I present to you a new type of article I will be introducing: Friend Spotlights. These articles will be tributes to various people whose friendships I value (written solely with their consent, of course) and I invite other Odyssey writers to make use of this idea as well.
Earlier this week, I was talking to a friend of mine, Jessica, about my Odyssey articles, and together we came up with the idea for this. I must give credit where credit is due; Jess made the first mention of doing something like this. She (at first jokingly) suggested, "what if you wrote an article just about me?" And I'll admit she isn't the first friend of mine who's asked this of me. But then it turned into a legitimate idea, as we mulled over the concept of writing articles "like an obituary but for the living." We collectively pondered why we don't often see tribute articles like obituaries written for people who are still alive. Don't get me wrong, obituaries are important, tributes to the dead are needed. But it's valuable to celebrate people while they're living too! So I start this trend today. Since Jess helped me come up with this concept, I believe it's only fair for her to be my first subject featured in it.
Jess is from Sumter, South Carolina, but she has lived in several different locations around the world due to being from a military family. She really loves and treasures her family, which consists of her dad, mom, older brother who is married, and 3 dogs. She is a psych major dedicated to helping people and animals. She loves her family, cooking, coffee, shopping, makeup, Disney movies (especially Lion King), her dogs, and animals in general. She has a very strong and at times aggressive personality, which at times clashes with mine (because I can be the same way), but she is also a very open and empathetic person who will go to any length she can to be there for a friend.
Jess currently attends Columbia College near her home in South Carolina, as of this past fall when she transferred there. However, she attended Arcadia for 3 years, which is how we met. We've known each other for almost 4 years now and she's still one of my closest college friends. Between her and my few other close friends, we used to do everything together. We've had to spend our senior year apart, but I'll never forget any of the fun and wild memories we made during our 3 years together. Walking to Walmart in several feet of snow, Cards Against Humanity adventures, all our Dunkin and Chipotle runs, countless vent sessions about stupid boy problems, sleepovers with ice cream and Disney movies, and even political debates. There's no one else with whom I'd rather belt Lion King songs at the top of my lungs or bake gluten-free desserts (she has Celiac disease, which always makes for an adventure when it comes to eating together!).
I don't have a relationship with anyone else quite like the one I have with Jess, except maybe with my 18-year-old sister. A valuable thing for me to note about our friendship is that its one of the most (and only) honest friendships I have. In the event we have an issue with one another, we know we can always lay it on the table before it turns into anything serious. Since Jess is like this by way of personality, it's led me to feel I can be the same way with her, which is different from many of my other friendships (particularly female friendships). Normally, neither other friends nor I will be as willing and able to talk out problems because of anxiety over confrontation, which often leads to more serious drama later on. Jess is one of the few friends I've never gotten into a majorly dramatic falling out with. We often butt heads because our personalities and political opinions tend to clash. We easily get peeved with each other because we know we dislike many of each other's views. But our arguments are usually only to that extent and very rarely over anything extremely deep because we'll move on from any issues we have before it becomes a more long-lasting, hurtful kind of drama. This is something I strongly appreciate about Jess. It's a quality that's hard to find in many friendships.
And at the end of the day, we're always here for each other. We still feel like we can go to each other about anything. Not only is Jess one of the most honest friendships I've had, but also one of the most trusting. We've confided in each other about things no one else knows. And I can always count on Jess to lift me up when I'm in a rough patch. Something that particularly meant a lot was that she was one of the people who helped me the most in getting through my many relationship issues, particularly last summer with my breakup. I still don't think I can thank her enough for that support. Or even just her support through that drama during my semester in France (since due to being oceans away and 6 hours ahead of PA time, there was only so much I could do about it myself). On multiple occasions she was willing to go to the length of trying to talk to my ex about my relationship concerns when just me talking to him wasn't doing the trick. That's not something many other friends would have the nerves to do for each other (understandably, because getting involved in things like that is very risky).
Most of all, I appreciate how close we still are. We haven't seen each other since last May but we've stayed in touch enough that it hasn't affected our relationship. I've said before that communication is key for any kind of relationship to thrive, which includes friendships. Many of my other friendships have faded into the background after too much time apart, but not ours. I recently came across a quote that says, "Distance doesn't separate people; silence does." When I first heard that quote, my ex-boyfriend came to mind, because it was the exact problem with our relationship (mainly during my semester abroad, but even just all the time, because that's how bad our communication issues were). But now, that quote instead brings Jess's friendship to mind, because it embodies the exact meaning of that quote but in the opposite way-- in a positive way.
So thank you, Jess, for being a lovely friend who is always there for me. And thank you for volunteering as the subject of my first Friend Spotlight article!
I love and miss you very much, but I know we'll see each other again one day.
If any other friends of mine would like to be featured in a Friend Spotlight article, feel free to reach out to me! I am always enthusiastic about a chance to shed positive light on the people I love.