Dear Best Friend,
When I was younger, around elementary school age, I had a few friends, but I never felt connected to them. I had always longed for a deep connection.
I wanted a connection that was so deep that it felt like my heart and the heart of my friend was connected by some kind of electric rope. If lighting could be safely held and stretched out then I wanted to grab it and bolt our hearts together, forever bonded no matter where we go. I desperately wanted a best friend.
For a while I had a couple close friends. The three of us did a lot together, but not a lot that made me feel like I was part of the friendship, or that made me feel good about myself. Except Halloween…
For several years my neighbor’s Mom would buy matching Halloween costumes for us and the three of us would go trick or treating together. However that promptly ended when I was in 3rd grade. The Halloween costumes, the trick or treating, my enthusiasm for the whole Halloween thing, and the friendship between these 2 girls and myself all ended when I was in 3rd grade.
Each year disconnection would grow, my longing for a best friend would grow, and the idea that it would never happen was convincing. I got used to being alone.
Freshman year of college hit like a gust of wind. I had lost myself, and I questioned friendship, connection, on a daily basis. I was a raging fire of emotion, heartache, distrust, anxiety, building depression, and much more.
Dear best friend, you walked into my world like the gentle kiss of rain. In the freshman dorm, on the same hallway I was touched by how you and your friends loved my hair. Though I don’t remember much from my freshman year of college, I remember you and how good it felt to be surrounded my several girls, and admired. I felt loved for things I couldn’t control, like my hair. My hair just was what it was. How nice to be loved for the simple things.
Through all the trying to make sense of things, the wrestling I did, you became a constant connection. You were always someone I wanted to see. One day I noticed our bond had solidified. I would talk to you frequently. We would hang out on occasion and we roomed together several times. I found myself feeling so comfortable with you. I felt safe. Though I felt like a menace to myself and society, I felt safe with you.
Though I still worked through my mess, I loved who I was when I was with you. You were not afraid of me. You were grounded in who were, and in your growth. We both were and it was exciting! I could hold your hand and you loved to hold mine. You played with my hair, and braided it. You didn’t mind that I cried and you waited lovingly for me to get all my emotion out. I never felt judged by you…ever. That was a big deal.
If I was a raging fire then you would be a glistening pond, waiting for me to simmer down, and sit next to you. If I was a roaring river then you would be a boulder that would gracefully, but firmly stop me from gushing any further. I had never smiled brighter, and more confidently then when I was with you.
Dear Best Friend, you’re my girl. I’m so grateful we met when we did. I’m so grateful we have a true and honest friendship. It turns out friendship is real, and better when you’re an adult.
I learned a lot about adult friendships when I was in college, but most of what I learned was about myself. Looking back at my college experience I realize I’ve come a long way and that what I learned were vital lessons in self-care, and how to love (mostly myself). None of this was easy for me. I put myself through hell and back. I couldn’t relax, or enjoy very much of my time, but I enjoyed every moment with you.
My elementary school self is blown away by how my life has changed, how I’ve grown into myself, and that I have a best friend that is beyond any expectation. Before I started college if someone had told me that at some point during my time there I would meet a girl from Kenya, who would one day become my best friend, the butter to my bread, the color to my blank page, I would not have believed them. I would not have imagined that I’d have a best friend from a totally different country, who was kind, loving, and wonderful in so many ways.
Dear Best Friend, you are beautiful. I love you for your soul, your heart, your kindness, your gentle quiet nature, your fun side, your thick black hair, and your lush chocolate colored skin. I’m grateful you don’t get offended so easily, and you know that I would never hurt you. I’m grateful you’re not afraid to see every color that I express. I feel like a masterpiece with you as my best friend.
Somehow life after college has pulled us in different directions. You’re in California and I’ve landed in Florida for now, but for the first time in my life the distance doesn’t scare me. That is a big deal for me. For many years, pretty much most of life, I felt like I had to constantly text my friends to maintain a connection, and so that they wouldn’t forget me. I felt very far away from all my friends, since pretty much all of them lived some where else. I thought the distance and the daily activities my friends had were going to create a break in our connection, like a rubber band that can easily be snapped, I felt my friends were going to leave me. So I dedicated myself for my years to trying to hold on to those people, and I tried very hard when I felt like a friendship was turning into a rubber band.
For the first time in my life I don’t have to hold on so tightly. I’ve learned that distance does not dictate connection. I’ve learned that there must be an equal, and solid give-and-take for a friendship to truly work. But mostly I’ve learned that I need a friend who is alive inside, and excited about their own growth. I need a friend who doesn’t need me, but instead wants me, and I want them in return. I’m proud to say that for the first time in my life there is a beautiful and colorful space in my heart shaped like a bolt of lightning. This space, dear best friend, is where I hold you in my heart. It is reserved just for you. No one else can touch it and it will never fade. Our hearts are bolted together and I didn’t have to make it happen. It just happened. I’m so grateful.
We will continue to work though our separate messes, but we’ll get through it together. I’m so undeniably grateful for you!
All my love,
Your bestie ❤️