this picture circa 2010 aptly captures our friendship. we’re not terribly photogenic, and we often end up on strange detours like obscure, nudist hot springs in the middle of the mountains instead of picturesque outings that are immaculately recorded onto social media. we’ve had our fights, our ups and downs, and our phases of growing apart; but on the whole, we’ve grown together and closer than ever before.
my two oldest college acquaintances are intelligent, kind, and hard-working girls whom i’m proud to call my best friends. it’s still incredible for me to fathom that we’ve literally grown into women who have achieved some of the dreams we talked about during our late night pillow talk sessions in the dorm room. i used to spend days in their room because i was so afraid of spiders invading my room next door. i honestly don’t remember everything that we did at the age of seventeen, eighteen because so much of our time was consumed idly while drawing up lists of ideal, fictional types and doing Photo Booth shoots. on thursday nights, boys from the neighboring all-boys dorm would come serenade us girls in the courtyard, and on saturdays, we were treated to the amplified concert music at the venue next to us. we went on donut runs at 1 am and sometimes, on the weekends, meandered onto the trails in the surrounding hills.
this picture was taken right at the beginning of our junior year in college, when one of my best friends and i moved into our first “real” apartment. the microwave was awkwardly positioned at the end of a wooden table (which i believe we got off craigslist), and the brightly colored paper plates filled with an odd variety of vegan and Asian food. we weren’t old enough yet to go to fancy bars, sample charcuterie at finer restaurants, or buy our own furniture.
having momentarily been transported back to this lifestyle this past year, it’s been a humbling experience to rediscover my kindred spirits who have truly supported me when it got really hard (or as one of my besties says, when shit hits the fan). i can’t count the number of times i broke down and called one of them in tears, and then ended those calls laughing (chortling, really). when i was at my worst — when i felt my worst, when i thought the worst — they embraced me miles away with open arms and empowered me to work harder. when i had yet another existential meltdown and questioned why i chose to pursue a path, they reminded me of my passion and conviction.
there’s not enough talk out there about the hardships embedded in the process of chasing after one’s dreams, let alone the sheer magnitude of hard work it takes to stay positive and grounded on a daily basis. we value independence, strength, power, and success, yet often we overlook the aspects of dependence, vulnerability, collaboration, and failure that can be necessary to attaining the fruition of those values. there should be more open dialogue about the benefit — in fact, the necessity — of relying on others and asking people for help.
my posts lately may have been more sentimental than usual, but i feel pretty strongly that we should be able to openly share our struggles. showing vulnerability, particularly in today’s political climate, should be a sign of strength and not weakness. i’ve always prided myself on self-sufficiency, but my pride has often blinded me from the virtue of counting on others for support. figuring things out on your own doesn’t make you a better person per se, and having the courage to accept and use that lifeline to another should be commended.
finding kindred spirits who can revive our faith in ourselves is truly a beautiful thing.