Happy Friendmas! An Ode to Besties
Around the holidays, we tend to focus on family—the people who remember the year Grandma gave you a can of tuna for Christmas (true story), the ones who still wake you up at 5 a.m. to see if Santa has come, or fight you for the last sufganiyot. That's the family we're given. But there's a second family I'm thinking about this holiday season as well, and it's the family we choose. I mean the friends who've been by our side, whether physically or across the miles, season in and season out. I want to celebrate Friendmas. After all, 2015 was the year of the #squad.
The spring of my sophomore year in high school, my mom sat me down at our kitchen table and told me that she and my dad were not in love anymore. Her words were, "It's been a long time." Thus started what I think of as my Dark Period, the way Pablo Picasso had his Blue Period, only with more sullen silences, angst, and brushes with bone-crushing sadness—or maybe it was exactly like Picasso's Blue Period, just without the priceless art.
Maybe I was living in a bubble, because I had no idea my parents were having trouble or that their marriage was a complex and fluctuating thing. They were just, like, my parents, you know? An indivisible block of love, authority, and familiarity. Key word: indivisible. Already I was struggling with what would later be diagnosed as depression but what, at the time, I could only describe as feeling like drowning from the inside out and being tired A LOT (doesn't everybody get pulled limb by limb out of the bed every morning?). But the split of my parents, which lasted through several years of therapy, several moves, and my going away to college, sent me into a tailspin. That's when my friends saved me. I mean that in the literal sense. I am not sure how I would have survived that time, how I would have become who I am, without my friends.
This post started out about a moment when someone was an amazing friend to me, but the truth is, there was no single moment; there was a string of them, like beads on a necklace that I wore as a talisman to remind me everything was going to be alright. There was the time I emotionally vomited all over Lauren, and she let me. There was the time I literally vomited all over Ashley, because I was sad and trying to blunt with alcohol the feelings I couldn't process, and she forgave me. There was the time Tucker's family took us on vacation so I wouldn't have to be there as my dad moved his things out of our house and into a condo. There were the weekends I spent at KJ's (and she made me sleep on the floor because she wasn't losing beauty sleep from sharing a bed). There were the aimless hours of driving around listening to "Mandolin Rain" (saddest song in the history of all songs) in Mary Catherine's red Jeep. And there were the countless moments I laughed until I cried or cried until I laughed, and just being around my five best friends made all the feelings—ALL the feelings—not so scary. They listened, they made me laugh, they let me cry, and most importantly, when I got so bogged down I could barely stand, they reminded me not to take myself so freaking seriously.
In high school we celebrated Christmas with a Secret Santa swap. Lots of Bath & Body Works and scented candles and shiny shirts from Express. That tradition died out (as did the shiny shirts, praise be), but our friendships haven't. I want my friend family to know I'm thinking about them this holiday season. So I'll send them this post and a reminder: Happy Friendmas to all and to all a good life. It's better than a bottle of Enchanted Orchid body spray, anyway. Love you, friends.
ARE YOU MAKING SURE TO SEND SOME FRIENDMAS CHEER YOUR BESTIE'S WAY? ARE YOUR FRIENDS A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE?