Loy­alty and let­ting go

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

When you hear the word “loy­alty,” what comes to your mind? The rea­son I’m ask­ing is be­cause it’s one of those top­ics that seem to be sur­fac­ing in ev­ery cor­ner of my world lately. I al­ways try to pay at­ten­tion when there’s a re­cur­ring theme so I don’t miss the les­son.

Some­times, I imag­ine my guardian an­gels (or spirit guides or other frus­trated in­vis­i­ble be­ings in charge of me) throw­ing their hands up in the air at my hope­less­ness in fig­ur­ing out the clues they keep send­ing. I think it’s for this rea­son that they send me a bar­rage all at once.

I work as a real­tor in down­town Decatur and I have the great­est work wife in the world. Some­times, it’s only Jenn and I in the empty of­fice space and we end up talk­ing about friend­ships, re­la­tion­ships and the strug­gles we are fac­ing, in­clud­ing my dad’s ter­mi­nal ill­ness. We of­ten act as each other’s sound­ing boards, cheer­lead­ers and ther­a­pists. Her value has no end.

I came in last week and in­formed her that it was a “red flag” day for me. That’s our code for “Please for­give me in ad­vance for be­ing such a crybaby bitch to­day.” These are ver­bal “get out of jail free” cards we is­sue to each other as a re­minder to not take our hor­mones per­son­ally.

With gen­tle in­quiries, Jenn coaxed me to tell her about that morn­ing’s dif­fi­cult visit with my fa­ther who suf­fers from a brain tu­mor. I also told her that I’d just found out that some­one who was a dear friend men­tioned that a new girl she’d just met felt in­se­cure about our friend­ship and said if they were to date, we could never be alone to­gether.

For a week prior, she had re­as­sured me that no­body would ever come be­tween us, that our friend­ship was far too valu­able and she was not go­ing to pur­sue a re­la­tion­ship with some­one who wanted to dic­tate her friend­ships. How­ever, that morn­ing and af­ter in­quiries from me, she ad­mit­ted that she was “weak” and en­joyed a strong woman telling her what to do. She caved to this per­son’s silly de­mands to govern the time that we can spend to­gether.

It was painful. Af­ter all, my girl­friend, Kelly, used to feel the same inse­cu­rity about this friend. But when I told her how im­por­tant the friend­ship was to me, she whipped out one of her Brené Brown books and worked through her inse­cu­rity, not mak­ing it my prob­lem. She came back to me with her bless­ing on the friend­ship.

As Jenn lis­tened to my bro­ken heart, she took on my weight. But she framed it in a great light for me so that I could see the les­son:

When life shows you who is loyal, you pour your­self into loyal peo­ple. When life shows you who isn’t loyal, you let that per­son sink to the bot­tom of your cares list. The ex­pe­ri­ence gave me a much greater ap­pre­ci­a­tion for my girl­friend and the work that she did on her­self to show me love. It also al­lowed me to see that this friend that held a high place in my heart needed to be rel­e­gated to a lower po­si­tion.

The late, great Maya An­gelou said, “When peo­ple show you who they are, be­lieve them.” My an­gels, spirit guides and in­vis­i­ble be­ings in charge of my jour­ney have worked very hard to help me learn this les­son. It’s taken some time but now, I’m pass­ing it on to you for free. You’re wel­come.

Shan­non Hames is a mom, writer, real­tor, vol­un­teer, rocker chick, world trav­eler, and ’80s hair band afi­cionado. She loves ba­bies, ob­serv­ing peo­ple, read­ing great books and tak­ing hot baths. She has been writ­ing for Ge­or­gia Voice since 2010.

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