On Zombies, Friendship, and Building Your Apocalypse Team*

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
~ Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934

I’ve talked a lot here about just how life changing and paradigm shifting and eye opening the past year of my life has been. What I haven’t spoken about is one of the biggest reasons I have survived – and thrived! – these past twelve plus months, in spite of heartbreak and doubt and financial setbacks and loneliness and fear and moments of completely losing my way.

What I haven’t spoken about is my apocalypse team.

What exactly is an apocalypse team?

It’s the team of people you’d want to have nearby in the event of an apocalypse – zombie or otherwise – to provide mutual support and backup, thereby ensuring you all survive said apocalypse and flourish in its aftermath.

Also:  your apocalypse team brings tasty snacks and makes you laugh constantly.

Even when everything seemingly sucks.

And your team helps you celebrate the good stuff and reminds you to give yourself credit for even the smallest of victories. They help you identify ways in which you are settling for less than you deserve – in work and in love – but never judge you for sometimes dating the wrong guy (again, sigh) or staying in a job you don’t love just a little bit longer than you should.

Your apocalypse team sees you every day for the person you are in the moment, understanding that you are always evolving and learning and changing – sometimes in subtle ways and other times drastically. They give you space to grow, and to do so at your own pace, knowing one sad day or ill-advised decision fueled by loneliness or anger or frustration does not define the whole of who you are.

These people really see you. And love you. And are cheering you on all the effing time.

My apocalypse team is the best. Filled with a handful of amazing, insightful, creative, loving, ambitious, beautiful, and incredibly supportive women. (And one equally remarkable, perceptive, and compassionate man. He knows who he is.)

These women field almost daily text messages from me, often written hastily in a moment of irrationality, with fears about work and business or life and love sometimes expressed in overly alarmist tones. But they never jump to conclusions or assume I’ve lost my mind, allowing me my temporary breaks with sanity and calmly enticing me back from the edge.

They also tolerate my all-caps declarations of awesomeness, celebrating my equally over-the-top moments of ecstatic expression – wherein I announce that life is AMAZING and I am SO HAPPY and I have uncovered ALL THE ANSWERS to all the questions I’ve ever asked – even though they realize these episodes too shall pass.

My team members offer to bring me soup when I’m sick, cook me delicious lentils and beets even when I’m too exhausted to be decent dinner company, buy me bourbon on a bad day, make themselves available for last minute phone calls or video chats (from across the city and across the country), send frequent text messages just to check in, are honest and observant without being judgmental, and make room for me to evolve and transform without expecting me to be today exactly the person I was yesterday.

My apocalypse team is awesome. And I sincerely hope yours is equally as rad.

Because we all deserve to be surrounded by people who just get us and love us and encourage us. And who also challenge us without deconstructing our every action or word, who tell us what they see but never try to tell us who we are.

People for whom we can do the same.

Look around your life. Identify your team. Tell them how much you love them. And never EVER take them for granted.

Those zombies don’t stand a chance.

*Credit for the term “apocalypse team” goes to Regan who introduced me to this concept earlier this year.