“And we’ll always be friends forever, won’t we?” -Tod
“Yeah, forever!” -Copper; The Fox and the Hound
This post is a tribute to my best friend, Allie.
Even though we’re a little ways apart right now– she’s at Appalachian State and I’m in Charlotte, I know that we will always be friends.
So I wanna take you back to the beginning of our friendship.
Allie and I connected right away, and let me say, it wasn’t because of me. It’s because Allie has a way of meeting people, finding a way to relate to them like only Allie can, and really caring about that person– right off the bat.
We first met back in the fall of 2011 because of our ex-boyfriends and their bands. ..So thank God for exes! Y’all rock. You both brought me one of my best friends in the whole world.
While we hardly spoke two words that night and later admitted we were both intimidated by each other (lol), for some reason, over a year later after much talked about double dating that never actually happened, Allie decided to reach out to me on Facebook asking to be roommates at Clemson.
I was so pumped! Of course I wanted to. I wasn’t getting stuck with a rando and she seemed awesome. Shortly after, I was a little manic, because this was the end of spring right before the summer of my psychosis. We went to target to go shopping together in the summer, and ended up talking for hours, not realizing the cart of all our stuff had been STOLEN and taken back to where they reload everything back into the store. Don’t worry–we managed to salvage our plastic owl plates just in the nick of time ; )
We became quick friends. And I could not wait to live with my new friend Allie in the dorms.
.. Then everything with my psychosis and hospitalization happened, and I couldn’t go to Clemson that fall with her like we thought.
Allie had to live by herself in our little corner dorm, until someone moved in eventually from the overflow rooms.
I was devastated. But the good thing was that when I got better, I was able to go visit her at Clemson. We went to a football game together. We went as each other’s dates to the first Autumn shag because wdgaf. I even moved some of my stuff into the dorm on my side.. which totally isn’t allowed. It was the best break possible from the mundane of being at home all day everyday, while everyone else was embarking on their first semester of being away at college. To go see this friend– that was what I looked forward to. The first time I came to visit, she had this waiting for me on our door:
We went to an Ascend the Hill concert. Ate an abnormal amount of Mike and Ikes out of a vase in the dorm. Laughed until our stomachs hurt. Played mario kart. Giggled and conversed with drunk people on the elevators. Drove to the nearby Bi-lo whilst blasting alternative rock classics. Hung out and talked about life with our RA, Emily. Didn’t have the perfect Pinterest pottery barn/Anthro room. It was great.
We were both getting over our exes together, since we broke up at basically the same time.
…And then came spring. Time for me to actually become a student finally at Clemson. That’s when my first major depression hit me like a ton of bricks.
As I’ve written about in previous posts, I was gripped by absolute misery, for reasons I didn’t really know or understand at the time. I didn’t know I was bipolar. All the sudden I was gaining weight, unable to take care of myself, and just wanting to be alone.
Allie’s no psychiatrist (obviously–she was 18, even though she’s now ironically studying psych), but she was the closest thing to exactly what I needed that semester. Even though I’m sure she missed the easy-going light times with me, she had to accept that that wasn’t our reality anymore. And I don’t think it seemed like there was an end in sight for her when it came to my complete numbness.
I never opened up about my depression once, so there was no way of her even being able to address that specifically. But, as my best friend and roommate, it was so painfully obvious how depressed I was, and I knew she was concerned about me.
But here’s the thing everyone, what she didn’t do, is she didn’t give up on me. Even though I know there were times where she was beyond frustrated, didn’t know what to say to me, etc… she ultimately just decided to be my friend. And that was exactly what I needed at that time.
Instead of trying to fix me, she’d leave encouraging notes for me to find around the room. It was obvious I was struggling with self-worth, so she’d put a post it on my mirror saying “You are BEAUTIFUL! And I love you so much! -Allie.” In my closet would be another verse. On my pillow I’d find different notes.
She’d invite me to anything and everything. And always wanted me to come, even though I’d literally just stand there so awkwardly, while people were probably thinking to themselves.. why is this lovely, bubbly girl hanging out with this.. complete downer?
She realized that slapping a bible in my hand and telling me to come to church and campus ministry wasn’t working. And not that those things are bad.. they are great! But Allie soon realized that like I said, I just needed a friend.
I know it was difficult for her, and we talk about this all the time now.. But I hope she knows for sure that I will always be grateful for her loving me through everything that year– when I felt I was unlovable.
She showed me through her perseverance and her character who Christ is. She wasn’t embarrassed of me. She wanted to listen. To just be there.. To be present. She brought her disney princess personality to the dark grey of my life. She made herself available in a year that I can promise you.. was not easy for her either.
We moved into an apartment together Sophomore year as well with two other friends (shoutout to Jess and Kara!). And well, this semester turned into a total nightmare for both me and Allie.
Allie was getting help she needed for an eating disorder that I didn’t even know she struggled with until a few weeks leading up to her leaving Clemson. She decided on the journey of taking care of herself and taking a gap year. I was in a huge mania from my bipolar, and then soon after, really medicated, making me an unbearable human to live and deal with.
I was a zombie when Allie needed me. While I know she understands that I couldn’t really help it, it hurt me to think back and realize that I couldn’t be there for my friend like she was for me.
Allie transferred to Appalachian after her time off, and she’s happier than ever and more confident in herself. Which says something, because I always thought she was the most confident person I knew. She inspires everyone she comes in contact with, and is incredibly open about her struggle with her both her eating disorder and her passion for helping others with their mental health. She became a mental health ambassador and started a club at Appalachian–called Appsi–for promoting positive self image.
Anyone who is lucky enough to know Allie can attest to her pure heart, bright smile, compassion for people, boldness, deep faith, and just.. her realness.
And that’s why she means so much to me. She’s real. She never cared about what our friendship would mean concerning her reputation. Because let me tell ya, if there’s anything I wasn’t at Clemson that freshman year, it’s that I wasn’t cool, popular, or fun to be around.
Allie didn’t care..
Her heart for serving the hearts of others outweighs most all else. And she’d tell you otherwise, but I’m here to tell you, SHUT UP ALLIE, it’s TRUE!!!
I’m so thankful for this amazing friend who stands by me. Now that we are both out of Clemson and in much better places in our lives, we’re able to reflect back and be like.. wtf were we doing there.. and just laugh at ourselves, but also we learn.
Because even though neither of us got it all perfect (um especially me) we will still always be there for one another.
Because well, this is what we all need more of!!! Genuine friendships. And this is the gospel lived out, what she did for me. Yes, erasing the stigma is great and it’s what I aim for.. and there needs to be change regarding mental health policies and what not.. but these friendships and commitment to others can be what really gets us out of the pit.
I can honestly say I’m not sure where I’d be without the angel God sent me in Allie back when.
I love this girl with my whole heart! And she deserves any and all recognition she gets. K, No disclaimers, Allie 🙂
Thank you for being you, Belle, and for everything you do for the ones you love.
(^^If you haven’t figured out our pose yet..)
>> “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” -Proverbs 18:24