Good Friend, Sheep, or Mean Girl?

Remember back in high school when you hated someone just because your friend(s) did? You know, someone who had never done a god damn thing to you, but that didn’t matter because she totally fucked your friend’s boyfriend of two days, so you were required to hate her, too?

You know what the worst thing is about this sort of mob mentality?

It still exists.

I cannot tell you the number of times I have rolled my eyes while looking at the Facebook status or Tweet of someone my friends don’t like. People I’ve had limited interaction with, none of which was negative. Or, the times I feel guilty for laughing at someone’s joke or digging the things they say, because one of my friends doesn’t like them.

I’ve gone through much of my life forming my assumptions of people based solely on how others see them.

In High School, I was never outright mean to anyone. I mean, I don’t think I was, anyway. Those of you that knew me, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

But, I didn’t always go out of my way to be nice to the banished either and, if we’re being honest, that’s exactly the same thing as being outright mean.

The fear of the majority has often prevented me from getting to know the minority.

And, I get it.

I don’t necessarily want my close friends breaking bread or watching the Real Housewives with someone with whom I’ve had a negative experience.

A completely normal feeling, it’s human nature.

It, most definitely, comes from a fear that our friend will switch sides or begin to like them better than us. All of it, rooted in one thing – jealousy. We don’t want that bitch thinking our friends like her. We need her to know that she is the problem, not us, because see even my friends hate you, it’s not just me!

And, while it’s completely natural, it’s also completely immature.

Of course, there are varying degrees as to what atrocity someone’s committed.

There are things that should make it impossible to like or trust someone.

If she tried to fuck her husband, will she tried to fuck mine?

She said something racist or down right awful, and I know I could never be friends with someone who stands in a corner so far from mine.

She stabbed someone’s puppy.

There are absolutely times we must stick up for our friends when they’ve been wronged, because that’s what friends do.

But, when someone is shunned because they are different or not as popular? Those are the times we need to stay the hell out of it, and avoid basing our opinions on those of others.

In other words, we have to think for ourselves.

The hardest part of this is our fear we may hurt or even lose our friends; that we’ll be kicked out of the cool kids club and sent to eat lunch all alone at the loser table.

And, shit, the more I get into this, the more I realize there is no easy answer.

Because, I would be hurt if one of my friends loved someone I loathed, so how could I expect them not to be when the roles are reversed?

Is it ever possible to stay neutral, or does it always make us a bad friend?

If we refuse to give other people a chance, are we missing out on what could become a great friendship?

There is such a fine line between being a good friend, a sheep, and a mean girl.

And, for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to navigate it.

Project: We See You. With a Little Help From My Friends…

The toothpaste, toothbrushes, and deodorant arrived! Yay for clean teeth and armpits!

I ordered fifty winter hats and gloves yesterday, which should be here by week’s end.

It pretty much looks like Costco threw up all over my house…which, how great is that?

When I started this project, my only intention was to make my mark in a very small way. I never asked for any sort of help or donations, it never even occurred to me. The holidays are hard enough without someone else hitting you up for stuff.

But, giving is contagious I guess, and it only took one person pitching in for generosity to spread like wildfire.

My friend Jamie texted me the other day, asking if she could drop off a check, and come by to help bag-stuff. This is an amazing gesture on it’s own, but even more so considering what Jamie’s going through. This woman never ceases to amaze me. Thank you, Jamie. I love you!

Three other awesome friends also dropped by this morning, each contributing in their own way. Jennifer, Kelly, and Vanessa – thank you for being you and for being there for me.

I have a tendency to scheme up all sorts of grand ideas, but I usually freeze up when it comes to actually getting them done. Because, well, there are those with Type-A personalities, and then there is me, more of a Type Z.

Luckily, Jamie and Kelly are the most efficient people I’ve ever met, so they were able to get all the supplies organized in a manageable way. Jennifer brought huge boxes of wipies and baggies and was on her hands and knees sorting, bagging, and stuffing. Vanessa also threw her whole-self in, and helped pack all the supplies, including the fifty blankets she donated (her ponchos are still on the way!).

Now that things are in order, it’s easier to figure out what I’ve got and what I still need (hardly anything).

And, I still have shipments coming in from everywhere. A Twitter friend just sent Q-tips. Another friend, chapstick. And, still another, disposable razors.

So, as of right now, here is where we’re at…

Since the beginning, I’ve had so much support from a wonderful friend who lives in my computer. The other day, she had the brilliant idea to include notes of encouragement to slip in each of the bags.

I think mine will say something like this…

“I see you. I know you’re there, and that you need help. You will not be overlooked or ignored. And, I promise you that I’ll no longer avert my gaze to avoid making eye contact with you (TO MAKE MYSELF FEEL BETTER) when we cross paths…”

If anyone wants to shoot me a message, I’ll be more than happy to include it.

Also, my friend Lindsay, out in California, designed these for the bags…

….initially intended to be used as tags to tie on each one.

But, this morning, Kelly had a great idea to use them as cards, with information on Houston’s homeless services, resources, and locations printed right on the back. Love it.

I’m so thrilled to hear that many of you are starting similar projects in your area. Imagine all the people who will benefit?

I’ve had many people ask if they can still help. I think right now the best thing you can do is to help people in your community. But, I know what a time-suck life can be, so if it’s easier to pitch in for the Houston homeless, this is definitely not your last chance. I plan on making this a regular thing, because people are homeless year round.

Now, off to the Dollar Store for nail clippers!

xo

If you’re are wondering what this is all about…

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

Part 5.

Project: We See You. An Update.

You guys.

I don’t even know where to start, but I think I’ll begin by saying that you are all so amazing and I’m blessed to have each of you in my life.

This began as a small project, inspired by so many comments here.

But, in only a matter of days, it has grown so much. So, so many of you have offered to send things, have sent things, or are starting your own bags in your communities.

And, it’s just not individuals who have opened their hearts and wallets. It turns out, those big bad corporations have hearts, too!

Hilton Americas-Houston has gone above and beyond. I reached out to so many hotel chains and Hilton has majorly gone into action. When they asked me how many bags I wanted to fill, I told them 50.

And, then this happened…

They then followed up, making sure I had an SUV to pick up the donations.

Wow.

Four Seasons is also looking into what they can do to help!

So far, other than the things I have purchased, people have shipped me 50 long-sleeved t-shirts, 50 rain ponchos, 50 blankets, 50 water bottles, and 50 granola bars and other snacks.

The man I purchased the tote bags from offered to give me a discount when I told him how I’d be using them (I’ll share his info in the next post).

This has gotten big enough that I began to get nervous because I’m awful at math, so I signed up to be a legal private non-profit organization today – We See You.

That’s some legit shit right there, folks.

I want to put every dime and item I receive into the best hands possible, and want you all to know where it’s going and where it ends up.

My new mission is to make this a regular thing, and hopefully since I’m all like legal and stuff, I can make that happen.

I also want to thank each and every one of you personally, and I plan on it, once my head stops spinning.

As for now, I’m getting organized and will be updating you here every step of the way.

There have been so many times I’ve thought that humanity was a big, giant jerk.

And, now, I’m eating my words…and they are delicious.

xoxo

Update: Well, I just googled and apparently there is a We See You in Canada. I’ll see where to go from here to ensure I don’t step on any other well-meaning organizations’ feet!

Leslie: My Photographer…My Friend.

I met Leslie Gaworecki during my search for our wedding photographer.

Even before I saw her work, I knew she was the one for me.

I could sense her gentle spirit and her kind soul….and we just clicked.

And, she did not disappoint….as a photographer, or a person.

She captured so much that day.

Nerves….

Excitement….

Celebration…

Love…

And beautiful keepsakes of the four family members we would unexpectedly lose just two years later…

 

She’s given us a huge gift, allowing us to measure our children’s growth through her photographs…

And, she’s stuck with our insane family all these years, capturing memories sure to have otherwise been forgotten…

Nearly seven years have passed since I met Leslie.

And, things have changed.

I’m no longer the giddy, naive girl I was that day I walked into her office.

I’ve been hit with hard-cold life, tragedy, and blessings too big to count…each event written in soft lines around my eyes.

It’s no longer just me.

My family of one is now four.

And my dear friend is still beautifully chronicling this funny little journey called life.

Thank you, Leslie, for putting up with my crazy. And, for knowing me just well enough to capture who we are.

I’m forever grateful for you, my friend.