Best Friend(ship)

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I’m grateful to have “found” my best friend three years ago. It sounds weird, but I see our friendships as vaguely ‘magical’–a sort of fate, of meeting a person you can automatically be yourself with. Someone who gives you shit, someone whom you give shit, someone whose flaws you’re aware of and vice versa and accept anyways. Like, that shit is hard to find. It’s already hard to find people you can be utterly comfortable around, whether you’re feeling moody or overly excitable or incredibly confused. But to find someone whose hair you’ll get into, who’ll get into your hair, and will still be your best friend, true and through–that’s not common. Someone who’s there, and not just when it’s convenient: well, my, oh, my. You’d be surprised, or maybe not, at how fast people’ll chunk up the deuces when things get real. Or unpleasant.

To be frank, I’ve had a whole string of friendships that soured at some point, got weird or complex or messy, that either got better or just weren’t anymore. And sometimes I’ll forget that, but then something’ll remind me. Maybe a dream or conversation or social media post. And then I’m reminded of why I avoid groups of girls, am biased towards one-on-one friendships, am irritated by highly defensive people (maybe the last one’s just a personal thing), etc. The reality of having had weird and muddy and possibly shitty relationships makes me appreciate the current relationships in my life. The ones that are, for lack of better word, clean. With the closest people in my life, it’s easy. There’s unwavering support, no resentment, genuine kindness, and contentedness. We’re not erupting in fights every Thursday or secretly being passive aggressive or what-have-you’s.

Every year I feel like writing a little best friend appreciation post, about how happy I am to have certain people with whom I can be weird or moody or just real around. So that’s this and this is that, my annual spurt of gratitude post.

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Night Out

The streets were bright and packed, a hive of buzzed affluent energy. Sidewalks were filled with girls tottering around in heels and guys in button-downs. Like college, essentially, except older and larger and less fratty (but maybe not).

Went out last weekend for the first time in a while. Despite the wait and warmth and fuzzy bar-hopping, the vibes were good. We laughed and danced and sang at the top of our lungs, drinks in hand (when they weren’t up in the air). The DJ played Humble by Kendrick Lamar; Mr. Brightside by The Killers, a party favorite; obscure rap songs with beats I tried to find while swaying in the sea of dancing bodies.

Comin’ out of my cage, and I’ve been doin’ just fine

Gotta gotta be down because I want it all

– Mr. Brightside, The Killers

The party ended somewhat abruptly around 2. Birthday girl best friend had partied her way ad nauseam–literally. By then, we’d all found our groove and realized, perhaps simultaneously, that hey, this is fun, we should do this again and with each other. As Mars wrote in her caption:

Things got wild. Things got cute. Let’s do it again.

Pause, Rewind

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“I wish I could pause time and moments like this without having to think about what’s next.”

Pause. The sun set. We were quiet. It felt like the moment when my friends and I were in Central Park, New York. We’d found a pond with ducks and turtles facing a castle in in the distance. So we sat on the rocks, quiet and contemplative, swimming in our own thoughts.

A blanket of peace descended upon us; I asked them what they were thinking. My friend said moments like this were rare. And maybe we wanted to achieve material success in life so we could buy intangible moments like this. Maybe we strived to make money, lots of it, so maybe we could buy peace, calm and happiness.

But wait–no–that didn’t sound right.

Disposable Diaries | Roll 1

God, I love shooting with disposable cameras. There’s an art to shooting film: getting perfect shots are a crapshoot, so experiment; humans are better photographed candid than posed; keep subjects far away so they won’t be blurred; there has to be just enough spontaneity to really make the photo.

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There’s an ineffable quality to disposables that I have difficulty putting into words. I can’t explain the beauty of it except that there just is.

For a while, I associated disposables with old school, low quality shit, elementary-school days. Times when phone cameras weren’t a thing, and real cameras were too valuable to let kids use. So they gave us these cheap hunks of plastic to take onto field trips and ruin. Fast forward ten years and now I love disposables; I drool over experimental film. And I don’t think I’m the only one enamored with film aesthetic. Polaroids, the high-end cool sister of disposables, are ‘in’. VSCO and Instagram, popular iPhone apps, emulate traditional film with filters, light leaks, etc. At some point, though, light leaks weren’t a deliberate digital effect on photos; they were film ‘mistakes’.

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Usually I find that the less planning, the better. Which, initially, might be counterintuitive. Unlike with digital cameras, you can’t photograph a hundred images and delete the worst. You have a limited number of shots, and you won’t know how they turn out until they’re developed. But meticulously planning photos, whether with iPhones or DSLRs, takes me out of the moment. I’m more concerned about the image than the scene, the post than the place. Film’s quick, immediate, doesn’t give me time to ruminate or edit or post. It’s more fun to keep an eye out for interesting places, odd angles, messy spaces, take the shot, and go.

Oftentimes, the photos turn out better than I’d have imagined. It’s a little hit-or-miss, but the best film photos are better than their digital counterparts.

Day One

My best friend and I, we’re both really sentimental and revisit our friendship stories every time we’re feeling giggly (or, in this case, sad).

Like the time I approached her while she was eating a bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwich outside of our first math class. Or the time she sat me down over frappes and demanded a committed friendship, firmly stating that we would not be “Monday-Wednesday-Friday lunch friends.” Or how I was initially terrified of the eight-missed-phone-calls and attempted to flee but ultimately failed. And how, on March 2nd, she said we were best friends. I choked up a little bit, tried to wave it off, was a bit flabbergasted. She was flabbergasted at my being flabbergasted–“what? Did you think we were acquaintances? We hang out all the time, eat together, go to class together, have sleepovers–how are we not best friends?”

I’ll admit I’m always alarmed to realize how much I and others care for each other. That was convoluted. But basically it takes an explicit verbal statement, “you mean a lot to me” (and vice versa) for me to realize that ah! yes! indeed, we mean a lot to each other.

A Weekend Celebration

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The past weekend was wonderful–GH, AC’s best friend from home, flew up for her birthday. Upon hearing that she was coming to town, I cleared my calendar and spent whatever time I could hanging out with them. Mostly we ate and talked and relaxed–enjoyed the weather, went downtown and ate at a Mexican restaurant for AC’s birthday dinner. The weekend passed by so quickly it felt like she’d just arrived by the time she left.

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On the first afternoon, after we talked at squirrels, I looked through GH’s sketchbook. Forgot to take pictures, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say she has mad skills. I feel like I learned more from GH over the past two days, in terms of art, than I have in months. Later, on Friday night, the three of us were sleepy and full and watched Black Mirror and drank wine.

On Saturday, we made cookies; they danced to music in the living room while the cookies baked. By the time they were done dancing and talking and I skimming some texts, it was already 5. Dinner reservations were at 6. We headed into the city to show GH the park and the bookstore. I rec’d Quiet by Susan Cain; GH bought that along with some Harry Potter-themed items and another book.

IMG_9351.jpgWe grabbed some more wine and went to dinner, which was really fun. Mostly we were just super wild and boisterous in a tiny Mexican restaurant for, oh, four hours.

It was incredibly fun–here’s to good food and better company. So yay to life. Lifts wine glass: here’s to AC, happy birthday.

Sea of Nostalgia

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I miss:

  • driving around aimlessly during the summertime, mostly saying little to nothing to each other. We wandered highways with everywhere to go and nowhere to be, slunk into pet stores, cigar store, malls, art museums. This one time we chased the sunset but the silhouette trees got in the way. Later, by the lake, we talked about life. It was too hot to think that day and I just remember dangling my feet in the water and saying some vague bullshit.
  • baking and chilling with my close guy friends. (”You mean you guys would get high?” No. Like, actual baking and chilling.) How absurdly exciting it was to scroll through recipes and glide through Kroger with flour in one hand, sugar in the other. When the cupcakes were ready I always felt superbly triumphant and as they baked we usually came up with stupid hypotheticals. We peppered our mundane days with fun hypotheticals, infused days of dry intelligence with smacking stupidity.
  • screaming about politics and current events. Coiling up on our beds, bellowing on about platforms and figures and candidates. Remember how, at age thirteen, we sat our way-too-young-to-vote asses on the grassy field and perused through what we knew of the candidates? At age fifteen we sputtered our similar views over coffee, all the while putting on an affect of something greater than ourselves. It’s strange to think that that was five years ago–it feels like it was maybe two, three years ago. Here, I stay mum on my views. But every time I go home, the lid on these views comes toppling off. Sometimes I forget that at some point in time there was no lid.
  • nitpicking our own minds with questions that swarmed with abstractions we pretended we could get a grasp on. Spider-webbing our way through the intricacies of our heads outside in the cold. We tackled feelings the way Freud tackled childhood, and did so over Chipotle bowls and glass bottle Cokes. We ping-pong-discussed so much utter shit that eventually we’d carry on like two ships sailing past each other in the night sea. It was ridiculous but it was fun. It was fun to not make sense and it was fun to say stupid shit and, most importantly, it was fun to fall over and laugh and laugh and laugh. Because at some point that was the only thing that communicated in our language of nonsense: laughing.

We’re mostly adults now (I guess). Doing adult-ish things.

It was a really strange moment when, over break, we lounged on bean bags on the floor of the supermarket and blurily pinky-promised to invite each other to our weddings. There were the equally strange moments of suddenly realizing what others/you meant to you/others after years and years and years. (You toss it out casually, you take hold of it casually. But then you internalize it less-than-casually: you made an impact on my life. Huh.) And while uni is fun and has its own salad bowl of lovely people, ’tis markedly different.

(orig. posted on tumblr)