“A good friend is a connection to life – a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world.” -Lois Wyse
“Some people go to priests, others to poetry, I to my friends.” -Virginia Woolf
I’ve spent the past 3 hours sitting next to Sarah, trying to write about friendship. But all the while, we keep getting distracted either a child doing death defying acrobatics or by a phone call which will end up with either Sarah or myself shouting out an opinion here and there and the phone being passed around back and forth. We talk about our life, we bicker about our day – all manner of mundane things to luminous ideas and grand day dreams with wine, tea, kale salads, dark chocolate, kids, parenting, sequins, fringe, days of heaven, the daisies, ballet russe. I flip through Sarah’s books, both of us silent and comfortable, and I wonder why I avoid writing… Well, it’s because I’m living my friendship.
It starts out with a flicker (literally in this case) of intrigue, a kindred spirit, a night when the stars collide and you realize that your friend is now your life and family. It’s friends who can drag you kicking and screaming from the darkness into the sweetness and light. I couldn’t survive without these women, they are my bloodline. They remind me that when I trip up and fall to first laugh at myself, then get up and keep moving. My female friends are strong, creative women from all walks of life but also we are human and suffer from its sorrows and vulnerabilities, as well as its infinite joy. Nothing in life gives me more pleasure than to be in the company of these people and share life.
Sarah Sophie Flicker:
Karen and I are writing this together after a moment we shared a few days back. I’d thrown my back out, husband out of town and couldn’t pick up my son, who insists on being carried everywhere at all times. Karen came over and while our kids played, she and I spent the larger part of a day in silence, talking when we felt like it but otherwise doing our own thing in complete comfort and bliss. It struck me that this is the deepest level of friendship. She makes me feel like I can just be… me! So, we started talking about friendship: our friendship and friendship in general.
We are lucky enough to have an incredible group of girlfriends. These friendships have been cultivated over the last 15 years or so. My girls are as important to me as my family in many ways. One thing I’ve learned is that no relationship can be everything. Sometimes we, especially as women, tend to hunker down, batton the hatches and seal up with a partner. Then we wonder at the feeling that something is missing when the partner can’t fulfill every need. Girlfriends are key to keeping balance in a relationship. Maybe that is some good relationship advice right there: hold on to your friends and make sure that you have healthy and fulfilling relationships outside of your romantic life.
The cultivation process has been a wild one. In our 20′s, much time was spent contemplating our navels, having spirited late night debates over theories of living, world paradigms, what a boy meant when he said “XYZ” or journal entries and star signs. Later in our 20’s, more time was spent wondering what the next stage of life would hold as more serious issues such as finances, careers and family began to emerge. In our 20’s, we looked to each other for answers and held on to one another for dear life.
Our 30’s have been different. The change happened slowly but we are settling into what feels like the kind of long lasting friendships I’ve always dreamed of. The passion and dramas have certainly died down. We have more times shared in near silence. We enjoy more quiet moments in which we no longer have to explain ourselves. We know the history, we know the back story. That’s about the best feeling in the world – knowing you don’t have to explain. Things have changed, too. There have been marriages, births, even divorce, plenty of successes and failures. We are now as focused on our own friendships as we are with the friendships that our children will have, hopefully for the rest of their lives.
I meditate on the safety that my group of friends gives my children: an extended network of adults that know them, inspire them and will be there for them when they need to confide in someone other than myself or my husband.
Collaboration has also been a big part of my posse’s existence, not only in life but in work. Karen and I have worked together for the last 7 years on our political theater/cabaret called The Citizens Band. I am in a directing partnership with my girl Maximilla Lukacs. Leith Clarke and Lula are a second family of dreamers. And the list goes on and on and on…
Collaborations are tricky. They involve major power struggles, clashing egos, minefields that can be hard to navigate. That said, I think the commitment that we all have toward our friendships has seen us through these rough waters.
We’ll leave you with this, yet another collaboration with our girls Zooey D, Maximilla Lukacs and Leith Clark for Lula Magazine! It’s a little film we made a few years back on the topic of… friendship!
Enjoy and be good to each other!
Sarah Sophie and Karen
Photos by Dan Estabrook for Lula Magazine