I remember the first day we met, almost 5 years ago, as though it happened yesterday.
I love our friendship story.
I was exploring my new-ish SF neighborhood and stumbled upon a tiny "Help Wanted" sign in the window of a cute boutique. I was in the midst of a zillion life transitions, and my fun-employment status nudged me to sporadically apply for the job.
"I just liked you," you later told me, after I was hired. "I don't know. I just liked you and your energy".
I felt the same way about you.
I remember after only a few short weeks of working side by side in the little store you managed at the time, how we trekked out to Target together to pick up a few things for a small shop party. I remember getting back into your car and hearing the small voice of my spirit...the one I was just learning to know...telling me It's OK. You are safe.
I remember then melting down, right there in the middle of a Target parking lot, seat-belted in your Subaru -- how I confessed that my marriage was not well, that it never really had been, even before it officially began, and that I was so scared, ashamed, guilty, confused. I remember letting it all come flooding out in a way that basically told you Hi. I have chosen you to be my friend and confidant on the West Coast. Please do not reject me.
And although the memory of your stunned and surprised face still makes me giggle--although we still laugh about how you went home to your hubby that night mildly befuddled and told him "Holy crap, I feel so bad for this girl..."...you did not, in fact, reject me.
I am still so grateful for that.
My sweet J--
I know you are scared, sad, and confused right now. I know your hard work...your hard, wholehearted, creative work...has hit a rough spot and is not unfolding in the way you'd like.
So I wanted you to know, in case you need the reminding, that with me? It's OK. You are safe.
You are brave, and kind, and good. You are fierce when it comes to your friends and family, and you are a spark plug of passion that confirms your distant Jersey roots. (You know I had to throw that in there).
You are insanely talented. Like...insanely.
You have a natural ability to bring fashion into a woman's life in a way that makes her spirit feel huge.
You care about your customers, and it shows.
You make me, and so many others, look and feel good.
I have had the pleasure of watching you grow from a manager and buyer to an OWNER, manager, buyer, and every freaking little thing in between. Holy cow, there are so many freaking little things.
While I don't own that crystal ball you often pine for, I do have something else to offer you--the same level of non-judgmental support you were so generous to give to me (albeit a position mildly forced on you) 5 years ago. I have seen you figure it out on the fly before, and I have full faith you will figure it out again. Most days I think this whole world is just flying by the seat of our pants. But at least you do it in fabulous heels.
You've put it all out there, taken the risks, and continue to strive for the best. There is never any shame in that.
You amaze me with your work ethic and your commitment. Please remember these values are part of who you are, deep down, and they will remain there long after any ol' business. Your natural, beautiful, true-to-you talents will stay with you no matter how your story unfolds.
And honey, so will I.
TGL Side Note: You guys, shop small whenever you can. Support the folks who are fighting every day to keep their dreams and passions alive. Connect with them. Benefit from their unique talents and personalized care. Think about where your money goes in a way that doesn't neglect the work being done every day by people who have taken a leap and bet on themselves. They are the inspiring bunch behind what makes dreaming so wonderful. Let's help keep the dream alive, yea?