Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, which got me thinking about people I’ve met, people I appreciate. Friendships forged out of a common ground can be interesting, comforting, unexpected. I’ve always had a difficult time getting really close to people and still to this day do. I shut down easily, I don`t let people in. I like to put on my best Starbucks smile and hide everything going on behind my eyes for self preservation purposes. I`m there right now, today, with my Starbucks smile. Pretending. Grinning and bearing it beautifully. But there are some people I get to have my daily meltdowns with and these women are ones that know what my life is like, they listen, reply thoughtfully, feel my pain and make me laugh so hard by joking about what is not funny in order to make it all feel OK.
When someone knows the struggle, you relate, and you relate quick. Relating doesn’t always result in friendship, though, and I`ve met prison acquaintances, who have come and gone from my life which I`m okay with. Prison(the physical place as well as support groups) isn`t exactly a place where you go to pick up lifelong friends . You talk, you vent, you feel like you belong and then a couple of beautiful flowers stick out among the rest. I have a couple of women in my life right now, prison wives/girlfriends, who I talk to almost daily, who have embraced my madness and I have embraced theirs. The raw truth we let out with each other, the laughs through the tears, the motion sickness from this rollercoaster we share, is something I am incredibly grateful for.
One of these women, someone so vastly different from me yet the same, I met through a support group years and years ago and we have just recently started to get close and I feel so open with her, so free from judgment. Just exchanging messages with her through the week feels like having coffee with an oldest and dearest friend. We are honest with each other when I feel like we cannot even be honest with ourselves. Taking a chance to reach out and take our connection to the next level is one of the best things I could have done and I am so glad that I did. I truly enjoy and cherish our bond and I hope to connect in person sometime soon.Thank you, friend. You know who you are.
The other woman is someone I met 9 months ago and I did not think we would become as good of friends as we now are. I interacted with her before a visit and she stalked(lovingly) me on Facebook. I was cautious at first, as I am with all visitors seeking to connect outside of the prison walls, and had my reservations. We had a rocky start to our friendship because mostly I don`t trust people and I didn`t want to let anyone in but we have moved passed that and I honestly cannot imagine my life without this woman. We message almost daily even though she is in another country, which in a way makes communication convenient before and after work sometimes. We have a common ground of our men being in prison but we have moved beyond that and into some serious friendship territory. I can be my messy self with her and she gives me a good mix of tough love and comfort.
So, thank you to my prison pals, my warrior women, my beautiful bonds. Your strength, laughter, and loyal nature get me through my days.