The 7 Friends You Need to Survive in This Life

My little sister, Carys, started sixth grade this year. “WHAT?! BUT SHE’S STILL A BABY!! I STILL DON’T BELIEVE SHE CAN ACTUALLY TALK! NOW SEND HER BACK TO HER CRIB AND TURN ON THE WIGGLES!” you may be saying (if you’re me). I know, growing up, just the worst. We’re all still trying to adjust. It’s a tough one.

And with 6th grade comes that lovely time when you’re forced to meet new people and make new friends. Again, just the worst. Carys is having a bit of a hard go at this. “How did Hollis do it?! She has friends! I don’t understand!” is actually she something she said to my mom after her first 6th Grade dance. Passing by the fact Carys doesn’t understand how I managed to make friends, I began to think about what she said and the friends I have. I thought about they are all individuals and what each of them have done for me and how much I love them. I thought about how not only am I lucky enough to have 1 best friend, I HAVE SEVEN. That’s a lot!! Think of it this way, it’s like 6 best friends PLUS ONE MORE! Or 4 best friends PLUS 3 MORE! I’ll let you do the rest of the math. I know I’ve waxed about my friends on my blog before but never have I truly WAXED POETIC about these people and how great they are.

So I’ve decided that in order to have a full group of best friends, you gotta reach the magical number 7 and they must all fit into one or more of the below categories. Sorry. Just the way it is.

The Brothers or The Ones Who Will Always Have Your Back

Now, I have an actual brother who fulfills all brotherly requirements and then some. He’s amazing and maybe someday, he’ll get his own separate blog post, but this is about my friends, dammit!

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Ok, now, I consider myself a feminist and like to really try, like try so, so hard to be independent but sometimes I just can’t. Enter Mark and Gil. There are some things that I’ll never be able to do. Change a flat tire. Haggle with car people about car stuff. Intimidate men who hit on my friends inappropriately. Ok, maybe I can attempt to do that last part, but not very well. I consider all of my best friends family and I truly consider Mark and Gil brothers. I could tell you the story about how my car had a flat tire yesterday and the boys came over and helped me and followed me to the tire place and stayed with me until everything was taken care of…but that’s boring. INSTEAD! Let me tell you the story about when a random guy thought I was a hooker in Vegas and we almost got kicked out of the Bellagio the night before Mark’s wedding!

So I’m standing with Chris, we’re minding our biz, when out of nowhere this dude walks up to Chris:

Dude: How much for her?

Chris: I’m sorry?

Dude: How much for the girl? How much did you pay? I have $6,000. I can pay for her.

Chris takes a beat.

Chris: You could have approached this so much better, man and now you really need to walk away. She’s not a hooker. You need to leave.

Dude keeps insisting. At this moment, I decide to walk away cause you know what, I’m good. I don’t need to hear anymore. Mark and Gil see me walking away from the situation shaking my head. I fill them in and then next thing I know, they’re walking up to Dude and Chris. Mark puts his arm around the guy and says the following:

Mark: Hey, we don’t want to start anything but there’s a bunch of guys back there who will kick your ass. So I’m going to count to three and you need to walk away. One.

Dude: I swear I’ll pay for her.

Mark: Two.

Dude: I just want to [expletive] the midget.

Now, I don’t witness my friends go black in the eyes very often. James will get hot about things every once in a while, Chris has Zeus-like road rage, But at that moment, there was a flash and then it was just black in all of their eyes. Mark cocks his arm back to knock this guy in the face THE NIGHT BEFORE HIS WEDDING and I’m just sitting going “oh no, oh god, oh no” but before any of us can stop him, Gil comes out of nowhere! Gil throws Mark out of the way to punch the guy himself but Claudia (the bride THE NIGHT BEFORE HER WEDDING) grabs Gil and yanks him back. Chris harshly escorts the guy away and then we have to explain to security why my friends were trying to fight this sleazeball the size of Nevada. They understood.

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As I’ve mentioned, I’m a feminist. I think I’m truly capable of handling myself with Beyonce-like dignity. But sometimes, as a girl alone in a big city, it feels really nice to know that you have boys who will have your back no matter what. Even if it’s the night before their wedding.

The Uplifter or The One Who Doesn’t Let You Get Away With Anything

If you’re like me (ya know, human) you’ve had times in your life when you look in the mirror and you just loathe what you see. Not necessairily physically what you see but just the person that you are. You think you’re worthless, a piece of human garbage, unworthy of love or all of the above. It sucks.

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I’m here to tell you that if you have ever had thoughts like that, it’s MANDATORY for you to have a James in your life. James won’t let you think those things. In fact, he will scream at you if you have those thoughts. When I say scream, you’re probably thinking “Ha Ha Ha, he probably just passionately talks to her and she’s exaggerating.” I. Am. Not. Let me paint a picture for you:

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Anyway, one day, James and I decided to go on a hike. I left a bunch of stuff like keys and my wallet in the car and went on my way with Jimothy. Little did we know, while we were hiking, a lovely human was breaking James’s car window and stealing stuff. We got back to the car, get appropriately frustrated and angry, and got into the car to go home. I had to sit in the backseat cause the frontseat was covered in shards of glass from the broken window which was kind of my fault. While sitting back there, I thought about how if I hadn’t have left my things the car, he maybe wouldn’t have broken in and how this was pretty much all my fault. I began to think about how it felt like my life was forming a pattern of making me feel safe and happy and then just shitting all over me.

“I feel like every time I’m happy, something bad happens. I beginning to think that I maybe don’t deserve happiness and that’s just my lot in life.” I said to James with tears in my eyes.

Then James turned and looked me and with the fire of a thousand suns screamed at me: “HOW DARE YOU THINK THAT?! I NEVER WANT TO HEAR YOU SAY THAT AGAIN. OH MY GOD. WHAT KIND OF THOUGHTS ARE THOSE TO HAVE!???! IF YOU TRULY BELIEVE THAT, I DON’T THINK WE CAN BE IN EACH OTHER’S LIVES! YOU DON’T DESERVE HAPPINESS?! EVERYONE DESERVES HAPPINESS. YOU ABSOLUTELY DESERVE HAPPINESS. I’M SORRY TO BE YELLING AT YOU BUT YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I MEAN, RIGHT?! YOU DESERVE IT. YOU DESERVE EVERYTHING.”

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You don’t think he’d scream at you BUT HE WILL!

It was terrifying and kind and one of the nicest things anyone has ever screamed at me. I’m being serious when I say find someone who will scream at you about how worthy you are. it makes a big difference in your self esteem.

The Partner or The One Who Doesn’t Judge Anything You Do

When you’re 25, odds are you are going to make a lot of questionable choices. You might have that 3rd glass of wine or go and meet your friends at 11 pm when you know that you have to work at 8 am. Me? I’ve been making questionable choices since I was allowed to make choices. Pretty much every choice I’ve ever made is questionable. So, if you’re like me, you need someone who is going to be your partner in crime. Someone who will encourage some of your questionable choices (the safe, smart ones, obviously).

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Nick is that for me. There is nothing I’m afraid to tell him and vice versa. Every horrible thought, every jealous pain, every murder plot I’ve ever formed, Nick has been there for, listened to, and (mostly) agreed with. He’s agreed with pretty much everything, but I don’t want to implicate him should any of my murder plots every come to fruition, so let’s just say he mostly agrees with everything.

Nick is my partner in so many ways. In song, in dance, and life. You need a partner because you need to feel supported. You need to feel like someone is always going to have your back despite the outcome. It’s rare to find someone who can love and listen the way that Nick loves and listens. You need someone who is going to listen to your depravity and laugh. (Ok, my depravity is mostly just an extra glass of wine or beer but STILL!). If I never meet the “love of my life”, I know I’ll be totally fine because I’ll have Nick. And his husband. So. Prepare the guest room, boys! Ol’ Hollis is coming in! Uncork the wine and turn on the Gypsy soundtrack!

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The Backbone or The One Who Will Drop Everything For You

If you don’t have a Backbone friend (a phrase I just coined), then I truly pity you. I may even shed a tear for your loss and I’m not kidding. For me, my Backbone friend is Kelly. A Backbone friend is someone who you can call with tears in your eyes and a quiver in your voice and say “Do you have a second?” and they will not hesitate to drop whatever they are doing and listen. They could be at their grandmother’s funeral and would still drop everything to listen to you. (Although, why am I calling during their grandma’s funeral? I’m likely there. Am I calling because I’m lost on the way to the funeral? But, I digress.)

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Anyway, for 6 years, Kelly has been a Backbone for me. She has heard me sobbing incoherently and squeaking with happiness (probably also incoherently). She has rubbed my back and held my hair when I was literally so devastated about something I was throwing up. She has been the first one I’ve called when something amazing or good has happened. A little over a year ago, something happened while I was home in Michigan and I absolutely lost it. I don’t think I’ve ever been so emotionally torn to shreds. I immediately called Kelly. The following was our conversation (to the best of my memory):

H: I just discovered [reason I was devastated]. What are you doing? I don’t know what to do. I want to scream. Kelly, I can’t do this.

K: Ok. I’m at Target by my house. Do you want me to come over?

H: No, you’re busy it’s OK. Just call me when you can.

K: Let me put my stuff down, I can be there in 20 minutes. Are you OK until then? Do you want to stay on the phone?

H: No, it’s OK finish shopping. We can talk later.

K: I’m already getting in my car. See you in 20 minutes.

And next thing I knew, Kelly was in my driveway, holding me as I pretty much collapsed in her arms. Not to mention, she brought me a scarf from Target! Emotional support and presents! Just the best.

I should also mention, that a Backbone friend will also be on your side about pretty much anything. Doesn’t matter the legitimacy. That person who makes ME go UGGGHH? We go UGGGHH about them together, even if the other has never met them. That guy we hated last week but now we kind of like again? We KIND OF LIKE HIM AGAIN together. Or wait, I hate him again? We HATE HIM now!

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I just find this picture hilarious. Kelly hard at work…Hollis hardly working, am I right!?!

So, do your very, very best to find yourself a Backbone friend. You won’t regret it. And maybe they’ll buy you scarves.

The Protector/Henry Higgins or The One Who Can Always Make You Laugh

When I first decided to move to LA, I didn’t know a single person in the city. I don’t know what in the world I thought I was going to do when I got here. But luckily, the universe knew I couldn’t handle this alone and had a better plan. A few months before I moved, I worked on OZ and met the person who would soon become one of my favorite people. Ever.

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Chris and I became friends when I made a joke about me hitting on Zach Braff and he hasn’t been able to shake me since. It’s wildly appropriate that our friendship started with a joke. It’s been three years since we met and we haven’t stopped laughing. And I can’t stress enough how important that is. But more on that later.  Since that Braff joke, Chris has always looked out for me. My second day out here, he introduced me to the wonderful group of people who would soon become my friends. He has helped me find apartments and helped me move 4 different times. He has answered my 8 million questions about LA; 4 million of which I could probably just google and already know. He has looked out for me and made sure I always have a roof over my head. He always knows to order a large popcorn when we go to the movies because even if I say I won’t have any, 15 minutes into that movie, I’m grabbing some o’ dat corn. I’m not kidding when I say I would have moved out of LA a long time ago if it wasn’t for him. He has this ability to know the right decision for me and when I’m making a mistake. And 80% of the time I don’t listen cause I’m a stubborn girl who likes to think I know the answer to everything and he doesn’t rub it too harshly in my face when I’m wrong.

I had a hard time pinning down what Chris’s title would be because he’s so many things to me, as all of my friends are, really. He’s also the Henry Higgins to my Eliza Doolittle. Not that he wants to fix me up into a proper English lady, but he has taught me so much. He’s like Henry Higgins if Henry Higgins was really into punk music, sci-fi television shows and Jack in the Box. He’s been educating me about music a lot lately and it’s great! Do you guys know why The Dead Kennedys broke up?? Cause I do! I’ll tell you later! And in that same vein, I like to think I’ve taught him things too. Things like an appreciation for Childish Gambino, Les Mis, Doctor Who and my Taco Bell order.

But, if I had to really boil it down and tell you why you need to find your Chris, it would be because you’re always going to want to laugh. You need to find someone who can make you laugh until you think you’re going to collapse.

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Seriously. Almost too much laughter.

Life is going to throw a lot of things at you that make it hard to laugh, so you gotta find someone who’s going to get those laughs out no matter what. You’re going to want to find a friend who you can just say one phrase to ($100,000 dollars?!?!!) and you giggle like idiots in the middle of a 7-11. But let me warn you, that same friend will probably lecture you for holding up the line in that 7-11. EVEN THOUGH the whole reason you’re holding up the line is because he made you laugh! It’s a vicious circle. I find the best course of action is to just slide your peanut M&M’s in with whatever he’s buying because 95% of the time, he’ll just buy them for you and then you can laugh freely without fear of holding up the line. Ha-ha!

The Lifer or The One Who Has Been Around Forever and Will Continue to Be

I can’t remember when I first met Mia. It was sometime in 2nd grade and I’m sure we bonded because we’re both obsessed with the same things (boys and ourselves…kidding…kind of). It was so long ago and happened when we were so young; she’s just always been around. And man, am I grateful for that.

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Mia and I through the years. From 2nd grade on…

You need to find your Mia because you’re going to need a friend who already knows everything about you because she’s witnessed it. You need a friend who knows when you’re mad cause you’re doing that one thing with your eyes that you’ve been doing since you were a kid. You need a friend who will call you out on your lies. You literally cannot lie to her because she already knows everything! You’ll try, believe me, you’ll try. “I don’t like him anymore, I think I’m really getting over it” or “Like, it’s totally not a big deal, I don’t care that she said that.” Your Mia will know you still like him and will know that you care that that girl said that. She makes it so not only can you not lie to her, you can’t lie to yourself. You need a friend who will have the same conversation over and over again with you about that guy or that situation. Literally the same conversation. You should have this conversation so many times that you could switch roles without missing a beat. You need a friend who you can yell at for no reason. Not because your actually angry or anything, but because she won’t go to Yogurtland with you AND YOU’RE MAD ABOUT IT SO YOU’RE GOING TO YELL AT HER.

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You need a Mia because she will support you 100%. She will make you feel like you are a Beyonce/Meryl Streep hybrid who can walk on water. She will remind you that you are are beautiful and funny and smart. And you need to remind her of the same things because she is all of those things and MORE. In fact, you guys will be so good at supporting each other that you may just want to give up on other people completely and start a commune with only each other and your two gay friends. You’ll want to live out the movie The Birdcage and forget the rest of the world. And having a friend like Mia means knowing that while you’d miss out on a lot, that version of reality sounds pretty perfect.

The Soulmate

I wish I could tell you how to find your soulmate friend. I wish I could send you on your way with 100% confidence you’ll find her and be just as happy in friendship as we are.

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But I can’t. Because I don’t know how you find your soulmate best friend. All I can come up with is that the Universe, God, Allah, Buddha, Albus Dumbledore, Zeus, Odin, Beyonce and whoever else you worship come together, work some magic, and bring you two together. It literally takes all of those gods and entities. That’s how powerful this whole thing is.

I met Kerri at a time in my life when I truly needed a miracle. My Dad had died a few months before and I was just lost. As I’ve mentioned before, I make some questionable decisions. Left to my own devices, I tend to live rather recklessly with little to no regard for consequences. In high school, this meant ignoring homework, skipping classes, and just generally being a little shit. While Kerri and I are incredibly similar in most ways, we are 100% opposites when it comes to school and responsibilities. While I skipped classes to purely go pick up lunch for us, Kerri would have her parents call her out on senior skip day. Kerri would spend weeks writing and meticulously preparing a large paper and I would start mine midnight the night before it was due, only after I had finished watching 3 hours of television.

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Kerri saved me. She came into my life and centered me. I found someone who I could talk to for hours and then some. People will say “Oh, I have this friend and we never run out of things to talk about!” but, those people don’t know what they’re saying. They probably mean they can go to lunch with a friend and there aren’t many silences. Kerri and I have gone on 8 hour plane rides and week long vacations and have never stopped talking. I moved to LA almost 3 years ago and Kerri and I talk almost every day still for an hour or more. I could brag more, but I’ll spare you.

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Kerri is my soulmate friend because she makes me want to be a better person. She doesn’t just make me feel like a good person; she makes me want to be the best person and she has me truly believe that I could the best version of myself. Kerri is the kindest person I’ve ever met. As I get older, I realize how much kindness matters more than anything else.

So I hope you’re lucky enough to find your Kerri someday. I hope the Universe comes together and gives you the best gift you’ve ever received. I’m lucky enough that mine came when I was only 14 years old and now I get to have this present for the rest of my life.

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So good luck everyone! I hope someday you can find your own Brothers, Partners, Backbones, Uplifters, Protectors/Henry Higgins(s), Lifers, and Soulmates. Even if you can only find one of them, I guarantee your life will be exponentially better for it.

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They’re all pretty great.

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One Response to The 7 Friends You Need to Survive in This Life

  1. suzie Benson says:

    Wow…I came upon this blog by sheer circumstance/coincidence?..had nothing to do really with what I was searching for on Google…Lol…but, when the Universe provides….it’s synchronicity at its best 🙂 and .it really was sort of what I was searching for unconsciously? I’m a single mom in Los Angeles, and I used to have many of the titles of friends you have that are listed in the blog….but over the last 9 years they have all but disappeared…and my very best friend and soulmate died about 6 years ago.
    So….I’ve been very lonely, isolated and trying to figure out how to recreate my “old” life…..but the epiphany was that maybe I need to let that go…and be reborn and create a new life with new “Uplifters, Protectors, soul mates, and lifers” …starting from “Now” . Most of my old friends before having my daughter could have been mirror images of your experiences …yet life and circumstance has put physical and psychological miles between us…ie: children, moving out of state, death unfortunately, maybe awkwardness of not wanting to hang with a single mom..or just schedules never matching up to hang?
    …But maybe my focus should be on trying to manifest beautiful people I haven’t met yet …creating a new “tribe” for myself that fit my life “Now”.
    Anyway, your blog gave me inspiration and a new found hope that maybe I’ll feel that joy again and gratitude of connecting with people that “get” me. I so resonated with that gratitude for Love that you feel for your friends….and I so want to manifest that again in my own life.
    Thank you for the reminder of what I must try and manifest, put myself out there, create if I can….
    So, all the love….and thank you 🙂
    -Suzie

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