While I was considering topics for this month’s discussion, Haley shared a memorable quote from Rachel Syme’s excellent profile of Broad City. It highlighted the deep connection between Abbi and Ilana, transcending mere friendship or business partnership to a rare and profound level of mutual understanding: “Our communication is constant, day and night. I’m in contact with Ilana through Skype even as I go to bed and when I wake. Disagreements happen, but we fundamentally enjoy each other’s company the most.”
Have you ever felt that surge of vitality and inspiration after a conversation? It often catches me off guard, arising unexpectedly during a casual drink or an intimate online chat. It’s like starting at one point and arriving somewhere entirely new, filled with a sense of renewal, clarity, and, most importantly, feeling truly heard. So, this month’s question was, “Who plays a pivotal role in your life? Who is your source of strength? Who is your Ilana to your Abbi?”
The vital person in your life isn’t necessarily your “best friend” – a term that can be both too restrictive and too broad. As adults, we often sidestep this choice with the convenient answer of a partner. But, I can’t single out one person.
I’ve realized that there are numerous women who have helped me embrace my true self, each with a simple gesture or understanding glance. They are all sisters, family, the most significant people in my life, making me extremely fortunate. I don’t have just one essential person; I have many.
Please don’t think I’ve lost my mind (why do they always have to be MEN in white coats?) when I say the most important person in my life is ME. I don’t consider myself narcissistic, but I’ve learned enough to know: if I can’t live with, listen to, be kind to, and love myself, I’m useless to others. This is my mantra for 2015. It feels empowering, like a regular gym routine, and I’m embracing it fully. Look at me, doing amazing things!
My best friends Emily and Hali are just a short walk away from my home – a distance that takes roughly three Taylor Swift songs to cover. Their proximity has brought a new calmness to my life.
Being with them makes me feel supported, respected, and valued, but mostly they just reinforce the notion that everything is fine and we’re here to enjoy life. Emily coined “Friends are the new husbands,” and I’d happily commit to a group marriage with them. We recently had a humorous ritual to ward off negative energies. Their presence in my life is invigorating.
I met Aude* during a summer publishing course after college. She declared to our resume workshop that she was an adept stilt-walker. Aude intrigued me, and I knew I wanted her in my life.
Here are things Aude taught me:
- That arguing well doesn’t mean love will fade.
- That calm activities like embroidery can drive people to frustration.
- That private online chats are invaluable.
- That it’s possible to find a best friend later in life.
Without her, I wouldn’t be in New York, or have the life I’ve built. We support and challenge each other, sharing wisdom and sometimes, we reflect on our journey since our paths crossed.
*”Hi-I’m-Aude-like-Ode-to-Joy” is her introduction. She tells baristas her name is Charlotte.
My friend Andrea is a source of inspiration, allowing me to explore various interests from beauty treatments to artistic ambitions and social dynamics. Our bond holds me accountable, urging me to grow as a person, knowing she is there to witness it.
We met while working at a non-profit in San Diego, bonding over our shared disdain for the community. Our friendship blossomed online when I was in Toronto and she was in LA. She played a crucial role in my return to LA, integrating me into her circle and assisting me in finding a job. We collaborate on an art project, and her holistic approach to health is always my first consultation for any ailment.
A while back, Nicholas, a dear friend, shared with me a thought that truly encapsulates our friendship’s essence. He expressed that whenever he encounters something he adores but can’t figure out who else would grasp its beauty, he instinctively knows I would. This statement beautifully mirrors the unique bond we share.
Our mutual passions range from fern bars to Faye Resnick, exploring deserted towns and cities, delving into the history of Cold War-era Eastern Europe, pondering over Bill Clinton, and admiring wallpapers that evoke old newspaper vibes. We’ve even created a playful game where we gather contemporary headlines and imagine integrating them into our version of such wallpapers.
A recent pick for our collection was “Drunk Fox News Anchor Arrested at Airport Eatery.” This quirky, shared hobby defines our constant interactions. When Nicholas was vacationing in Italy, he sent me an email that made me realize how deeply he understands me. He wrote about relating to my love for various things like sandals, ceramics, and the overall Italian aesthetic.
His email brings a smile to my face, especially during summers when I wear my sandals. We often joke about our dynamic, comparing it to famous duos, and agree that our roles are interchangeable. There’s a comforting, yet utterly absurd joy in having someone across the globe who gets your unique humor and shares your peculiar interests.
Sonia Saraiya is without a doubt an incredibly significant person in my life. We initially connected online while contributing to the AV Club, a platform where the support of strong women is crucial due to the intimidating nature of the comments section.
Now, we’re in constant communication. Sonia is not only a gifted writer and thinker but also a wonderful human being. She has this rare ability to soothe me during my most anxious moments, be it about deadlines, personal disputes, or even minor misplacements. She’s like my emotional anchor.
In the daunting world of online writing and the often insular and male-dominated New York City media scene, having a support system of amazing women is essential. This support extends beyond late-night brainstorming sessions to needing a PR contact or an impromptu editor.
Libby Hill and Genevieve Valentine are my other pillars of support. Our daily group chats are a source of strength, and even though our professional fields overlap, we never feel competitive. Instead, we wholeheartedly celebrate each other’s achievements, fostering a sense of collective success.
Kim is an extraordinary friend in my life. Our friendship began with her envy of my beanie baby collection and blossomed into a profound soul connection. Recently, a Facebook quiz suggested we should live together, adding a humorous twist to our friendship. We’ve even whimsically planned our future together for a time when we might be without our husbands, imagining a life filled with cavalier king charles spaniels. Our bond is deep and filled with joy.
My father is not just a parent; he’s my closest ally and supporter. An accomplished guitarist himself, he’s been a source of incredible inspiration, especially given that his own artistic pursuits weren’t encouraged in his youth. His unconditional belief in my choices was evident when I left my first draining job to pursue writing.
With minimal savings and uncertain prospects, he was the one who bolstered my courage, assuring me of my potential success. He often reflects on how his artistic inclinations are vicariously fulfilled through his children’s creative endeavors.
Despite being in his 60s, he actively participates in open mic events, showcasing that his passion for art remains as vital now as it was in his youth. His continuous engagement with his artistic side not only reassures me of my own priorities but also serves as a living example of how to incorporate art into life, regardless of the hurdles.
The relationship with my three sisters is a complex mix of irritation and deep affection. Our interactions are a blend of love and annoyance, often occurring simultaneously. We communicate primarily through a sprawling group text, a digital record of our bond that I cherish deeply. This thread is a testament to our unique dynamic, one where overt displays of emotion are rare, yet our protectiveness and loyalty to each other are unwavering.
Despite our tendency to be blunt (often rudely so), our bond as sisters is unshakeable. I am the eldest and often feel a strong sense of responsibility towards them, a role I can’t seem to escape despite my efforts. While I have close friends for whom I’d go to great lengths, the connection with my sisters is incomparable. We even share matching tattoos, a permanent symbol of our irreplaceable bond.