A good friend knows all your best stories, a best friend has lived them with you.
As we get older, adult relationships become more complicated. Location, work, significant others, children and our overall daily routines play such a huge part in what we can do on a regular basis. Sure, some people grow apart. But overall, life has ups and downs and people come and go. Aside from all of that, there’s usually at least one person you know is always gonna be there. For me, that’s my best friend, Johnni.
When Danny asked me to marry him and I sat down to start planning, I had a really hard time when it came to my “bridal party.” I have a lot of acquaintances, but I don’t have a lot of friends. That probably sounds sad, because so many brides have bridal parties of like six plus girls, and tons of people have multiple girlfriends. That’s okay, but that’s just not me. As I got older, it became more about the people in my circle versus the size of the circle. I did a lot of back and forth, wondering who my closest friends are that I think would want to be a part of something, sister-in-laws, and not wanting to do any of it at all. I even bought bridesmaids gifts that are still sitting in my closet because I can’t return them. But in the end, having a big group of girls with me on that day just didn’t seem important. I was trying so hard to be traditional and have this group of friends to take pictures with, but that’s not me, I’m not traditional. What did seem important was having the one person who has known me since I was fifteen, like – really known me in a different way than anyone else on this earth ever has.
I met Johnni in an online Harry Potter forum, and we instantly clicked. She understood me, what I was thinking, what I wanted in life, who I was to my very core. I have so many memories of the times we spent together as young angsty teens, and how those moments have helped define the person I am today. I’m still that little emo kid who loves My Chemical Romance and isn’t having an easy time coming to terms with the fact that this year is the final Warped Tour of all time. (I’m trying to cope, okay?) But she understood that, and we were friends with no judgment and I could truly be myself. This meant so much because I lived in a really small town where people judged me daily for my choice in music, clothes, literally anything I did – I was scrutinized. I had local friends in high school, but I can tell you one thing: I’m still friends with Johnni, and I only talk to one person from my high school friends, who wasn’t even necessarily in my every day “group” of friends. Teenagers are stupid, so I’m not going to paint a picture and tell you that our friendship was always perfect. We had a long distance friendship, and whether or not you believe it, those are a lot like long distance relationships. It’s so much more than effort or love, you need patience too. Let me tell you at 16 and 17, we were not patient the way we are now.
We grew apart, but not in a bitter way. Just a natural way. I went back to school for my senior year after taking a year off for independent study because I missed the structure and I missed things like choir and theatre, and I was busier than I was my junior year. She had friends locally, and we both had our own lives to live. But that didn’t mean we would never find each other and that strong core we had before.
Soulmates aren’t just romantic, and I honestly think there are different types of soulmates. The man I’m marrying is my romantic soulmate, my dog is a soulmate, but Johnni – she was the first, the original, and she’s my sister and best friend soulmate.
In a way, I think we are a lot like twins. I’ve never had a sister, but I look at my mom and my aunt and I think our relationship is pretty similar to that. I’ve never had a twin, but my husband-to-be is a twin, and I find so many similarities in my relationship with Johnni there, as well. They say twins have this secret, silent language that only they understand with the smallest of cues. That the slightest shift in attitude, body language, even breathing and a twin automatically knows what’s wrong with their other half. We have that. She knows, without even hearing my voice and just reading a text what kind of mood I am in. She knows without a single sound how I’m feeling or what I’m thinking when we’re together. I don’t know what kind of sorcery that is, but I’m totally okay with it because it means I’m never going to be alone. I can call her at any time, and she’s there – and vice versa. We’ve sat outside talking at Yogurtland until 11 pm just because we needed time to talk. When we reconnected, it was like we’d never drifted and were just two old friends who had not seen each other for like a week. She is the strongest person I know. She’s a single mom of three, just navigating her way through the world like the rest of us, but she’s so strong for her kids and that’s the kind of mom I want to be. I’m so proud of her. I look at her with her kids and I just beam, I’m sure I look like her significant other/partner when we’re out in public because I just look at her with such admiration and love. It’s hard not to love such an amazing, generous person. And she’s smart as hell. I can’t talk about the things we talk about with anyone else, and that means so much to me.
She still just gets me. She gets who I am at my most center core. It was such an easy choice, I didn’t even need to ask her to be my maid of honor, it was just … right. And she’s been so supportive, understanding, and just… helpful, this whole entire time we’ve been planning. I’m so proud to have her stand with me and not have a bridal party, because that wouldn’t have been right. What’s right is that it’s the two of us, because in a way, it’s always been the two of us.
So, to Johnni on her birthday –
I wish I had that picture of us in the teacups at Disneyland with our cringy emo bangs and the skinniest of skinny jeans on, but unfortunately Photobucket doesn’t value our past. Thank you for loving me exactly the way that I am. For lifting me up when I’m feeling shitty about myself and need that boost of confidence (she always tells me my eyebrows look great even if I’m entering muppet territory.) Thank you for allowing me to be in your kids’ lives and letting me have the honor of being Aunt Allie. I can’t wait for you to be Aunt Johnni. Thank you for loving Danny, and just accepting him, no questions asked. Thank you for just being you. I fucking love you, and I’m so proud of you, and I’m even more proud to have you be my best friend. x