Rows of colorful prickly cactus plants.
February 2022 Elena Frankel

Love is All Around Us

The thing is, we all need that friend...

Friendships come in many different forms. One of the most mutually understanding and entertaining relationships I have is the one with my long-time friend and co-founder of Flyte.70. Carolyn and I are both Cancers (armadillo armor on the outside and cotton candy on the inside). We have both experienced loss, tragedy, and trauma. We have a near identical level of work ethic that was handed over by our families of immigrants from Greece(mine) and China (hers). We find humor in the most absurd and mundane things in life. At least a dozen times a day we tell ourselves that ‘we’re so ridiculous.’ Because we are.


When we’re working together, we often go off topic. My ADD is not a good influence on her, so we often must regroup and reign ourselves in. I often tell her ‘Let my med work for you.’ We have such grandiose ideas and big eyes, that we often must check each other to ‘slow down and settle.’ We don’t tolerate BS, fake news, or fake people. We couldn’t be more different at times: she loves 90s boy bands (or any boy band for that matter) and I love 80s punk. She loves big hair. I love it flat (she has straight hair, mine is wavy and wild). She sends me links to adorable little Chinese toddlers cooking and serving rice and I send her videos of Paul Rudd and Jack Black spoofing videos like ‘More than Words and Too Much Time on My Hands.’ The Rock is her type while Morten Harket is mine.

Two mini crabs sitting on a sand dune next to one another.
Two men awkwardly hugging in a living room with Christmas decorations

We both can be described as hard-core, and we tend to have high expectations for ourselves. We have learned over the years not to have them for too many others as we are often left disappointed. No need to tell us how unhealthy this outlook can be. We are keenly aware.


We warn each other if we’re ‘having a day’ and likely to snap and to not take it personally. Cancers are like that. We cry when we’re frustrated or angry, not when we’re sad, but alas, sobbing is rare for us because we’re ‘hardcore.’  We’re not saying this is healthy either!


When I was going through my cancer (real Cancer, not Zodiac-Cancer) scare last year, Carolyn kept me normal. In fact, I rarely got a free pass from her. I had friends whom I obsessively consulted medical advice with, and I needed to do that. With others I displayed my anxieties and PTSD like an open book, and I needed to do that too. But with Carolyn, she forced me to soldier on and gave me no choice but to focus on the day-to-day and to keep on slugging away. There was no other option with her! She says that she is deeply uncomfortable being emotional during difficult times. This I know to be true. But the thing is, we all need that friend. The one who gives you the awkward, uncomfortable hug and the one who forces you to pull your big girl pants on when life is unfair and unkind. It doesn’t mean there is any less care or coldness in her. It’s just a different kind of love, actually.

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