I am always surprised when people remember me. I have a bad habit of considering myself uninteresting, interchangeable, like I’m Zach Braff’s character in “Garden State,” literally blending in with the wallpaper. I remember thinking in High School, “my friends are so awesome; I can’t believe they want to be friends with me.” And that feeling has, if anything, grown stronger over the years.
My friends are the most inspiring, intelligent, caring and amazing people anyone could ever know. They’re so great, there’s not a word for it. They’re wonderiffic.
From my best friend who’s a doctor – she delivers babies, y’all! She’s part of the most important moment in a human’s life! – to my college friends who’ve taken leaps of faith and moved all over the world for their art, to my LA friends who push me to create by constantly producing songs and screenplays and novels and films and outrageous parties, they amaze me.
I’m not worthy.
I actually make friends pretty easily. This is a relatively new thing for me; in high school I was so invisible-at-the-back-of-the-classroom shy that I decided, my freshman year in college, to wear the most obnoxious, ugliest clothes I could find at thrift stores, as conversation starters. So I wasn’t blending in. It worked, not only helping me meet now lifelong friends, but also giving me some confidence by showing me that once we got past the initial meeting (“that’s, um… an interesting dress…”), I could hold my own.
Traveling secured that feeling of confidence. When you travel alone, you have to connect with people quickly and you can’t worry about being a little pushy, or else you’ll be eating dinner alone… again. Once, twice, three times is fine, a good exercise in being comfortable with yourself; after a week, you’re desperate enough to ask the waiter to sit down & eat, your treat. To survive, I learned how to make conversation easily and how to be myself around people who don’t know me.
Because of this, there are a lot of people I consider friends. I am incredibly lucky to have friendships that, no matter how many years it’s been since we’ve seen each other, it feels like no time has passed when we’re together. From the Indian guy I spent a week with in Australia to my college “arch nemesis” who’s become one of my good friends in LA, every person I have met and cared about has influenced my life and brought me joy, whether it was for a day or a decade.
That said, my best friends – the BFF who’s known me for 16 years and is the closest I’ll ever come to having a sister, the three past roommates who know me in the unguarded way you can only know someone you’ve lived with, the handful of people I can call for any reason or for none, who’ll hear me through my tears and intensify my joy, and my mom, the one person who knows me better than anyone – are my self-assembled family.
During my QLC,when everything else in my life felt frighteningly shattered – my Grandfather died, my parents separated, LA was eating me alive – these friends were my one constant. They held me together in any ways they could, and I can’t thank them enough. I don’t know who I’d be without them.
My friends have made me laugh, cried with me, let me crash on their couches and held my hair back. They’ve gotten me lost and helped me find my way. Just by being the wonderiffic people they are, they’ve made me feel pretty wonderiffic myself – confident, loved, and capable. They bring out the best in me – my most creative, intelligent, fun, bravest, silliest, happiest self. They see my potential and push me to reach it, but they also allow me to just be me.
They make me confident that, even when I’m not wearing the most garish outfit I can find, I will never blend into the wallpaper.
[Garden State photo source]