An Open Letter to the Friends Who Let Me Be Me
Dear Those Five Fabulous Ladies,
I want to start this letter by saying that this isn’t going to be funny. Well, it might still be a little funny, it is still me writing. I just mean that the purpose of this letter isn’t to get laughs, it is to express some of the gratitude I have towards my friends, who had such an impact on my life in the past couple of years. And as anyone who knows me knows, I am much better at writing my feelings down than actually saying them, because gross…emotions.
I have never been that good at making friends. Throughout school I just sort of drifted from activity to activity making friends with people who were around, and not necessarily because we actually had that much in common. I always felt more comfortable with my family, so I didn’t feel the need to branch out. This pattern continued into university. But then, when I entered my third year of university, something uncomfortable happened. My entire friend group moved out of university residence and I was left behind. Alone.
I took this opportunity to latch onto another group of gals who I knew from class and meal hall, but had never really been close with. Classic barnacle behaviour. This became one of the scariest and most rewarding things I have ever done.
The first few weeks at meals I was terrified that they were going to figure out that I didn’t really belong and throw me out. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it never came.
Slowly we all became more comfortable around each other. They would laugh at the jokes I made, and even encourage me to pursue comedy as a career (which I laughed off at the time, but I was secretly bursting with pride). Some shared my passion for “Friends,” they made great late-night study buddies, and I cannot thank them enough for introducing me to Thai food!
They were the first people, besides my family, who seemed to praise more than criticize. Not a single one of them has told me in the past two years to try and be less sarcastic (not to jinx it). They knew who I was and completely accepted me for it. They even encouraged it!
As the months passed we became closer and I started to feel like an actual vital member of the group. This was the first time in my life I had actively sought out new friends, and it was working! Do people actually do this all the time? I found myself seeking out new ways to make them laugh, and felt a wave of pride whenever I heard that joyous noise. Some days were more difficult laughs than others. There was not a single one of them that was a carbon copy of myself, and there was a fair bit of bickering, but it just seemed to work.
It was not just that we got along, it was that they supported and encouraged me in everything I did. These ladies would tell me how great I looked in a new shirt, or commented on my new toned legs after months at the gym, and would talk about my gorgeous smile without any encouragement from myself. I wouldn’t even have to insult myself first!
Every day that passes I feel more and more grateful to have these ladies by my side. Recently, when a man in a powerful position started being a dick to me (#patriarchy) one of my best friends said “We don’t need him!” and it made everything seem a bit better. It wasn’t just that she knew he was being unfair, it was that she was in it with me without hesitation. I didn’t know this support was even possible outside of my family, but now I can’t imagine my life without it!
I cannot explain how blessed I feel to have these lovely ladies in my life. I want to thank them for taking in a stray and deciding to keep her. Even if you did let me out once in a while (Get it? It’s a cat joke).
Before leaving after exams, but before graduation (that was a confusing sentence), my friends handed me a “birthday” card for all the birthdays they missed and all those to come. It was full of beautifully written, and that is coming from me, a published comedy writer, notes about our friendships and how much they care for me. If I was a crier I am sure I would have been bawling, but as it is, my joy was simply expressed in uncontrollable laughter, which is basically the equivalent for me.
Three months ago, after about an hour of posing in front of six cameras and parents yelling “Please, sit down girls!” we had to say our goodbyes. It has been hard not seeing these wonderful ladies every day, but I know that this isn’t the end. We still have so many years of our friendship ahead of us, and I am so lucky that it is just getting started. I love all of you ladies so much!
A Thankful Friend
P.S. This basically counts as a hug for like the next five years.