Dear Etta: Read When you Need a Reminder of my Love
An Open Letter to my Bestfriend
Nothing in this world is promised. I could die tomorrow, and I could not rest peacefully without creating this tribute to you. It's a difficult task to write about someone so hard to define. Some things I will only be able to say to you through print. I hope you'll read this after we've been married for fifty years and things seem too tense. Maybe you think I don't care or don't realize what I have. I hope you'll read this when you have anxiety or when you feel sad, or maybe when you feel like I'm far away.
Etta, whenever you read this, I hope you're reminded of my love, how special you are to the world, and, more importantly, to me. I knew you were special before we met. We lived in the same city for years, We existed in the same rooms, but I couldn't see you. I think the universe knew I wasn't ready.
When you did cross my path, and I finally saw you, it was just words on a computer screen. I was selecting a roommate, and you were one of the options. Just the description of your personality drew me to you. I was more excited at the opportunity to be in your space and be your friend than beginning my first year of college.
I'm so thankful I got to live with you from day one. I cracked your hard exterior before earning the right to. I learned that you sleep with the TV on and sing in the shower. You showed me the cool parts of a city I grew up in. I heard your laugh and saw your smile, I met your friends, and through them, I really got to know you. I saw your generosity, your loyalty, your passion, all in living color.
I know you'll change, and I will too. I think the trick is staying up to date on those changes. But for now, if you don’t mind, let’s talk about why I love you today. I don’t care if you’re reading this in twenty years. I’m sure these traits are cemented into your soul. If they aren’t at the time you read this, maybe I can help you reunite with yourself again.
1. I Love the Way You Love
"The giving of love is an education in itself."
It was inevitable that I was going to fall in love with you. I find new reasons every day. Now, how can I maintain this when people are changing so often? Why am I not scared we'll grow apart? Because you are so interested in everything you love.
For example, you love nature. I often follow you around wooded areas and watch you turn over every rock and tell me who lives under there. You know the names of the beetles and worms that move around the damp dirt. You know how long they’ll live, and where they’re native to. Sometimes when we go home, you’ll research the ones you didn’t know and tell me their stories too. You stop for every squirrel eating a nut and every bird picking at bread. I know you just want to observe. You want to learn- because you love them.
You study me, you ask me questions, and let me ramble about creating the perfect story. The one that will leave me satisfied. I know you know it doesn't exist, and I do too. But you tell me it does, and you help me get there.
William James once said: "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated."
You quench my innate thirst to feel important. At your core, you want to understand me. I can see how badly you want to know everything about me. I want to tell you, even the hard things that leave me stuttering and staring at you, asking for help.
2. I Love Your Creativity and Ambition
"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions."
If we’re going to go out, you switch your outfit fifteen times before we make it out the door. You try on shoes, jackets, jeans, shorts, necklaces, earrings, makeup looks, etc. But it doesn’t bother me to watch clothing fly into the air and line the bathroom floor.
I know that you want to express yourself in your outer appearance. I never considered the nuances of self-expression until I saw the pins lining your backpack and your collection of band t-shirts. Even your name, Etta, after Etta James. A strong unique name that exhibits confidence but also softness that only a few really get to see. You refuse to be put into a box or sacrifice your happiness for someone else's. You understand intelligence as a fluid thing that cannot be defined by "going to school" or any other specific metric. You see the brilliance in your fellow man, and I aspire to be more like you.
Since the beginning of our relationship, you have known how you want your life to look. You know the lifestyle you want to live, and you work harder than anyone to attain it. Your potential is limitless because of your creativity.
You apply an unorthodox way of approaching problems. Your ability to simplify life and focus on what you care about has always been incredibly inspiring.
I’ve seen you spend 8 hours straight on a painting. Why? Because you were completely dedicated and wrapped up in the process. Your work ethic and ambition are seen in everything you produce. The fine details you lace through our lives make everything so much more exciting.
You tell every story with enthusiasm and effervescence. I love to watch you work, create, overcome obstacles, and give care. When you do these things, I get to see your creativity. It’s evident in your every action.
3. I Love How Easy It is to be With You
“My point is, there are a lot of people in the world. No one ever sees everything the same way you do; it just doesn't happen. So when you find one person who gets a couple of things, especially if they're important ones... you might as well hold on to them. You know?”
― Sarah Dessen, Lock and Key
Throughout my life, I've never been able to tolerate being around anyone for more than three days straight. You are the only person who I never get tired of. When you are away, I crave your presence, and I miss your commentary. As someone who grew up obsessed with my alone time, I know how rare it is to find someone whose energy does not make me uncomfortable.
Growing up, I developed such a private intricate world in my head. Here I stored all the parts of my appearance or personality that I hated. I buried these insecurities so deep and never had anyone question me or try to bring them up. You found a way to expose me, bringing me into the overwhelming world of vulnerability and emotions.
“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
― Elbert Hubbard
I can share anything with you without fear of judgment, and the conversation flows freely. My heart swells and beats uncontrollably when you look at me. After years, I still find every inch of your being so interesting. I gravitate towards you and feel my strongest by your side.
You are my best friend, and from you, I learn how to be a good friend, partner, and person. I would search for you in any lifetime, and I hope you know you are the most cherished part of every day. Many others have summarized love better than I, so I'll end with an excerpt from Bob Marley that truly encapsulates how I feel.
“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around... You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting, and worthwhile. Your only hope and security are in knowing that they are a part of your life.”
Thank you for making life exciting and worthwhile; I could not ask for a better lover or friend.