I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be able to say that I have a best friend who completely changed my life. Outside of my family and closest friends, that may be hard to understand. But for the people in my life who understand me most and witness how much she supports me, it is obvious.
My best friend is loud. She can sometimes be obnoxious. She doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks about her. She challenges me with her liberal viewpoints. She is beautiful and intelligent and supports every decision I make. Even when I am traveling down the wrong path she points out my wrongs but is the first to trust that I am one who learns from my mistakes.
If I had met her when I was younger we would probably not be good friends because I would have judged her as being completely over the top. But, I met her my first year at Maryland during a period of good health and new beginnings. When I randomly moved into a house with her, she was the last person I expected I wouldn’t be able to live without. That opinion quickly changed and from our first one-on-one outing together I knew that she was a person I would forever love.
Throughout our nine-year friendship I have come to understand that my best friend and I are more alike than I ever imagined. The only difference between us is that she was born with the courage to be, and act, however she wanted. That’s the greatest gift I have been given from our friendship. She taught me how to be more compassionate, how to give others the benefit of the doubt, and how to show them the truest version of myself from the start. I cannot express how much my adoption of this attitude has enhanced my life. It has made me love others better and take risks courageously. I can definitively say I am a better person because of it.
I will never forget when I decided to have my ostomy surgery. Without provocation, she called her father to discuss something she rarely talked to him about before---his ostomy. She wrote down names of supplies and suppliers and advice on things I could try to improve my quality of life post-surgery. As if I didn’t already know, it was a moment at the worst time in my life where I knew I would be okay as long as she was there.
I write this because I have come to realize it’s not just the decisions you are forced to make, such as having surgery, that make you better. Sometimes it’s simply that you have trusted someone else enough. You realize that you are along for whatever ride they decide to take because it will be okay as long as they are the one you are riding with.
Recently I was discussing with one of my other good friends that I feared I would never find my soul mate in a lover. He was quick to respond, “But Ellen, you have Claire.” And all I could do was walk away because he was right. I have a best friend who loves, respects, and supports me. That’s all I could ever need.