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The Value of a Friend

true-shabu-4I believe there is room for more than one best friend at a time in our lives. Each of mine serves a different purpose in my life – a life enriched by them. They are friends who would drop everything should I need them. In turn, I would drop everything for them.

Two years ago, I took half a day from cleaning out Auntie Boogie’s condo (Auntie Jude and I had just dropped off Dr. Cuz at the airport and ran errands) to spend with Hordus on his day off. I had hinted about the stress I was experiencing on the way back from dinner the night before but I didn’t say more because we were in mixed company. Hordus, as always, picks up the hints and started the long conversation on the way to pick up his oldest son, Four. By the end, I was unburdened and cleansed, not because anything was different, but because talking to him always made me feel better even if nothing was settled. And not that I wasn’t talking to anyone else about it. I had other friends I was talking to, but again, no one is like Hordus and no one ever will be.

This was my first time meeting Four. Hordus used to send me baby pictures of him many years ago, so it was weird seeing him as an adult and working on his future. Four also had the day off so he spent the rest of the day with us. We told him stories about us as teenagers, how we met, how Jerm took Four’s mom to senior prom (Hordus and Four’s mom went to different schools than me and Jerm), and how people thought Hordus and I were dating and would have a bewildered expression when Four’s mom was with us.

Hordus always knows what I need when I’m stressed, whether it’s helping me process through something or dragging me outside to watch a lightning storm. This time around, I needed to ground myself at the beach.

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He drove us to Huntington State Beach after lunch and I stood with my feet buried in the sand, watching the storm over the ocean and ignoring the blustery wind roaring around me. In the midst of turmoil, I was at peace and grateful, nearly crying tears of joy because I knew I was where I supposed to be in that moment. Sometimes you have to journey into the eye of the storm to clear your head and see the bigger picture. I knew my personal chaos would come to an end, I told myself that over and over but could not bring myself to believe it until that moment.

 

You can’t put a price on friendship. I can’t quantify the close friendships I have. It doesn’t work that way. Friendships are meant to lift you up and support you in times of need. Friendships are meant to be your pillar of strength when you are too weak to stand on your own. Friendships are meant to be non-judgmental and guide you to the best choice for you…or to just keep listening.

True friends are priceless.

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Posted by on January 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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My Name Is…What?

Cuzin ItNicknames are commonplace in our society. Ask Dawn and she’ll tell you I’m fairly adept at giving nicknames. The thing about them is they are usually given to people you know well. Unless you’re using a nickname to refer to someone without using their name to either protect their identity or to make fun of them. I once gave a kid I worked with the nickname B-Rock to prevent the rest of the kids from creating a more unfortunate one. Some names just beg for those nicknames used for teasing/bullying and I decided preemption was better than trying to put out fires.

One of my friends calls me Cuzin It because back in my super long hair days, I rocked a great impersonation of The Addams Family character. Dawn calls me Stump, a nickname from The North And The South. If you know the book or the mini-series, you’ll know Dawn’s nickname. Then there is Hunter. A nickname given to me by the guys I worked with at the YMCA back home. It involved a game we were playing at Leadership Camp and the fact that I almost took a group of them out after taking on a low-shoulder stance (thank you college football player buddies). That’s called a well-earned nickname. Doug and I have multiple nicknames for each other because they evolve like our friendship.

It’s a common misconception that because I go by Debi, my given name is Deborah/Debra/Debora. I’ve had to pull my license out more than once to prove that my parents really named me Debi. Shortening a name or adding –y/-ie/-i at the end is a practice of giving someone a nickname connoting familiarity between people much like the given names versus familiar names in Russia: Misha for Mikael, Natasha for Natalya, Sasha for Sergei, etc. In that vein, Deb would be a familiar name.

If you don’t know me, just met me, or barely speak to me, don’t call me Deb. Deb is for the friends who have earned the right to call me that by taking the time to get to know me and who reciprocate socially. A lot of times when making friends on Twitter, people gush friendliness in the blink of an eye and not even a minute later, someone thinks you’re their new bestie. Meanwhile you’re thinking: “I just met you. We have no basis for any type of nickname formation when I know NOTHING about you and vice versa.” Or if you’re more like me: “CENSOREDDELETEDREDACTED”

Social media is a great place to make friends. I have a tribe thanks to Twitter, but it takes more than one tweet to form a solid friendship. Great nicknames tell a story, have depth, and/or convey relationships. They shouldn’t be a shortening of names because you can’t be bothered to speak (or type) the whole name or think name mashing is the greatest thing to delivery pizza in thirty minutes or less.

My loved ones earned the right to call me Deb. Complete strangers and acquaintances…Houston, we have a problem.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Friends And A Tribe

Cincinnati1I started this post two months ago then after the death of my aunt, traveling to help clean out her condo, and all the life-ing going on I set it aside.  With everyone’s videos and blog posts this week, I decided it was a perfect time to dust it off and finish it.

Whoever said real relationships can’t be formed online was dead wrong.

I met Katie first through a mutual friend over two years ago. You can call her my Twitter BFF. She makes me laugh at every turn and through collaborating with her, I learned a new skill, but I’ll let her keep writing the RomComs. She’s the master, I am but the student. Finally meeting her in August was THE BEST THING EVER. Next was Bianca. We bonded through our mutual love of General Hospital and you can usually find me tweeting with her and Katie about it. Her books about the dark side of love give me a thrill like no other. Two words: page turners. Then I met Kennedy and Stephanie and hilarity ensued. There’s also Callie, Peter, Stuart, Ian, and Wiz.

Then, I gained a tribe. A tribe of writers of different genres who support each other through humor, compassion, and encouragement. Emery and I would tweet with each other here and there. Then one day, he included me in a #FF. Soon after, Sonya tweeted me that she was following me because Emery said so. It was a gregarious move and I loved it. Before I knew it, I belonged to a tribe that welcomed me with open arms. Matt, Jennie, Adam, Olivia, Niko, Sarah, Doug, Shay, Jason, Angelina, and Hayley. I joked the other day that Sonya is the gateway drug, but it’s true. She brings so many people together.

Up until I met my tribe, I never really fit in with one group. Kind of like high school when I would wander away from my fellow band geeks and drift from clique to clique. I am fortunate to have stumbled into this group. Everyone possesses their own talents and while writing is a shared talent, what binds us is deeper. I like to think it’s our letting go of our egos and being ourselves with each other, being honest in the moment about how we are doing and feeling. If you ever want to see edification in action, watch my tribe when someone has a bad day or just received bad news. It’s simply amazing.

Every member possesses their own talents. We aren’t a group of sameness. We’re a tribe of diversity, each with their own voice that we celebrate. That’s where I fit. Where we are all different, write different things, and really don’t care that we aren’t uniform. The conformity within the group isn’t conformity at all, but unity in being. Or, as Olivia says, our real connections.

The same can be said for the friends mentioned before the tribe. The difference is the social network of the tribe (HELLO! SOCIAL NETWORK) providing an interconnected support system. Rather than a small safety net here or there, I have this GIANT net to fall into when I need them.

From that enormous net, I formed a friendship with Doug. The tweets increased, the sharing grew, and the laughter has not ended. He’s my other best friend, my awesome twin, and the male version of me. Meeting him last month on my road trip home from my aunt’s was THE OTHER BEST THING EVER.

I don’t need anything for Christmas this year because, as far as I’m concerned, I have it all.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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