Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Shining Friends

As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. - Nelson Mandela

Looking back, sometimes it feels like I didn't choose my friends. And maybe they didn't choose me either. Rather, there have been people in my life I was inextricably drawn to because they possessed something at the time that I didn't realize I was being drawn to, an unnameable quality. But now, after years of friendship, I'm certain of what it was that drew us together: a certainty in acceptance for who I am.

These people relish being their true selves. They're creative, witty, funny as all get-out. They are passionate and opinionated. And (perhaps most importantly) they fight for what they believe. And it seems that when I'm with my friends, I have permission to forgo the formalities, the insincerities, the complicated dance of interacting with others, be it co-workers, bosses, family members (just to keep the peace), or the pierced guy behind the counter at Starbucks (just to keep him from spitting in the coffee).

My amigos let me be exactly who I am, without criticism or disdain. And I do the same. The camaraderie that grows from these interactions are stronger than any that would require even the smallest amount of decorum. And for that, I am most thankful.