I’m one of those people who are fortunate enough to say that I have someone in my life who I have been friends with since we were both 8 years old. Our friendship has been through a lot. There were times in our lives where the flame had threatened to die but somehow kept on burning, even through the seasons of our lives where we were ready to give up on each other.
Throughout the last 18 years, I have acquired many lessons just from being in her presence. Some of these lessons were useful in literal ways, and some served their purpose metaphorically. However, if not for her and all she has taught me throughout the years, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
She is the one to thank for the graveyard of half-cooked Macaroni noodles that can now be found behind the stove in my kitchen. I like to think of these lost noodles as the people in my life who never stuck around. The ones who truly care would’ve endured the heated, messy moments of my life and accepted my troubled waters long enough to stick around in a way that mattered. Even if I tried to push them away or flick them at the wall, they would have stuck around. So shout out to her for being my bravest noodle. See what I did there?
Let them see the fate that awaits them if they decide to cross you. The dead spiders that adorn my walls remind me that you don’t always have to cover up the evidence of the ugly things that you have overcome. Don’t cover those bags under your eyes that reveal the struggles with sleep that you had the night before. Wear them proudly. Let the world know you were strong enough to get out of bed despite your sleep deprivation, and let the Sandman know that you’re not afraid of his bitch ass and he better square up for round two, because you’re coming for him if he doesn’t come for you.
If you try to shave in the same direction that the hair is growing, it just isn’t going to work. The same lesson can be applied to life. If you go with the flow of everyone else, the results are going to be less impactful; less astonishing. We all want to accomplish something in our time here. Sometimes, you have to be brave and go in the opposite direction as everyone else. Not all growth looks the same or occurs in the same direction. You have to try something new. Sometimes, it’s gonna hurt. You might cut yourself; you might even bleed. In the end, the results will be worth it.
At 17 years old, you could be the best babysitter the World has ever seen, but swear up and down that you never want kids. You could spend years giving dirty looks to people who tell you that you would make a great parent some day. You could have your mind set that children are not on your list of life goals. Then you can meet someone who changes your mind completely. You can decide to have kids after all and be the best parent ever, and that is okay. Life is about growing and meeting people who challenge you to see your own potential differently. You are allowed to change your mind on what will and will not make you happy. You are allowed to become someone who the teenage version of yourself would not understand. Sometimes that’s the whole point.
Home isn’t always a tangible structure. It’s the sound of Avril Lavigne’s voice and the smell of play dough. Home is the sound of two hearts frantically beating in unison while sneaking out of the house. It’s the smell of June right before sunrise. Home is the weight of unconscious rib cages against hardwood floors. It’s in the prayers against the static on the radio. Home is in the cigarette smoke and pinkie promises. It’s the voice of the other person saying, “I swear.”
It isn’t about what you carry in your veins so much as it is about who you carry with you. Family isn’t in the last name. It’s in the lessons and the matching scars. Family is in the ability to say, “Remember when,” followed by, “I can’t believe we made it.” Family is the best friend who ended up becoming your sibling.