Another weekend with friends presented me an opportunity to be reminded of the gift I hold in their friendship. Perhaps I over think things and kind of put my feelings, friendships and emotions on pedestals but I really was reminded this weekend of how grateful I am to have the group of guy friends who I always have. Though, I could go on FOREVER about all my friends - girls and guys alike, I feel inspired to write a blurb about the importance of them in my life.
I met this group of guys in a staggered fashion at the University of Oregon. I started there with Megan, my locker partner from 8th grade, turned best friend, turned college dorm mate - and we relied on one another to socially find our way around the new, exciting campus. Though we hung out separately (sometimes), relatively speaking we came as a packaged deal: everyone we met on our own, became someone we would hang out with together. She was my confidant, my best friend in tow and the one who I wouldn't just tell I was sad to, but the one I would bawl to. She was everything friendshipwise and being friends with her, meant being friends with me and vice versa. She was one of my best friends before college but our transition from living under the roof of our watchful parents, to growing into our own that crucial year solidified a bond in us that remains strong now to this day.
Friends were easy to come by for the both of us (as is mostly the case that freshman year of college), people mostly strive to be outgoing and start to take root into their college community. Seems that every party had an open invite along the way and with each passing day you ended up able to say "Hi" to more people in the Library, in the Gym… the list of people who Megan and I would discuss meeting and sharing memories about, grew longer and longer.
It was one haphazard friendship from Megan that really solidified a substantial group of friends that I have today.
Megan was getting to know a member of Theta Chi fraternity when she started a friendship with his roommate. Since it was obvious her interest lied in the guy she was dating, I think she eased into friendship with him much quicker than with other boys she'd meet. She started to have him over frequently and he would stay up late with us playing board games, watching movies and discussing life. He quickly became our third wheel friend and the only guy we would allow to be surrounding us as much as he did. He was harmless, kind and the perfect fit in our little world.
It was through this friendship that we were introduced to his best friend, JJ. A bit like the other, JJ was funny, played off his friends' wits and treated us like guyish equals - poking fun, calling us names and delightfully calling us friends of his own.
When JJ and his friend moved into together the next year, it was as if Megan and I had an instant escape from the beautiful yet unprivate Alpha Phi mansion we lived in. The rules at the mansion were tight - however, the rules at Apartment I-93 were lax. We started to become a fixture at this place - you could never drink at Alpha Phi, but we could certainly have beers and BBQ at Apartment I-93. The BBQ's and the parties started to become more and more relevant, and more of the regulars started to come about.
We got to know these regulars: Jordan, Brian, Joel, and Jeff Hoggard. Whenever we weren't at Alpha Phi functions, or with our respective boyfriends at the time, we were over with them partaking in their hospitality, jokes and furthering friendships I would never realize would be as important as they are now. Traditions started to come about - we coined "CWW" which immaturely referred to "Culture Wasted Wednesdays" - each week a pair would be in charge of an ethnically themed meal with a relevant drink to go along with i.e. Tacos and Beer or Spaghetti and Wine. These became regular chances for us to all have a version of dinner parties that would never stand once out of college - typically capped off with rap music and dance parties. It was a young existence but it was a fabulous one.
The college years passed and after literally spending hundreds of days together camping, at school, on campus, at concerts, etc. college was over and it was onto the real world. Jordan, Joel and Jeff "Tilly" moved into an apartment in Portland, with the rest of us scattered nearby, however - their home seemed and seems to be the final Community-Home in our little group of friends. Time is passing, people are growing up and settling down differently so I know the time is inevitably short where we all meet at their place and crash on the many couches available.
For me at least, something changed a bit in my friendship with these boys over the last year. I always knew we were all friends and buddies but I've started to really wrap my head around the importance of these guys in my life. In noting events that I had, like my birthday parties, organized cabin trips or group functions, many of the girls would flake but these boys would always show up to things. They wouldn't have long conversations with me about our feelings and emotions, but they'd be satisfied simply enjoying a day at the pool with their friends - allowing all their friends to know they're welcome, wanted and accepted here with them. Something they didn't ever need to say with words.
Within the last year, after a personal relationship of mine dissolved and I felt a bit lost, I wasn't sure what my friendship with these boys would be like. I wasn't going to expect them to call me to do check-ins on my emotional state nor did I really think they would take my position as the female in the collapse of the relationship seriously, as males tend to always side with males blindly. However, I found support from them in ways I didn't realize. In walking to the pool one day, I had a conversation with Brian that started with him asking me how I was doing. That question coming from him instantly made me cry. The conversation was brief, but his words were heartfelt. I didn't need to hear a huge lecture, I didn't even need to hear any bashing of the other person, it was just nice to know that he considered my emotions valid.
These little moments came here and there with all of them - Joel sending a text telling me to keep my head up - a small declaration that meant a lot from the often quiet Joel. Jordan - never one to hold in positive feelings - just overtly declaring his love for me and all his friends - making me feel at peace with my place in their life. Tilly, going above and beyond the call with his tough love tactics allowing me to voice my feelings and him finding the clear line as he does with any issue between right and wrong, but always with the best of intentions. Brian - always willing to have a brief but sincere conversation with me and always declaring that we were in fact, all a type of family. Hoggy, who always seemed to hug me just when he could tell I needed it. And finally JJ, who travelled down a rocky road with me during this time, but who was able to remain a good friend of mine after some words were said.
I took support where I could and found it in many others besides those listed above. But to me, there's a special place in my heart for the friendships I have above. Though these relationships differ greatly from the ones I have with girls, I truly cherish all their little differences and their little ways of showing support to me when I needed it, and even when we were past that situation and I didn't. They have kept me feeling happy, safe and acknowledged for a long time now. They all cherish one another - though some declare it more than others - and are so happy to just hang out and have a good time - creating memories and laughing. They mean more to me than I can explain.
It is a friendship made up of few words, but I know exactly what they're saying.
I can't thank you guys enough.
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