For a long time, I thought I didn’t have any friends. As a tomboy, I didn’t fit in with the girls. I’m not talkative or expressive or sensitive, and I’m more of a writer than a speaker – girls didn’t really consider me as one of them. Then there were the boys, who hung out with me like bros. But there were limitations to how close I could be with them because I couldn’t spend much time with them, and people gave me funny looks when I was the only girl in an all-boy group or I openly admitted that I prefer being with boys to girls. Also, because I look and sound like a little kid, they treated me more like their little sister than they would a fellow boy, and I hated that I couldn’t really be one of them.
So I didn’t really belong to any group. I was close with a lot of people but wasn’t particularly close to any one person, and I found that really bothersome. I hated feeling insecure and second-guessing myself but I kept questioning if all my friends were just tolerating me and if they weren’t telling me because they were afraid of hurting my feelings. I felt like I was giving out pieces of myself to others and there were none left for me.
Then my birthday came. My roommate organized a small party for me with a dozen people. Sometime during the party, I announced that my 2015 new year’s goal was to make friends and that seemed to surprise everyone. One girl in particular was shocked still and was silent until the end – she later texted me to tell me that she thought I was a really great person and she hoped she could be my friend. Past midnight I read everyone’s letters and was moved to tears, although I rarely cry. Someone hoped I would maintain my sunny personality throughout high school, another person was happy that I still contacted her even though we weren’t in the same class anymore, my ex-roommate explained how fortunate she felt to have been my roommate, and a different person confessed that he envied my honest and approachable character because it was hard for him to make friends like that. It went on and on, and I felt happy going to sleep.
I got more letters today from more people the next day, and a memorable one told me that I was a credible person and he trusted and thanked me, which was humbling. The boys didn’t write letters as much as notes, but they were all heartfelt and kind. They told me they liked my personality. The girl who texted me gave me a hair tie for a present, with a letter outlining the reasons she liked me and telling me I looked like I had a lot of peer pressure and burden on my shoulders but she was always there if I wanted to talk to her. I still have that hair tie, and she’s one of my best friends now. I’m now sure of my place and the person I am, and the hair tie is a reminder of our friendship and the identity crisis that made me who I am now.