Upon reading the title, most women would react with a gentle sigh of regard or even a smile in respect to what I am referencing here. The term “best friend” has become cheapened for someone like me, and quite possibly for much of the general public, as romantic labels are not the only ones that have become diminished by the reality of depth and intensity most significant relationships are characterized by. This is not resulting in my desire to end referring to my best friend Emily as such; but more, a deeper understanding that she, like many best friends out there, is so much more than that. I do have biological sisters, and have my own relationships with them that I adore. But my adoration for Emily has always extended past blood, and also past factors like socioeconomic differences in upbringing and familial relationships. Bottom line? My best friend is my sister, and I treat her accordingly.
This is not meant to come off disrespectfully; in fact, it is the complete opposite. Emily’s unconditional love and devotion are what have forced her into becoming practically a blood relative, and neither one of us would have it any other way. We have all seen best friends come and go, and have had moments where as adults, we are faced with the the realistic pessimism that tends to strike in moments of emotional weakness, where we consider that a best friend is as elusive as our knight in shining armor. But I have found that the mystery and concern surrounding the possibility of being close to a female, so close and so enamored and involved, is not only more likely than finding the perfect man, but is something to be sought after, protected, guarded, and cherished above all else.
We have all had moments of passive aggression with those we care about and are in close proximity with, as it is only natural to become frustrated with a roommate and close friend as you navigate the ebb and flow of an intimate relationship. But I found that the more I let myself be me, goofy or angry or aloof, even if these emotions are directed towards her, Emily would meet me with not only understanding, but a love that would continue to grow the more she was able to see all of my twists and turns, my eccentricities and the subtle nuances of my personality.
As women, we tend to internalize our emotions and when they get out of hand, we blame something externally. We have a surefire way of convincing ourselves that we are not only in the right, but that the person we are refusing to openly confront is bound to disagree. I cannot tell you how many times I have mentally spiraled over how I “know” Emily is going to react, and it only makes matters worse. Not only because she can tell when I am in an off mood whether or not I say so; but because when I finally confront her, I am coming from a place of artificial neglect, pain, and anger, and she is the culprit. I allow my pride and narrowed vision to get the best of me, and I allow her to let me down before she can even try to nurse my emotional wounds.
But each time, true to form, she shows me not only empathy, but a graciousness and delicate discernment for my struggle. I have to be reminded not only to let her speak before I overwhelm myself with fantastical outcomes, but to let her know me, even the ugliest parts of me. The parts that judge her and hurt her, the parts that may let her down and doubt her unnecessarily. She doesn’t hold my heart and soul in her care on account of ignorance to my deepest, darkest parts —she holds them in spite of those. She shows me every day that whether we share parents or a childhood is of the utmost insignificance. It is the fact that we share the day to day- the raw openness only available to those who have been side by side for nearly four consecutive years. It is the sisterhood we did not merely stumble upon, but that we built, brick by brick, by every frustrated tirade, by every broken heart mended, by every angry tear.
It is this sisterhood that every woman deserves and can flourish within, an intimacy that will give her the confidence, wisdom, and peace of mind to go forth not being told of her worth, but being shown. A worth that no acquaintance, parent, lover or partner could ever impart upon you. It is a oneness with this fellow creature that will fill every inch and corner of the word “sister,” which was an arbitrary combination of letters that defined your childhood and coexistence. It now has its own life force, a life force that, in my case, arrived in the form of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed ray of sunshine :).