I’ve written a lot about my relationships with friends and family on my blog. I’ve found that expressing appreciation for the men and women who’ve helped me to come this far has a wonderful way of loosening the holds of anxiety and depression. By taking time out of my day to think and write about the blessings I’ve been given, the internal dialogue I find myself having has dramatically changed: what was once a loud voice intent on pointing out my faults and shortcomings has changed to another, quieter one that tries to instill hope even at my darkest times. Overtime, as that new voice has grown louder, I’ve begun to realize that it’s a voice that’s familiar.
Nearly 12 years ago, I heard that voice for the first time. I was in 7th grade, a lanky loner who’d transferred into Catholic school and had yet to make a friend. Content to avoid the gaze of my peers, I resigned myself to sitting alone in the back. But when I turned to place my books on the chair next to me, I realized that I wasn’t alone. A girl I didn’t know was sitting there, cheerfully pulling out a notebook as she turned to greet me. “Hi, I’m Izzy,” she had said. Her voice was sweet and friendly, and I was entranced by it as she told me about herself that day. It was the first day of a 12 year long friendship; even then, I was mesmerized by this girl who saw me through the walls I put up.
I thank God every day that my newfound friendship didn’t end there. My middle school days, which had once felt like pulling teeth, began to fly by; they were now filled with jokes, made-up songs, and staring in awe at the drawings Izzy would show me from within her notebook. Even then, I remember days of writing stories at the back of our Algebra class while Izzy sat next to me, sketching away in her notebook. Those days had turned into something different for me, a series of wonderful memories filled with the sound of Izzy’s voice.
And I’m glad to say I had the blessing of taking that friend into high school with me. Quickly, Izzy had formed a group of close friends around her and, as is her nature, included me so effortlessly and flawlessly that I didn’t realize how integral she was in my making friends. Days were spent huddled in the library, joking and talking about the plans we had after school. I watched as my friend began to put herself out there, connecting with people from all walks of life as she participated in after-school activities like choir. It’s what inspired me, a year later, to spread my own wings and join the stage crew. As friend groups often do, ours changed throughout the years as some found their niches elsewhere, others moved to pursue careers, or we lost touch as a result of the latest drama. But every time that happened, I found Izzy solidly there, standing in my corner as she always had.
Then, we braved the trials of higher education together by attending the same school. At Carroll, our friendship changed and grew as we did, maturing the ways we approached our differences and strengthening our communication. Through our constant interaction, we developed the ability to read each other’s faces, easily communicating without words. We became more cognizant of the other’s moods, the ways they responded to stress and anxiety, and learned to adjust ourselves accordingly. Carroll provided us with the unique opportunity to develop our friendship into what it has become today– a mutual partnership between two people who, when life pulls us in different directions, know that that love we have fostered for each other will remain even if we don’t talk for a while. It’s a friendship that’s survived past the years in school together and culminated in a real life partnership, as Izzy creates all the art and logos for the blog.
So when I hear that voice, the one that tells me it’s going to be okay when I believe it won’t be, it’s the voice of my friend Izzy that I hear. As a constant companion who’s been with me through high and low, who’s shared my burdens and come to me with her own, I’m not surprised that it’s her voice, as sweet and cheerful as ever, that calms me in the depths of anxiety. I have been, and am, blessed with each day that I have found myself a friend and companion to the girl whose potential has no limit and who’s compassion, kindness, and genuine care for others could fill a cup with no bottom. Thank you, my friend, for that day when you extended your friendship to the boy who had no one. Because of that one small act, I stand here today as a man who has everything and more. I will love you for always, my forever friend.
My friendship with Izzy has produced a lot of fruitful outcomes, including having a friend who’s willing to utilize her vast skill set to improve the look of this website. Do you like my logo and banner? Or are you, like me, excited to see what new image will accompany my articles each day? You can follow Izzy on instagram @izzy_belle.illustrations and or email her to firstname.lastname@example.org. She is currently taking commissions for posters, logos, cards, and resume templates.