I was pretty miserable the first night I met you. I hated my job, my commute, pretty much the majority of my life (dramatic, I know). Offhandedly - perhaps to get me to stop whining - you repeated some variation of a "pinterest-y" quote to me. Almost immediately after, you quickly apologized for being basic enough to source inspiration from pinterest, and assured me that you're not usually someone who sources and doles out life-advice from quotes frequently printed on teabags.
When I got home that night (February 10, 2015, in case you were wondering), I wrote down the quote down next to your name in my journal, where we were when you said it (Starbucks, of course) and marked it with an asterisk and a note written in all caps that said, simply, "REMEMBER."
"Remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for."
For the record, the quote is by Eckhart Tolle, which I'm pretty sure throws a wrench in your whole "basic pinterest" thesis - but that's neither here nor there.
I bring this up now (basic though it may be) because it's a quote I've repeated to myself almost every day since I met you. I love it for a number of reasons: it's not cheesy or motivational, or even overly sentimental. Its premise is not that life is perfect. It makes no promises of a future filled with happiness and joy, or of a life devoid of pain and suffering.
It's simply a reminder to be present. To appreciate the now. To reflect and remember. To put things in perspective.
You are my person. It's that simple.
In the year that I've known you, you've become so much more than a friend (though let's be clear, you are undoubtedly one of my best friends for life, and you're stuck with me). You are the person who taught me that it was ok to be me - even the messed up parts - that the messed up parts are some of the best ones. You reminded me that it is ok to be lost, to be happy, to sometimes admit defeat and just go to bed. You both confirmed and denied my greatest fear in life - that I'm not broken, that there's nothing that needs to be fixed, and that even in my darkest and scariest moments, I'm not alone.
I spent the better part of 15 years convinced there was something fundamentally wrong with me. I was too loud, too excited, too emotional, my boobs were too big and I was both too tall and way, way too short. I fueled my self-hatred on the premise that I was so different, that no one could understand my unique-brand of fucked-up-ness. I believed that the things I did - eating stuff, body stuff, and coping stuff - were so weird, so shameful, so abnormal, that no one could possibly understand me.
But then I met you. You gave me the words - the permission really - to fully express myself. To understand that I am not alone.
You taught me how to be comfortable first acknowledging my eating disorder, and then how to imagine my life without it. You gave me a language to talk about my body, my struggles, my triumphs, and my setbacks. I have never felt so immediately connected to someone as I felt to you the night we met.
And here we are. One year later. Faced with opportunities have always wanted - things we could have only dreamed of. Scary, real life things.
This letter isn't a promise that the future will be perfect, or that our lives will unfold in exactly the way we plan for and imagine.
This letter is a reminder that we did it. We got here. We made it to the beginning of our journey.
So every time you're sad or disappointed, every time you feel like you made a huge mistake and start to doubt yourself, remember this: what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. Be proud of yourself for getting here, for making it happen. Acknowledge how hard you've worked. Give yourself permission to just be present.
I love you more than words can say, and will miss you more than any amount of tears can measure. I feel very lucky to call you my best friend.