Two weeks ago, I flipped my calendar to February, and jotted down a few key words for future blog posts, added Galentine’s Day (the most important holiday) to February 13th, and then wrote a capital K and a capital M on February 15th.
Today is my best friend’s 23rd birthday.
I finished adding a couple notes here and there in the month and then went back to whatever I was doing before my type-A personality had me drawing arrows and smiley faces on days and events I had to remember.
The idea wasn’t lost on me, though. Wednesday Blog Day. Write an ode to your ‘ride or die.’ I’d never done that with The Smile Project – never just written a post to thank someone so directly. Normally, I would have written it off entirely but something inside me held onto this idea of radical no-matter-what friendship.
We met in seventh grade at cross country camp and by the end of the first week were pretty much inseparable. Despite having all day of school and/or practice together, we’d still immediately call each other at night. We made up nicknames and we had enough code words and inside jokes to practically have our own language.
I could spend days telling stories of shenanigans and triumphs and of fights and disappointments, but truthfully, nobody wants to read about something as intimate as someone else’s friendships.
That’s why I want to write about something else.
The Meaning of Friendship
I’ve been thinking about this post for about a week now. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to approach it. Then this morning, a group text of some of my best girlfriends went off as one of the women came to the group with a heartache. We all took turns putting in our two cents and offering help, support, and love. Please read the rest of the post, but also know that the meaning of Friendship can be simplified down to what I realized from an early morning group text. Friendship is love.
Friendship is about showing up. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing. Friendship is receiving that “meet me at the Target parking lot; I need to get out of here” text and dropping everything you’re doing to be there. It’s not asking questions when you wind up throwing stale bread at sad sea birds at 7 pm on a Thursday. It’s just kind of realizing that sad sea birds are what you need.
Friendship is about confessions. It doesn’t matter if it’s something silly – like microwaving ice cream – or something serious like heartache and sadness. Friendship is listening to the mindless, the heavy, and all the grey space in between. It’s just kind of realizing that bouncing words off another human can be cathartic in its own right.
Friendship is about accepting things as they are. It doesn’t matter how much you grow up or how drastically you change your style. Friendship isn’t so much about the length of the text thread as it is the quality of the phone call. It’s just kind of realizing that no matter how far away you ever feel, you know that person will always have your back – sometimes even in those cases where you haven’t spoken in years.
Friendship is about being yourself. How beautiful it is to be absolutely ridiculous and love every second. It doesn’t matter if you look back and cringe on those “How Many Wasabi Gum Balls Can I Eat in 30 Seconds” videos. Friendship is the fact that those carefree moments are caught on camera. And friendship is giving you an opportunity to have carefree moments…to have every moment together be the next best moment until the next time you’re together again. It’s just kind of realizing how nice it is to have someone that allows you to be so freely unique.
Friendship is about the little things. It’s remember their favorite Girl Scout cookie or sending them an article about social justice that you know they would just love. Friendship is shared silence, drinking apple cider and walking through a festival campground and not caring that nobody has really spoken in twenty minutes. It’s just kind of realizing what it feels like to be heard and to be understood and to be trusted and believed in.
I have been blessed with amazing friends. I have also struggled with the effects of letting people into my life who abused my kindness. Having had the kind of friendships that blossom and experienced the kind that wilt into nothing, I understand both sides of the coin.
But this post isn’t about toxic relationships or lost time.
This post is one for the friend who never gave up on you, who always believed in you, and who constantly pushed you to become the best version of yourself.
Go call your best friend. Tell them you love them. And thank them for all the immeasurable ways they have changed your life.