When I was an awkward, concerningly sentimental pre-teen, there was nothing I adored more than love stories.
I was obsessed with them. Tragic love stories. Happy-ending love stories. Poetic, messy and complicated love stories. Cheesy, improbable, nauseating love stories. Love stories with magic and monsters.
Nothing in the world quenched the thirst of my young, curious soul quite like the lifeforce that flowed effortlessly through a narrative founded on the pursuit of true love.
And to be fair, twelve-year-old me wasn’t that off. Except for the emo eyeliner application. That was very off.
But love stories? Timeless freaking brilliance.
There’s a reason we are all so enthralled with love. It’s the best thing we have to spread, share and experience. It’s the spark of light in an otherwise dark and senseless, earthly existence. The power of love power is boundless. It is everything we are and everything we seek.
But as the years passed, and the world rubbed tough callouses into the shell surrounding my heart, I discovered that the most profound love story of my life was not the romantic kind I read about in those stories. It was the one I had with my best friends.
It’s the story of the women who came into my life at different stages and changed me forever. The women who, like my family, have shown me the most devoted, loyal and brilliant kind of love.
Love that’s relentless and constant. Love that’s seen me through bad hairstyles and bad lifestyles. Love that built a fortress around my foundation, protecting it from the turbulence and volatility of this life.
When I think of my best friends, I see them in all the lights there are to see other humans. I see them as the best kinds of characters. The ones you root for. The ones you connect to. The ones you fall for.
I see them in graduation gowns, sports uniforms and prom dresses. I see them on pink bicycles and behind the wheels of their first cars. I see them chugging cheap beer out of red cups while we closed down college parties. I see them giving presentations, wearing lipstick and their best high heels.
I see them giggling at sleepovers with hands stuffed into bags of raw cookie dough and Doritos. I see them dancing, singing and toasting champagne glasses as we celebrate the passing of yet another year at each other’s sides. I see them in love. I see them excited. I see them encouraged. I see them thriving. I see them beaming with light.
But I also see them in the absence of light; shadowed by the dark times, when we needed each other most.
I see us dressed in black at funerals, holding hands through silent sobs. I see us packing cardboard boxes. I see us boarding flights and closing up moving vans. I see us circled around one another, listening, absorbing the heartache of the true stories you don’t see on social media. The real shit. The wretched, nasty pain that brings your truest friends to say, “Tell me. I’m here. Let me carry some of this burden for you.”
I see us in crisis mode. I see us in recovery mode. I see us in let’s-slam-tequila-and-pretend-this-isnt-happening mode.
And those times, the worst times, are why friendship is such a forcible, powerful love story.
Because romantic love, particularly at this stage of life, can be ungodly fickle. Conditional. Selfish. Fragile. Dependent on timing and cirumstance. Frustrating and dissappointing. It comes and goes, time and time again.
But do you know who doesn’t go away?
BEST FREAKING FRIENDS.
They give you honesty, tough love and sometimes the advice you never ever wanted to hear. But by god, they stay.
They fight for you. They fight with you. They hug you and hold you when the rest of the world gets ugly, snuggled under blankets with cartons of ice cream in your hands and the unshakable will to survive.
They remind you, over and over, that you’re loved and seen. That you’re worthy and strong. That you can and will conquer every stage of life.
My friends, if you are reading this, I want you to know that you are the beginning and the end of my favorite love story.
You are the voices on the other side of the phone late at night when all I need is someone to listen.
You are the stars of my craziest, most beloved memories.
You are who I want to take on the world with.
You are who I want to grow old and cranky with.
Time and distance will always shuffle our hearts and souls all over this planet, but this love will never fade.
Because I’ll always have my sisters; my blood sister, and the sisters I picked up along the way. And that love, that absurd, unbelievable love, will carry me through every chapter I’ve yet to encounter, and every page I’ve yet to turn.
It will give me hope when hope feels lost. It will give me strength when all I want to do is fall apart. It will ignite a fire in my soul to keep going, through the unwavering examples of my best friends. Because I am able to watch them grow right alongside me.
I have the humbling, divine honor of bearing witness to the greatness that shines from the hearts of the women around me.
Each day I’m inspired by their strength, grace and bravery. By the complicated, unique lives they lead. By how easily they can make me laugh. By their ability to be vulngerable, tough and remarkable all at once. It makes me strive for more, and believe that anything is possible.
That’s what true love does. It awakens your soul and pushes you forward, but still holds you so close that you never ever have to feel alone.
That is why this love story is so special.
And it’s not guaranteed. It’s not easy. It’s not futile. It’s not simple and shallow.
It’s rare. It’s complex. It’s extraordinary. It deserves to be cherished and cultivated. Praised and celebrated.
There is no limit to the power of sisterhood and the love of friendship. In case you have fallen away from it or feel it forgotten. Please hear this. It’s so alive and well. You just have to seek it, nuture it and believe in it.
Believe that we are stronger together. Because we are.
And to my friends, this is me believing in our life-long romance and forever celebrating you for the joy you bring into my world. This is me telling you that I will ALWAYS be here for you too. Come hell or high water, I am one phone call, train ride or plane ticket away. I will always be your ally. I will always be your confidant. I will always be your cheerleader.
I am standing outside your proverbial houses, near and far, with a boom box over my head. I’m tossing rocks at your windows. I am holding giant posters that tell you how perfect you are to me. I’m sending you the blog-equivalent of the cheesy romantic gestures I adored so deeply as a kid.
Because I love you. I appreciate you. And this right here, will always be my favorite love story of them all.