This I Believe

Charles - Webster, New York
Entered on March 1, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Ever since we met through Speech and Debate, Victoria has been my closest friend. Whenever I need her, I can count on her support. On the phone, her voice is sometimes perfectly soft and sweet. Other times it is energetic or filled with laughter. She is the one who has helped me believe.

I believe in the power of friends to release you from the world’s prisons and to breathe life into you for the first time. In essence, it’s a simple concept, but, like the tooth fairy and Santa Claus, it seemed mere fantasy a year ago.

I remember one particular inhalation of fresh air. It was December 29: the day I had set aside for a little road trip to visit Victoria at her home in South Buffalo, two hours away. Upon arriving, we flew into each other’s arms like long-lost twins. Music was playing, and soon I was possessed by the stylized rhythms of Gwen Stefani.

Later in the day we strolled down Elmwood Avenue, South Buffalo’s street of curiosity and excitement, and, consequently, the home of a yearly Gay Pride parade. We entered an intriguing little boutique called Lab Indigo. It was definitely a unique place, with an unbridled atmosphere and equally untamed fashions. Inside, we spied, in one of the whimsically adorned sections, a vast array of costumes: clowns, punk fairies, vintage dresses, even Rocky Horror Picture Show get-ups. Any normal person would have run screaming. Us? We were ecstatic.

Trying on costume after costume, and taking photo after photo, the truth became quite obvious. Freedom is a costume, and she is my medium. Standing like a diva in an old skin-tight corset, she was illuminated by lights, her smile radiant. I couldn’t help but think to myself, how perfect this is.

The greatest thing about playing dress-up at age sixteen was the ability to be anything, and with her I didn’t have to hold back. Miles from home, and in a strange place, I finally let loose and shed my defunct worry. In that shop, it was just a camera, whimsical wardrobes, and us. The great escape.

It felt wonderful to loosen up. I even purchased a pair of crazy jeans that I found, and, eventually, I’ll find a shirt that matches. Standing in front of her, myself exposed in something truly bizarre, I felt unleashed and uninhibited. This was me. The liberated me. The one that escapes from real life to live in a fairy tale every once in a while, so he can keep his sanity.

She helps me create those fairy tales, a true friend. Honestly, it’s a great thing to have friends, especially friends who will go wild and wacky alongside you in a little boutique in Buffalo. I believe that friends can bring you bliss, free you from society’s shackles, and breath life into you for the first time. I believe that Victoria is a perfect friend. She gives me joy, and gives me life. Life…and freedom, for once.