I’ve been down recently. I feel homesick and hollow and generally out-of-sorts, and the most troubling part is that I don’t know why. Typically when I’m in these ruts I like to write, but instead of evaluating and analyzing a problem that most likely stems solely from sunlight deprivation and general February blues, I’m going to write about the people that make me smile throughout it all. These are the women I would go to war with (and for, but I would do a lousy job without them). They have carried me through some of the rockiest parts of my life with grace and an insurmountable sense of humor. These humans make me laugh until I can’t breathe. They make me so frustrated I go full ancient-Egyptian-mourner (wailing, pulling my hair out, etc.). They are my biggest fans and my harshest critics. And I could not love them more. While they are a force to be reckoned with as a totality, one I could go on about for the rest of my life, I want to say a little bit about them as individuals.
P.S. I always made fun of girls who gave their friends little descriptors like “the sister I never had” and “the girl who just GETS me” because for the most part I think they’re insincere and trite, but I do like the sentiment of each friend being something specific and irreplaceable and communicating that in such a way. The ones I’ve chosen are reflective not only of my own weirdness but, I think, of ours as a friend group.
- Payton – my papoose
- I’m going to start with Payton because at this moment she is directly in front of me. Hats is so, so special to me. She has such a sweet, open heart. She’s probably the only one of us that has someone outside of the FSCM humans consider her to be their best friend, and it’s because of Payton’s willingness to accept new people into her heart. She has a child-like enthusiasm about befriending new people and about life in general that is infectious. I feel fiercely protective of her because she is so precious to me. I use the term papoose for her because I would gladly swaddle her and ride across the Great Plains with her on my back. Just kidding. I use that term because I find myself wanting to protect and preserve that openness I so love about her, because that’s something that the majority of people lose as life wears on them. People get used to their surroundings, resigned to monotony, and stop expecting the world to be marvelous. Payton isn’t like that. She’s the one I can count on (mostly, hehe) to go out with me because she has this excitement about life that pushes her out into it. She’s also funny in a way that doesn’t need to show itself off. I admire that greatly.
- Olivia – the subject of a Tom Petty song
- I never thought I would be friends with someone like Olivia. That means absolutely nothing negative about her; I just mean I never thought I would have a best friend who is beautiful, smart, aware, who also who has her shit together. Mostly because I didn’t think girls like that existed, but, if they did, I was certain they would never fraternize with a somehow already-bedraggled twenty-year-old mop person (this is my best description of myself to date). Our interests align so well it’s eerie considering we hail from places opposite not only in geographic location but also in every fucking way imaginable. She’s a cheerleading (?), baseball-loving (???), horseback riding (????) liberal (?????????). She is not afraid of loving whatever the hell she pleases; she is an accumulation of contradictions that somehow makes for a functional human being. Liv clips through life at a quick pace with self-assurance, never letting the world swallow her up in stress, never suffering that paralysis that plagues me when a task just seems too daunting. I admire her so much. She has this Rosie-the-Riveter spirit about her that will never allow her to be anything other than greatly successful in life. She encourages me to lead a meaningful life just by existing. I can’t wait to see what our Liv will do in this world.
- Krista – the Snipe
- If you haven’t seen Up, this one won’t make sense, but essentially Kevin the Snipe is Krista. Let me explain. Here is the first scene of Kevin. Kevin is eclectic, erratic, and hilarious. At the culmination of the movie, it’s discovered that Kevin is, in fact, a girl Snipe with little Snipe-lets of her own. Krista is our Kevin the Snipe. She’s goofy, she’s hilarious, and she hates being touched unless she asks for it. Well, she hates being touched by me under any circumstances, but we’ll talk about that another time. She’s also oddly the most maternal of all of us. While sometimes it’s nearly impossible to understand her, she’s ultimately the one that gets us through the hard stuff. I’ll depart from my Snipe analogy (even though I love it) so as not to make this really weird. I’ve described Kris like this to several people, and I’ve found it is very true: “When you need Krista, Krista’s the only one you need.” At my lowest points, when I’ve felt like I was being pushed down into the center of the earth where the pressure squeezes your eyeballs out, when I’ve felt my most scared and hopeless, Krista has said the things that truly open my eyes up again and pick me up again. She comes in the clutch when you least expect it and most need it. She might not have any patience whatsoever for any of our bullshit, but, when it comes down to it, she’s there, a rock-solid voice of order in the midst of chaos. She’s the only person I know who can embrace full no-medicine ADD kid ridiculousness with me at times but who can also kick my ass into acting right when I’m being a slob/bitch/general piece of shit. She’s a keeper. A weird, colorful, irreplaceable keeper.
- Ansley – my Bubba
- Sorry for the continued movie references, but if you haven’t seen Forrest Gump, this one won’t make sense to the full extent I want it to. Why Ansley is specifically my Bubba and not any other archetypal best friend in a movie is because, like Bubba and Forrest, we face a lot of the same problems that no one else quite understands. We are somehow so alike despite growing up totally ignorant of the other’s existence. Ansley and I trek through the mud together; we hold each other up when one of us starts to slip, and I just could not make it without her. We are both hopeless romantics in a culture that makes that existence largely miserable, but we deal with that tension in completely different ways. I’ve never met someone who loves love like I do, and I’ve found it in someone who is so different from me in countless ways. She’s the yin to my yang in a sense. She has talked me off so many ledges in our relatively short time as friends. She is a source of empathy, of comfort, and of light that guides me through every day. Not to mention the fact that our senses of humor are so similar that it’s surprising we didn’t grow up under the same roof. I wouldn’t trade our bizarre sense of humor, our late-night talks about boys, our sisterhood, for anything in this world.
And there you have it. These women are my angels. The fact that the world pulled us together makes me confident that everything will be just fine in the end.