By Claire Crittendon – Co-Editor-in-Chief
My college application essay was on the importance of what I called at the time, my found family. My friends, mentors, partners – people I knew would meet me with the perfect balance of patience, support, accountability, and love.
Four years have passed since I wrote that essay, and I would write it over again.
As a senior in college, the significance of a sound, circular support system has not been lost on me. I graduated high school early, and started college a little before I was ready, honestly. Being treated like a child was never something I tolerated well, and as a first-year I worried that was the only way my peers would view me. While my older friends did hold space for me throughout my adolescence, it was observed in a way free from condescension and instead full of encouragement and subtle aid.
I am continually grateful to have a group of people whom I find myself comfortable opening up to in such raw ways and who make life that much more worth living. I grew up fiercely independent and had difficulties with trust; friendships and partnerships are a give and take that I’ve struggled with in the past. Committed support and codependency walk a fine line, one I’m still figuring out myself at times.
That said, don’t settle. There are people who will take all you have to give and offer nothing in return. Leave them. There are people out there who will match your energy, and they’ll do it enthusiastically. I’ve met the sun and the stars, I live with them; people so bright, warm, persistent and forgiving, people who have guided my path so clearly without even being asked to do so.
However, you can’t ask of others what you don’t ask of yourself. Are you showing up for your loved ones? How? How often? Do you go to their shows, read their writing, consume their art, listen to their stories? Do you wait to back out from the driveway until you see them enter their home and watch the door close behind them? Where are they among your priorities? Perfection is hilariously impossible but dedication and loyalty are not.
Anyway, all this to say, hug your friends and tell them how and why you love them – everyone’s trying their best.