One of my all-time favorite films is “Crash.” If you are unfamiliar with the movie, it features a cornucopia of characters navigating life in Los Angeles. At first, the audience is led to believe that these characters don’t have much in common or to do with each other. As the film unfolds, we discover this isn’t true. The characters begin to violently crash together as if they were cars involved in a multi-car pile-up on “the 405.”
When my life gets violent and I find myself crashing into those around me, the first person I reach out to is my friend Jessica. For this reason and many more, I have selected her as my 2015 Person of the Year. I do this, because I wholeheartedly believe in telling the people we love how much they mean to us. After losing my brother, Lucas, I promised myself I would never allow such an opportunity to pass me by again.
Jessica and I have known each other since I was an undergraduate student at the University of Central Oklahoma. She was brand new in the Greek Life office. I was the president of IFC. I saw it as my duty to help Jessica get acclimated to campus, as well as give her my honest assessment of the Greek system. Instantly, we hit it off and worked well together. We had many honest and frank conversations. We had conversations that I cherished. If you’ve spent time with Jessica, you know she is slow to judge, a patient listener, and a sage when it comes to advice. She was a north star in my life then and would become even more constant as our relationship progressed.
After graduating from UCO, I decided to stick around for another four years as first the Coordinator of Commuter Student Services and then the Assistant Director of the Volunteer and Service Learning Center. UCO was not without its share of drama nor was it free from late nights. There were more nights than I can count where I found refuge in Jessica’s office or her mine, as we waited for a late meeting or took a break from the work. We quickly began calling ourselves, “The Two Best Friends”; something that holds true.
Leaving UCO wasn’t easy for me. Leaving good people like Jessica behind was near impossible. Despite the sense of loss we were feeling, she continued to encourage and provide inspiration. She was never selfish or focused just on what we were losing as friends. She was there for me. She showed up; which in my estimation is 99% of what friendship is all about.
Still to this day, we Skype, call, or text. I will never visit OKC again without seeing my friend. She even made the trip out to Seattle last year. Instantly, we picked where we left off without missing a beat. Last year was about recovery and self-care for me. After losing a brother, professional disappointments, and the end of a relationship, I needed a friend to help me along my journey. More often than not, I turned to Jessica and every single time she was there for me. My hope is that I have done the same for her.
Thanks Jessica. Love you to the moon and back.
Be good to each other,