Updated: Apr 27, 2020
Having a friend by your side makes you invincible. The seas of conflict will part, as you walk together arm in arm.
First Grade: The Beginning
“Together, we were a silent bubble of peace and strength, surrounded by a windy flotsam and jetsam of out of control family, political, cultural world..”
It was in the first grade when I met my kindred friend, a fellow classmate. I didn’t speak much during that time (there was too much too deal with and not to mention language differences). I felt all alone in a strange country that was volatile. I felt deeply offended by how other kids treated this girl, and just walked up to her one day and linked my arm with hers. We simply connected. Together, we were a silent bubble of peace and strength, surrounded by a windy flotsam and jetsam of out of control family, political, cultural world.
Before the morning bell rang and at recess we would lock arms and take long walks together across, and around the school yard. Even though I was the protector, that was when I felt my safest, my most protected and my strongest (because of our friendship). If anything (or anyone) tried to come at us, it quickly backed off when facing us because they could feel our power - a force that was not to be reckoned with. My friend “in arms” was a shy girl other kids made fun, calling her “witch” because of her extremely thin physique and almost translucent like skin you could see her veins through, that made her look like an old lady. I was a petite girl that had the look of innocents but in a pinch, I could and did throw down my gloves should the situation called for it. No one messed with us. They tried, but as soon as they got close enough to poke, they locked eyes with me and they quietly backed off. All obstacles parted ways when we walked together. For a few minutes every day at school, we were each other’s sanctuary.
That was the first time I felt the support, strength, and comfort of friendship. Since then, I've understood that it’s a bond that’s beyond, culture, politics, time and distance. I've also come to feel that even if we don’t have that kind of friendship, we are never alone. In that perceived gap or lack, we are part of a unified field, experiencing emotions and situations together, navigating life like a flock of geese traveling to their destination.
One day, I reached out to a buddy of mine that I hadn’t seen for many (MANY) years. I woke up with her face and her name crystal clear in my mind. Later that morning I Googled her and found a phone number. She was over two thousand miles away. I shrugged off feeling like a stalker and dialed her number anyway. She picked up not recognizing the strange number. I said her name as a question, and as soon as she heard my voice she laughed and said my name as a question, and began to explain how she was just thinking about me and thought she saw me in her neighborhood last week! We talked for a long time and caught up on events. It felt like no time had passed.
One of the things we talked about was all the fun we used to have with our rowdy bunch of international friends in San Francisco, years ago. I always brought people together and enlisted everyone on some kind of adventure in those days, and we had so much fun. We laughed at everything in those days! We definitely didn't take life too seriously. She asked me where I was calling from and what kind of crew I was hanging out with. My reply was puzzling to her. I confided to her that I had no real true friends and although I was around people, that I felt so isolated and the laughs come few and far between. not to mention the racial divide I was feeling.
That lead to my friend challenging me to get my gumption back and defy the social norms (like I used to), get people in the neighborhood to talk, connect, and join me for "Happy Hour" or something. So I did. It wasn't easy. I had experienced some mean people and my trust had definitely been broken many times recently. But I put all of that behind me and embraced my friendly ways once again, despite what I had experienced with some awful people.
Because of that one phone call, the little community in this little Colorado town of Niwot has developed a rowdy bunch of friends that now have a great bond. My friend in Miami reminded me of who and how I have always been. I felt that familiar healthy sense of irreverence that allowed me to break barriers come back and allowed me to once again form a community. It made me unapologetic in going up to people and professing my marvel in them and asking them to come out and play.
Reach out and share something (anything), maybe a hand or your arm for support and you'll find that as much as you're looking for your friend, your friend is looking for you.
It's time to feel safe, to feel supported, to feel strong and defiant, to laugh, to have high spirits (HWYL - Welsh), to feel snug in a homey place, to feel at home - what the Dutch call GEZELLIGHEID, and above all, to feel KENZOKU (Japanese word translated as “family”. It is time for us to come together. And be friendly (Friendlee™).
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