I have not fully recognized the importance of friends over these past 2 years, I think I have taken for granted their love and support. I have gained some phenomenal friends recently and need to stop and say a few things about them.....and how hard it was to have strong friends in the past.
When I was growing up I usually had a group of friends that I would hang out with. One or two were REALLY close. The type of close that you could finish each others' sentences, know what was on each others' mind, and react exactly the same given most situations. Those couple of people know who they are. I still hold them in high regard and respect their love, support and kindness.
There have been others in college and beyond that are similar to those first few. I will mention a few that have had significant impact on my life during that period.......Winston, Rachel, Robert, Rachelle, Carl, Matt, Rich, Miles, Gigi, John, gay dads group.
I have had a hard time connecting personally and intimately with people because it take so much time and energy to keep up close relationships. So in an effort to conserve personal energy my close friends have been few. Plus there are always those times (one anticipates) that a each person may move on. I have kept myself guarded and closed off to many for these very reasons. Those of us that are introverts know what I speak of....few deep friends, but those friends are extremely connected to you and have a lifelong influence on you.
My list above is quite short since leaving my boyhood home. Winston was someone that was everyone's friend. He was helpful in encouraging me through my college years. Rachel I have known for 35 years. She knows me better than most and we have had many wonderful years of experience together. Robert was my first friend/mentor professionally. We still chat, he is a wonderful influence on my life. Rachelle and Carl were both there for me in Texas...professionally and religiously. Rachelle is fun and energetic, Carl is practical and grounded.
Matt was/is a wonderful friend and helped me become a better parent. He was a great listener. Rich helped me become a better leader. He encouraged me to be more independent and my own individual. Miles and Gigi helped me out in my transition, both in their own individual way. I appreciate and will never forget their influence. Reflecting last night made me realize that most of these influences have gotten me to where I am, characteristics that were acquired or fostered while interacting with these individuals has helped me immensely.
The gay dads group that I am part of meet (officially) twice a month. There are also many other occasions where we plan something at the spur of the moment to feel the strength we have as a group. These have been special occasions. We can speak freely, we know so much about each other, there is love and compassion present, and there are true friendships built! I have never been connected as deeply to a group of individuals as I am to these men. I never thought it possible to have deep feelings for men.....before I kept myself guarded so that I would not make myself vulnerable in any way. Now most of those vulnerabilities and insecurities are gone. It is truly relieving!
John is part of the the dads group, a friend, partner and confidant. I am grateful to have him as part of my life. I can share with him.....everything in my mind. There are parts of my soul that have been dormant for decades, that only he has seen. I do not fear sharing anything with him....he understands completely and honestly! This is what I need at this point in my life to survive, subsist and progress.
Thank you all be being such wonderful friends.