“In relinquishing likeability as an adult I found love. I found people who I can change my mind, style and gender around and not feel like I will be left behind. People who see me beyond visibility. My friends are my role models. Friendship is an experiment: practising another way to relate to ourselves and one another. Love is the theory, friendship is the practice” — Alok V Menon
In my life, romantic love has always been a strange, often painful, borderline disastrous thing. But my love for my friends-their love for me-that has always remained uncomplicated.
Growing up, I had an unshakeable urge to keep re-balancing the scales of who I was; to keep adjusting myself to be less or more, in fear that I was too much or not enough.
It’s true that the foundations of our self-worth should rest on no one but ourselves. But my god, does it help to have community. To bask in the belonging of a collective.
I think the reason that the love we receive from our friends feels so safe-so easy-is because it’s unbothered about the unimportant.
It doesn’t care when you’re not wearing makeup, or your body’s not at its best, or you don’t have the energy to be anything other than the most boring person in the room.
When love sits deeply-when it has taken the time to place its roots into the core of who you are, and it stays there despite all the things that you perceive to be flaws-you experience this sense of freedom from pretence.
You realise the standards of perfection, of likeability, of impressive-ness that we hold ourselves to, are not required components to being loved.
This is my experience of friendship. Proof that there are people in our lives who see us beyond visibility; who hold a mirror up to the best and worst parts of us and accept the sum of what makes us who we are.
And sometimes, when it’s right, romantic love can be all of the above, too. When it’s right, love, at its core, feels like the warm embrace of friendship.
Something comfortable; something calming; something unbothered about the unimportant.
~ To my friends who, time and time again, model to me what true love is meant to feel like