“Along the way we do find soul mates, true friends, life companions. We find communion. Another great wisdom gift that women offer to those who have not yet discovered its pleasures is the wisdom that it is better to know the joy of dancing in a circle of love than to dance alone.” -Bell Hooks, Communion: The Female Search for Love
There’s something about the pedestal we place romantic relationships on and how platonic relationships are blatantly ignored that bothers me. The more I grow, the more experiences I have, the greater a pedestal I put platonic relationships on. And nobody should say it’s because I’m single if not I’ll blow your eye (joking), but really it’s important to change our mindsets on how we view these things, we invest so much of our thoughts and our time in finding ‘the one’ when we could just focus on being happy and nurturing the love we have.
I’ll be the first to admit, I was that girl, all I wanted was me and my little boyfriend in this big big world, for a huge chunk of my life I entered romantic relationships thinking it was the solution to love only to feel emotionally underserved. Through the years, men have come and they’ve gone but my platonic friendships have been consistent holding my hands through the laughter and the tears. When I was going through a heartbreak I thought will kill me, they let me know we were together in this, gave me a bed to sleep on, shoulders to cry on, sent me gifts, poetry, music, food and a lot of love. One even travelled all the way to be with me. How profound.
You know it’s so beautiful, so heartwarming, so profound when you know you have a tribe and people who love you without you having to be perfomative. People who see you for who you really are and accept you wholly. The profound love and intimacy with my tribe has given my life more meaning, joy and happiness than any relationship I’ve been in has ever had.
I couldn’t talk about the liberation I’ve found in friendships without shedding a few tears. Are friendships perfect? No. We fight, we argue, we have bad days but just knowing that this is my community and they’re with me for me not because I’m pretty or I have a nice curvy body or whatever is simply beautiful.
Last year towards my birthday, I was bent on making my website professional, getting a better laptop as my former one was basically gone and I just couldn’t factor in a birthday party or a trip to Paris into my budget which I would truly have loved. So, I told my friends, no party this year nothing, they all obliged me and said okay. I planned for my birthday to be spent with my friend Dara, a simple dinner. I can’t believe my friends went through the hassle of contacting all my other friends far and wide, putting together a dinner party with a lot of attention to detail and tricking me so I’ll have no suspicions.
My birthday came as usual, people sent me celebratory wishes, I wore a cute dress I ordered from my friend Chisom, my nails were well done, my hair was looking nice. Dara told me someone had paid for dinner for both of us and I stuck with that, zero suspicions. I arrived at work, my colleagues sang to me, we cut my cake, my mum sent food and drinks to the office (like I’m 10 smh), I started feeling a bit sad, I don’t know if it’s a thing but every year before/on my birthday I feel sad. Dara picked me up from the office sha and then we got to the restaurant, why did I walk in and see all my friends???
I couldn’t even process what was going on, my eyes were teary, it was too pure, almost everyone I loved in the same room. Incredible! I know months have passed but my heart is still so warm and I’m so grateful. This is just one scenario of the beautiful love I have experienced in platonic relationships. I couldn’t finish listing if I started. From career growth, to innate profound love, to me being my full and best self unapologetically. When I start to consider someone my friend, it scares the shit out of me because I’ve been burnt before. I relish the quieter moments of friendship like sitting at a bar till it’s late, laughing about everything and nothing, or watching movies together so we can have conversation starters for later. Or sending each other funny stuff online and then adding the memes into our daily lingo.
Sometimes I get really anxious and I build up a wall because losing my friends scares me shitless, doesn’t matter if we’ve known each other for 3 months or 10 years, the thought of them walking away makes me anxious. I’m scared that one day we will lose touch or something insignificant will tear us apart and that creeps me out. One night we all went partying together and in the Uber home I found myself crying, not because I was sad but because I was wondering what angel I kissed that blessed me with such beautiful friendships.
Friendship, platonic is beautiful too. Why don’t we discuss that more? Why don’t we tell more stories about the beautiful and profound friendships we are experiencing? Is it because for some reason, we feel like others can’t relate as much as ‘the boy I used to love’ so we deem our stories of beautiful platonic friendships unworthy to share? Friends affect our hearts, they make it easier to breathe sometimes, they can also make breathing difficult. I don’t ever want to lose my breath.
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