Wasn't quite sure what he meant at first. He has an inside "know" on some things I have done for people, I suppose.
But people who know me know that I am HIGHLY intangible.
In other words, I do a lot of listening and talking to folks.
He wanted to know if I had people to turn to if I was hurting, depressed, or in a bad way.
This is rare for me. Usually means I am having a PMS hormonal trip or something.
(Oh. THAT is why I was all weepy and emotional that day and didn't know why. Geez. lol)
But seriously, yes I do have peeps around that I go to when things are weird for me.
I have a handful of people around who have known me for years who know very well how to handle my emotions.
This is rare. As I rarely tell anyone if anything is bothering me.
I pray a lot.
I sure do write a lot about it. I will sit down and write upwards of 20 pages about something until the answer shows up.
99% of the time, the thing gets solved, between me and God (this is the way I like it, you see)...
I am terrible about keeping stuff inside. I don't know the difference between whining and earnestly needing some help. The line between the two is fuzzy as a cloud.
But when I need a shoulder to cry on, someone to listen, or I need to be verbally pimp slapped or chin-checked...
Then I go to one of my people and talk about it.
Let me tell you something. I have a couple of friends who, the very sound and tone of their voice chases away whatever is bothering me. We don't have to discuss what is bothering me. Just their voice chases off bad demons or something. I have NO idea what is up with that. Weird, I know.
But if you have never experienced such, then I hope you do.
I rarely talk to them. But they hover around and are there if I need them. One called the other day, out of the blue. I went to work VERY very calm that morning.
Then there are those people who I run to when I need a shoulder to cry on, need a sounding board, or if I need to be verbally chin-checked or pimp slapped back to reality...
One such person is my friend Gigi...
Not only does she know how to handle my emotions well, without judgement (that is VERY important)... but I find that she is someone I pattern myself after...
And I am all the better for it.
(And I like this picture of her and her oldest child. Makes me want to dress in white and hold Oscar-Tyrone up in the air...)
I met Gigi back in 1998, when I moved to New Orleans. She was my group secretary. Every research group has a secretary. They keep our itineraries straight, make sure we have everything we need, etc...
I was a young buck back then, 28 years old, fresh out of school, still smiling like Miss Celie because I had a "Dr." title attached to the front of my name.
So she was always very professional with me.
"Good morning, Dr. LadyLee? How are you doing?"
"Is your office alright, Dr. LadyLee?"
"You need anything, Dr. LadyLee?"
*LadyLee smiling hard*
I do believe I use to run up on her just to hear her say my name.
(Geez-zuss, I was so green back then).
Anyway, over time, we became friends. Things became much less formal. Don't know how, don't know when.
But there was a time when I recognized that this chick is down for me and she got my back ALWAYS.
Thinking back, I can remember when, and i have blogged about this before.
To be brief about it, my Great-grandmother had died, and I needed to fly home for the funeral. It didn't mess me up money wise, but when you have to get things together suddenly, it can become a chore. But I had my plane ticket, all my stuff together, etc... And I'd stopped by her office to let her know that I wouldn't be in and to just check in with her.
She told me she'd just paid her credit cards off recently, and if I need to use her cards to go get clothes, a plane ticket, whatever... go do what I had to do, and she got it.
*Ladylee wondering if she is on candid camera*
My answer was a muttered "No, I got everything together, Gigi."
We made small talk, and I went home to my great-grandmother's funeral.
But that short convo stayed on my mind for awhile, while I was back home in the ATL for the funeral. Even when I came back.
All of this was going on when I was really searching for something that I wanted to develop in my life:
And I must say, Gigi has always embodied and been very deeply developed in such.
Let's just say, I paid attention more to her actions after that... and noticed she was like that with many people.
I asked her why she offered to do such for me. She said she knew I was cool and wouldn't take advantage and she knew me well. And she doesn't worry about anyone taking advantage of her, anyway.
I was like, dang. I want to be like that.
And I must say that I am (moreso than way back then). Some of you out there may know this of me.
(If so, keep it to yourself. LOL)
I remember that day, after that and some other stuff, I looked for ways to develop this "caring" for people.
I did something simple enough. I would bake a loaf of fresh hot raisin nut bread for the janitors who gathered down in the basement of our building, every Monday morning, so they would have a treat with their morning coffee. It only cost me a dollar or two, but this was my way of doing something.
And I noticed that she was generous to no fault. And never lacking for anything.
So, I credit her with what I have developed into now. I still have things to work on, but people who know me know (if you ain't shady as hell), that I got your back with a vengeance.
That is what I have needed my ownself, and I am drawn to such people.
Gigi is the most EXCEPTIONAL listener I know. She is well developed in that. She is never judgemental. I can tell her things and she will ask a lot of questions. Hell, you may talk up your own solutions without even her offering up some advice concerning it.
I think back then, I appreciated her listening to me about things. I was angry, confused, trying to find my footing and my direction. She handled my rage about stuff pretty well. A well placed "I understand, girl!" was sometimes all I needed to hear for me not to flip out...
So, needless to say, I appreciate her. I look at myself now, some 11 years later, and I have many of the attributes that I first saw in her.
Now, she does have a mean streak She is Columbian. Cartel run all through her blood. I've seen her mad and snapping a time or two.
*Lee eyes widen as she runs for the hills*
But that is what makes her who she is... wonderfully real.
So you can see why I call her Una de las más maravillosas de personas en todo el mundo... Mi buen amigo.
"The most wonderful person in the world. My good friend."
I hold her up on such a high pedestal that, a couple of characters in my manuscripts are based on her.(And we have bickered back and forth about many spanish translations she does for me. That's why I threw a little spanish around in this post. LOL!).
But, I was glad to see ol' Gigi when I was in Nawlins. Very glad.
Now, we were suppose to hang before I left for my cruise, as I arrived in New Orleans, some 7 hours before my ship was to sail...
She kept saying, "Go put your bags on the boat, baby! I'll come get you!"
Man, it took us 3 hours to get on that dayum boat, and once I got on the boat... the Oldgirl was not getting off! (I don't even think we could).
But we hooked up the day after my cruise was over.
I went up to the old job. It was like an old Celie-Nettie reunion. LOL!!!
We were happy to see each other. Very happy.
I hung out with her. She walked me around the halls of the job. We hooked up later for dinner.
Now we talk off and on over the years, over the phone and email. And it got a little sparse when she was displaced by the storm...
But let me tell you, it was good to sit with my friend and talk and catch up on life for a good 2 or 3 hours over big plates of seafood. I think I came away from our conversation with a personal "To-do" list for some things I am working on. (She don't know that, though, lol).
I also got a chance to hang out at her house with her children.
I didn't get to see her husband, though. I was indeed looking forward to this.
Her husband makes Denzel look like Quasimodo.
Serious. I'm very serious. It is possible.
I first saw him at her father's funeral. You know, you can't say nothing right then. But I asked her later:
"Is he real??"
I wanted to hold a mirror up to his face to see if he cast a reflection. He had to be a vampire or something.
No man is THAT fine.
The man is the finest man to walk the planet. I think he is black and french or creole or something. He has a french last name. Maybe he is cajun. Who knows.(Maybe I will get up the nerve to ask her one day).
But if she was ever on the phone when I walked into her office, or even if she was walking down the hall on her cell phone... she had to deal with me getting real close and whispering:
"Who you talking to, Gigi? Is that "Paul"?
She would hesitate, but nod yes (very reluctantly):
I would jump up and down and yell VERY loud for all the planet to hear:
"You tell Paul I said hello, with his FINE ass!!!!!"
I would dance all around in a circle, do a holy dance and express to her how fine her man was for at least 5 minutes. I think I fell to my knees and bowed one time.
She would kick the HARD eyeroll. This truly annoyed her, I believe.
I didn't get to see him. I wanted to snap a picture to see if he showed up on film, as he has to be a vampire. (I met his grandma long ago. The chick was 85 years old, and she looked to be 40 -- they are vampires, I am sure of it).
So, I hung out at her new house, the one they bought after returning to New Orleans after the storm.
"Paul" called. He was at work. I told her to tell him I said hello, with his fine SELF. (couldn't cuss with her daughters in the room.)
I played with her skittish puppy. I tried to take a picture of the dog, but you know how puppies get all excited, moving too fast... they like to pee on you when they get like that... I couldn't have that.
Gigi had her all hyped up, telling her... "The lady that gave me a baby shower is coming over". So, needless to say, lil' Gabby was waaaaay excited to see me. We were cheesing real hard at each other.
Her oldest child, Tati, is in college now, and taller than me. Last time I saw her, she was in elementary school.
I know they were talking about me hard when I left (Mommie's friend is VERY odd, lol). No matter how old they get, I will always refer to them as "the babies". I couldn't get past how much they had grown since way back then.
Reminds me of how fast time passes...
How fast time flies...
And how much things change.
Me and my friend poured some designer vodka, and toasted our friendship that night.
I am glad that even though time passes, our friendship doesn't change. We can always sit down and pick up right where we left off. You have taught me what it means to be compassionate, what it means to truly listen and not to judge, and a whole list of other things that it would take much too long to list here.
But you know what they are. And that is all that matters.
Every single time we talk, I learn a little something, and I always feel better about me and who I am and where I am going.
That's all I can ask.
I am forever grateful for that. I am grateful for the seeds you sowed into me so long ago.
I truly am.
So, I must say, the best part of my vacation was hanging out with you, Gigi. It really was...
(Next time, chica... make sure that fine hubby of yours is around, alright?)
**Gigi rolls eyes hard**
I hope to get back down to the N.O. and see my homie once again!