Anyone who’s ever spent more than six minutes with me in person will know I love to chat F.R.I.E.N.D.S. My box set is one of my most prized possessions and has got me out of many a funk so much so I consider it to be of higher value than my local medical centre and my daily dose of Vitamin C. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve spent a disproportionate amount of my life either avidly searching for ways my own life can replicate it, or, in my darkest hours, lying under the duvet simply waiting for that Central Perk dream to become my reality.
There comes a time though in your adult life, when you realise that you no longer watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S as a stranger but as one of them – a real life twenty-something lost in the city, clinging onto wine coffee cups and the sofa in an attempt to find balance in a world that quite often seems to, well, sometimes hate you. In the last year this realisation has hit me hard. Harder even than the time I walked into a lamp post in shock after seeing Alan Rickman IRL. And it’s at this time, when your life goes from dreaming of F.R.I.E.N.D.S.,to living a sort of dystopian version of it, with more rain, worse hair, and not nearly as satisfying a narrative, that you remember how valuable your friends are.
I feel incredibly lucky that I’m part of a generation of adults that had to deal with Tamagotchis. Experiencing trauma and making big life-decisions from a young age means we can now handle anything. Furthermore I know that when the going gets tough, every single one of my friends is capable of locking a Furby in an airing cupboard to shut it the fuck up and get on with life. My friends are hardcore. And if one of us starts freaking the hell out about where we’re going or who we’re seeing or who might have accidentally seen those photos from that time we went to Benidorm we are all more than willing to stuff them in a cupboard until they can make sense of the world once again.
So this is a blog to celebrate my friends. Who I love more than F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Who can turn my day around in a split-second. Who provide me with more support than my best bra, who make my sides ache from laughter way more than my sides ache when I try to plank for more than 1.5 seconds and who dazzle me not only because they are seriously hot stuff but also with their intelligence, generosity, kindness, fun-lovingness, capacity to deal with me in general and, most importantly, just how badly they all react to alcohol.
One of my closest friends is a real-life superhero. And the only other person in my life who can rival my obsession with croissants. Every single one of my friends makes me want to be a better person and live a better life but over the last year this particular friend has inspired me beyond comparison (all the way to other planets…) You are a sunbeam.
Often I pinch myself at how lucky and grateful I am to have them in my life. Like the time I made them all dress up as 90s kids for my birthday and took them to the back-room of a pub in a council estate in London Bridge by mistake and they didn’t care because they were too busy smuggling alcohol inside my boyfriend’s giant neon mallet. It’s as bad as it sounds. If I could remember more I would tell you. When my friends get drunk and significantly damage things in my bedroom I find I actually prefer the irreversibly tarnished remains. My wardrobe is unfathomably prettier with that vomit stain and every day I miss my bed that had to be propped up with bricks for two years that little bit more.
But there’s one very big way in which my life is the total opposite of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and I’m still coming to terms with it. My friends are not my every day. Lots of them are dotted all over the place, learning, teaching, changing the world, living their dreams, falling in love, living their lives. I want to be selfish and have them all in one place but I can’t because realistically I freak out at the pressure of feeding people when I’m hosting and would fall back on hot dogs and gin as a staple and they would not survive.
In the last year two of my closest friends have moved abroad and I feel like I’m missing limbs. I pick up the phone to ring them and I can’t and that is hard, dudes. These are people I’ve spent my most emotional and outrageous years with and now they’re far away. Who else will feed me spoonfuls of Nutella while we watch Moulin Rouge or sit in bed and watch back-to-back episodes of Orange is the New Black all summer to get through long-distance. You both make me so proud and I am very happy the rest of the world gets to experience you brightening up their day.
In the next month I will move out of my flat where I currently live with one of best friends a) because we can’t live here anymore and b) we are entering new stages in our relationships with human boys. We’ve been friends since we were 13 and thought boys were worse than beer, seafood and the smoking carriage. Who even are we? I’m going to miss her so much. Somehow we have to decide who gets the Harry Potter box set – the second best box set in my life. AH life. This new step will end what has been the most incredible six years of living with some of my favourite people since I’ve moved to London. No one other than my mother should have to deal with my hypochondria so I thank you all from the bottom of my heart (currently in working order) for putting up with me. Now it’s Ed’s turn. HAHA.
My life and my friends’ lives have changed so much in the last few years, in ways I just didn’t see coming when I was still at school. Turns out you can’t just shove your tax return (/all important decisions) in the airing cupboard. Who knew? And this is just the beginning. Things will go on changing. But I’m sharing this right now to say I love you and thank you for making my life so bright.
Thank you…(guess who) For being my thought bin. For teaching me how to pluck my eyebrows. For forgetting those times that time I was sick on you. And for keeping the photo of it as your screensaver all those years so I always keep it real. For teaching me how to do eye-shadow. For going along with it when I lied about my first kiss. For telling me to put water on a croissant before it goes in the oven so it comes out perfect. For reading my blogs and still being my friend (that’s everyone). For telling me to stop losing at life and start winning. For getting me through rubbish anxiety times. For letting me stay at your flat when I was allergic to mine. For never making me wear heels on a night out. For feeding me when I was poor. For introducing me to Korean Music Show Wedding. For talking to me about anything and everything. For laughing and crying with me through the years and making my days. And most importantly, for not avoiding me in public when I chose to wear white fur and pink cord. And leg warmers.