The law of attraction states that like attracts like but in my experience I have found that just as often opposites attract. That is the most accurate way to describe the friendship between myself and one of my oldest and dearest friends Jane*. Growing up we were the quintessential Odd Couple, a contrasting duo much like Batman and Robin or the essence of yin and yang. We met in our last year of high school and even though we were polar opposites we instantly gravitated towards each other. I was inherently quiet, she was hilariously loud. I was painfully sensible; she knew how to be a little reckless without breaking the rules.
We were friends from day one and twenty five years later I still love the way she remembers me from “before” – before adulthood tried to mold us into responsible, mature individuals, before we had to “grow up,” back when our whole life lay spread out before us like an exciting oasis on the horizon and anything and everything was still possible.
The public are so quick to judge those who appear on reality TV shows and admittedly it’s easy to do, when you only see one-dimensional snippets of a person’s life edited for the camera. But when you know someone, when you have grown up with them by your side, you know – in the same way you know the sun will set tonight – that there is more to the picture than what initially meets the eye.
Someone once said that everyone you meet – whether they are superstar wealthy or dirt poor – is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something. The same truth applies to those who appear on TV – they are no different from you and me. They all have their own personal insecurities and challenges just like everyone else in this world – no one is exempt from it.
Except of course my friend Jane has definitely always had more confidence than the average teen. As Coco Chanel once said “beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself” and that pretty much summed up Jane to a tee. She naturally had enough confidence to share with the entire room and guess what?
She wasn’t obnoxious about it – instead she generously spread this indisputable self-assurance wherever she went. Still to this day she has no hesitation admitting she is great but that doesn’t mean she thinks she is any better than anyone else. To the contrary she gives a lift to anyone who needs it.
As a teen, this is what I loved and needed most in a friend. While I kept her grounded; she encouraged me to reach for the stars. She oozed an innate confidence that wasn’t arrogant – in fact it was comforting and contagious. What better advice to hear as a teen than the words “let’s not put up with crap, we deserve better.” She taught me not to cry over boys who weren’t worth even a mil of our tears. She encouraged me to dance like no one was watching because the soundtrack to life was worth dancing to.
She took me on rides that I would have never gone on if I wasn’t seated in the passenger seat, and my levelheadedness saved us both from attempting any seriously-too-crazy-we-may-really-regret-this road-trips. To this day she is without a doubt one of my funniest and most loyal friends. We still sometimes squabble like sisters but we have known each other long enough to respect each other’s opinions.
She has always believed that a lion shouldn’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep and that is one of my favorite things about her. In a world where everyone tries so hard to fit in she has never being afraid to stand out because she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. She has always walked to the beat of her drum because as they say: live your own life, for you will die your own death.
If you had told me twenty five years ago that one day I would be fulfilling my dream as a writer and she would be a reality TV star I would have had my qualms – whereas Jane, she wouldn’t have doubted it for even a minute…
Note: Names have been changed to protect the guilty