I don't have friends.
This battle cry has echoed in my mother's ears since I was in elementary school. It's not for pity or attention or an extra McDonald's Happy Meal, but because I simply mean it. I don't have friends. I'm a strong and powerful young woman without a girl squad. I have kind, sweet, inspiring people in my life, but they're people I have yet to experience as true friends. The kind of people who I feel like will never leave and move on without me — I'm waiting on those.
I have my boyfriend, who is my best friend, too, but I'm talking about ladies. Where's my posse? Where are the ones who think like me, sound like me, don't smoke weed like me, and want to pet as many dogs as me? Where are the ones who will make me feel comfortable while simultaneously pushing me outside my comfort zone? Where are the girls who stand by me on a daily basis and accept me for me? Where is the society that I know is developing into a place where this is achievable? I know they exist somewhere in this universe, and I pride myself on adoring them for who they are, distant and imagined so dreamily. But in my general and immediate vicinity, I remain a singular social unit.
My Internet friends are incredible people and they know how much I love them, but the hope and appetite to reach out and drink smoothies with tangible human beings who are on my same wavelength has begun to feel less and less attainable.
These inclinations and empty feelings have plagued me for years. I don't seclude myself by any means, and I even consider myself rather social and outgoing in a lot of situations. I'm weird, unique, smart, funny, and captivating. I am beautiful and not flawed just because people can't seem to include me, and this lesson has taken years to understand. I don't owe anything to people who don't want me.
I'm still trying to digest the above realization, but in the meantime, I've gotten acquainted with the coolest girl I've ever met: myself.
As I approach the end of high school, I realize I have made one of the greatest and longest friendships I will ever encounter. The synchronization of me, myself, and I is the truest and most special bond that I get to use as a benchmark for the rest of the relationships I will encounter. A lot of people call their basketball team, their show choir, or their baton-twirling squad their family, which is beautiful and amazing and so incredible for them, but I need to stop being envious of that. I am real and always have been. I'm the Bernie Sanders of my world — the one who has stuck to their passions and beliefs despite anything else. I have stood by my own side in a high school culture that continuously feels fake and washed out.
I get to sing Amy Winehouse's "Valerie" to myself, hairbrush-style in my bathroom without anyone listening. I get to watch whatever movies I want however late I want and not worry about the fact that Susie Q doesn't like Jake Gyllenhaal. I get to talk to people freely with an open heart and mind, hoping they won't abandon the possibility of friendship, but living with no expectations. I get to focus on my career and my health without feeling as though I will bring people down because I just want some alone time this Saturday night. I get to be myself all the time at any stage in the friendship, with a guaranteed no-fighting policy.
OK, there's some inner turmoil, but it won't break us up. I've learned to endure and appreciate my struggles, and I did it my way.
I'm still attempting to find closure in losing friends and feeling left out, but while I heal, grow, and develop, I am allowed to find openness within. I am allowed to do better for myself without involving anyone else just yet. The tenderness and fortitude I have taught myself will set the standard for my future, with no pressure of creating friendships I feel as though I should have just so people don't think I'm weird for being on my own.
I love being weird on my own. I can spend a whole day doing my own thing, working my booty off on a new story, picking up lunch for a party of one, or even just trusting my own opinion in the dressing room. Some nights (when bae is busy), I come home and feel lonely. But it's a hopeful lonely now. It's a developing lonely. It's a deep breath of solitude that exhales with the prospect of more.
And while I'm well on my way to not owing the world anything, my mom reminded me that I don't owe anything to myself either. She and I have a good, Full House-esque heart-to-heart every so often about what it means to be our own people in our own worlds. She pours herself into making sure I'm doing well, and she has taught me to pour myself into my own well-being.
So, sweet Kamrin, I'm ready to do anything for you. In fact, I think we should get friendship bracelets.
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