best friends

day 29: a friend loves at all times

Sunday, 4/3/16

I remember the first day I met Buffy. Her hair was slicked back in a pony, big hoop earrings in her ears, and she was wearing a t-shirt dress with some sort of trendy saying on it. A friend was introducing me to her so that I could join her connect group at church. I'd just moved to the city and was in need of community. I walked away from that interaction without thinking much of it. She'd be my connect group leader. Cool. Also, I needed cooler clothes. 

After our first connect group meeting, we became fast friends. She's from TX, I'm from TX. She likes to eat, I like to eat. She finds BS intolerable, I find BS intolerable. She's not super girly, I'm not super girly. She's not a needy friend, I'm not a needy friend. She loves country music. I love country music. Beyond that, I'm not really sure how such a strong bond formed so quickly. It just did. I think that's the way it is with some friends - it's just meant to be (or whatever.) Now, when we're in a room together, we read each other's minds.  

Buff was one of the two girls I texted after the assault. I couldn't tell you exactly what her first response was (I mean, it's been a minute) but within about 45 seconds, she pointed me to Jesus. Because that's who Buffy is. And in the months that followed, she kept pointing me to Jesus. She didn't run when I did. She stood firm in her faith, all while listening to me whinge on. She always pointed me back to the cross, even when I had no interest in looking that way. And after one night of particularly unfortunate choice making on my part, she stood in front of church on Irving Place and 17th St., yelled at me, and told me that at some point, I was going to have to choose differently - because what I was doing, wasn't working. And then she hugged me, said she loved me, and told me to get my sh** together. 

It took me a few more months to do so, but do you know who I considered while simultaneously weighing up making a poor choice in those months? Buff. Because I didn't want to hear it from her anymore. And because deep down, I knew she was right. And do you know who, despite her deep frustration with me, was there through it all? Buff. 

Today, Buff and I spent a lot of time reading one another's minds. Then we cleaned her apartment. And then we hung out. We didn't do anything exciting or fancy - we just did what friends do...life. As I rode the subway home from her house, I couldn't help but thank God for giving me a friend like her.

 Our journeys in life are equally as much about the people who say yes to taking them with us as they are about ourselves.

Buffy has taught me the type of friend I want to be. She continues to teach me about the type of woman I want to be. She doesn't know it (well I guess she does now,) - in fact, sometimes I think she questions it, but she changes the lives of those she walks with. I could go on, but that's not our collective style - short and sweet, eh Buff? 

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day 11: pet peeves in the 8th grade

Wednesday, 3/16/2016

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.