authentic friendships + shared space

I’m coming off of a lot of west coast vibes and meaningful “friend-time” which is not a complaint and absolutely an expression of gratitude (and possibly involves a drum circle).
 
My first trek started in Arizona for a wedding, moved to a wedding and anniversary in Portland two weeks later, quickly followed by a flight out to and five days in California. “Hashtag blessed," some might say. 

Now that I am home and slowly adjusting to the eastern timezone, I am reflecting on the gifts that travel always stows and sneaks past TSA for me.
 

Perspective and gratitude.

 
Deep, unconditional, and genuine friendship was the catalyst for each and every trip. It’s hard to believe that at the age of 27 I have both cultivated and maintained several quality friendships and across many different groups. 

We have seen, experienced, counseled and supported one another through pivotal and trivial moments in life. We can be exactly who we are in the comfort of one another, while understanding and respecting our differences. Each person has taught me how to be a friend and when to be a better friend.

I’m sharing this because I know how hard it is to find these people and I know the work it takes to keep them. I know what confidence in a friendship brings, and I know the security of shared successes and failures.
 
Yes these are quick summations and yes they are positive but this end result required constant commitment to both respect and honesty. Respect for one another as separate people with separate expectations of every experience, separate lenses with which to see and interact with the world and separate ways in expressing ourselves. I felt this the most in California and here’s where the honesty plays its role…
 
This past week I was in San Diego and Palm Springs for a girls trip with Emily and Caroline, relationships we started at the age of 3 and 5, respectively. Despite having known each other for so long, we had yet to take a trip to celebrate just us; there was always another reason (bachelorette, wedding, “home-for-the-holidays”). Throughout the trip we had small moments of big impact. Moments where our expectations and personalities collided, differed, and then shared space. Because of our commitment to allowing one another to both be who they are and express that, we were able to talk with pure honesty.

Honesty isn't always a soft embrace and can often feel like a head-on collision. 

Each of us was willing to be authentic in expressing our true feelings (at one point I did use the term “steam-rolling”) and vulnerable to the unknown and the discomfort that comes with that. Each of us supported one another in justified feelings, emotions, and actions. Each of us held the safe space required to do so; we were allowed to be ourselves with the accountability and support of someone who is different. No one got mad, no one got nasty.
 
I encourage you to take a look at the relationships in your life where you can be your best self. Where you are challenged to be honest, asked to engage, and accepted with respect. Think of the people you can count on and can count on you. Where can you hold space for someone to share authentically with you about the good and bad sides of humanity and of ourselves. Think big by sharing in the small moments.