My Comadre, my Compass

amigas risas


Lucia Lopez PlunkettBy Lucia Lopez Plunkett

Oh no, he didn’t. Este fregado! What did he say? I’m being… what? Hmmm, am I really? I’m going to call my Comadre. She’ll tell me.

Am I the only one who does this? Maybe this process is just something I do, because I don’t like to be wrong. Maybe the way I expressed it to “my love” was not so lovely and I need to find a better way. Maybe I just need to cry.

What do you do when you get into a predicament with your significant other, and there is a shadow of a doubt lingering, making you wonder if your hot and “bothered-ness” was really called for? Do you sit and stew? Do you scream and shout? Go shopping?

I call my Comadre.

She is simple, she has no clinical training, no formal schooling in relating or empathizing with others.

Unlike me.

Yet, she can see me. A lot clearer than I would like sometimes. With her, there is permission. Permission to be angry, and sad, and worried in a way that I can’t be in front of others, at least in the moment. The phone call is cathartic, I feel understood. Maybe it’s a rehearsal for the conversation I want to have and didn’t when I was a hot mess. It is a cleansing and a preparation for the next step.

With her, I have a companion in the journey toward self-discovery. My compass, when life’s turbulent waters seem to overwhelm me. I trust her.

These phone calls aren’t just about my hubby, but about everything. Who did I call when I found out I was pregnant and I sat stunned not knowing what to do? When I finished my dissertation, when we bought our first house, when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer, when she was cancer free… From sewing tips to deep conversations about the core of who we are, she is my partner. Simply thinking about telling her my woes makes me feel better.

Although she is my ally, she does not shy from telling me when I am wrong. When I’ve gone too far or when I need to look at things a different way. She is patient and open. She remembers details from 20 years ago when we were practically girls and still finding out who we were.

She helped me to gain confidence in my cultural identity, simply by loving herself enough to “be.” Because of her, speaking in Spanish sounded beautiful and confident. Turning my mother’s old tortilleras into handbags was unique and new. When we are together, our energy is magnetic. The time endless. The world slows down and anything is possible.

Want to know how to convert a “blah” room into shabby chic on a dime? She knows how. Want to know the best way to make bias tape, she’s made a tutorial.

I doubt myself, she is unafraid. I am messy, she is organized and she doesn’t seem to mind.

Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres. Does that mean she’s as wacky as me? She is passionate and she inspires me.

She has moved miles away, and though I initially fought an internal (and at times, an external) struggle with her living on the East coast, our friendship has never been stronger. I never thought that would be possible. There are times when I miss her more than I can breathe. I fantasize about us growing old and restoring a cottage in Mexico together, telling our children that “We’ll come home when we’re ready!”

The outcome of my life will be better because she is in it. Our souls are intertwined. God didn’t give me a sister, and I firmly believe this was purposefully done because he gave me a soul mate.

Lucia Lopez Plunkett, PhD., is a bilingual/bicultural psychotherapist from California. Lucia is married with two young children who inspire her every day. You can read her most recent Tiki Tiki essay here.

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By Contributor on April 21, 2011 · Posted in headline, the habla habla

6 Comments | Post Comment

Tracy says:

This is a beautiful tribute to your friend. I have one that I feel the same way about and I’m thankful every day. We don’t live near each other either, but we E-mail daily, text, etc. She’s always there for me and I value her friendship, the free therapy and how she’s helped me grow over the years so much. I wish every woman could be so lucky, because there are a lot of women out there who lack these kinds of friendships.

Posted on April 21st, 2011

Tara Castillo says:

I have to agree with Tracy above that we are lucky to have friendships like the one you wrote about. What a beautiful blessing! I have a friend like yours who I can be open, honest, mad, sad, angry, disappointed, I can let it all out with her. I know she will always tell me the truth, make me feel better, steer me in the right direction, etc. I too am a better person for knowing my friend.

I loved this article….. I’m going to go call her now!
Tara Castillo´s last [fabulousness] ..Spanish Friday y Las fotos en mi cell

Posted on April 22nd, 2011

Chantilly Patiño says:

Love this post! Comadres are so important! Nothing else can really compare to that relationship, a friend who knows you so well that she can call you on anything and be there for support no matter how much is piled up on your plate. Thanks for sharing! <3

Posted on April 25th, 2011

lisa renata says:

Thank you comadre. Now I’ll go and cry (of happiness)…and call you. You are the best!

Posted on April 25th, 2011

Carrie says:

There is nothing. Absolutely nothing like the amiga de tu alma. Nothing.

I loved this essay so much too.

Thank you for sharing it, Lucia!

Posted on April 25th, 2011

Veronica Plunket says:

Beautiful words by a beautiful woman! xoxoxo

Posted on May 9th, 2011