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I have a few coffee mugs. Not the matching pretty kind. (Though, I do have mugs that match my set of dishes. I don’t use or like them because they are too small, and who wants to drink a thimble full of coffee?) I have more of a mish-mash of random freebies from lens reps and office secret Santa gifts. There is one I use constantly, the one that fits my hand best, looks the prettiest, has a saying that means something to me and it holds just the right amount of coffee or tea. It is my favorite mug and it was a gift from a friend. A friend who is no longer my friend. I think about her every time I use it, and I use it a lot. Why would I want to use something that makes me think about someone who is no longer my friend? Well, for a number of reasons.

1. The Mug Has A Saying On It.

It is a robin’s egg blue and came from Starbucks in a gift set with a bag of coffee. On one side it says, The Universe Knows. On the other side it says, Trust The Process. When my then-friend gave me this mug I was in the midst of trying to conceive, and it wasn’t going well. I was actually at the peak of despair and depression and jealousy and the type of anger that only infertility can bring. I felt defeated and hopeless and just knew that I would never have a baby and never be able to do the one thing I’d always wanted to do; be a parent. I signed up with TUT to get daily email messages from the Universe, to make me feel better. (I still get them, I just don’t have time to read them often.) I used to post them on Facebook (people thought I was weird, but whatever) and I really enjoyed reading them. Sometimes they seemed very relevant to what was happening in my current life! I think that’s why my friend got me the mug, simply because I was into the Universe messages, but it meant so much more to me. The Universe Knows, Trust The Process. It became kind of a mantra. A reminder that there was a process at work that I may not understand but I had to believe in. That everything would work out eventually… and two kids later, I know it did. Fertility aside, I still need that reminder.

2. The Mug Reminds Me Of The Good Times.

While the infertility struggle was a major problem in my life at the time, my friendship with the girl who gave me my mug was at it’s best. We had a ton of fun together, laughed non-stop and we were closer than we’d ever been. For the first time in my adult life, I had a girl friend around all the time. It took a little adjusting but I got used to it and I grew to love having a companion other than my husband around. We chain smoked and drank wine and went for coffee together. (I know none of that sounds conducive to trying to have a baby, but at that point I had spent two years being healthy and careful, and it got me no where. At this point I was drowning my sorrows in bad habits, don’t be judgey!) We stayed up late and talked about everything. It was fun. It is how I want to remember our friendship.

3. The Mug Teaches A Lesson.

I won’t go into what happened to end it all. It is too hard and too long and much of it has to do with a battle that is personal to her and not my story to tell. It took a really long time for me to stop being angry and sad. It has taken even longer to be fine with what has happened. What I’m left with is the knowledge that you cannot fix something broken in some one else. You cannot change a person. You cannot help someone who isn’t ready for help. You can only make choices for YOU. You have to pick and choose healthy options for your own life. Having a history with someone, does not mean you have to have a future with them. Sometimes, it is better to walk away with whatever good memories you have instead of continuing an unhealthy relationship and adding bad memories to the pile.

4. The Mug Reminds Me That You Can Love Someone Without Liking Them.

I wish only good things for my ex-friend. I want her to be healthy and happy. She has many great qualities, and a lot to offer the world. I may not have the desire to talk to her or have her visit me, share my life with her or have my children know who she is, but I will always care about her well being on some level. I really believe if you ever actually loved someone, a tiny piece of that love remains no matter what has crashed and burned around it. You don’t have to like someone to have love for them.

5. The Mug Gives Me Strength.

I’m a sensitive girl. I am hurt easily and I cry more than I probably should. I have a hard time standing up for myself and often times, I’m the weaker half of my relationships. I allow other people to off load their issues on to me, draw me into their problems and then disappear when I need them. That has made me feel very alone at times. I used to be much worse. I won’t tell you that using my coffee mug has made me stronger; I mean, it isn’t magical! My mug just reminds me that I have the ability to put a stop to something that brings me pain. To end a relationship that is hurting me. To stand up for what is best for me. While all of that may sound selfish, it is not. It is necessary. Being someone’s doormat is not fun! Recognizing that a friendship you’ve had for a looong time is very one-sided and not fair to you is hard. Cutting someone out of your life is really hard. You have to be strong to do it and stick by your decision. Once you go through the stages of grief (it is a major loss, not like a death, but not completely unlike it either!) and come out on the other side just fine and ready to live your life on your terms, you realize how strong you are. That strength allows you to be more assertive in your other relationships, and spot the signs sooner. Then, you can nip it in the bud before you have to go through the whole horrible ordeal again.

You probably never imagined a coffee mug could symbolize so much. I’ve thought about getting rid of it since I obviously know what I know even without the reminder, but I don’t want to. I really do love the damn thing. I’m sure one day it will slip from my fingers while I’m washing it, or maybe while I’m pulling it from the microwave after reheating coffee gone cold; forgotten about in the midst of diaper changes and folding laundry, and it will crash to the floor and break into a zillion pieces. When that happens, I’ll be okay… I’ll know it is just part of the process.

*I wrote this today for a different friend. So she knows that she is not all alone in her pain. That while my experience is much different, she too will survive no matter what the outcome of her situation is. And so she knows that I love her to pieces.

*If you want or need messages from the Universe, you can sign up here.