I am not here to tell you why junior high in America is awful. All I know is that it is. Awful. I was a smart girl with a weird name and junior high was my 4th school. Luckily, I was white lower middle class in a predominantly white middle class town so that made it much easier. But, at the time, I didn’t know that my race smoothed my way. And I never got used to being the new kid. The first day at a new school was prefaced by a good week of sleepless nights and what I later learned were anxiety attacks.
Add in that I was entering junior high and I honestly don’t know how I survived it. But I did. Despite my epically bad eighties hair, I somehow caught the interest of a popular and (luckily) relatively nice girl. Things weren’t great but by winter break I no longer spent lunch either reading in the library or silently crying in a bathroom stall.
And then I met Felicia. And then life itself became easier. I had, for the first time in my 11 years on earth, a friend. A true friend. For many people reading this they might not understand how much of an outcast I was. Here’s an example. When I was in the 3rd grade I invited 3 girls I played with every day to my birthday. When the party rolled around no one showed up. When I asked these girls why they weren’t at my party one of them said that I was weird and the other two nodded. It was fair that those girls said I was weird. I was. But still. Ouch.
And then 4 looooong years later, I met Felicia. And she liked me. She met my family and she still liked me. I did not question why this was. I simply pledged my undying loyalty to her and here we are, almost 35 years later. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that one of the main reasons I have had such a happy life is because I have had her next to me. And she had allowed me to be next to her.
I never understood the incredible luck that led us to be friends until I realized that not everyone has a Felicia. People have friends but not everyone has someone who makes their life not only bearable but better.
When you live with incredible luck it is easy to miss that what you have is not a result of what you have worked for but rather what was given to you by God or Fate or whatever doles out that which we do not earn.
Not everyone has a Felicia but to those who do, you know who you are. So, if you can, hug your Felicia today. Or call her or text her or send her flowers. Do whatever you know will make her smile. And congratulations. There are so few Felicias out there that not everyone gets one.