Fight the Good Fight

I went to my best friend’s grandfather’s funeral today.  As I sat in the back of the room looking around at all the faces that I know and love and all the faces that I haven’t seen before, there was one face I couldn’t keep my eyes off of and that was the face of Juana, grandmother extraordinaire and wife of Leo, who is now laying in front of a packed room, at rest, for all of us to see.  I gazed upon her through my silent heartbreak as no one watched and I learned so much.  She was a woman in love with a man for 65 years, a love that traveled with them from Cuba, to the US and a love that created a family that could live on their hopes and dreams for the sacrifices they had made.

I had an epiphany, an awakening, an enlightenment that I had not had before.  I walked up to the casket with a tremble in my step, nervous and scared.  The last time I saw him he was asking me to dance and if I was going to smoke a cigar later.  “you’re looking great, mi niña.”  The knot in my throat grew and the tears rolled from my eyes and there on the top of the open casket, a note. It read “Leo, Te amaré por siempre, Nita” and that’s when it hit me, that no matter the things life throws at you, love is forever.  Real love fights the battles of heartache, war, sickness, and indifference and surpasses them and wins them with truth, honesty, and second chances.

It’s about the risks you take on finding that love that count and it is how your hands bleed from holding on to it so tight because you know it is home.  You know it’s your true north.

It was the moment I looked into her eyes, and saw the eyes of a teenager who just lost her first love- A watery mix of peace and angst; Heartbreak and acceptance- that it really hit me, life expires and it’s how you choose your path and the chances that you take which will define you as a person.

Life can be taken in a few moments and I realized that I shouldn’t be wasting my time waiting for things to happen to me, I should be taking the risks to get the things I want; not only in life, but in love.

On this day so close to celebrating 65 years of devotion, laughs, and cries, she remains to be a woman with a life fulfilled.  I thought to myself, this is how I want to be.  I want to know in my old age I fought for the things I wanted and I fought for the people I loved.

Beer and Doughnuts. Vodka and Tomatoes.

This post is about friends.

I have been very lucky in my life to have very long lasting friendships.  Some have been around since childhood and others high school, but what I have learned as I got older is that longevity doesn’t mean friendship… compassion, understanding, and the willingness to go along with your friend’s insane ideas… that is friendship.

Non-judgmental and unconditional… filled with obscenity, inappropriate behavior, and incriminating pictures. These are the things that comprise a bond that will last forever, and not only because those pictures can ruin you.

 

The company you keep affects your life on so many levels and even some you may not realize.  Surround yourself with negative people, some aspects of your own life will take that quality.  The key is…Trim the fat.  Re-examine the people you allow in your inner circle, your safe space.  How do they help you and how do they hurt you…

 

Compartmentalize.  You have your ride or die friends, you have all seen each other naked at some point… you have ridiculous inside jokes no one else would understand… you’ve been in situations with them that you would never dare speak of again… they know your inner most deepest secrets. You fart in front of each other. These people are forever.

 

You have your hang out friends… your weekend warriors… you drink hard Friday night and immediately call them Saturday morning for recon to make sure those hours you can’t remember weren’t totally embarrassing. Drinking buddies that you think twice about before sending out that “what are you up to?” text for fear you may not make it home until Monday.  They’ve occasionally held your hair back and/or cleaned vomit off of you at some point in time.  This of course you will never remember.

 

Then there is just everyone else.

 

Now to the point… never underestimate yourself or let people make you feel like less of a person.  I learned very quickly that the “friends” I thought were real because of longevity, really were just fillers for my life.  Filling in the blanks to certain points in time where they functioned.  While my REAL and TRUE friends were waiting in the background.  These filler friends were self-fish… only needed you around to fulfill their needs (emotional or otherwise).  They came with judgments and haterism (not a word but you know what I’m saying!)  Some were around to use and abuse, some sucking the energy right out of you with their insecurities.  Moral is REAL friends don’t do this.  REAL friends are fighting the battles and telling the jokes in the trenches with you… not in the sidelines judging your battle plans.

 

My life became more fulfilled when I finally realized who these people in my life were.  I dropped the negativity that was around me and began to prosper in a way that I didn’t think possible.  I became the better version of me, just because I know that these friends (who really have become my brothers and sisters) accept me the way I am, support even my craziest ideas whole-heartedly, and love me with no conditions.

 

If you have these people in your life, always let them know you are aware of their awesomeness, because these friendships don’t happen all the time in a world where each man is usually about his own agenda.

 

Beer and Doughnuts.Vodka and Tomatoes. (this is one of those nonsensical inside jokes we share)