The older I get, the more I feel pressure to find "the one." It was a joke when I was a teenager, but now that I'm 21, I think some people are actually surprised it hasn't happened for me yet. It's especially rough during the holidays and cuffing season when my family asks all of the expected (yet still extremely annoying) questions. And the fact that I have yet to find that one romantic spark that won't burn out makes me feel like I've done something wrong. It sucks.
The idea of soulmates has always been a tricky concept for me. I've always associated the word soulmate with a single romantic partner that I'm supposed to magically meet and be connected with for the rest of my life. But that word has come to mean so much more, because I apply it to the love I already have in my life. I've come to learn that soulmates come in many forms, and I've actually met my forever people already. They're my best friends.
I've never been in love, but I know the way I would want to be loved based off of my relationships with my friends.
My closest friends are deserving of the title soulmate. It's sometimes easy for me to forget just how good I have it because there's a feeling of permanence with them. A couple of my best friends have been around since I was six years old. They've seen every fashion phase and every bit of my natural hair journey. They've seen me cry tears that were only reserved for when I was finally alone with them because I hate crying in public. Unlike everyone else who thinks they have me all figured out, these people actually kind of do.
I've never been in love, but I know the way I would want to be loved based off of my relationships with my friends. It's different from the bond I have with my family because I was introduced to these people by chance, with zero expectations. Like the girl I ignored for days on the elementary school bus until one day I gave in and sat with her, and now, more than 15 years later, I'm confident she'll outlast most of the people that invite themselves into my life. And the girls I met when I was an insecure college freshman and that proved they cared about me regardless of the few weeks we'd known each other. These are some of the relationships that I plan to keep with me forever.
The love I receive from my friends is invaluable, but it's often times taken for granted. I've been taught to crave what I don't have instead, which is romance. and while it's natural to want, I have to step back and remind myself that I already have those people who I look forward to texting and FaceTiming every day. I have those people who make me laugh endlessly with every inside joke, that encourage me and tell me they're proud of me. They even tell me I'm beautiful.
So, to my best friends — you are the loves of my life. Despite all the ways in which we're different, we complement each other. You've taught me exactly what kind of treatment I should expect from any potential partner, because your love has set the standard. Aside from my own family, you're the ones that taught me to only want relationships that are healthy, communicative, honest, and fun. The term soulmate is nothing without you.