As I sat on the couch in the living room of my fairly large one-bedroom apartment listening to Mary J. Bilge’s, My Life album, I contemplated what my next move should be. I had just moved back from Houston, had secured at least a seasonal position working for the government to get some cash flowing, and was now back in hustle mode to get my life back on track. I had applied to several great companies and was just waiting on that call which would provide me with permanent, full-time employment. Finding a job had been easy for me so that wasn’t a big concern but as I sat there all alone, singing out loud and in my zone, I felt, well…. lonely. I only had a couple of friends and they were married and living their lives to the fullest. I had a boyfriend so that wasn’t what was missing from my life. One thing I knew for sure and it was that something definitely was lacking: it was close female friendships and I longed deeply to connect with other women. When I would go to the mall (alone, of course) I would see women out with their friends and there were always 2, 3, maybe 5 or 6 of them hanging out together, laughing, shopping, and having so much fun.
Affirmations at Work
Now I am an introvert, so spending time alone and enjoying my own company was never an issue, but there were so many times that I wished I could have just picked up the phone and called one of my girlfriends and said “Hey, girl hey, what’s up? You wanna hang out today?” I didn’t have that option and for the first time in my life, it pained me not to have those types of connections. So, as I sat there singing Mary’s song, Mary’s Joint, “I love you so, I can’t let gooo you know it’s real, the way I feel. I want to stay, I tried to wait on you my dear, my loove’s sincere!”, I thought to myself “I’m going to have me some friends. A whole bunch of friends”.
No Shame in Begging
After I affirmed to myself that I would have a gang of friends shortly, I jumped up to clean my apartment. Soon it would be time for me to go to work and I hated coming home to a dirty apartment. Yeh, I’m slightly OCD but I’m cool with it and I figured it was better than being a nasty, filthy female (there ain’t nothing sexy about that). As I cleaned and listened to Mary, I prayed and asked God to please send me some female friends of my own. I prayed almost to the point of begging. In my mind, I thought if I begged, God would work just a little bit faster on my behalf, seeing as though I’m his child and all. Why do we think begging will get us what we want faster? I don’t know but let me tell you what will get you what you want (and I mean quick, fast, and in a hurry) and that is to simply ask. Period…point…blank.
Attitude and Not in the Mood
That night I went to work and on this particular night, the boss told a few of us that we would be working in another department to help them out with their workload. I was not happy about it either because I enjoyed keying in tax returns. I was left to be by myself and didn’t have to talk to anybody if I didn’t want to…you know, it was cool and laid back.
We were lead down a long, cold corridor that appeared to be never ending. Surrounded by gray, cement walls and a few doors along the way, we passed a small mail room before coming to an abrupt stop. As my boss held her badge up to a little black scanner located on the wall right next to the door, we wondered what type of work awaited us on the other side of this door. There was a faint beep and the red light that ran across the top of the scanner turned green, indicating that the door had been automatically unlocked and we could safely enter. The lights were so bright as we walked in and there were steel racks that contained bins and bins of paperwork that needed to be processed. As I looked at these gray bins with boat loads of paper, I slowly rolled my eyes up into my head, crossed my arms with an attitude and thought to myself “This is what I came to work to do all night long?”
Lose the Attitude
After receiving instructions on how to process this ridiculous amount of paperwork, I took a seat at a cluster of desk that had one spot open. I looked at the people around me and spoke to the ladies sitting next to me and across from me. One by one, we introduced ourselves and started small talk, which turned into a night of sharing funny stories, talking about any and everything and laughing. I quickly lost my attitude as this became a nightly ritual and what I used to view as “work” had turned into something fun that I now looked forward to. I looked forward to our talks, jokes, and laughing, but most of all I looked forward to that feeling of “belonging” – I finally felt accepted. Despite having to start over after relocating again, life was good.
After about a week, I didn’t want to leave my new department and was glad that I didn’t have to. This is where I would stay the remainder of my temporary assignment. It seemed as if almost overnight I had formed a bond with the ladies that I worked with. The fact that we had each other to entertain made the nights go by faster.
We worked Sunday through Thursday and on the 3rd week, on a Thursday night, Latrice said “Hey, we should go check out that new club, The Groove. Ya’ll wanna go tomorrow?”
It was a no-brainer for me. I was all in and couldn’t wait to hang out with my new-found friends, Latrice, Denice, Stephanie, and Eve. The following night as I walked out the door of my apartment looking fine as hell and on my way to go pick up my girls, I thought to myself, “Yes! I got my friends. I got my girls now and we are about to go kick it.” I rolled out and picked them up one by one.
Once we arrived at Latrice’s house, she said, “Hey ya’ll, we are going to go pick Camille up. She wanna roll with us too”
I said, “Who’s that?”
“She’s one of our other friends. You’ll like her. She’s cool, trust.”
“Aw’right then,” I said, “Let’s roll,” I said as I drove off.
We arrived at Camille’s around 10:30 p.m. and were briefly introduced before the conversation went right back to flow mode. It was the perfect mix of personalities and as we rode, we sang and we could all sing, especially Camille. She could blow.
We arrived at The Groove, smelling good and looking even better and as we entered the club, I noticed the lighting was that of a smoky baby blue color. We walked in and scoped the place out and noticed it was packed. There were tables to sit at and a bar off to the far right, but what I noticed as we walked through, was the big dance floor straight ahead that was packed with people dancing, which is exactly where we headed. We danced all night as they played some of the best hits, Zhane’s, Hey Mr. D.J., Nas’, The World Is Yours, Aaliyah’s, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, and many more.
We shut the club down that night (meaning we stayed until they put us out) and swore we would go back. I dropped my girls off one by one, telling them goodnight and that we would talk the next day. Camille was the last one left to drop off at home and as we rode, we talked and laughed. We clicked as if we had been knowing one another all our lives. We pulled up to Camille’s grandmother’s house (that’s where she stayed at the time) and exchanged numbers before saying our goodbyes. Little did I know at that time; Camille and I would be rolling together for many more years to come.
Me and my girls talked every day, at work and outside of work; we had formed a sisterhood and, in my mind, nothing could come between us. After our temporary assignments working for the government ended, we hung out as much as possible (which was damn near every day). Camille and I ended up working at the same company, so we became even closer and talked about everything from family, men, and just life in general. Camille ended up being one of my best friends. My other girls…well, let’s just say they ended up being “the other girls”.
You see life has a way of giving you what you need to teach you the lessons you need to grow. God gives us what we desire. He always gives you the desires of your heart but that doesn’t mean what you get is yours to have forever.
I didn’t know at the time that in the depths of my loneliness, I was lacking love…love for myself, that is. The truth was that I was both lonely and I was lacking but did not understand that no one or anything outside of myself could heal what was missing within me. It took losing so much for me to finally find myself. I realized years later that this particular time period in my life was the beginning of my journey to self-discovery.