August Wilson’s play Fences has several lines in it that replay over and over in my head. (If you haven’t read it or watched the movie, I highly recommend it.) In one scene, there is this back and forth between Troy and his son, Cory, about whether Troy likes him or not. Towards the end of the conversation, Troy says, “Don’t you try to go through life worrying about whether somebody like you or not. You best be sure they doing right by you.”
While still having those words in my head, I then fell into these words from a local poet. “I’m not naturally a jealous person. If what we had was solid, I would trust the place that I had in your heart and live there as long as I could.” (Anonymous) I’m not going to lie, these words take my breath away a little each time I read them.
I know it seems like an odd marrying of two very different lines of poetry, but for me they go hand in hand. So let me explain.
- People spend time in your life and then circumstances change and you don’t get to see them or talk to them as much as you’d like. And it can hurt. But the idea that they can live in your heart as long as you keep them there and as long as they want to be there, that gives me some comfort that we are still connected.
- Those people, the ones that I want to keep with me, they may not like me all the time and I may not like them all the time. But if we are doing right by each other, that is what matters. That doesn’t mean being nice all the time either. Sometimes that means calling people out on their shit and letting them stew a little. Because you know what each other is capable of and you aren’t going to let each other be anything less than amazing. Are there people in my life that even if I haven’t talked to them in months, if I need them, they are right there? Yes. And would I do the same for them? Yes. Those are the people I want to hold close. The friends in my life that when I pull away a little, they don’t let me. Or if they start slipping away, I don’t let them.
(If you don’t have that give and take, people slip away. And that’s okay too because you probably learned something from that relationship in the process. And now you have more room for the people that need you.)
On those days when I am tired (daily occurrence) and I think I just don’t have the energy to deal with life (almost daily), these are the people that make me laugh. They help me to not take myself so seriously. They are the ones that tell me to shut up and stop moping, kick me in the ass when I need it, see me for who I am and still love me. Make me realize that it’s not always about me because sometimes they need me more than me needing to have a pity trip. I love my people and I will keep them in my heart as long as they want to be there. And I will always try to do right by them, even if it means sometimes they don’t like me. Because I am in their corner no matter what.