To The Friend I Never Knew I Had:

This post is brought to you in part by needing a break from work, my feelings, and the kitchen timer method.

On with the show.

***

Do you remember who your very first best friend was? Aside from your mom or dad, what little kiddo held the coveted title of being your best friend?

Mine was M. Her full name is TOP SECRET. Jk, just keeping her privacy!

She was a little older than me, funny, loved everything I loved, and our moms were best friends. We shared Warhead lollipops, took dance together, were in the same classes together, and even started a band in third grade called…

Are you ready for this?

The Frontstreet Girls.

Don’t laugh. We were the talk of the playground and would have made it big had The Backstreet Boys not totally jacked our idea. I’ll never forgive them.

M and I spent all of our time together, and, even though we’re boring adults now (totally kidding – kids for life!), and I don’t live near her anymore, I still consider her to be one of my greatest friends.

But long before I even knew M, I had another first best friend. One that I didn’t really know at the time. She was more of an acquaintance, who would later make herself very known in my life when I least expected it, but also when I needed her the most.

First Encounter

She first showed up in 7th grade when I lost a bulk of my friends due to a junior high battle between dance team and cheerleading. True story. I had a broken foot, was on crutches, and felt like my life was over because I couldn’t dance and the cheerleaders at school were mean to me. That was the first real time I remember thinking, “I feel sad.

Luckily, I did have one friend there to tell me I would make it through this horribly shitty time in my life full of raging hormones and pom-pom toting ding-dongs who wore too much makeup, and, for lack of a better word, sucked.

I still remember the worst one. First name Kristen. Last name Hater. I will never forget you.

Second Encounter 

After the hell that was junior high was over, I didn’t see my friend for awhile, until my heart was broken for the first time in high school by a dude who really mattered. We were fighting, because we were 15 and 16 (aka too young to date), and he snubbed me for a week. A week, you guys. A. WHOLE. WEEK. And I still took that jerk back!

If that happened to me today, after one hour of ignoring me, I’ve already forgotten your name and smooched your best friend. Don’t let people walk all over you.

Peace out, boy.

Third Encounter

My first best friend told me, “Girl, ditch him. You’re in college now,” so that’s exactly what I did. Throughout college, I didn’t talk to her much. She was there, but we weren’t very close. I was busy with classes, studying, new friends, and learning lines for plays and films. I was happy. Busy. I didn’t have time for her.

It wasn’t until after I graduated that she knocked on my door one day.

You seem bummed,” she said.

How’d you know?” I responded.

Because I know you,” she said with a confidence I couldn’t help but believe.

And she was right. I was bummed. I graduated, I was working in customer service and not acting, I was in a relationship that wasn’t fulfilling anymore…

She told me to make a change, and as hesitant as I was to do so, I knew better than to ignore her, but this girl was persistent.

Like show-up-everywhere-you-are persistent.

I’d be at work, and she’d call.

I’d go for a run in the park, and she’d be there.

I would be in my bed trying to fall asleep at night, and I could hear her annoying voice saying, “Make a change, make a change, make a change” in a perfect rhythm as if she rehearsed it time and time again.

So I made another change. And I listened. And things started looking up.

I broke up with my boyfriend, moved out of our apartment that we shared, got a new job, made new friends and kept the old, started acting, and began living my life the way I wanted to. The way I always knew I could, but I just needed a little push from her.

Sometimes that meant I hurt people along the way.

Sometimes that meant losing people along the way.

But I was living for me.

And it felt good.

If it weren’t for this friend of mine, this girl who has been in my life since day one, I wouldn’t be where I am today and have peace of mind about it.

I wouldn’t be okay with heartbreak, knowing I could make it through.

I wouldn’t be okay with change, knowing I would soon feel secure.

I wouldn’t be okay with the unknown, even though I avoid/reject/ignore it A LOT.

But when I need her, and when I find myself calling on her the most, she always answers. She’s the first to pick up the phone. She’s the first to show up on my doorstep. She’s the first voice I hear telling me to “make a change, make a change, make a change” in a perfect rhythm.

Because she knows me.

And even though I didn’t really come to meet her until that one day in seventh grade, when I felt like I didn’t have a soul in the world, she’s been here all along.

My friend.

My best friend.

My first friend.

And that friend is me.

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