I started high school with the same huge group of girl best friends I had had since kindergarten, a bucket list of clichéd girl things I wanted to accomplish and an iPod full of My Chemical Romance.
Four years later, I no longer had any of those close bonds, but I did have an impressive party résumé, the honor of being the only girl in a house with seven dudes at Senior Week and an iPod full of Wiz Khalifa.
The way a lot of these friendships fell apart isn’t really important. Some were their fault, some were my fault and a lot were a combination of the two.
What I realize now is the loss of so many friends, friends I thought I would have until I was an old lady in Homewood (remind you of how I romanticized my first love?), broke my heart and changed the course of my life for close to eight years.
I felt rejected by my entire gender at the age of 17, so I decided that if they didn’t want me, I would be perfectly fine with stepping into the role as the “cool” girl. This meant that I was allowed to hear sacred guy talk about girls, hang out when no other girlfriends were invited and always have a gang of boys ready to stick up for me at any moment.
And it was great. It made me feel special, and they saved me in many ways when I was incapable of saving myself.
But as I went through life this way, I became more untrusting, distant and even scared, at times, of my own sex.
I rolled my eyes so hard at girls in sororities, yet I felt jealous and irritated by their ability to so effortlessly bond with each other.
So, it was pretty strange that my dream was working in a field where I was going to be surrounded by women. And not just average women, either. We’re talking about some of the most peppy, beautiful, intense women on the planet — female newscasters.
During my first year of work, I idolized a lot of really important women in my life who started chipping down my wall. (Shout out to Taniya, Caitlin, Merris, Kirstin — these guys are angels.)
But it wasn’t until CAROLYN BLACKBURNE, that I threw away all the preconceived notions, awkwardness and hang-ups I had about making and trusting girlfriends.
On one particular Saturday, I was working extra hours to perfect how to shoot, write and edit a package. I was doing an intense exposé on Frosty Family Fun Day, a carnival-style event that celebrates winter. It’s a story that only someone of my journalistic caliber could tackle, but I was struggling.
It took me 12 hours to do the whole story, and when I was finished, it still kind of sucked. I was discouraged and on the verge of tears as I was about to walk out the door, Carolyn stopped me and pretty much forced me to go out and drink wine with her (something I still hate, but went with it because her insane happiness intimidated me).
I’m not going to bore you with the details about how we fell in love after that, but the point is, I learned that I wasn’t some canker sore on the gums of a row of perfect teeth.
I look at Carolyn as the perfect girl in high school who at first you want to hate, but you can’t because she’s just that lovable. She’s beautiful, insanely hardworking and smart. She’s everything that terrifies both me and teenage boys about girls, but she still wanted to be my friend, and it turns out that we were exactly what each other needed at our first job.
Carolyn is leaving us now to go to WNEP. It’s a station that is number one by far in the Scranton market and the viewers are die-hard. Loads of people have gone on to New York City or Philadelphia after WNEP — she’s basically graduating from WHAG summa cum laude.
The point is, the isolation you feel from the world is the reality that you create. Bouts of depression, broken friendships and divides that defined you in the past don’t have to be roadblocks to your happiness.
I love people, a lot. It might be my downfall, but this time I was lucky to let in the Leslie Knope to my Ann Perkins.
I will miss you quite terribly.
“One friend with whom you have a lot in common is better than three with whom you struggle to find things to talk about.” –Mindy Kaling