This is going to be a bit different this week, and not in the why are we talking about movies on a book blog again way. That Artsy Reader Girl gave us a Thanksgiving freebie this week with the prompt to list things we’re grateful for, and while I could have done characters or books that I’m grateful exist, or just things in general, I thought it would be fun to introduce you to ten women in my life that I’m grateful to have in my heart.
I’ve probably posted a picture with Erin before in a wrap-up, but I always feel like she needs a reintroduction. Back in college, when I was writing fanfiction still, I used to talk about her in pretty much every single author’s note until everyone reading my fics just knew who she was, and they would yell at her in the comments all the time. We met sophomore year of college, but we truly became friends junior year, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. I only have one friend, really, from each part of my life, and I know that Erin & I have been friends before, and will be friends for many lives after this one. She’s my anam cara, my witch sister, and my little queen all wrapped into one.
The first time I ever even spoke to Jen was at an 80s themed birthday party in our sophomore year (I think) of high school. It was a bad time, and though that photo resurfaces every once in a while, I am never going to share it on purpose. Our friendship has lasted through distance when she went to school in FL and then moved to CA, where I hopped on a plane for the first time in 12 years to visit her, and now with her in NY, and I can’t wait to see her new place. I’ve taken this picture of her at Jolie so many damn times that I just had to post it here because look at how cute she is! We’ve gone on more dates than I can possibly tally up, and I know she’ll always be my plus one wherever we go. We lived together for a year, and it was honestly one of the best years of my life, to just be able to always run down the hall and climb into her bed, whether it was to read together or to talk out story ideas or to just do nothing, simply be near each other.
This is a big one, for both of these. My mom is my number one, and she’s literally been at my side for the last 28 years. I don’t know who I would be without her, and I am just eternally grateful that she exists in this world. She’s such an inspiration to me daily, and I’m always so impressed with how much she gets done in a day. She is a force to be reckoned with, and I only hope that I’m half as amazing as her when I grow up, that I keep chasing my dreams as she has, and keep laughing as loud as is physically possible so that the joy just spreads itself far and wide.
And then there’s my homegirl, my partner in crime, and the person I know will always, always answer the phone–my sister, Amy. (She’s the blonde one peeking over the top like the Amazonian that she is.) Our relationship has been so interesting over the years because, with a seven year age difference, things were not always easy. We fought a lot growing up, but I am never going to forget the day that I checked my mail in college to find a letter from her. It was the beginning of something magical, and we’ve never looked back since. I know I can always turn to her, no matter what’s going on, and that she’ll either hype me back up or rage with me, whatever the situation calls for. She’s always right there, my HBIC who’s ready to drop everything and pick it all back up again.
Morgan is my brother’s girlfriend, and I honestly sometimes miss her more than him! It’s so easy to be her friend, and it’s like dropping into something natural every time she’s around. There’s no wondering where my brother might be because we get on like peanut butter & jelly, and she’s just genuinely an all-around awesome person. She’s hilarious even when she doesn’t mean to be, and she’s constantly making me laugh. My favorite is whispering in our little corner of the dining room table to cheer each other on to keep eating, and I hope she keeps making fun of my fajita fist hold for a long time so I can keep making fun of her pizza toppings.
And then there’s the real OG, my auntie, Linda. My middle name is from her, and we long joke that she loves me so much because the second I was born, my mom handed me off to her, and we’ve been best friends ever since. She was in her 20s when I was growing up, and it was like the best, coolest, most fun big sister that I never got to have. I’ll cherish the memories of sleeping over her house forever, and even now, years and years since then, she’s still one of my most favorite people in the world. She just makes sense to me, in that we have the same kind of humor, we always gravitate toward one another, and the way she loves is fierce and fearsome.
There’s honestly so many pictures I could have picked of Jenna because we’ve known each other for 27 years. Literally. I was there the day after she was born, and though I don’t remember it, given that I was one, we’ve been caught at the hip ever since. Whether it’s putting on Peter Pan plays in the middle of our preteen Disney trip or walking through the woods around her NH lake house while we talk about her newborn, Jenna has been there for every single moment of my life. We don’t talk a lot in the in between, but the second we’re together again, it’s like not a single heartbeat has passed since the last time. She knows everything about me, has been there to see everything, and I hope she’s there forever and ever after. Her kids are the light of my heart, and there is, perhaps, no one I love more than Grace, Jacob, and Luke. And yes, I am crying just thinking about them.
Ashley and I always manage to take pictures when I am looking rough because we’re always on adventures with each other! Whether it’s rock climbing, hiking, or yoga, we have conquered some crazy things together. I’ll never forget laughing in absolute disbelief at the wind on Cardigan, or cheering her on when she finally accomplished a headstand on her own, or listening to her yell DON’T YOU DARE GIVE UP from the mat in the rock gym. She is a powerhouse, and I am so blessed to have her optimism and fierce stubbornness in my life. She’s a friend I wasn’t expecting, given that she’s my brother’s best friend’s girlfriend, but we just fit together so well, and I hope we keep adventuring for many, many years to come.
This is a sneaky two-for-one because I’m making the rules here, and I can’t really talk about Jenny (left) without talking about Carolyn (right). After five years of practicing yoga in my college dorm room, in my living room at home, in every space that I could roll out a mat and just groove, I realized I wanted to teach, and Jenny’s studio, Barefoot Yoga Shala, was the first time I ever went to a studio. I only went, too, because I figured if I was about to drop that much money on a yoga teacher training, I should probably check out the space and the trainer first. And I’ll never forget that first meeting–Jenny’s smile and her joy were palpable, and it was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. She’s taught me so much over the years, and she continues to be an inspiration to me every damn day. We’ve transformed from teacher & student to coworkers to just friends, and it’s been such a wild and fun ride together.
And look, Carolyn might just be my favorite teacher on the planet. I’ve taken her class on my birthday every year for the last four years, and I was beside myself with excitement when I got my new job this year and realized I could go to her Friday morning class again. She is such a beacon of fun and joy and wonder, and I always leave her classes smiling. She’s made me fall over countless times, but I’ve always been laughing when I do it, and if that isn’t a testament to the kind of person she is, then I don’t know what to tell you. Her smile is one of my favorites, her voice is so soothing, and she is just the kindest and most genuine person I’ve ever met.
And then there’s the two women with no photo! Ooh, mysterious! Another two-for-one because I make the rules, and no one can stop me. Technically, I probably do have a photo with Chelsea & I in it, but there’s a dozen other people in any of those pictures, and none of just us. And it’s so interesting to me how that happened. We went to college together, which is where we met, but we didn’t really become friends until after college. We mostly rotated in the same circles, and we talked every once in a while, but it wasn’t until she posted on Facebook that she’d finished writing her book, and I thought, heck, I’m just going to see what happens. Reaching out to Chelsea to see if she wanted to exchange books was the best idea in the world, and she has been possibly the biggest foundation of support I’ve ever had when it comes to writing. She is always, always there to write an eight-paragraph response to my five paragraphs of utter chaos and eighteen questions, and she has given the most powerful insight over the last few years with my writing that I truly would not be the writer I am today without her. And given that writing is the thing I love most in the world, I am going to be forever grateful that we found our way to each other.
And last, but never, ever least, is Sara. Earlier this year, Jen’s fiancé asked me if I’d like to be part of a writer’s group. We only met for a few months, and it was a lot of fun, but I’ll never forget the moment I started reading Sara’s story. I knew, immediately, that not only was I going to love it, but that I needed to find a way to become this woman’s friend. I reached out to her outside of the group, asked her if she wanted to exchange with each other, and we’ve been golden ever since. While I’m typing this, I’ve actually got two notifications hovering at the bottom of my screen, these long paragraphs of breaking down the mysteries of writing, and it’s just such a relief to have another person in my life that I can turn to and word vomit at. We became friends because of our writing, but it very quickly transformed beyond that, and she’s now someone I talk to every day, that I absolutely cannot wait for the pandemic to be over so I can visit her, and that I know I’m going to be friends with forever.