The importance of friendship

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about friends. Close friends and acquaintances who enrich our lives in some way. I have fewer than a dozen people that I could name as a close friend that I would tell just about anything to, they would understand and forgive me if necessary – no questions asked. I have about the same number of folks I could list as people I can speak freely to, but without the same kind of sharing. For this I count myself blessed. Mainly because I’m married to such an amazing woman (and one has been been my friend as much as my wife), and secondly that I have any friends at all being a real pain to get to know.

One friend took me by surprise about 20 years ago; Terry Toedtemeier. Terry was the Curator of Photography at the Portland Art Museum and graciously introduced me to people such as Stu Levy, Chris Rauschenberg, and Walter Rosenblum. But mostly I remember him as an on again off again friend who I could not see for 5 years and pick up a conversation with the minute I saw him again. He was an advisor and mentor and in the nearly eight years since he passed not more than a week goes by that I don’t think of him. I was lucky to know the goofy photographer/historian/geologist, and learn from his amazing insight. I have several of his prints and even the camera that was used to capture the images of his which I own – it’s terribly intimidating to use however and I have not produced any images worth the film that captured them – but I will.

So what’s my point here? PSC is a debilitating disease. It’s a real fucker in fact. My sleep cycle is dicked to all hell, I’m tired ALL THE TIME and half of that I’m in some sort of pain but I have so much scar tissue that I really have to be careful about the amount that I medicate myself to combat the pain or it makes things worse. It’s super easy to forget about your friends and what you have that’s good and just spiral into depression (yeah, I got that too) and focus on the Greyhound Bus sized ball of shit you lug around. I’m not that good at it yet, but I’m trying.

Friendship is grounding, rehabilitating, rejuvenates the soul and makes it worth pushing through the sludge of days and weeks when things are the hardest. It offers a different perspective and shines light on areas you might not think about. Even if you’re listening to someone else’s troubles for a bit it’s better than dwelling on your own. When your shit sucks it feels good to be able to help someone who needs a little friendship of their own. I feel just as good to give as I do to receive – that’s why it’s important.

So to all my friends; thank you. You help more than you know.

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