Tuesday, May 29, 2018

God, help me to be a Truvy-kind of friend.

When thinking how to begin this first blog for Sunshine & Sweet Tea, I knew I wanted it to encompass the theme of friendship, and of girls empowering one another, but everything I wrote came out sounding too much like a canned magazine article. And that is not what I wanted.
Not. at. all.
I want conversation.
Real. Raw. Gritty. Right where we live. Words that reveal how we really feel so that we can bypass all the drama that we are all so very weary of dealing with.
I mean, riiiight? Can I get an amen?
Drama free friendships sound like #goals, huh?
I began to think of all of the "friendship" movies my bestie and I watched together years and years ago. Beaches. Thelma & Louise. Fried Green Tomatoes. Anything by Nicholas Sparks. We'd stay up late into the night, with a box of Kleenex tucked into the sofa between us. You could pretty much judge the power of the movie by how many boxes of Kleenex we powered through.
But one movie stands out more prominently than all the rest. Steel Magnolias.
A truly Southern story…a little bit of love, a little bit of sweet, and a whole lot of sassy.
The story of six women - M'Lynn, her daughter Shelby, Truvy, Arnelle, Clairee, and Ouiser - and the strong bonds of friendship they forged. A friendship that transcended age and class and stood strong through thick and thin, good times and bad times, Arnelle's changing hairstyles and hair color, Shelby's failing health, and Ouiser's wicked one-liners.
The movie revolves around Truvy's Beauty Shop - amid nail polish and hair dye - in a small rural Louisiana town as the women work through the joys and sorrows of their lives. The real theme, however, is friendship and how the relationships we build - in our neighborhoods, at work, at church, school, or even at beauty salons - are what sustain us through life's highs and lows.
Here are five things I took away from the friendships in Steel Magnolias:
1. Friendships are best maintained when you have regularly scheduled meetings at a regularly appointed place. In Steel Magnolias, Truvy’s Beauty Shop fits the bill for this. The six friends continually meet there to not only beautify themselves but to talk about what’s going on in their lives and ’round town. Now, I don't have friendships quite like this. If you do, I'd called you blessed, my friend. My life, and the lives of those I call my tribe, are busy. There is not set time, or schedule, when we see each other. But...when we DO...it's like no time has passed at all. We pick up right where we left off. 
2. Friends show up. Whether for celebrations or funerals, good friends show up to double your joy and halve your sorrow. And in the transition from one part of life to the next, they wait with you. The key term here is "show up." This means you are there, and they can be here...as quick as a phone call, as simple as a text message. Friends don't let friends hurt alone. 
3. Friends will tell you the truth–even if it’s harsh. And they will save you from making a fool of yourself even if it embarrasses you. When Clairee starts a gig as the radio color announcer for the local football team, she takes the job title literally by chattering on about the color of the team’s new uniforms rather than simply filling in information about team analysis. Ouiser sets her straight by telling her–in the middle of the locker room full of football players–she’s making a big fool of herself because all anyone wants to hear about are touchdowns and injuries. Ouiser’s delivery method was characteristically harsh, but at the heart was Clairee’s best interest. Dear goodness. While my friends may not be this brash, sometimes it's just a look on their face, or a hesitance in their answer, and you just know.....
4. Friends give you a safe place to fall apart (but they also know how to use humor to help put you back together). When M’Lynn breaks down after Shelby’s funeral, nobody tries to talk her into feeling better. They just stand with her and listen. As in all the hard times of life they share, the friends don’t overlook the hard but patiently do what they can to help each other laugh through it. 
 5. There’s no such thing as over-sharing. These women don’t waste time wondering if they should risk vulnerability or avoid “airing their dirty laundry.” They share the good, bad, and ugly because they know their friends are a safe place where they’re understood. They risk because they know the benefits of friendship far outweigh the worry that they are “bothering” someone.