining reading this to my oldest friend, her new forever, and those closest to them. The delivery was flawless and a few guests needed tissues to dry their eyes. The reality will probably be a shaky voice and sweating in all the wrong places. Dreams are nice, aren’t they?

I considered asking my friend to move forward her wedding date so that I could perform*the reading at her ceremony first and then be able to release it to the world perfectly timed with a Valentine’s Day blog about love. She seemed stressed so I kindly decided against. The friendship favor scale is tipping though.

Joking aside, I am giddy with excitement for this day to arrive. All but one** of my best friends, my most important women will fly in to be together to celebrate one of our own. Life has brought us to different places so the moments together are few but never anything short of magical. We act like kids. We reminisce. We share what’s real and present in our lives. We soak up every ounce of love from these reunions. When we were younger we talked of living in the same neighborhood with our families where our children would grow to be as close to each other as we. Why they decided to ruin this dream is beyond me. Then I get pissed at my dream-killer friends. It makes the leaving easier. Everyone copes differently.

There are fewer things that are more “HOME” to me than being with this group. Without question I have the best friends in the world. If you don’t feel the same way about your crew then you’re doing it wrong. Life is wonderful, occasionally weird, and at times painful. You will need your ride or die warriors that have your back throughout the journey. People say ‘family is everything’ but I say with whom are you going to bitch about family then, huh?

There’s a recipe that makes up any collection of best friends. We all have a special spice and without the precise mix the whole thing can be off. Like bland tacos or spicy cereal. Where am I going with this analogy? It’s unclear. I think just there. No one likes spicy cereal though so here’s my recipe that’s created the finest blend of forever babes in my life.

The OLD: The friends who have known the awkward years, the questionable style choices, and the awkward first kisses are irreplaceable. They knew the person you were at 6, 16, 26, and beyond and they’re still sticking around to see it through. That is loyalty. Do not abuse this friendship but what a nice security knowing you could make all the wrong choices in life, end up living in a dumpster, and this long time friend will still send a Christmas card year after year.

The bride and I have been friends since we were six years old. We were in different classrooms and she was the athletic, theatrical type and I was the first in line for soft pretzels at recess type. Our connection was realized over our mutual and unhealthy relationship with ice cream. This would later turn into our most lucrative years to date working at the local Dairy Queen.

Starting my freshmen year of high school I invited some hopeful new friends over to get ready before a dance. My squad was all of one entering ninth grade so fingers were crossed the night would go well. While primping in front of the mirror, the oldest friend says to the new: “You’re in our group now and you’re never getting out.” Out of choice or by fear these girls are still here.

The NEWER OLD: The friends who shared the teenage years where life is both pure magic and painfully complicated are essential to the mix. These friends are around through the acne, the over-plucked brows, before the dawn of lip waxing, experimenting with alcohol, experimenting with boys, experimenting with alcohol AND boys, and just like you, they knew without question these would be the toughest years of our lives.

The COLLEGE CREW: When the question of “who am I?” seems to peak and you navigate your life more on your own than ever before, together. Albeit, drunkenly navigate, but navigating together none the less. The experimenting continues as you cheerlead one another out into the scary real world.

The ADULT FRIENDS: You’ve settled into the best group of friends ever and you’re feeling pretty ambivalent of needing any new ones at this point. These players require more effort than the rest. Honesty over coffee dates rather than shots at the bar become the way. They speak your language and their sights are set similarly to your own. Slowly but just as surely you acquire more gems.

The wild stories made while growing up and growing into myself with these women could fill a library. The library would then have to be burned down because not everyone should be privy to some of this history. Like the nuns who taught us or the police, let’s say. Our history is unique and wildly funny to us as I’m sure yours is to your own group. We can discuss who flashed Sister Marie Jean in the 4th grade over a glass of wine another time.

Let’s shift gears for a moment then to carpentry. Yep. At a recent speaking event one of my favorite authors, Glennon Doyle Melton, mentioned a phrase commonly used by carpenters. When building a structure if a joist (a supporting beam that lays between foundations) becomes too weak, another beam is added to the left, and should it still need more support, another beam is added to the right. With that extra support the joist is able to carry the weight of almost anything. The term is called “sistering.” How amazing that "sistering" is what keeps all great structures strong and together?! As you could imagine I nerded out hard hearing this.

I need the old ones, the new ones, the wild and free, the sweet-wouldn't-hurt-a -fly types just as much as the twisted and sarcastic. Give me my listeners, the pragmatics, the thinkers, the feelers, and doers. I need the grounded, honest, and real, the driven, bold, and inspiring.  This mix, MY mix overwhelms me with love and gratitude. I am the joist and they are my beam-team. They each play their role by supporting, loving, and lifting, and my “HOME” would not be without them.

Find them, know them, love them, support them, keep “sistering” forever.

*Words intentionally chosen by author. (In my head) It will be epic. Hope they got insurance because there's no doubt I'm going to be droppin’ the mic.

**Pregnancy is keeping our dearest friend, “Fat Ass” away. An old nickname that has no basis in reality. Then and now while expecting her second baby her toosh is tighter than most. Fat Ass is known as the least likely to cry. This is where we differ. I’ll be doing all of that for her while we miss her fiercely at this wedding.

***A note on the listeners and pragmatics in my circle. The listener friends of mine…Are they my under-cover therapists?! Because they don’t always say much but I sure feel a hell of a lot better after leaving them. I might start leaving them (small) checks when we part. My pragmatic friends are these highly emotionally intelligent efficiency machines. I could share a story so detailed with emotion and heartache and turmoil that has consumed me for weeks and when finished they list the three facts from the story and how to proceed. End Scene. And they are right every single time. It’s VITAL to have friends in your circle that excel in areas where you are most terrible.

I flashed Sister Marie Jean. It was me. Headed to hell. Let me know when you guys get there so we can hang!

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