“Choose none of them.”
I stood there, awestruck. Never in my life had I thought that choosing not to choose was an option. Maybe it was bad advice. After all, it was from a stranger whom does not have the acumen necessary to properly analyze my sticky situation. On the other hand, maybe I should listen anyway. After all, choosing them has not worked so far.
The little voice in my head stayed silent in this moment. Thank Satan it did.
I spent my childhood angry and in acrimony yet confused and sensitive. I longed for attention, specifically from my family. Instead, I received attention from the friends I never wanted. We–my clique–had so many problems that my sixth grade teacher arranged for us all to attend a counseling session every single day at lunch, together, and we were banned from playing Truth or Dare. Apocryphal and restless, I felt trapped.
Fast forward to middle school. On a sunny day with a blue sky, everything was peaches and cream until only one girl from my friend group showed up to our lunch spot. My intuition drove me solo around the campus, where I found it to be spot on. My friends split into groups of two and integrated themselves into new cliques–and all because of the one girl in our group that sat with me! I felt relieved I was not the one they decided they hated today; however, all relief went out the window as each pair told me I was to choose between all of them.
I was terrified. I wanted to please everyone, but this time it was impossible. In the end, it was the hated girl’s friend who I had never met before, who enlightened me.
Who should I choose?
“Choose none of them,” she suggested.
So I did. Not long before, I met a girl named Claudia Book through a mutual friend. I did not know her well, but had confided in her with my friend troubles in which she responded by offering her friend group to me as an alternative. Albeit I appreciated her offer, I never thought I would take her up on it.
Joining Claudia’s circle was weird…I only knew her out of the ten girls there and I did not know what to do with myself without the usual animalistic chaos. Regardless, every single person welcomed me. I gazed at their backs, a mighty fortress, lined up one-by-one, against the blue lockers as I faced them every day. It took months, but, eventually, I sat there with them.
Though I liked all of them, Claudia was my favorite. Of course I appreciated her humanity, but the real reason was because I envied her. She was happy, confident, beautiful, funny. There was something intriguing and charismatic about her. She would make stupid noises like a child one second, then provide me with adult advice the next.
Regardless of my drooling and her perfection, I never wanted to be her. I wanted to embody her, in my own way. As terrible as this sounds, Claudia pushed me to be the person I am today–I would complain about something that was worrying me and she would ask, “how does it have anything to do with you?”; I would ask her if I should buy that pink blouse with Cherry Blossoms on it and the cool cutout in the back, and she would demand I do it so as to explore and mature my style–and I could not be more grateful.
As much as I love to gush about all the useful advice Claudia has given me, it was not really her advice that transformed me. In fact, it was her beautiful aura. Watching her laugh, inform, obsess, opinionate, walk, talk, write, work, anger, question, live, I learned how to be myself. I found the things I liked in her and made them my own. Talk about visual learning–jeez!
Today, I annoy all my close friends with the story of how Claudia changed me for the better. She once embodied everything I wanted to be, and all it took was her presence to abrogate my anger. Whenever I start to lose myself, I think of the stability she projected out into space, and know I can regain mine. By choosing Claudia Book that day in middle school, I opened myself up to a world of possibilities. So, when life hands you a ‘book,’ open it.
I titled this post before writing anything down on this page. Some days later, in my english class, my teacher had us model a paper after https://www.magzter.com/article/Fashion/ELLE/This-Dress-Will-Change-Everything and fill in the title as ‘This ______ Will Change Everything.’ I filled in the blank with the word ‘girl.’ Originally, I was going to write this post in my straight-forward, pedestrian way and focus more on the advice than on my best friend; but, the significance of this story is me meeting my best friend and improving myself–even though I always refer to this story for the best advice I have ever been given–and I think this paper embodies that. What is the best advice you have ever been given and how has it affected you? Thank you for your time!