I had a phone date today with my best friend who lives a million miles away on a tropical island and she dropped an awesome life lesson bomb on me.
When we were in the 8th grade, Truly suggested that we make pet peeves lists. It was middle school - we were all very into paper games. MASH determined the course of our lives and homemade fortune tellers decided who we should like. It was very important that you used gel pens and had a good “font” for handwriting.
We made our lists and gave them to each other during geography. I quickly wrote Truly a note -
“I feel like these are all about me”
She wrote me back: “hang on I have something to add”
So I subtly handed her her list. (I was not tryna get detention for the hundredth time.)
She passed it back. The final addition: “when people think everything is all about them.”
It turns out that whole list was indeed about me. To this day, I fall into fits of giggles when I think about this story.
Believe it or not, over 10 years later, we’re still best friends. As Truly recently commented on my Instagram, if our friendship can survive the 8th grade, it can survive anything. (Junior high = rough)
Truly moved to a different school for high school. Lucky for us, her school and my school were less than a mile apart and her house was two minutes from either location, so on any given afternoon, we could be found laying out by her pool before I had to head off to rehearsal. We signed with the same modeling agency in the 9th grade and bemoaned the lack of cheeseburgers we were allowed to eat until a year later when we both said screw this hip measurement thing, we miss french fries, and quit within weeks of each other. We snuck in and out of her house via the roof and spent countless nights in her bed laughing our heads off telling stories of our latest escapades. She’s family.
She moved to a small tropical island called Nevis about two years ago to be with her boyfriend (now fiancé - hello! - I’ll be at that wedding in Italy in May!!!!) and it was quite the adjustment.
Though I often rag on technology, I am so grateful for it when it comes to keeping up with those I love. Letters just wouldn’t suffice when it comes to everything we need to catch up on. So today we’re catching up after two whole weeks without a phone date (thank goodness we don’t have to worry about “phone minutes” anymore!) - and I’m telling her about all of THIS - the blog, the beach, JD, my new outlook, the negativity breakthrough - and she stops me and as her voice cracks, says,
“I’m so happy I’m almost crying. You know we had our rough patch (we had our first fight since the pet peeves fight about six months after my attack and we were lame and didn’t talk for a bit) and I think it was partly because I knew that no one could pull you out of the place you went to after what happened to you. It was dark and you weren’t going to hear anything from anyone that knew you and that was scary.”
Those are not easy words to hear. Especially from your best friend. Especially when you know they’re true. I wasn’t going to listen to anyone because I was fine. I wouldn't even acknowledge the darkness to myself. But to know that my friend could not only see it, but could also see that I was rejecting offers of help to climb out, and that it scared her.. well that blew.
But that’s the thing about true friendship. She didn’t run away. She waited. I wouldn’t have heard her two years ago. I wouldn’t have heard her two months ago! And she knew that, so she waited. And in her waiting, her objective never changed. She gently coaxed me in the right direction. She never let a conversation go by without asking how I was really doing and what steps I was taking towards my dreams, regardless of whatever version of BS I fed her that day.
A true friend knows when it’s the right time to tell you like it is, from a place of utter love, and even if it’s hard to hear, you hear it, because it’s them. Then, you take it to heart and you make a change.
I want to be a friend like that. I can’t believe how blessed I am to have friends that are amazing examples of how to love others. I get chills when I think about the teachers that life offers us if we’re willing to open our eyes. Thanks Tru, love you mucho.