extraordinary sameness.

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“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.” –William James

We like to think that our experience is special, that our story is singularly unique. That our experience is beautiful or horrible in a way no other story is, that it is exceptionally poignant in the scheme of the universe.

We say to each other “LOOK. THIS HAS HAPPENED TO ME” via Facebook and Instagram. We throw our experiences out into the world, hoping that by sharing them we can hold onto them, creating a backup copy just to make sure our memory doesn’t let us down.

Look, world- I have accomplished this goal. Look, friends- I have hit this milestone.

Look, everyone- I have suffered this loss, I have felt this heartbreak. It is far too much to bear alone.

And in every instance we search for others to validate the hope that our lives are worth noting, that our actions deserve a second glance, a thumbs up, a double tap. We hope that we are doing something extraordinary.

It is hard, I think, to realize that our stories are not all that special. That the tales of a broken heart, of lost love, of joy, of happily ever after- these are told time and again, in different places, with different names, including various obstacles. We are not writing new stories, we are retelling the same ones.

What a revelation, to some of us, that our experience is not new, that it is shared with countless others. That the lessons you have learned, the conclusions you have drawn, the simple truths of life that you have been forced to discover for yourself have been there, all along.

That all of the LOOK, THIS IS MY EXPERIENCE posts online are all the same, in varying forms, with different filters on photos, in different parts of the world.

But does that make them any less important, or special, or sacred?

It is humbling and mystifying to discover that someone else out there, in fact many people out there, have felt what you are feeling, have struggled and triumphed so very much like you have. It is beautiful and wonderful to know that, no, our experience is not all that unique- and because of that there is a whole world of people with which to say, ‘yes, me too.’

That is the reason we stare at paintings and cry at movies. It is the thing that whispers to us that dancing is beautiful, the invisible force that makes a crowd sway to music.

We each experience joy, love, and loss ourselves, and the feelings are special because they are our own, they are unique in the very action of feeling them.

But in our reaction to them, in the way they shape our lives, our minds, our world- they are shared. They are beautiful, special. They are what make us human, what makes this ‘the human experience.’

They are what make us the same. And that is what makes them so very important.

cheers, friend: a long-overdue ‘thank you’

carnival

“Watson. Come at once if convenient. If inconvenient, come all the same.” – Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

Friendship is not the photo you posted on Instagram last week. It’s not the text you sent yesterday, and it’s not the phone call you made this afternoon.

It’s not the “See Friendship” button on Facebook.

Friendship is everything you are.

It’s the look that passes between us worldlessly because words are useless anyway.

It’s how you know when to step up and help me fight my battles, when to hold my hand, and when to let me sucker punch that idiot all by myself.

It’s that two a.m. confession and that 10 a.m. struggle brunch.

It’s knowing when to speak up and when to shut up. When to make me laugh and when to let me be.

Friendship is Kelsey helping me move out of my apartment and Jackie talking to me as I fell asleep every night. It’s Meaghan and Heather express-mailing me wine because I got my heart broken and Thomas texting me every day just to say ‘hi, love you’.

Friendship is Jess’s taco nights and Krista’s giggles. Henry’s bear-hugs, Kenny’s coffee runs and Mike’s REALLY awful jokes. It’s every late-night deadline in that weird-shade-of-blue office and every toast to each other, to life, and to figuring it out on the way that we made at Brookside.

It’s everything I can’t put into words.

Somehow, I forgot to say thank you. I got too used to seeing you every day, too used to knowing you were only ever across the hall or down the block.

I don’t know who you are, reading this, but I’ve been insanely lucky to have you in my life.

If you’ve seen me cry, thank you. If we’ve shared a laugh, thank you. If we’ve never met and you’re still reading this for some reason, thank you all the more- you’re important to me too (is that creepy? Sorry, Internet.)

Know that I didn’t mean to take you for granted and that you are truly what makes my life beautiful, even on my worst days. Especially then.

You are friendship minus the filters, the statuses, and the captions. You are friendship minus the flattery and the martyrdom. You are my favorite part of being me.

So, thanks. Because I can’t (and don’t) say it enough.

Cheers, friend.