Roman (my late best friend) was an incredibly wise, analytical person. He was so good at framing difficult situations & helping me process feelings that felt too big to cope with alone.
So I was just thinking, “I wonder what Roman would have to say about all this Trump stuff. These are feelings I’ve never felt before. I bet he’d know how to help me get through them.”
And THAT, is when it hit me. I never spoke about politics with Roman.
LET ME REPEAT: I never spoke about politics with Roman.
What the eff. He was my best friend for over 2 years. I am one of the most political people I know, and I discerned from his social media that he harbored some strong politics himself. But somehow politics never came up in our conversations?! And whats more: our connection was so natural that it took me THIS long to realize that I don’t even know what his politics were!
Honestly, I didn’t even know I was capable of relating to people outside of politics. (If you’ll remember, my New Year’s resolution last year was to cultivate less political friendships, and I didn’t have much faith in my ability to pull that off.)
But when I think about the connection Roman and I had, I realize that our compatibility was not based on shared thoughts, but on a shared way of thinking. We were both introverted, emotional, sensitive people. We both saw the worlds in metaphorical and symbolic terms: no one but him would understand what I mean when I say “I see Chaos stars everywhere.” He would weave fantasy worlds in his writing that took my breath away. We had so much trauma in common that he felt like a long-lost twin. I often wonder if I’ll ever meet someone like him again.
I have always been (painfully) aware of what a gift Roman was. But even more than two years since his suicide, I am still discovering just how much he actually gave me in this life.
It’s amazing how you can continue to learn new things about a friendship that’s frozen in time, isn’t it?
I’m not sure what to think or feel now that Trump’s presidency has arrived. I’m afraid I’ll forget myself as having an obsessively political mind becomes not only useful, but obligatory, to survive the oncoming changes to our country. I’m not sure who I’ll be next month, or next year, or in the next four years. But at least I can move forward knowing that, at least once in my life, someone allowed me to see a version of myself that was beyond politics. Beyond fear and oppression and my sociopolitical standing. Roman taught me how to connect with people in a way that wasn’t based on ideological litmus tests or dogwhistles. Roman taught me that, even in the midst of fear (especially in the midst of fear!) we must never stop pondering the beauty in the world.
And as an activist, lately I’ve been feeling powerless to the world. But now I realize that one small thing I can do is take what Roman taught me — how to appreciate beauty, how to process pain — and teach it to others. I’m sure that’s what he would have been doing right now.