Keeping It Real

I got a rock.

One of the goals I have for myself every year, it seems, is to write more. I feel like I start the year off strong with so many ideas of what I might want to write about. Sometimes I’ll write multiple blogs at the same time and save them for later, other times I try to do that and get burned out from writing, so I never finish them. Almost every year looks the same as this one has – a bunch of blog posts at the beginning of January and then radio silence for a month. Here we are, February 13th, exactly one month since my last blog post and I’m writing about how I haven’t been writing. Sounds about right.

I chose the word, or phrase, “self-investment” for 2023. While I still think it fits the goals that I have for myself for the rest of this year, the words that have resonated with me more recently are: “authentic” and “reflection”. One of the reasons I struggle to be consistent with my blog writing is that it doesn’t always feel authentic. Some people may find strength or inspiration in the phrase “fake it ’til you make it” but I just can’t be fake. I feel most inspired to write when I am reflecting, and that feels authentic. Today I’m in one of those moods – I’m feeling like being authentic, and I’ve been reflecting, and here we are.

Several of my blog posts have focused on friendships. I’ve written about friendships in the present-tense that mean so much to me, I’ve written about feeling like I don’t belong anywhere as far as groups of friends go, I’ve written about friendships in the past-tense that meant so much to me but now are over and have made me question so much about myself. Today I’m writing about friendship again, with hopes that maybe someone who needs to read a post like this will find it.

Until recently, it seemed like all the memes and TikToks and whatever else on social media I would come across about “best friends” would never fit me, and I felt like it meant I’ve never had a best friend, and I could never have a best friend. They talked about how you know each other better than anybody else does, how you grew up together, how you talk or see each other every day, go on trips together, raise your kids together… I think you’re getting the picture of what I’m talking about. You’ve probably seen them. The cute videos with pictures of best friends throughout the years: a cute picture from kindergarten of them hugging each other, the awkward picture from middle school with braces and bad hair, the cringey fake tan in prom dresses in high school, the pictures from college where it was obvious that they had too much to drink, the wedding photos, the family vacation photos… you’re picturing it, right?

Those videos make me feel some type of way, because I could make a video of me and the person that I used to call my best friend right up until our weddings. We have all of those pictures together. She was the person that I knew better than anybody else. Her family was my family. She was that perfect definition of a best friend, until she wasn’t. And then I thought, “Well, that’s it. I’ll never have that again.” Even when I did find friends that I felt super close to and felt like we could do everything together and have so much fun together, it always felt like there was this big part that was missing. The growing up part. It seemed like everyone else that I knew in real life or that I found on social media had at least one friend that they had known FOR-EVER that they were still so close to.

Then the algorithm changed for me. I started to see videos that said, “Are you even best friends if you don’t have a single picture together?” “You know you’re best friends when you have three different chats on three different social media platforms at the same time.” And the one that most recently hit me right in the feels was the same girl saying different things about best friends to a clip from Charlie Brown. The clip goes: “I got 5 pieces of candy! I got a chocolate bar! I got a quarter!” and then poor Charlie says, “I got a rock.” In the video, the captions to each read: “My best friend is only 10 minutes away!” “My best friend and I go to the same college!” “My best friend and I live together!” and then the last one (“I got a rock”) says: “My best friend is 1200 miles away.”

Like anything else, seeing other people feeling the same kind of way, going through the same things, makes me feel less alone. I’m not the only person who doesn’t have a best friend that they grew up with. I’m not the only person who doesn’t really feel like they have a best friend. I’m not the only one who actually does have a best friend, but that term just doesn’t really feel like it fits. I’m not the only one who found that person on the internet and has rarely seen them in real life but they’ve truly been there for me through so much.

The more I reflect on it, the more I realize that I did grow up with this friend. We didn’t sit across from each other in kindergarten and share markers with each other. We didn’t wear the ugly prom dresses and get the obviously fake tans. We didn’t sneak out of the house with each other. We didn’t go to football games together in college. We weren’t each other’s maid of honor at our weddings. I wish we had all of those physical memories, I wish we could have done all of those things, but we still shared so much of our lives with each other through the internet. I think we knew more about each other than our “real life” friends did. We could, and still do, talk about anything. We have cheered each other on, cheered each other up, laughed until we cried, and cried until we laughed. It hasn’t been in person, or even over the phone, but it works for us.

So, yeah. I may not have that best friend that I grew up with anymore. But I got a rock. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


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