Archive for the ‘Bump And Grind’ Category
Well that’ll teach me for trying to post something from my iPod. The video works now, enjoy!
For Nia, best damned video EVAH!
Jack finds this song hilarious. We’ve played it over and over and over during the last few days.
Warning: Contains foul language not suitable for work or minors. Funny as hell.
I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on my relationships with others. Specifically on friendships and the wide variety of friends I have, how they came to be, and what keeps us in a relationship with each other.
My extremely close friendship with V has often been the subject of envy and curiosity from others. I’m not sure if she gets this sort of thing as often as I do, but people have asked me how we manage it. People have commented to me that they wish they could have a best friend relationship like V and I have. It’s something so special and I will admit I frequently take it for granted that other people have best friends like I do. This is far and wide not the case, and I can count far too many women (and men as well) who do not have a ‘Bestest Best Friend’ in their lives.
V and I have a relationship that parallels my relationship with Jack. She is one of the two soul mates I am so blessed to have in my life right now. That I love her is never a question, and I now bear a permanent mark as a tribute to that love and to our relationship. I refer to her often as my wife and spouse, because best friend just doesn’t do our relationship justice. We are so close that I think if we could, we would share the same body. If one of us had been a man we would be living happily ever after as I write this. She and I have been a tight unit for 10 years now, and we have plans to grow old together, just like I have with Jack.
So, I thought maybe I’d let slip a few things that V and I make a consistent and conscious effort to do to keep our relationship as close as it is. I hope she doesn’t mind me revealing them, but I think if other people can benefit and form closer relationship with their friends, then it’ll be worth it.
1. Work on your communication skills: Just like in marriage, friendships require communication. Never assume that it’s just going to ‘come naturally’. V and I have in the past experienced difficulty communicating with each other. We were sometimes too embarrassed or afraid of causing conflict to be forthcoming with each other. I recall the time we had a brief discussion about abortion and I didn’t want to create waves so I didn’t bother saying much about my anti-choice thinking as opposed to her pro-choice stance. It bugged me for a few days afterwards and eventually it occurred to me that V would want me to be true to myself. She would want me to feel confident enough to share my difference of opinion with her and know that regardless we would still love each other and be best friends. So I told her my opinions and we have gently agreed to disagree on that particular topic. We are able to accept and respect the opinion of the other and not let it get in the way of our relationship. Having good communication is essential to any great relationship, romantic or otherwise.
2. Romance each other: V and I often go to great lengths to make each other feel special and appreciated. The previous two years she happened to be single on Valentine’s Days and because both Jack and I love her, we wanted to include her in our plans. We did not do this because we felt ’sorry’ for her, we did it because she is a part of our family and we love her and since the holiday is centered around love, doesn’t it make sense to have both of my loves with me for dinner? Had she been in a relationship I would assume that her significant other would likely want to do something special to celebrate THEIR relationship, but I would have extended the invitation to them anyway. Think of things you would do for someone you are dating and then do those things for your friend. V and I have gone on many dates, made each other dinner, taken each other out. We court each other, we make the other feel significant, special, and appreciated.
3. Call each other on wrongs: It’s bound to happen that people you care about are going to have some habit or way of doing things that either you don’t agree with or that annoys you greatly. They are also going to make some really dumb choices or refuse to get themselves out of situations that are making them unhappy. Your job is to lovingly point these things out to them and help them see what it is that is happening in a more objective way. For instance, there have been times when V took issue with some of my parenting methods. It wasn’t extreme at any rate, but things that I did which she disagreed with. So, she told me. I was understandably upset and she was prepared for that. I cried a little and then thanked her profusely for caring enough about me and my family to point out these things to me. The behaviour was worked on and it all came out well. There was also V’s chronic habit of being late. We would make plans and then she wouldn’t show up on time. We aren’t talking 10 minutes, but hours late. It got to the point that I would invite her to things and not expect to see her until several hours after the appointed time. Not good. I didn’t want her to get all upset, so I wasn’t sure how to broach the subject. Finally I got brave and laid it out to her. The constant lateness not only made me feel disregarded and unimportant (like my time wasn’t valuable to her at all) but I knew it couldn’t be making her feel very good to be always breaking her agreements with people. She felt terrible initially. She said it was both hardest and best to hear it from me because she loved and respected me so much that it hurt that much more to know she had caused me these feelings. However, since bringing it up she has committed herself to being more punctual, and we both feel loads better.
I know know how hard it can be to tell someone something negative about themselves, but if you love and respect them you owe it to them to point out the behaviour. There are also instances when a person needs to be yanked out of their own shit. When V’s relationship with M was headed downhill it started to seriously show even before I knew that things were amiss. She would call me and I could hear it in her voice, she was not herself. We would get together and for the first part of our time she would act sad/irritated/not herself. V is one of the bubbliest, happy-go-lucky, and enjoyable people I know, this is why her being sullen is very strange. After a month or so of this I just out and said “What the hell is going on? You’re miserable, I can tell, please share with me”. So she unloaded about her relationship troubles. It’s not that she had been with-holding from me, I think she was mostly just trying to get by without acknowledging how bad it had become. Once I told her that it was obvious to me she started to look at it more objectively and came to the realization that she was really unhappy.
A little known fact regarding the three of us (Jack, V, and I) is that in the beginning of my relationship with Jack he and Vi did NOT get along. I think he was threatened by how close she and I were and worried that if V didn’t approve of him I would dump him. Jack dislikes feeling that he must earn approval from anyone. V I think felt that Jack was too demanding of my time and perhaps a touch controlling. This rift between them caused me a great deal of stress.
When I told her that Jack and I were planning to get married she was the only person who didn’t squeal with joy. In fact she was more interested in making sure I was doing this for the right reasons rather than congratulating us on the upcoming nuptials. I think to some degree she was also a little worried that if I married Jack, she would never see me again! Regardless she still stood beside me on my wedding day and delivered the most fantastic speech at our reception.
I truly know that our refusal to hold anything back from each other is the biggest reason we are as close as we are, which is probably why this particular point is so long-winded, LOL.
4. Make time for each other regularly: There was a time when V and I lived in the same city and yet rarely saw each other. In fact I went my entire second pregnancy without ever seeing her. Mind you during that time I was busy having babies and adjusting to a new marriage and there just never seemed to be time. It was also the most isolated and alone I had ever felt in my life. I didn’t make my friends a priority. I remember so many times that Jack would encourage me to call V or see her but I was caught up in my own shit and depression that I couldn’t bring myself to be around anyone. We did do things sometimes. When Luke was a year old V and I spent a weekend camping with A out in Saskatchewan. However, it was rare. One day, shortly after Sadie was born V and I were on the phone and I said “This is so stupid. We live in the same city and we never get together. Something has to change” and she agreed. We decided to commit to getting together once a month. Before long that evolved into approximately once a week. Recently we went three weeks without seeing each other (due to crazy circumstances) and it just about killed us.
Things might have continued as they were back then had we not made a mutual commitment to make each other a priority. Life is busy, it’s so easy to just put things off. Put off time with friends, recreation, anything that isn’t vital to survival. We got tired of putting each other off. Tired of saying “Maybe next month we can make plans”. The greatest gift you can give your friends is time with you. One-on-one time included, because you can’t reach the level of intimacy that V and I have if you are constantly around other people. Being faced with our separation we have agreed to talk on the phone regularly to try and ease the pain of being apart. We will do what we can to get through the next year until she moves in with us, and just the thought of seeing her every day makes my heart feel like it might burst with happiness.
5. Have specific activities or ‘traditions’ that are just for the two of you: This once can be precarious if one or both of you are in serious relationships with others. I want to give an example before I launch into a better explanation of this one. V and I keep a diary to each other. We have a notebook that we use to write letters to each other. This special method of communication between us was started years ago, when we were first friends. Being in high school together it was often difficult to share thoughts during classes, so we had a notebook and essentially wrote each other notes in it. I remember fondly, skidding that little notebook up and down the isles of the desks during class. After we left school V kept the notebook, although at times we have sat down together and re-read it.
Some years ago we decided to revive the concept. I bought a notebook and wrote letters to her in it. I kept it like I a diary to her for a few weeks and then I would give it to her to read and write in for a few weeks, and then it came back to me and back and forth like that. In this way we were able to share thoughts with each other when we couldn’t always see each other or talk on the phone.
Jack has been forbidden to ever read the pages of these books, even though it is often laying about unattended. This is not because I have written things in there that I am keeping from him, since Jack and I have a marriage of full disclosure (I will explain what that means shortly, since it applies to V and I as well). However, V shares things with me that she may not be comfortable with Jack knowing. It is not my place to share her private thoughts with him. Likewise her boyfriends are not permitted to read it for the same reasons. Issues if privacy aside, it’s also because that book is just OURS. A special ’secret’ between V and I that we do not share with anyone else. Jack and I have special things between us that we have agreed not to share with anyone else as well. I am not speaking about deep dark secrets or things of that nature, but places we go or things we do together that we do not do with anyone else. Neither V nor I keep a diary like this with anyone else. It’s unlikely that either of us ever will. It’s ours, plain and simple.
Having specific activities/places/traditions for just the two of you creates a special sort of bond. It doesn’t have to be amazing or elaborate. V and I drink the same beverage when we go out. Even though other people around us might also have it, and we also drink other things on occasion, it’s still something small that is special to us. We habitually order for each other because we know what the other likes. That might not seem all that great to anyone else, but we have assigned it significance. Cooking together is another. V is the only person who has earned the right to be in my kitchen with me when I am cooking. I turn into SUPER ANAL RETENTIVE person when I am cooking and generally anyone else who tried to get near me will have to duck out of the way of the spatulas and spoons hurtling towards them. She and I work exceptionally well together and I would say that in many situations we read each others thoughts and just know what to do and how to do it in complimentary ways.
As I said, many things will not seem spectacular or notable to other people, which is perhaps part of the magic of it. To the two of you they will be special while outsiders remain oblivious.
6. Have a relationship of Full Disclosure: I think this one is perhaps harder for others than it has been for us. V and I keep absolutely nothing from each other. She knows every dirty little secret, every scandalous detail, every minuscule moment of my life. I can say with complete confidence that it goes both ways. We tell each other absolutely EVERYTHING. Within reason of course. I don’t call her every day to tell her what I had for breakfast, but if she asked me I’d certainly share, LOL. I have talked to her about things that I never thought I would talk to anyone about, and she embraces all of my skeletons and shortcomings with the kind of love and acceptance that most people can only dream about. She’s my safe place, no matter what. That’s also the sort of relationship I have with Jack, which is one of the main reasons we have such a close and successful marriage.
People just either have to accept that if they tell me something, I am most likely going to talk to both Jack and V about it, or they should not share with me. That’s just the way it rolls. Jack has never asked me to keep something a secret from V, nor has V ever asked me to keep a secret from Jack. We have an agreed mutual understanding that it just won’t happen. I am generally up front with other people about this arrangement so that they can make an educated choice about sharing secrets or personal information with me. That said if someone still chooses to talk to me about something delicate and personal, I AM able to assure them that it will stay between me and my two significant others. Neither V nor Jack would ever blabber something I had told them in confidence. This probably sounds insane to people, but I don’t think you can have the sort of relationship that V and I have if you withhold things from each other.
7. Ask each other for favours: This one probably seems strange. How will asking each other for help make you closer friends? I know many people who are reluctant to ask other people for help. They are too proud, too embarrassed, too whatever. Admitting that you need help makes you vulnerable. It also gives your friend the opportunity to do something nice for you, which in turn makes them feel good. I don’t know about you but I like helping my friends. That can be difficult to do if they never ask for help or give you the opportunity to do so. Be vulnerable to your friends, admit that you need help and then graciously accept their generosity when they say yes! Likewise if someone asks you for help be honest with them. If you really can’t do it explain why. Otherwise embrace the opportunity to do something for your friend that they can’t do for themselves (or which is highly inconvenient to them).
That said, don’t enable your friend to be useless. If they are asking for help with something you know very well they can do themselves, gently point that out to them and ask them why they are reluctant to do the task for themselves.
8. Don’t keep tabs: V and I do a lot of activities together. We have a very loose arrangement for who pays for what. Generally, whoever has money at that moment pays the lions share of the cost. We’ve been doing this for years. I have no idea who has paid more or less often. Neither of us care to keep track. There have been times when I was broke flat and she paid. Sometimes I pay and she drives me around the city to all of our destinations and I don’t have to chip for gas. We each contribute what we can and we never resent the other if they are in a tight spot. We have both been there.
This does not just include money but extends to all of the ways in which we do things for each other. Why bother to keep track or try to make either party feel indebted to the other?? We never wanted lack of money get in the way of doing things together, so it became something of an unspoken agreement. I can’t count the times that we knew things were tight for the the other and just picked up the phone to say “Lets go for drinks and nibbles, my treat” so that the broke person didn’t have to say “I can’t go because I can’t afford it”.
When we are both broke, we just do things that don’t cost money, like hang out at each others house and talk. That’s one of our most favorite things to do and even when we can afford to go out we’ll often just hang out and talk.
9. Compliment each other: I’m not talking about just blowing smoke up their ass. V has a lot of awesome talents, and so do I. Particularly when one of us is feeling down the other is quick to remind that person of all their great skills and attributes. V and I both suffer insecurity when it comes to our weight, and I’m not about to bullshit her and say “What are you talking about? You’re totally skinny” because she’s not, neither am I, but we are working towards being healthy. She IS a gorgeous woman, which is not a lie, and I can also remind her that she has a beautiful face, adorable little feet (I always tease her about her little ‘elf shoes’ since my feet are several sizes larger than hers) and than any part of her she dislikes she can do something about. If I tried to give her some crap untrue compliment it would just make her feel like I don’t respect her enough to be honest. I make my very best effort to always tell her how adored and appreciated she is and to point out the very best things about her, and she does the same and then some for me.
10. Be there for each other as much as you can possibly manage: Lots of times people will say “Oh yeah, call me anytime” and only half-way mean it. Or even if they do mean it, people never bother to take them up on it. V and I have both called each other at totally INSANE times of the day because we needed someone and she is really the only person I can think of who would be happy to talk to me at 4am. She has rearranged her schedule for me when I was in real distress. We’ve met with each other come hell or high water during hard times. Even if it meant 45 minutes each way just to give her a hug I have no problem doing that for her because I know she would and has done it for me. If we really can’t see each other in person (like for the next year) then we will do what we can to support and love each other over the phone. It’s just one of those things that you do for your closest friend. These sorts of things are not extended to all of my friends because as much as I care about all of the people in my life there are different levels of what you will and will not do for them.
Hopefully that has given you some idea of how V and I make our friendship the way it is. It certainly doesn’t just ‘happen’ by itself. We have both commited to being the very closest friends we possibly can.
I know that even if I were living in the middle of the Sahara Desert we would remain the best of friends. It’s just a given at this point. We are going to be together for life, no question. She’s my girl, she’s got my back, and I have hers.
This video is for her, because hearing this song makes me happy, just like she does:
When The Night Feels My Song - Bedouin Soundclash