I love my girlfriends. They have taught me so much in my life and I will always keep them close in my heart and surround them with love and light and gratitude.
For them, I write this ode:
My dearest friends, I love you.
For all the times I was shy, closed off, scared, negative, judgmental, you showed me the way, you lifted me up, gave me a hug, and showed me another way.
For all the times I thought I was unloveable, unworthy of attention, you stood by me, supported me, and showed me unconditional love, when I wasn’t even aware that it existed.
You are all beautiful. You are all pure light. You are all so special in your own ways. As we grow and our relationships change, I love you, and I am here for you. It is now my turn to be there for you, because now I can, from a place of healing, from a place of love, from a place of grace, instead of from a place of hurt, from a place of longing, from a place of judgment.
To my friend Davis, who had the courage to say to me when we were in university, “hey you’re pretty judgemental, eh?” when I didn’t even know it. That was the start of my journey of letting go of needing to make statements about others that didn’t match the feelings in my heart. That was the beginning of the end of the suffocation I felt inside about judgement.
To my friend Val, who taught me how to be a friend. She brought me ice cream when I was locked in my residence apartment, between studying and basketball practice, when all I really wanted was to go out and play outside.
To my friend Carla, who is more wise than anyone I have ever met. To Carla, whose depth of soul astounds me, whose courage is so deep and so strong. To Carla, who is inspirational and so giggly and fun, and who loves to dance as much as me.
To my friend Steph, who asked me how I was doing many years ago and I hesitated to answer and she said, “you know Bradlee, it’s okay if things aren’t going well, it’s okay.” She gave me permission to be me, instead of the perfect person I always thought I needed to be.
To my friend Margo, who is so open, so sensitive, so bright. She is so inspiring, so dedicated to being her true self, to honoring herself and her children and her family. I am so glad to have met you and to have the privilege of being your neighbor!
To my dear sisters, Alka, Dionne and Robyn, who were my first real sisters, who showed me that we can debate about work things and still be close. I didn’t realize at the time that if we argued about how a policy document should be done, that it didn’t mean we were friends anymore. They were my first Ottawa friends, and therefore my family. I will always love them! They each contributed so much to my life, with their openness, their generosity and their caring.
To my friend Teresa, who is so kind, so considerate and so compassionate. She supported me and was just as excited to talk to me as I was to her on the phone, and she always makes me feel special and loved.
To my friend Cathy, whom I lost touch with. She first connected me to the universe, to my own strength and my own soul. She was the first person I trusted, to be able to call up out of the blue to make plans. I was so scared to be abandoned and rejected that I always had a hard time initiating the making of plans. She was my first new friend, outside of school, that I felt safe with and I realized at the time how huge that was for me. And when I shared that with her, she embraced me instead of mocking me.
To my new friend Amanda, who is so open, so engaging with her daughter, who from my perspective, seems cool with putting herself out there and trying new things. I have learned over the past few months, as I heal, that I can do this too, that I just needed to let go of some hurt, some feelings of lack of control, and to give myself permission to be me and to try some new things!
To my friend Diana, the entrepreneur, who never seems to let anything stop her. If she has an idea, she figures out how to make it happen and then she does it. She inspired me not to get caught up in energy dramas, and to just go for life. She is a gentle soul too and I will always look up to her.
To my friend Joanne, who is so my opposite, who challenged me in every way when I first met her because of it, but who showed me another way of being, being calm, thinking before speaking (tee hee!! for those you know me!!), and that planning can be useful.
To my friend and cousin Patrycja, who is so deep and so wise, whose generosity knows no bounds. She inspired me to be the parent I truly wanted to be, despite outside pressures, despite internal conflicts I experienced.
To my dear friend Natalie, who taught me about fun, and how to tap into my true self. I fully let go while living with Natalie, she inspired me to eat Doritos when I wanted, to do what I wanted, to scream and laugh loudly and to be true to myself. I’ll never forget the day we went walking together and we were talking about our boyfriends and I said, “they don’t know it yet, but they’re going to be dads at the same time.” A few years later, I was right! To Natalie, who is true spirit and depth at its core.
To my sister Susan, who needs to write the in-law part anyway? From the moment I met Susan, she was open and full of love and she continues to be that way. Her relationship with her children has been such an inspiration for me. I had never seen a 12 year old snuggle up to their parent before and when I saw it for the first time, I knew I loved her and that I wanted to create a safe and loving environment just like that for my future child!
To my friend Mary! I remember when we used to share a cubicle wall but we were both shy and we didn’t chat much. I remember a few years later how we’d stand in the kitchen at work and chat and chat. She is such a bright light and she has so much love in her heart.
To my friend Jean, who has helped me connect with my true self more than I ever thought was possible. The gratitude and respect I have for you is immeasurable and thanks for teaching me about chai lattes! If you hadn’t helped me with the food healing, I could never have had one without it having lactaid milk which just doesn’t froth the same:)
To my friend Anjali, who is a world traveler and an inspiration. She goes for life, she doesn’t wait for it to come to her, which I always felt like I was doing. Thank you for opening up to me and trusting me and sharing with me.
To my mom, Tilia, who was always my best friend growing up. She taught me about so much, so much more than her mom ever taught her. She was the coolest mom, the most fun mom, and she guided me to be the fun Bradlee I was while growing up, and now I’m guiding myself to find my true self, so I that the true happy Bradlee is always there, that I am always living from my heart.
May you all realize your true greatness.
Of course there are more friends, old and new. I love you all, even if I haven’t included you here. You have all contributed so much to my life. Today, I celebrate you all and send you love and light.