How many people in your life tell you the truth?

If someone asked me that, I’d immediately say my husband.  My children.  My mother, when she was alive.  Though the reality is that there might be a hitch in the conversation before they said what they wanted to say, some equivocation, a “but,” a wanting to be kind.  To spare hurting my feelings, I can remember my mother pausing a bit, then starting her best-effort-truthful sentences with a sweet, “Well ….”

Bless them.  We all need those kindnesses.

And of course, memoir writer that I am, I understand we all have our disagreeable truths ….

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But I spent this past long-weekend in Florida with some of my best friends from high school.  For several days, 8 of us lived in a hotel room with not-enough beds and 2 bathrooms.  We are grown women.  We’ve known each other for 30 and 40 years.  Imagine the truths.  The bathroom alone ….

But sometimes I feel I’ve misled people when I talk about my oldest friendships.  When I  say, “high school friends” it sounds as if we’re a bunch of fun-loving cheerleaders and that we’ve been irritatingly positive rah-rah buddies on a monthly basis for 4 decades.  The reality is that every single one of us has been in and out —- some for a few years, others for a decade or even two decades! —- and some were not even friends until after high school was over.  I can tell you that Tracy and I barely tolerated each other from mid-Freshman year on, but we were roommates in college, had yet more falling-outs, and still love each other.  I was so jealous of Trish I barely survived her, and yet she’s one of my favorite people in the world.  I used to think Laura was waaaaay too cool for me.  We lost Lisa for 20 years, but now we talk/text almost daily.  Etc …. but no matter.  The bluntest of truths are told.

“You’re being a bitch.”

“Fuck you.”

“Love you, miss you!”

“You stole my boyfriend in 9th grade, and I’m still hurt pissed.”

“You think you’re expressing your opinion, but you’re really just judgmental.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I greatly appreciate the pauses, the kindnesses, sentences that begin slowly (and a little worried) with, “Well ….”  How would we survive otherwise?  But sometimes we need to hear the unfiltered truths —- the, “this is what I really think of you and your behavior” —-  and these are the women I trust to put it all out there.  The “oops, did I just say that out loud, women.”  Thank god for them.

So.

Here’s to new friends, the ones who help us aspire to who we want to be.  And here’s to old friends — the truth tellers.  No matter how long the absences or issues, no matter the most painful truths.  Here’s to the ones who remind us who we were, who we still are in our deepest regions, and who have no fear about telling their truths the way they see it.  You are my mirrors.

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Who tells you the truth?

 

 

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