In grammar school, I frequently found myself envying the girls with matching pink heart necklaces; the kind that had “best” on one half and “friends” on the other. I had always wanted a core group of friends, like the ones in movies or television shows. Sure, I had friends and acquaintances, but I always felt that there was something missing. I needed people who shared the same passion for music and theater that I did. Everyone who had ever been involved in the drama productions at my high school has said that it’s like being a member one big family. After landing a lead role in the fall play this year, I discovered that it was completely true. I believe in the fate of friendship, and that a small group of people can change your life.
Around the time of the opening of the show, I started having complications with my boyfriend and considered terminating our two year relationship. I was terrified of losing the friends that I made through him, and the reaction of both his family and my own. After our first Friday night performance, some cast members invited me to dinner. While sharing great fun and conversation, I felt comfortable enough to talk about my relationship problems, and sought advice from people I’ve come to respect.
It was at that moment, when my fellow cast members were showing concern for me in my time of need, that I realized they were the companions that I had been searching for since my best-friend-less grammar school days. While they didn’t specifically tell me what to do, it was clear that my happiness was a priority to them. Without their support, I am convinced that I would still be trapped in an endless spiral of depression, living to please others. Since then, I am much happier and choose to spend time with people who accept me as I am.
On a late night last week, I confessed to my talented friends Michael and Jamey through text messages that they were my best friends. I concede it slightly strange because we have only been close friends for a little over two months. When I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket, I flipped it open to read the message from Michael with half-closed eyes: “ppl come in2 ur life @ strnge times, n its 4 a reasn. Take advntg of wat God gives u.” Michael’s words rang so true. My new friends entered my life at the perfect time. I’m proud to say that both Michael and Jamey consider me among their best friends, too.
Until befriending my drama colleagues, I had never known what a real relationship was. Instead of trying to fit in by cracking lame jokes or pretending to know the lyrics to a song that everyone was singing along to, I now say what’s on my mind, and I don’t have to be afraid that my friends will judge me because of it. Whether they agree with me or not, they trust that I’m a good person and that my intentions are pure. They inspire in me self-confidence and self-respect; I’m my own person. In them I have found true friendship. I’ve heard countless times that “a friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you forget the words.” Lucky for me, my friends can sing it back on key and in four-part harmony. This, I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.