i believe in friendship

Lauren - waxhaw, North Carolina
Entered on April 23, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in friendship and its power to change a person’s life. Not the friendships that are temporary and last only until something better comes along. I’m not talking about the friendships you get over and move on from, I’m talking about the friendships that touch your heart and change the way you see life. The type of friendships Eleanor Roosevelt was talking about when she said “People will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends leave footprints in your heart.”

My best friend, Ariel, came into my life when we were both only 14. I was the good girl, raised in a Christian home, and so naïve to the world. She was the new girl from Florida who did her own thing, didn’t care what anyone thought, and never backed down from a challenge. Though we were so opposite in nature, destiny was determined to bring us together.

“Making my way downtown walking fast, faces pass, and I’m home bound” Ariel belted from the top of her lungs in the middle of the cafeteria. It was her first day at Parkwood Middle School and she was going to make sure she got noticed. I was sitting at the table with her trying desperately to stop this embarrassing outburst. I couldn’t have all these people staring at us. Little did I know in that moment she was teaching me a lesson that I would learn all too well. She was teaching me that it doesn’t matter what other people think, if its something that makes you happy then go for it. Over the next four years we have had a blast getting kicked out of concerts, speeding to get home before curfew, finally getting caught speeding and getting a ticket, and just hanging out.

It wasn’t all fun and games though. My parents didn’t take to her antics as freely and open mindedly as I had. What I saw as new and exciting, they saw as scary and dangerous. We clearly weren’t going to see eye to eye on this matter. The tension mounted and the battle lines were drawn. I was given an ultimatum. I had to choose between my best friend and the trusting relationship I had with my family.

They say that blood is thicker than water but I think true friendship trumps everyone and everything. I wasn’t going to give up my best friend and all the things we shared because my family couldn’t accept her. I knew it would be a constant fight to keep the peace at my house but it didn’t matter because she was worth it.

The disapproval took its toll on our friendship and we slowly drifted apart, but I never regret the decision I made. The time I spent with her was filled with fun and laughter. I made memories that will last a lifetime and I felt the power of true friendship. The power that changed me into the person I am now. Someone who knows its ok to stand up for what makes you happy, who looks at people with an open mind, and sees the world for all it has to offer.