“Are you sure? You’re sure you didn’t do anything wrong…seriously?” – Me, in a booth in a restaurant after work with friends chatting about life
If you took a quick poll of the people who know me well, exactly zero of them would say that I shy away from confrontation. In fact, depending on the situation, I relish it. That sounds harsh. What I relish is the responsibility and high level of concern that I feel to the people I love to keep them honest and living authentically. And we all know that one of the biggest killers of authenticity is lying (to yourself and to others).
So as I was dunking artichoke leaves and sipping rosé in the seat across from my dear friend in that booth and heard her say, “I don’t really think I did anything wrong,” fire crackled behind my eyes and flushed my cheeks. This Leo pulled all of the heat and searing light from the sun and pointed it at her friend until she relented into the truth. Because I viscerally couldn’t tolerate hearing those words because I knew she didn’t believe them.
It’s been days since that confrontation and I still can’t fully explain why I felt so personally offended at my friend’s choices—aside from the fact that she (and others) teasingly call me mom for a reason—but I knew couldn’t break eye contact until I felt her slide out of the defenses she had built around herself. I couldn’t allow any sort of cloud to diffuse the heat of that sun until I knew she faced her truth. And immediately then, when I felt it all slide away and my friend—my real friend and not the facade friend I had been facing just a minute earlier—returned, I softened my harsh noon sun and let it fade like a sunset as I listened, encouraged, and strengthened her post-confessional self alongside our far more earthly friend who is cool and soft like a forest after rain.