I remember the first day I questioned my love for you as if it was yesterday. It was a typical day in the life of any average 13-year-old. I woke up to my alarm ringing in my eardrums, threw my hair in a ponytail, grabbed my backpack, and ran out the door to catch the bus. In the midst of my pre-teen adolescence, I had not yet been introduced to the concept of makeup, hair straighteners or matching clothes.

I loved you for what you were, and I never compared you to what you were not.

Until I did. I could blame it on her, or I could blame it on her mother who raised her. I could blame it on the boys who were hot and heavy over her, but really I can only blame it on myself. For some reason, on this day I took notice of her blonde highlights and sparkly eyeshadow. For some reason, on this day I took notice of the way my male peers marveled at her and her new skinny jeans. For some reason, on this day when I returned home and looked in the mirror, I wasn't so content with the reflection you gave back to me.

It was no longer enough.

Sure, you got me from place to place and on our good days, we were relatively compatible. However, some days your skin wasn't so clear and you didn't quite look the same as she did in the skinny jeans you bought to match hers. The boys walked right by you as they chased after her new blonde highlights and didn't notice that you tried to cover up your budding puberty blemishes with make-up you stole from your mom's bathroom.

It was never enough.

I now realize that no amount of eyeshadow or trendy clothes could change the fact that our time together is unending and unfiltered. Therefore, I have seen you at your absolute worst. I have seen you with the same makeup running down your face because your best friend dated your biggest crush. I have seen you, your shirt drenched in tears because you didn't get accepted to the college of your dreams. I know the aspirations you hide because you are too scared you will not be able to accomplish them. I know that you hate the way your voice shakes when you hear bad news. I know everything there is to know about you that nobody else knows.

You, my friend, are the hardest person I've ever had to love.

I have loved friends who have not loved me back. I have loved boys who still use two-in-one shampoo. I have loved the untrustable and I have loved the unlovable. Only recently did I realize that this was nothing compared to the feat of loving you. I began to really see you when I noticed the way your eyes lit up when you were talking about someone you love. I began to really see you when I felt the exhaustion wearing on you as you studied just one more chapter of your school book because your dreams were more important than rest. I began to really see you when I realized how very much more there was to see.

Sure, you don't look too hot with dark circles and bed head hair.

But honestly, neither does the boy you fell in love with, but you love him anyway. And, since we're on the topic, she was running late today and she forgot her eyeshadow and suddenly she looks a lot more like you, but she's pretty anyway.