Written by MacArthur H. Flournoy
These days I find myself talking with friends, more often and in greater depth than ever before. Clearly, part of it has to do with the political climate in which we are living or surviving.
Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m aging, appreciating that it takes a lot of time, patience and love to cultivate real friendships. However, as a biracial man, African American and Mexican American, parent, entrepreneur and fumbling writer, I talk to my best friend, Akilah Monifa nearly every day, texting throughout the day. I know folks all over this country, but like most folks, those I call friends are few.
Still, calling them them friends doesn’t feel altogether true. They are closer than friends. To be perfectly honest-many of them are closer than family. So I’ve coined the word “Framily” – Friends who are closer than family.
I think black people, Latinx people, members of the LGBTQ community, women, and folks on the margins have always relied on framily as a matter of survival. I don’t believe this is particularly new. No shade to any family member. It’s just that as life moves along, we find ourselves growing closer to people that understand the particulars of our journey.
I’m talking about the kind of folk, with whom you can have a full conversation with a simple “hmph” or that particular “look'” you give each other as coded language only the two of you understand.
As for “framily” -this is the tribe where you know, no matter what, they will always be there for you, to call you on your madness, to laugh with you through the tears and show you the light within yourself. The real gift is when you can offer the same to someone else.
I am convinced that we, people of color, people “whose back is up against the wall” as theologian, Howard Thurman would say, need each other in ways that give life. I know longer collect people via social media.
Here’s what I’m learning: the more vulnerable we become with each other, the closer we are drawn to folks who are meant to be part of our story. Granted, discernment, wisdom and gut checks are necessary spiritual tools, that help us decide how close we become to anyone.