Day three has brought me to something that I am most grateful for two reasons: advice and laughter. Today I am taking the time to acknowledge the people in my life who I am lucky enough to call a friend.
My girl friends are my source of sharing giggles, tears, good news, bad news, and lots of pizza. My guy friends just make me laugh. Friends have helped me overcome the fear of new places and new things, and taught me how to care for someone other than just yourself.
I began making friends as a toddler, because my mom enjoyed setting up playdates and playing Barbies and Princess dress up with a bunch of little girls. In elementary school, I quickly established my friend group, and even had people to sit with at lunch, despite having a special “allergy-friendly” table. This was one of the first times I understood sacrifice on a friendship level: my first-grade friends decided to eat turkey instead of peanut-butter sandwiches. Talk about a hard decision!
Now, friendship typically goes through a strange stage in middle/high school, because everybody starts growing and changing and trying to fit in. In this time of adjustments and adapting, people need to focus on themselves and their own needs before they think about others. Therefore, some friends end up not staying friends, and just become “someone I used to know.” And that’s okay too.
In my first few years of upper education, I was forced to make new friends due to a new school. This in itself wasn’t the difficult part; I like meeting new people. The hard part was trying to blend in. As a new kid, it often feels like I missed every inside joke and didn’t know how to speak the language anymore. But I pushed onwards, and began creating the jokes and learning how to communicate.
Unfortunately in doing so, I lost communication with myself, and my family at times. I forgot that at the end of the day, the closest friend I would ever have is myself, and looking back, I really mistreated this person.
After a realization that I was neglecting the longest friendship I’d ever had, I decided that the only way I could escape the person I had become on the outside was to have a conversation with the person I had become on the inside.
Coaxing myself out of the hiding spot in my brain, I came to understand what I needed to succeed. I came to understand what I needed to freaking breathe. I had stuffed and suffocated myself into a corner for nearly four years just to make room for people who I don’t even talk to these days.
I cut off the toxic friendships I had conformed to, and I moved mental and physical locations. I fell into a group of people who made my final year of high school so full of joy that I laugh just remembering what was said and done. We have had many dance parties, girls nights, carpools, crafts, support sessions, and trips. We’ve helped each other make decisions, and get over the stress and sadness of senior year. More than a dozen of us even rented a house on a lake in the summer and spent a weekend together, and when I think of friendship, I think of this adventure.
Today, I attend a college of 28,000 students. I’ve found it difficult to jump into a pool the size of an ocean and meet new people, but I’ve certainly been blessed with a few in the first semester (You know who you are, I am so thankful that you and I crossed paths).
In the end, I will never lessen myself again to meet the needs of a friendship that just doesn’t fit. And I am thankful for the countless friendships, laughs, and inside jokes that do.