Life, a magical field of existence where all living things parasite off of the earth with no real purpose, other than to presumably procreate. Despite endlessly feeling befuddled as to what I’m doing here, one of the greatest life joys I’ve experienced is having a supportive, uplifting; mad-as-ever group of friends. Each one brings something unique and wonderful, however today I’ve decided to dedicate a post to just one…28th September baby, let’s give it up for the birthday girl!
Three. That’s how old I was when I met her. I don’t remember much about our first meeting, but I do remember spending my first few school years plotting her death. We would fight so much that our mothers would get called frequently and letters would be sent home. Understandably, we were advised to stay away from each other but alas, we were destined to be.
Joanna: the irritating, blonde-fringed girl with freckles on her face. Invited to each and every one of my birthdays: keep your friends close, enemies closer. Loud, boyish, outspoken and bold, everything about her annoyed me. I used to cry post-haircuts, scared she’d rip the shit out of me and – when she did – I would yell “BITCH” so loud that all our peers would gasp in shock! Suckers.
Had somebody informed me then, that she would prove to be the most consistent, loyal and selfless friend I’d ever have, I probably would have jumped from the climbing frame there and then.
Our relationship changed during high school, because we were dealing with a whole new kettle of bullshit: bullies, boyfriends, rebellion; hormones. Astonishingly, the moment we upgraded uniforms, we upgraded the way we treated each other. We became each others point of reference; with our days of fallouts firmly behind us, we built a solid friendship, unquestionably rare.
If friends were graded, Joanna would sail through every subject from A* to distinction. This post is in celebration of her 28th birthday, with 28 reasons as to why I am the luckiest friend alive!
- She’s neutral.
I’ve had some nasty fallouts over the years and Joanna’s always stayed neutral. Never has she encouraged bad vibes, or involved herself in my battles. Instead, she’s reflected opposing sides without forming any judgement. At times I’ve found this severely frustrating because the ego wants to be “right”. In hindsight, her stance has been most helpful in remaining diplomatic.
2. She protects my fragile heart, *violin*.
Six years ago I was crazy in love with a guy who couldn’t spare a flying fuck. Upon discovering his infidelities with numerous partners, I was so heartbroken I lay in bed sombre and lifeless; unwilling to get up. Joanna was the friend who got me out of bed, said “Come on, life goes on” and treated me to a pedi. At the time it didn’t mend my broken heart, but it certainly made my toes sparkle.
3. She’s with me for the ride.
Over the past few years I’ve moved house three (almost four) times and Jo’s been there for every single one. From lifting boxes to driving to unpacking, she’s been there, without question.
4. She’s a handy-wo-man.
Jo is one of the most practical human beings I’ve ever met – if there’s a problem – she’ll fix it. From transferring stencils on the wall to unscrewing lightbulbs or climbing shelves: she knows how to get the job done.
5. She’s my hairstylist.
Not to be trusted with an eyeliner, Jo does my hair beautifully. French plaits, buns, fishtails: this girl is the hairstyle queen.
6. She’s a comedian.
Joanna. Is. Hilarious. I can’t recall a single time I haven’t laughed in her company. Even when things have fallen apart around us: laughter’s prevailed, the best remedy for anything.
7. She’s effortlessly thoughtful.
On my 21st birthday I went to Bournemouth for a messy weekend. Joanna decorated our room with banners and balloons, going out of her way to make me feel special. #AwYouShouldntHave
8. She’s always there.
I had a nasty, invasive procedure last year and despite her own commitments, my girl booked the day off and took me to hospital. She even went as far as to bring me home and spend the day with me, making sure that I felt fine.
9. She loves my mum.
This probably sounds like a weird one, but the relationship between my two leading ladies is so special. My mum says Joanna has a heart of gold and watching their bond warms my heart.
10. She keeps it real.
I don’t have to worry about Jo talking behind my back ’cause if I upset her, she’ll tell me. As difficult as it is telling people how and if they hurt you, there’s something relieving about being able to be direct with each other. It shows trust.
11. She’s always on time.
…And I don’t mean in terms of “let’s meet for coffee at 3pm”. If something big is happening, negative or positive, I know exactly who’ll be there. #Teamworkmakesthedreamwork
12. She’s got bottle.
During secondary school I was constantly being harassed by older girls! I remember one time the bullies tried to “befriend” her & Jo made it clear she would never be interested. #ByeFelicias
13. She’s kept all my secrets despite having a big mouth.
Much like myself, Jo finds it difficult to contain newsworthy information. I in particular am a renown over-sharer (the proof is in the blog), so when it comes to each other; our pain and our regrets; we keep our lips sealed. #ThanksBoo
14. She’s never left me in a vulnerable state.
14 years old, just discovered vodka. We were on our way to a house party and I chugged it down with no concept of units. To this day, I can’t remember how we got home (I just remember waking up with vomit in my hair and a missing phone). Still, somebody got me back safely that night…guess who I woke up next to?
15. She’s charitable.
The charity case being me of course (although she has done frequent runs for cancer). The amount of hairdryers, chargers, phones and clothes Jo has thrown my way over the years is staggering. I mean, she could have easily sold that stuff on Ebay but nope, here I am, free-balling.
16. She’s accepting.
Jo doesn’t get mad (albeit surprised) when I “borrow” something of hers and wear it in front of her six years later. To be fair it wouldn’t fit her now anyway, girl’s got the body of a goddess.
17. She listens.
And I mean really listens. It doesn’t matter how trivial the issue, if I need to vent, I know I’ll have an ear.
18. She checks in.
If I’ve had a bad week or day, she’ll make it a point to check in and see what’s up. Bear in mind this is a person who works full time, has a child, a head full of tasks and yet still, spares several thoughts for me. She even feels guilty when she feels she’s been “slacking”. #YouGottaStopDoingThatBoo
19. She acknowledges my inner child.
Back to my 21st: I was secretly eyeing up this massive pink unicorn and Jo did everything she could to win it. At the time I was certain her efforts were to appease her daughter – which they were – only Jo won two which means I got one! #HipHipHooray
20. She’s inspiring and smart.
No really, she’s one of the cleverest girls I know: quick witted, sharp; practical. Aged sixteen, Jo was the first to go out and got a job. She was also the first to pass her driving test. #TaxiPlease
21. She’s supportive.
Jo has read and shared practically every single one of my blogs under zero obligation. I never expect my friends to read OR share my work, but over the past two years she’s emitted constant support and exposure. As a writer, I can’t tell you how invaluable that is – all we want is for our words to reach people – and without shares that can’t happen.
22. She’s inclusive.
I swear I’m her honorary adoptee. I get invited to all the big family dos, even Christmas sometimes! #ThanksBabeButIGotEnoughPeopleToSpendOn
23. She’s thoughtful.
This girl just kills me with it. I came home after traveling for 18 hours and Jo snuck in beforehand to make sure my fridge wasn’t empty. *She didn’t break in, bitch has a key.
24. She shares the limelight.
This is definitely where we differ. My birthday’s in October, hers September, and I always plan the celebrations wayyyyy in advance. Arguably self-centered, Joanna is regardlessly happy to hear my plans with enthusiasm, even before considering her own.
25. She’s not a hater.
You can really see if someone’s happy for you by looking in their eyes. That stab of jealousy, or even disbelief. I guess it’s normal to have moments of envy, but not Jo. Every success I have is received by her as if she were my mother: full of pride and excitement. #SheIsJustSoCute
26. She hates being a burden.
Not that she could ever be one. Still, like chalk and cheese, Joanna is not the kind of person to vent her plight: she is a private, problem solver. Most of all, she hates the idea of people worrying about her and in that sense, she is utterly selfless.
27. Her kindness soothes my soul.
Joanna is the epitome of health, but has never once made me feel bad about my body, nor compared our physical differences. Over the years I’ve had “friends” discuss whether or not they find me pretty in the morning (I mean, can you name a person who is?), whether I look nice without makeup (better than your mum mate) and made multiple jibes about my size.
Thankfully, I’ve never had to worry about all that shit with her. Why? Because she’s comfortable in her own skin and that makes ME feel comfortable.
28. We have snuggle time.
Okay not really, although I totally would if she let me. When we have sleepovers (yes, sleepovers still happen), her partner gets sent to the sofa and guess who bags the double?! Not only is this more comfortable, but it also means I get to hear her sleep-talking. Her one and only flaw.
Man that was easy, I should waited for her to turn 40.
I realised something extremely important about my friendship with Joanna over the years. Not only have I taken her friendship completely for granted (the way one might with their siblings; parents), but her qualities have provided something real and constant. I couldn’t fail the test of friendship with Jo because I’ve mirrored her: she brings out the best in me.
When I think about the sort of men I used to date, they could never be my friends. If I were lucky enough to “find someone” who had even 3/4 worth of Jo – I’d have found a mate for life. Anyway, who cares about all that when you have a friend like mine. Knight or no knight, I’m counting my blessings in the form of twenty-eight.