Last month, I introduced you to my very best friend, Amanda, in a post titled “To the Girl Who Picked Up My Pencil“. Amanda is a pretty remarkable girl and the type of friend everyone needs in their life. I’m extremely fortunate to call her my best friend. After receiving so many heartwarming messages on that particular post and the relationship the two of us share, I asked Amanda if she’d like to be this month’s guest blogger. She happily accepted, and here’s what she had to say.
In one of her recent blog posts, Alyssa shared the story of how we became best friends back in kindergarten. I was truly flattered by all of her kind words, but cannot begin to tell you how lucky I feel that Alyssa came into my life and has never left my side. You often hear people say, “Everything happens for a reason.” Although it may sound cliché, I strongly believe in my heart that Alyssa did come into my life for a reason. She has made such an enormous impact on my life, and words cannot express how fortunate I feel to have her. People have often come up to me with questions about Alyssa and her disease, and I feel that people are curious about what it is like to have a best friend with a disability. Although Alyssa’s life is very different from most, in many ways, she and I are just like any other pair of 24-year-old best friends. For example:
- We spend our days talking about anything and everything.
- We convince each other that we really need to buy that new shirt (even if we own 25 others just like it).
- We have about 100 nicknames for each other, and can’t remember the last time we actually called the other by their first name.
- We like to go out on the weekends, but are sometimes even happier spending Friday nights in sweatpants watching reruns of ‘The Office’.
- We know exactly how to cheer each other up when we are feeling sad (for Alyssa, anything in the dessert category should do it).
- We tease each other, but all out of love, of course.
- We spend a ridiculous amount of time together, and will often send “I miss you texts” when we haven’t seen each other in a while (so, basically two days).
The list could go on and on. Alyssa’s life may be different, but despite the pain and fatigue she often faces as a result of her disease, Alyssa never lets that hold her back, especially when it comes to being a friend. I went to college at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT, and, of course, I always missed Alyssa when I was away at school. For five years, we were two and a half hours and a hundred miles away from each other. One day during my senior year, Alyssa told me her New Year’s resolution was to take a trip to Connecticut to visit me at school, and, just a couple weeks later, I was woken up to find Alyssa sitting in my living room ready with a camera to capture my surprise! Despite how difficult and tiring it must have been, Alyssa drove two and a half hours each way just to spend the day with me and to see my school for the first time. This will always be one of my favorite memories, and I am so happy I had the chance to share my school with her.
As we are approaching our 20th year of being best friends, I feel as though I can’t pick just one “Alyssa story” to tell. In fact, I could probably write an entire book on how much she has inspired me, and changed my life. Having a best friend with a disability teaches you a lot of things. Alyssa has taught me the true meaning of strength, perseverance, and hope. She overcomes great obstacles, and never loses the desire to live life to the fullest. When I am having a rough day and feeling unmotivated, I often think of Alyssa and all she overcomes which helps motivate me to be better. I am so unbelievably proud of her and all she has accomplished and cannot wait to see what amazing and inspiring things she does in the future. There is truly nothing on earth like a lifelong best friend.