The Day I Decided She Was Worth It

I’ve been sort of jaded by relationships—the ones that don’t stand the test of time. The ones that clutter the path of my life, leaving glaring evidence that they didn’t end well. For years I’ve tried to blame the other person—the one that did the walking away. I’ve only just begun to realize that I’m just as much at fault for standing back and just watching them leave.

I’ve been thinking about my best friend recently. You know, that shy little girl I met in fourth grade who didn’t turn out to be as shy as she first appeared. At. All. I started thinking about all the not-so-pretty seasons of our friendship (and trust me, there have been a few). And I started wondering how we—being the two opposites that we are—actually overcame all of our struggles and made it this far. How did we survive the tests of time and trial and love and sacrifice and swallowing my pride to say that I—yes, I—am sorry even when I’m still convinced that she’s the one in the wrong?

How is it that my greatest and dearest friendship is the one that has been the hardest for me to keep?

Then I realized that what was really hard about our relationship wasn’t so much what we experienced, but what we survived. Because I faced a lot of junk in my other relationships, too. But the thing that made those different from my relationship with Emily is that, with the others, I simply walked away and left the mess behind. Emily and I couldn’t do that, no matter how badly we sometimes wanted to. No, we had to stay and clean the mess. Take out the trash. Make it so there was room to breathe once more.

And I’m realizing that the key to thriving friendships is not in what you face, but in who you deem worth it. Worth the hardship. Worth the struggle. Worth saving no matter the cost.

Somewhere along the lines of our friendship, I decided Emily was worth it. Because I tried to walk away from her before. When the going got tough, I pulled away—just as I had with every other relationship in my life. But walking away from Emily was like walking away from myself. I needed her too badly—even when I tried to convince myself it was she who needed me.

The thing about relationships is that they are fragile. You’re going to hurt and be hurt. You’re going to fail and be failed. There’s no getting around that—it’s what humans do. And sometimes it’s okay to walk away from those train wreck relationships. But there are a few—precious few—that you must fight for. That you must be willing to lay your pride down to save.

And if you’re looking for the kind of friend who will be there for the rest of your life, here’s my oh so simple, yet impossibly difficult advice: You must decide that she is worth it—so absolutely worth it—because loving her isn’t always going to be easy. But then, the best relationships never are…

They Lived

Yesterday, I had one of those days. You know, the kind of day where you fume about  stupid stuff and think things like, “I’m not going to get married for the next hundred bajillion years because I don’t even want to deal with this junk.” It took moving 450 miles away from home for me to realize that guy/girl friendships are difficult to come by. I don’t know if that fact makes me want to hug my old guy friends and apologize for all the years I’ve taken them for granted, or slap them in the face and yell at them for making me believe that our relationships were normal. I think what I felt yesterday was a combination of the two. I could have walked right up to one of them and shouted, “Thanks for being amazing, jerk.”

Well, I did what any girl would do in such a situation. I grabbed a bowl of chocolate ice cream and popped Ever After into the VCR. By the time it was over, I felt a whole lot better about the topic of men and marriage. What I love best about that particular version of Cinderella is that the characters have flaws. Prince Henry was selfish, arrogant, didn’t listen very well, and acted like a jerk when he learned the truth (to which he had previously refused to listen). And Danielle weaved a web of horrible lies then tried to keep the pretense going. What makes the story so enchanting is that they manage to overcome their flaws and find a happy ending. I’ve been told that chick-flicks are not good for a girl’s emotional health, but I needed that movie last night. I don’t think it’s bad to hold out for “Prince Henry” – as long as you’re willing to accept that he does have flaws.

The movie comes to a conclusion with this beautiful line: “And while Cinderella and her prince did live happily ever after, the point, gentlemen, is that they lived.” They lived. And while those words were said to convey the idea that Cinderella was more than just a folk tale, I think that line carries a much greater meaning. Take Prince Henry’s line, for example: “You swim alone, climb rocks, rescue servants… Is there anything you don’t do?”

The character of Danielle De Barbarac did not only live “happily ever after,” but “once upon a time.” She embraced the moments and lived the journey. She may be a fictional character, but she’s still a great reminder that we weren’t meant to live for the “happily ever after.” We were made for the “once upon a time.” “Happily ever after” means that the story is over. No more adventures. No more life. One day, I hope I’ll make it to “happily ever after,” but as for today, I simply want to live.