I was out walking the dogs when I heard voices coming from my neighbor’s porch. It’s nestled under the stairs and front porch of the apartment above, lined with cacti and plants. I found her sitting out there with the three girls from upstairs and her granddaughter, a bright 10-year-old wild with energy and climbing all over the porch walls.
Spread out on the table were pieces of gessoed canvas, watercolor crayons, ribbons and threads and markers and cards.
How could I happen upon such a magical, artistic glen right next to my new home?
And so I grabbed my paints and stencils and journal and joined them. We shared dinner and drank margaritas (well, the adults did!) and talked about life and creativity. One of the girls is a reflection of me at her age, back when I was in high school and covered in beads, speaking Japanese, and wishing I could visit Japan.
Near the end of the night, when the girls had left, the little one asked me to braid her a bracelet with embroidery floss. My grandmother used to buy me floss and I’d sit in the summer with threads safety-pinned to my jeans, twisting and tying the threads.
And there and then, I decided I wanted one to wear myself.
The next morning, after running some errands, I ran into her again.
“I want to finish my bracelet,” I said to her, walking towards the patio.
“Who is it for?”
She stopped and looked at me. “You can’t make one for yourself! It’s a friendship bracelet.”
I decided, as I finished it, that I was going to give it to myself as a friend. I am so loving and understanding of my friends (I strive to be, but I can’t say for certain since I’m only on my side of my friendships!).
So I am now treating myself as my own best friend.
I have a fantastic, wonderful best friend back in Illinois name Jun. She’s the sister I wish I had, a woman I adore and love and wish were here with me. We have a lot in common but enough different so that we’re always discovering new parts of ourselves through each other. We’re accepting of each other’s flaws and imperfections, and are comfortable in silence.
With her so far away, I am going to be my own best friend. When I have a negative thought, I’m going to pull from that amazing friendship I have with Jun to be gentle with myself, comforting, accepting. But also encouraging and real.
And every time I look at this bracelet, I will remember all this. All I’ve experienced, and all the friends out here I’m beginning to bring into my life.