One thing I discovered over the last year, was that I have friends. Not just people that look good next to me on pictures or that occasionally like my facebook status. Real friends.
My friends are the awesome kind. They taught me that it is always possible to laugh, no matter how fucked up the world is. They find the patience in them to tell me the same things over and over and over again, because they know that I need to hear them, even when I claim that I absolutely don’t want to hear them. Which tells you that they know me very, very well. Knowing me very well gives you access to a whole lot of eloquent bullshitting. If it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t even realize that.
My friends provoke me to express my true feelings, and help me define what I believe in, and where I want to go. They don’t alter their judgement, when they know they’re right, even if it means that I’ll be angry at them for a while. They trust that I will eventually profit more from hearing the truth than from being pampered.
To have friends like this – and in plural! – is probably the thing that I’m most grateful for in life (obviously, apart from my amazing rack and dad’s BMW). I don’t quite know, how I found them, but I know they will stick with me. That wasn’t always the case. Throughout my teenage years, I never quite believed that people would actually like me, if they really knew me. When I left to travel or live in other countries, I always felt like a liar , when I said that I was going to miss everyone. Really, I felt mostly relieved when the wheels of the airplane took off the ground. When it’s always you who leaves, nobody can ever leave you, right?
As some of you might know, I did a special little excursion to a mental hospital last year, because that is such a cool thing to do for my generation. In all honesty: it wasn’t that much fun. However, when I think back to that time, and the stretch of scary, dark, and suffocatingly sad preceding months, these little islands of happy memories light up right in the middle of all the crap that happened. And those islands prove that my friends were there the entire time, no matter how grumpy, antisocial, bitter, exhausted, needy and aggressive I became. Now I don’t have to fear that one day, they’ll find out what a terrible person I am, and turn their back on me. I was a terrible person and they’re still with me. And really: when I left for New Zealand, I didn’t feel relieved at all. I was close to tears throughout the entire 32 hour flight. Never felt so right in the head in my life!
(Having coffee and cigarettes in front of my favorite café on a crisp spring day. Stirring in a pot of risotto in a kitchen of a flat I don’t live in. Heated discussions over some awful wine we would later eat backwards. Sitting on a sunny spot in Munich, laughing over a joke we’ve invented when we were about 12. Talking about boys and eating twizzlers in a Third Reich museum. Walking through frosty Weimar, fighting over Thomas Mann once more. Having banana pancakes in a village near Barcelona. Spending an hour searching for a video of an idiotic laugh, laughing idiotically about it at the same time. Spontaneously driving to Munich in the middle of the night. Having the way a molecule is transported into a glass fibre by lasers explained to me over Apfelschorle. Driving through a snowstorm to buy a pregnancy test in the middle of the night. Imitating a whale in a black lake somewhere in the Black Forest. Smoking on a Dutch rooftop. I could go one forever. Was this really the worst year of my life??)
While sitting, eating, drinking, talking, laughing, walking, dancing, cooking, biking, and sleeping alongside these people I was genuinely happy, no matter how hard it had been to get out of my bed earlier in the morning. And at some point, I knew I needed to go to a hospital, because I couldn’t make myself get up at all anymore, not even to spend time with them. I don’t know where I’d be today if it wasn’t for my friends, but I’m guessing it wouldn’t be as good.
This is no ode to friendship. I really hope I’ll find better ways to thank my friends in the future. This is rather an acknowledgement of how limited I am as an individual and how much of my happiness depends on other people. So, if you don’t have friends like that, you better go look for some. Every minute you spend with people that aren’t as great, is a minute lost of the best times of your life.