I’ve talked about “just knowing” in terms of love and how I’m not sure of its validity. Though I’m far from pessimistic, the tiny dose of realism I indulge it makes me believe taking the wedded plunge is a lot like diving into dark waters, you hope you won’t hit rock bottom, but you could.
Maybe I’m wrong – there are some things I do just know. I just know I feel sexy when I lay around on a Saturday afternoon, air-drying my hair, and applying lotion to every crevasse of my body. I just know New York City is the place for me, right now, in this moment of my life. I just know nothing can comfort or soothe me the way a nice long shower feels or the smell of my mother’s Oscar de la Renta perfume, or how my dad’s arms do.
And I just know when someone is going to be a great friend of mine.
There’s no way to describe it, really – which is the same excuse those blissfully happy folks use when you ask them “how they knew” it was the right time to get married. But really, it hits you during a fluid conversation full of giggles and shared interests. Or when time passes quickly, along with workdays, and heartbreaks, when you’re around them.
For a long time, I felt very alone in New York. I had moved here, I had done what I set out to do, and I was proud. I had the apartment, the byline, and the confidence to keep pushing for more, but I was missing a critical ingredient to my happiness: friends. I remember calling my mom on a Saturday night, sobbing that I missed her and the girls I’d know my entire life, and wanted to know how to meet people I could be close to. People I could share my dating trials that I actually knew, instead of thousands of viewers who read my words, but will never see me face-to-face. I wanted someone to call after a tremendously awful date, from outside the restaurant in tears, who would meet me at a puppy store around the block with ice cream, and remind me that the reason New York is called Manhattan is partly because of all the men to pick from.
As mothers do, she told me to just wait. She said I’d find them when I least expected it, just in the way that love finds you when you’re not looking. And she was right – after I mastered my city, treated myself to great sex, – the sex and the city came together in the form of women who are so much more than replicas of the show’s characters. It wasn’t until I finally formed some friendships – some quite unexpected, some ignited years later than they could have, and some based on a certain obsession with publishing – that I finally felt like I belonged here.
Men are great and they dominate our minds and conversations more than any of us would like, regardless if we ever make an effort to correct it. Careers are challenging, changing universes we all get lost in, but if we’re lucky, make us into little stars that light up the path for someone else to follow. Cities are homes, homes are cities, but nothing is ever home-sweet-home unless you have someone to share the adventure with.
I’m not convinced a relationship is necessary to complete us and I tend to think women are total packages, independent of being in love with any man at all – but I do believe full heartedly that friendships are absolutely essential.
I can do without love. I could survive outside of New York City. I could not write anything for a year. But if I had no love, no city, no pen, and no friends – what would I be? I’d still be me, but not the best me that I can be when my ladies are by my side. And maybe you just know when someone will become a great friend, maybe you don’t. But I think you just know that you just need friends to make the journey…a journey.