For someone who has such a disastrous dating track record and a legendary bad taste in men (if I like a guy, even only to the extent of finding him good eye candy, he ALWAYS turns out to be somewhere along the scale of “clueless asshat” to “full-blown psycho jackass”; I’m like one of those divining rods for finding water, except I uncover assholes disguised as attractive males) I consistently do the opposite when it comes to friendships. Over the years, in all areas of my life, I’ve developed the most standup, awesome, diverse, honorable set of friends, a diverse group with different backgrounds & professions. #humblebrag
Allie is one such amazing friend. I met her around the same time as Dynamo, during my first year back in uni as a full-time student. I was an angry, unpleasant person in those days, too busy battling my shame of having failed out of engineering. Allie was in my elective acco class about detecting and preventing fraud #actuallyinteresting #notboring. She quickly pegged me as someone she wanted to get to know, because we had so many acquaintances in common, and I pegged her as the only student in the class that might pose a threat to my goal of finishing with the best grade. I adopted the mantra “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”, whereas she thought we were on a path to be friends. We did a project together and I decided that I would keep her as a study buddy. Yes, I really did evaluate people in terms of their usefulness to me back then. #charming
We completed the rest of our undergrad together. I look back on my interactions with Allie during that time with shame. I was frequently annoyed by her mannerisms, how emotional she would be, a talkative clingy drama queen (#ironymuch? I was not particularly self-aware back then!) I mean, she would call me, instead of texting! WHO DOES THAT?!?! I was consistently rude to her, short-tempered, and judgmental. Yet, for some reason, she persisted in viewing our relationship as something approaching a friendship, instead of a nerdy association. This lasted close to TWO YEARS. The girl was persistent!
Then my ex dumped me out of the blue. The life I thought I was working towards with him was no more. I was gutterless, stuck in a degree I hated with few friends, as I had spent the past 2.5 years ignoring humans, focused only on achieving a perfect GPA. I didn’t know who to turn to, I was disoriented by my new reality. Allie watched me struggle, and gave hugs and encouragement. Suddenly her phone calls didn’t seem like an archaic form of communication, but a sweet way to check in on a friend. Suddenly, I was the one crying emotionally while she listened quietly and without judgment, and then shared her bag of jellybeans with me. When I wanted to drop out of school during my alcoholic haze, she reminded me of the inspiring disciplined study buddy she relied on, and prodded me to get back in touch with that side of myself. My ex’s sudden absence – the one person I’d counted on to always be there – made me appreciate the people that were actually there: Allie, Dynamo, and Blond ‘Fro, amongst others. #majorsilverlining
Over 6 years have passed since that watershed moment. During that time, Allie and I studied and passed the UFE together, got hired at the same accounting firm, in the same department, worked stupid hours. We survived office politics, terrible clients, always pushing each other to be the best damn versions of ourselves we could be. We worked out together, discussed diets and boys endlessly. When she announced her intention to move to NZ, I was dismayed. But I was her cheerleader, encouraging her to follow her dreams despite her inevitable huge doubts and fears. She stayed in NZ for 3.5 years, during which we texted almost daily, emailing often, seeing each other during her Xmas holiday visits. She moved back home 2 months ago, and the hole in my heart disappeared.
One month after her move back to Mtl, she rented a chalet up north, and invited her immediate family and her close friends to spend the weekend with her and her fiancé to celebrate their engagement, their first home and her birthday. Seeing Allie surrounded by her family was a revelation. This is a family that radiates love, generosity and integrity. They care, fiercely, about each other, and about every person that they love. Yes, they are all up in each other’s business (they all call each other ALL THE TIME!!!), but that is because each member’s happiness is dependent on every other family member achieving their happiness – so yes, they will meddle/help/irresistibly push each other to better themselves. Just like Allie has always done with me. That weekend, Allie asked me to be her bridesmaid at her wedding. In that moment, I became an honorary part of the family.
I spent all of last Saturday with Allie, her mother, and her childhood BFF (the maid of honor) shopping for Allie’s wedding dress. While it was only the second time I met her mother and BFF, I feel like I’ve known them forever. We talked of everything, personal and trivial (although, really, no one can possibly believe that the degree of bedazzle on a wedding dress is a trivial topic, right?) Vulnerability is something that comes easily to those ladies. If I had to label the feeling of that day, it would be one of wholesome, uncomplicated love. The love we share for Allie, and Allie for us. The joy in knowing Allie was one step closer to cementing her love with her man. When I am with Allie, it seems simple to be wholly oneself, yet connect wholly to others. The further I distance myself from her orbit, the less that seems possible.
Girl’s got it. I am so incredibly grateful that despite myself, she decided to adopt me.
Allie, Vanilla & Dynamo – at the weekend chalet getaway.
P.S. She said yes to the dress and we cried. And celebrated with champagne and jellybeans.