In answer to a question from The Great Work: Self-Knowledge and Healing Through the Wheel of the Year.
It wasn’t that long ago that I considered myself friendless, or nearly so. I was locked into an unhealthy long term relationship, and starting to feel the effects of a descent into serious anxiety issues. It was a really lonely time for me, as I struggled to understand how I’d gotten myself into this mess. I’d always been rather introverted (not really the life of the party), but never without a friend to talk to. In high school I was surrounded by dear friends, and in college I had two of the very best friends a girl could ask for. After college, I worked in the service industry and always had people around to hang out with or ask for advice. Plus, all of my friends from home were always just a phone call away.
When I moved to Chicago, I found myself surrounded by a large, close-knit group of people that I absolutely adored. So coming back to New Orleans and finding my social life dwindling down to nothing as my relationship fell apart was a shock. Especially once I started having anxiety attacks whenever the phone rang, no matter who was calling.
Fast forward a few years, and here I am, feeling pretty good about life. I don’t feel alone. I feel loved and supported, and while I do miss being near my best girlfriends (especially the best of the best), there’s a strong feeling that everything’s going to be OK. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I’m relatively sure my upswing is the result of seeking help for my anxiety and depression, as well as miraculously stumbling into a healthy, supportive relationship. I also started to take care of my health, and in doing so ended up finding a gym family whose support has definitely helped me see myself in a better light.
There are times when I’m jealous of the women I know who live close to their best girlfriends. They’ll always have someone to shop and gossip with, who will share DIY tips and never judge you for deciding to live in your yoga pants until summer (and maybe during summer, as well). I have a circle of women I love like sisters, and I am so lucky. But none of them live in New Orleans. There are other women here that I love and think highly of, but besties are just on a different tier. They’re my tribe. They’re the ones who didn’t raise an eyebrow when I told them I needed meds to even out while I tried to stop the all-day crying spells, and the ones that will be as psyched as I am about every new endeavor on my list. They’re the ones who call me when exciting things happen to them, and I love how my heart lights up when I hear their adventures. They’re the ones that I wanted to share my thoughts with as I walked the Camino, and the ones that I can instantly pick up with after years of only a quick “I love you” text every few months.