June 8 is National Best Friends Day! Woohoo!
While some of you might have that one special friend, here are actually a few people I consider my closest friends. While I’m not the kind of person who has one bff, I used to be.
Here’s what changed…
For pretty much my entire young life, I had one best friend. That’s how it’s supposed to be—TV and movies told me so, and as an obedient American, I obeyed. I had one best friend, and that was it. The pressure on young girls in this culture to have a best friend cannot be overstated—it’s huge. You’re supposed to talk with them a lot, sometimes dress alike, do things together before you do them with anyone else, tell them your deepest secrets, they tell you theirs, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.
But what I discovered late in elementary school (somewhere around 5th grade), was that this concept of one best friend for life is kind of a huge lie. Friendships shift as rapidly as we shift. As we change, the mechanisms we have in place—i.e. friendships—also change.
But I was told it wasn’t. I was made to believe that when my bff started hanging out with the pretty, popular girls, that I was being left behind. That I was less than. That I did not deserve that life. I consider this a turning point in my life socially and it stays with me to this day.
After said bff became popular and I did not, I went on to make other friendships. I made deep connections with a few people, not just one. Junior high school was much more gratifying for me as I found my footing and started making active choices about who I did and didn’t want to hang out with. I spent a lot of time with the punk kids in the hallways during recess and lunch in high school. I followed around a certain black-haired misfit and wrote poems for him and dreamt of being friends with all of the kids he was friends with.
Strong friendships were maintained through letter writing for many years of my life. It was within these letters upon letters that the true me was expressed. My friends who I only saw a few times a year knew me better than the kids in the schoolyard. There was more to me than what I could communicate in 20 minutes of recess or 45 minutes of lunch.
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I entered college right off of the set of Blossom, and I did not have a best friend at that time. I spent most of my time with my mother when I was on the Blossom set, and while she and I always had a mom/daughter relationship which was not like being besties, she definitely formed a lot of my social development from the time I was 14-19.
So in college, I made new friends. My closest friend from college is still one of my closest friends now. We share silliness, wisdom, psychological interests, and musical taste. Another close friend I ended up dating, marrying, and having two kids with. We were pretty tight and still are! I made female friends in college, too, although that was always a bit harder for me. I tended to like things that, statistically speaking, had more guys around than girls, such as watching WWE, lifting weights, and taking science classes. Girls were outnumbered to such a degree that it’s amazing I met any girls in some of my classes!
Post-college, I felt a need to have friends who had very similar lives to mine. I made mom friends who were parenting at the same time and in similar ways as me. That shared experience and knowledge formed strong bonds between me and several women I still am blessed to have in my life. These are the women I can tell the deepest details of my parenting struggles to and who tell me it’s going to be okay, and that I’m not a horrible mom. One such friend gave me a mother’s day card that said on the front “You’re a freaking great mom” and inside, she wrote in detail the things she loves about how I help my children thrive. It meant the world to me and it’s on my fridge right now.
I have done a tremendous amount of work on my psychological self, and there are women in my life who walk the same path with me. They know my deepest, darkest secrets, and they are closest to my struggles. I am closest to theirs as well. These are very deep, significant friendships. These are the people who affirm my challenges and have walked a path of strength and beauty despite theirs. These friends inspire me and lift me up.
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Almost 10 years ago, I made one friend whose brain works the most similar to mine in many ways. I most typically call him my bff and I think he is the person who knows the most things about me. While some of my friends may not always know what’s going on in every part of my life, this guy knows it all whether he likes it or not. From how my tummy is feeling to how my heart is healing, to what my financial concerns are to which X-Men character I most feel like on any given day.
And so on National Best Friends Day, I honor all of the different friends in my life. The ones who know everything about everything, and the ones who know more than everything about one thing about me. To all of you out there, thank you!