I like to think of myself as someone who doesn't necessarily follow the crowd in the decisions I make, whether it be the Big Life Choices or the itty bitty ones like the clothes I wear or the music I listen to. While I'm no renegade (my daring does are more of the small kinds rather than the big fuck-yous), those who know me well tell me they admire my swagger and the fact that my opinions may not always be popular but they're always mine.
And then sometimes I realize I'm full of shit.
There are people who I know who make me feel small, that make me second-guess what I'm wearing, what I'm saying, who I am. When I'm with them I think that if I were more like them, I would be happier...cooler...someone who people would point at and say, "She's awesome!" And I hate them a little even though they're usually perfectly nice people, completely unaware of my feelings because they aren't doing anything, really, to make me feel this way. They're just bopping along, being themselves.
Some people bring out the worst in ourselves, some by making us act in a way that isn't us at all, and some by making us feel things that we thought we had gotten rid of in middle school, or at least buried down deep deep inside.
And then there are the people who make us shine. I have a few of them in my life and when I'm with them, I feel great. Cared for, loved, and comfortable enough to say if I'm feeling insecure. Safe enough to know that if I act like a jerk, they'll be there when I get over myself. Confident enough to realize that, if they tell me I'm being a jerk, it's most likely because they're worried about why I'm being such an asshole.
Thank god there are still those feelings of Best Friends Forever along with all those other middle school ones. I worried that those kind of strong friendships didn't happen in adulthood, that everyone was supposed to be too grown up to need them. They may not have the everyday drama of those years (thank god!), but they are often the stuff that holds me up and keeps me believing in myself.