Tag Archives: Best Friend

Back in the land of the Hokies.

8 Nov

I’m up in Blacksburg, Virginia spending a long weekend with my best friend. However, though that is exciting in itself, I’ll also be going to a Virginia Tech football game tonight! Though I went to a game last year, this will be my first night game, and I’ve heard that Thursday night in Lane Stadium is CRAZY. Even though the Hokies have had a rough season, just having the chance to go to a game is really fun. Plus, the fact that my best friend will be dressed up as Super Hokie, Virginia Tech’s first superhero, is just going to make the whole experience even better.

I consider Blacksburg to be my second home away from home. Since I have been coming up here for the past 3 years to visit my best friend at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg has become a place that I’m always excited to get back to. Even though it’s different from Asheville and different from Winston-Salem (which is where my best friend and I met), there is always one aspect of nature that I have always been able to connect with: mountains. Though the mountains in Blacksburg aren’t the exact same mountains I see in Asheville, I still view them as a piece of home.

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An Emotional Whirlwind.

30 Jul

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” -Henri J.M. Nouwen

I feel like I’ve been through an emotional whirlwind recently. I had a tough travel day on Thursday (even though I did finally make it home), I came home to find out that one of my dog’s has a tumor, Delta lost my luggage and I didn’t receive it until today, and a limb went through the windshield of my car and it has to be replaced (but thankfully I wasn’t in my car when the limb went through my windshield). For the past few days, it’s felt like nothing has gone my way. It’s almost as if anything that could possibly knock me over has slammed into me with full force.

However, the one thing that I am holding on to is the fact that I get to see my best friend Skidmore on Friday. I’m holding on to that one simple thing with every fiber of my being because if I know that if I give myself even a small chance to stop and think, I’ll just fall apart. Though I know that once I see Skidmore I’ll most likely finally break down, I’m trying to hold it together to some extent until then. Not because I don’t want to appear weak. Far from that, actually. I just know that if I give in to what I’m feeling right now, I’ll just start crying and I won’t be able to stop.

Maybe it’s stress. Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t seen my friends in what seems like forever. Either way, this feels like the eerie calm before the storm. But waiting to break down until I get to Skidmore’s is exactly what I need. Though the waiting wouldn’t really change much, it would change everything all at the same time. Skidmore is the easiest person in the world for me to talk to, and I know that if I was talking to her through body-heaving sobs, she wouldn’t even say anything. She’d just hug me and wait until I was able to get out what I was feeling. I need that kind of patience, that kind of willingness to listen. For so long, Skidmore has been the one person that I’ve turned to for everything, and even though it’s never a good time to feel like your world has been flipped upside down, I feel like it couldn’t have come at a better time since I’m going up to see Skidmore this weekend anyway for her 21st birthday.

Either way, all of this is hard to grasp right now….especially the weight hanging on the fact that my dog, Roxy, has a tumor. My family put our oldest dog, Max, to sleep at the beginning of this summer, and the fact that Roxy may not be far behind is the most heartbreaking thing I can even imagine right now. I want to cry….and scream…and run…and throw things….and hold on to Roxy for as long as I possibly can. None of this is fair. I understand that losing a pet never is. However, it’s just as if all of this stress has hit me like a bulldozer, and I don’t even know what to feel. So I’m just hanging on for a few more days…hanging on until I can fall apart in the company of my best friend.

When in Ireland, find home in the most unlikely places.

17 Jul

Twice in the past week I have heard two different Irish cover bands play “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show. Other than “Wagon Wheel” being one of my favorite songs in general, it’s also a song that speaks of North Carolina, my home state. It’s just so weird to think that twice in one week I’ve heard a song that instantly has me thinking of North Carolina, Asheville, the mountains, bluegrass music, and the place that I feel most connected to. I’ve realized that even when I’m in Ireland, I can still receive the strong pull of home.

There are mountains here in Ireland, but they are nothing like the Blue Ridge Mountains that I call home. Every so often I find myself searching for the blue hue that holds so much security and comfort inside me, only to slowly realize that the specific color that holds so much emotion for me cannot be found in the mountains here. At the same time, however, I think if the Ireland landscape was more like the landscape that I’m used to at home then it would make it that much harder for me to leave next week.

It’ll be hard to say goodbye to a place that I feel has taken root so quickly in my soul. Before coming to Ireland, I was a bit hesitant. I didn’t know if I would like it or not. I had no idea what to expect, other than the fact that I was looking forward to seeing the green beauty that I had poured over during all the times that I watched P.S. I Love You. No words can describe how amazing it has been to realize that home isn’t always one specific place. When I come to think of it, I’ve found home in multiple places.

My first home was in a small town in South Carolina. It was where I grew up, and even though it has now become a place that doesn’t hold very much meaning for me, it will always be the place where I first learned about life. I think of riding my Barbie Jeep, my gocart, and my four-wheeler. I think of making mud pies in my Barbie kitchen. I think of my childhood friends…and the friends that ended up not being very friendly towards me. I think of finding my love of theatre, which is also when I realized that it was possible to have another family outside of my immediate family that was there to love and support me just as much. I think of growing up, of the days that I lost myself in books because I needed a way to escape the days when the pain was too much. I think of the nights when I made my own little space in the bottom of my closet that was equipped with a light, blankets, a pillow, a book, and a pencil and paper that I used in order to write away what I was feeling. I found security sitting in my closet…with the realization that the harsh world lay just outside. I found out what it meant to dream.

My second home was Salem Academy, an all-girls’ boarding school in North Carolina. Though I didn’t consider it my home until my senior year there, by my senior year I didn’t want to leave. It took a year to find my own place, but once I did, I knew that I’d never be the same. I found a part of me…a part of me I hadn’t really embraced before. I found my true self…or at least the beginning of my true self. I wouldn’t have been able to embark on the journey of figuring out who I truly was were it not for my best friend Skidmore. I met her during my junior year at Salem, and she was the first friend that I discussed my entire life with, the good and the bad. Skidmore was the first person I completely opened up to, and having someone who reacted so positively to all that I knew I needed to say was also something that was necessary. Without Skidmore’s love and non-judgemental acceptance, I wouldn’t have been able to start to figure out who I was…or what the meaning of home really was.

My third home is, as a whole, North Carolina….but more specifically…the Blue Ridge Mountains and Asheville. I’ve always been a mountain girl, but I’ve never been able to say that I have had the chance to live among a landscape that I love….until last August. And being in Asheville makes home feel even more real to me because I’m in such an artsy city…while also knowing that it is a mere 5 minute drive to reach the Blue Ridge Parkway…or the place that makes me feel completely alive. Writing has done the same thing…given me that feeling of being truly alive. Therefore, being able to write among the landscape of the Blue Ridge Mountains…it’s unreal, and yet, it’s what I’ve been doing.

It’s hard to imagine that Ireland has, in a way, become another home for me. And yet, I’m not all that surprised. I can’t think of one person that I know who has come to Ireland and not fallen in love with its beauty. But it’s more than just the beauty. It’s the people…it’s the quaint little village towns and the college cities…it’s the pubs and the pub atmosphere (which, I’m surprised to report, have held more character and comfort than I ever imagined), and it’s the music. I’m a true music lover, and I listen to music every chance I can get. Here in Galway, live music can be found all over the city on every night of the week. I love that opportunity. It’s probably one of my favorite parts about being in Galway. It’s not just live music every night though…it’s free live music. For a true music lover like me, it can’t get much better than free good live music every night!

So even though I’ll be leaving a home next week, I’ll also being going home to a place that I love more than anything in the entire world. Despite the fact that I’m leaving, I know I’ll be back. A place can’t take hold in my soul so quickly and not be a place that I don’t plan on returning. I don’t know when, or under what circumstances, but I know that I’ll be back. I can feel it. After all, there’s only so long that you can stay away from home, even when, sometimes, home has the ability to be so many different places all at once.

Beyond The Waves by Elizabeth Marek: A Book Review.

6 Jun

During one of my many trips to my favorite used bookstore in Asheville, I came across Beyond The Waves by Elizabeth Marek when looking through the bargain books. After reading the synopsis on the back of the book, it seemed like a book I’d like, but more than that, it seemed like the type of read that I’d pay much more than one dollar for. I’ll take the deals where I can get them though!

Psychologist Abby Cohen is still reeling from the loss of her beloved daughter when another young girl arrives in her life-twelve-year-old Miranda, who appears at Abby’s hospital mute, terrified, and completely alone. In her struggle to connect with this deeply disturbed child and unravel the mystery of her past, Abby must grapple with her own frozen self.

Numbed by grief and on the verge of losing her relationship with both her husband and little boy, Abby finds herself tempted to leave behind what is left of the family she once cherished. But something about Miranda and the bond that has begun to form between them awakens Abby’s capacity to feel, and reminds her of the power-and the limits-of love.

The way the characters of Abby and Miranda came together in order to deal with the demons of their different pasts was moving to me. I was most drawn to the character of Miranda simply because my heart ached for her and the mysterious past that she seemed to be very troubled by. Through much of the book, Miranda was afraid and alone. Though that was heartbreaking for me, it was also a very huge reminder of why I want to be a counselor myself. Psychologist Abby Cohen tries throughout the book to connect to Miranda, despite the fact that Miranda seems very frightened and alone. However, that’s all the more reason that I strive to connect with others. Though my past wasn’t as extreme as it could have been, it wasn’t easy. I spent so many years afraid, in pain, and surrounded by doctors and parents, and yet feeling utterly alone. When I was going through my intense physical therapy and 3 intense surgeries, I wanted someone who understood or at least could be there to remind me that I wasn’t alone through all the pain. Studies show that every person benefits from a strong support system. Though I had support from my parents and other family members, that wasn’t the kind of support I was looking for. Even though at the time there wasn’t a friend who was aching to understand, what I didn’t know at the time was that the support was coming.

My support came during my junior year at Salem Academy when I met my best friend, Skidmore. Skidmore was the very first person I completely opened up to in regards to all the details of my past. Every memory of pain, fear, loneliness….Skidmore knows it. Realizing that I had someone to share everything with was big, but once I began to understand that Skidmore longed to know so that she could understand who I truly was, I practically never stopped talking. I mean, it came out slow (the details of my past), but it felt so good to tell someone. Telling someone about my pain, fear, and loneliness and having them not judge me or feel sorry for me, but just love me….scars and all…that’s what I had been looking for, and I found it. Though I know have other friends who are an equal amount of support, no one knows as much as Skidmore does. Once I said everything single memory in detail once, it seemed like enough. I mean, my other friends know me really well too, but I guess you could say that since Skidmore was the first person who seemed to want to understand me for exactly who I was, that’s what she got: the stories of pain and fear that I carried around for so long without telling anyone. The stories that, though they don’t define me, are the truest form of the difficulties I’ve faced that I can possibly show.

Burning Bridges.

2 Apr

“The hardest thing in life is figuring out which bridges to build and which bridges to burn.”

Throughout my life, my mom has warned me about the concept of burning bridges, pointing out that I should think before I burn something that I may want later. The concept of burning bridges for me has come up a lot with past friendships. Up until recently, I was very clingy with friends and often became upset when they didn’t want to always hang out with me. I wanted to spend a lot of time with them, so I didn’t understand why they didn’t want the same thing.

My first best friend Lauren (who is still one of my best friends) taught me what it meant to be a true friend. She became my best friend in 7th grade, and until that time, I wasn’t really aware of what true friendship was. Through my friendship with Lauren, I learned that there’s nothing wrong with caring fiercely about others, while also realizing that it is possible to be truly happy. From 7th grade until 10th grade, Lauren and I were incredibly close. We talked about boys, high schools, fears, dreams and everything in between. She was one of the first people I felt like I could count on no matter what.

During the summer after 10th grade, things began to change. I was going to be leaving for boarding school at the end of that summer, and I needed someone to turn to for support and advice. When that person wasn’t Lauren, I panicked. I had no idea what I would do without her friendship, but most of all I was confused as to why she was hardly talking to me. In the middle of that summer, I got a call from Lauren in which she asked if she could drop something off. I hadn’t heard from her in a month or so, so I was hesitant, but finally said okay. About 15 minutes after that phone call, Lauren showed up with a cardboard box full of things. She handed it to me without saying a word and left. I looked in the box to find pictures, things I had given her, memories….all that was left of our friendship. It was in my hands….broken…and already far away from the person who would be able to mend it. That afternoon, I got all the things together that reminded me of Lauren (pictures, movie ticket stubs, things she gave me, t-shirts from concerts that we went to together, and put it all in the same box that held the things she had given me. I also went onto my computer and deleted every picture of us that I could find. I then placed the box in the back of my closet and willed myself to not pull it out again. A month or so later, when I was packing for boarding school, my mom came across the box and asked me what I wanted her to do with it. Without even thinking, I told her to throw everything away.

When I came home from Salem over Christmas Break, Lauren called me. I didn’t answer. She then called my house phone, so there was no getting out of speaking to her. She asked if she could come over, and I said okay even though the rest of me was screaming no. When I hung up the phone, the color had gone out of my face. I had shallow breaths, and I was pacing and crying hysterically, asking my mom what I should do. When Lauren came over, it was awkward at first. I was cold towards her because I was scared to imagine letting a friend hurt me again like she had done. Without even saying anything, I started crying, and she hugged me, telling me that it was okay. Lauren then said that she was unsure of what had happened between us and that she was sorry. I knew right then that if I was able to forgive her that we would be able to get through anything.

I later realized that the reason Lauren reacted the way she did that summer and the months until Christmas Break was because being angry was the only way she could handle my leaving. If she allowed herself to feel anything but anger towards me, she’d fall apart. Today, Lauren is one of three people who I call my best friends. No matter how much time has passed, we’re always able to pick up right where we left off, and I know that she’ll be there for me through anything. However, every day I regret getting rid of all the pictures and memories of the early days of our friendship. I hate that I can’t look back at those pictures and remark on how I wouldn’t have gotten through those 3 years of high school without her. In the case of the box of “Lauren Memories,” I burned a bridge that I shouldn’t have. Though it breaks my heart that I can’t ever see those pictures again, it also taught me a lesson of what to do with friendships in the future. Now, if I have a fallout with a friend, I do make “friend boxes” and put them in my closet, but I always remember to not throw anything out. If I hate the stuff that moment, I can put it in a box in my closet so that I don’t have to be reminded of the memories every day, but burning the memories…..watching moments catch flame and turn to ash….it’s as if the memories never even happened. And who would want to completely erase parts of themselves? Every single moment makes us who we are.

Dreaming Of Ireland.

17 Mar

Since today is Saint Patrick’s day, I’m thinking of Ireland. And…..breaking news! On Thursday, I got the call that I’ve been officially accepted to API’s Summer Irish Studies Program in Galway, Ireland! HUZZAH! Even though I was pretty sure I’d be accepted into the program, it’s exciting to know that it’s official now. I’m finally going to Ireland. For four weeks. AHHH! 🙂 I can’t wait! It’s going to be such a great experience, and I’m excited to share my experiences with all of you!

I’m currently in Blacksburg, Virginia, visiting my best friend, Skidmore. She was a designer for her first fashion show last night, and I drove up from Asheville in order to support her. I’m so glad that I got to be part of such a wonderful moment, especially since she won Best New Designer in the fashion show. I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud. Since she won Best New Designer, her 4 designs will be displayed in a store window in downtown Blacksburg.

Today, Skidmore, her boyfriend Sam and I got to have a photo shoot by Skidmore’s friend, Sidney. I’ve been wanting to have really great photos of me taken for a while, and I finally got to have them taken. We headed to a field that Sidney knows well. However, Skidmore, Sam and I just looked through all of the pictures, and they look absolutely amazing! Plus, the pictures we’ve seen are before Sidney has edited them, and they are incredible. It was so nice of Sidney to take photos of us today, and I loved the experience so much!

Anyway, since today is St. Patty’s day, I’ve been thinking of green. However, I have no doubt that the green fields around the US are nothing compared to the all of the green scenery that I’ll be able to see while in Ireland. Now that everything is official, I want it to be Ireland already. I want to be experiencing something new and growing individually all at the same time. It’s going to be so much fun, and I am so happy that it can feel real now. 🙂