My dear friends,
When I first unpacked my bags in my first dorm room in the fall of 2006, I don’t remember feeling nervous. Elated, probably. I was finally escaping a town that seemed to suffocate me and hinder my creative mind. A town full of people that didn’t understand me, who knew things about me that were both true and not, and who aspired to be Homecoming Queen but nothing more. I was desperate to meet people that were like me–bright, witty, creative, and pretty damn nerdy. Most people probably go to college to find their one, true soulmate…but not me. I wanted more. I wanted a whole group of soulmates.
Luckily, I found them. I found them in all of you. The way we’ve pieced our lives together in a beautiful, flowing cycle of love, support, and laughter is nothing short of true love. There is more to us than the parties, the trips, the lounging on couches–not to say that those times weren’t great. There is an unspeakable amount of trust, care, and guidance that most people don’t find in a partner, let alone a group of friends.
When I packed up my moving van in my teeny tiny apartment complex’s parking lot in the summer of 2010, I was in a state of panic. I couldn’t believe what I was doing. That I was leaving my community, my friends, my second family. The ones in our group that had already left our sleepy college town all of a sudden seemed like brave, courageous heroes–how did they do this? As I drove out of town, I sobbed tears in way I never had before. I was so scared that this network I had created would dissipate as soon as I crossed into Wilkes County. Would you all still call? Would you text me inside jokes? Would you visit me? Would you remember me?
You did. You all did. You all did this and more. And when I packed up my moving van to move back to Asheville, you all came. You all came to say “We love you. We missed you. We’re here for you.” And my words can never truly express what that meant to me. When I lived in DC, I was the loneliest and saddest I had ever been. Not because you all weren’t there for my emotionally–you were, I promise–but you weren’t there physically. You weren’t a phone call away to being at my door step. And it was hard. But when you all gave me the brightest, most wonderful homecoming a girl could ask for, I knew I had never truly left.
When I packed up a moving van for probably the last time to move into a house with the love of my life, you were all there again. You were there in phone calls, in text messages, in letters, and in spirit. Some of you were physically here this past weekend. I have cherished it all. I have cherished every word of encouragement and housewarming trinket. I laughed until I cried this weekend and missed those of you who couldn’t come madly. Once again, I’m left speechless by your friendship–it truly is one of the most precious gifts I have ever received.
How do can I properly write a love letter to all of you when so much of what I feel is impossible to measure or jot down? The joy and light you have brought into my heart makes me flat-out giddy. I get excited when I see your name pop up on my phone. I am thrilled when I receive a letter from you in the mailbox. When one of you calls and says “Hey, can I come to your house this weekend?”, I am ecstatic. I am so crazy in love with all of you. That’s all I can really say.
So, thank you. Thank you for the pep talks. Thank you for the shoulders I’ve drenched with tears. Thank you for the celebrations, the giggles, and the dance parties. Thank you for showing me that I am a person of importance. Thank you for holding my beer bongs, for reaching things that are too tall for me, and for giving me PBR. Thank you for showing me your true hearts, and being honest, open, and brave with me. Thank you for letting me sleep on your couches, take vacations with your families, and meet your parents. Thank you for accepting any and all phases of my film, television, and music taste. Thank you for noticing tiny details in my life, and for telling me I’m beautiful (and truly meaning it). Thank you for appreciating my sense of humor, my style, and my advice. Thank you for calling just to say “I love you” and for reminding me that no matter how shitty a day, a week, a month, or a year may seem…I have you all to fall back on.
You guys are my soulmates.
I love you deeply.