Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Happy National Best Friend Day!

Happy National Best Friend Day from Taxis, Tots & Polka Dots! 

Who knew that was even a thing? Oh well, in honor of such a day, I'm using six of my best friends to prove another point for the Beauty Distortion Ban. But before we launch into the deep, important stuff, I want you to get to know a brief bit about them and why they are such an incredible part of my life. 

When we were four, her name was Aurora. Mine was Jasmine. When we were twelve, she went by Selena and I went by Demi. And like all best friends in the Netflix era, we've taken on a Gossip Girl identity: she's the Serena to my Blair. 

But regardless of the names we hold at any given point in time, she's my other half. We've known each other 18 years (longer than most siblings at our age), and there's no one I'd be happier to call my sister. We've been right by each other's side through it all: the happiness and heartbreak, the laughter and the tears, and lately, all the anxieties and hopes for the future. I can always, always, always count on her to accept my weirdness, get my inside jokes, finish my sentences, and make me laugh until I can't breathe. We've shared every memory, every vacation, every graduation, every birthday, and every relationship. 

And yet, there's two completely opposite moments that stick out among it all; two moments that define our entire relationship perfectly. There's the time we sat in my bedroom, the same bedroom in which we played princesses and pirate ships, sealing boxes and packing bags ready to move me out of the state and on to the next chapter of my life; and there's the time she called me asking me to get ice cream with her because the boy drama in her life was far more pain than she could handle. I said I'd get my shoes, and she said, "Good. Cause I'm already in your driveway." 

What better friendship could a girl really ask for? 

Oh my, where to begin. Well that picture sums it up pretty nicely. I met this crazy nut my sophomore year of high school, not my finest year of my life if I do say so myself. And yet, from his fairy-dance pantomime in drama class that made me swear he was gay (he isn't, by the way...) to his clever wit that he still exudes today, this guy is the one I run to when I just need to smile. 

He has never judged me and never condescends. Nor will he ever. He is my stability through anxiety, my reassurance through doubt, my encouragement through fears, and my support through trails. He's a mental health specialist for the Air Force now, saving lives and caring for others just as he cares for me from hundreds of miles away. And yet, I still call him to scream and happy dance when I have something to celebrate. I also call him when my heart is shattered, knowing that he'll have me laughing through my tears within minutes so I won't have to go to bed crying. 

We know high school friends don't normally stay friends after high school, I'm so glad we did. I'm so glad to know I have someone who will never, ever, desert me. Despite the fact that I hardly give out my trust to anyone, I would trust this guy with my life, and I've never been more proud to call someone my brother. 

Talk about the most unexpected of friends. She's pursuing International Relations, my go-to girl for all things legal and historical. We met in band; she was my drum major when I was the guard captain in high school. Then she tracked me down to be her pre-cal tutor. Then I tracked her down so I wouldn't fail AP Government. We needed each other, and we still need each other today. Her spontaneity is always admired, her wit is always unparalleled, and her thoughts are always unfiltered. She's really something else. But no one will be more supportive or protective of you than her. 

The Sisterhood. 
That's Shannon, Cassie, and Jocelyn, my closest friends from college. Hands down. We met back when we all spun color guard together. Then we took some classes together, planned vacations together, rented an apartment together... Everything. We do everything together. 

But don't get me wrong, we couldn't be more different. Jocelyn's obsessed with elephants and is going to be a vet. Cassie's pursuing business and marketing (though we all think she should be a wedding planner), and Shannon's on track to become the next Meredith Grey as she applies for med school. And me? Yeah, I'm the one who plays with little kids all day. 

I think we can all agree: best friends are pretty great (though I'm sure yours aren't as great as mine). Best friends are easy to love. 

They're also easy to be jealous of. 

I know there are times where I wish I was someone else. I don't know of anyone who is 100% confident in their own skin 100% of the time. Sometimes, I wish I was half as funny as Caroline. Sometimes, I wish I was half as selfless as Dalton. I wish I could be half as intelligent as Shannon, half as quirky as Darsha, half as confident as Jocelyn, and half as open as Cassie. 

Because I'm ambitious, I find myself surrounded with ambitious people by default. Because they understand. They empathize. And they push me to become a better person. But amid all the medical certificates, the grad school applications, the volunteer opportunities, the credentials they put on their resumes, and the lives they save every day, I feel very average. No, no. More like inadequate. 

I'll never forget the most vulnerable moment I had with Shannon. We were doing a bible study about the confident and captivating beauty of a woman together one night, when I admitted to being jealous of her. "What?!" was her response, "Why?!" 

I went on to explain. How she was prettier and thinner and smarter and funnier, but I didn't get to finish. 

"No, no, no," she said, "I've always been jealous of you!" 

You can imagine my response. ....Huh? 

She went on to explain how I was more kind, more loyal, more stylish, and more patient than she could ever dream of being. 

I realized an important thing that night, if not the most important thing a young woman could realize. God gives us all specific gifts and specific traits for specific purposes. Some people will be smarter. Some people will be prettier. Some will be more talented. And you can list off things they're better at all day long. 

But they're probably sitting there listing off just as many things about you. Things you're good at. Things they wish they could have that would make them more like you. 

I wish I was as funny as Caroline, but she'll tell you she's been inspired by me since we were little children. 

I wish I was as selfless as Dalton, but he'll tell you I'm one of the most well-rounded people in the world. (Still debatable from where I sit, but my point is made). 

I wish I was as smart as Shannon, but she wishes she were more patient like me. 

I sometimes wish I was more quirky like Darsha, but she sometimes wishes she was more rooted like me. 

The game of comparison is a deadly trap to fall into. You not only end up unhappy with yourself, but also unhappy with others. The insecurity you feel towards yourself paired with the jealous hostility you hold towards others is enough to stand in the way of fulfilling your purposes that your gifts permit you to do. 

So this year, on National Best Friend Day (and every day from here on out), I'm praising my friends for their quirks, their intelligence, their humor, their beauty, their purposes, and their gifts, while also not neglecting to notice mine. 

June 8th is National Best Friend Day. Tell your friends how awesome they really are, and just how much they mean to you. 

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