Being yourself gives others permission to be themselves too.

My childhood diary

I had a friend in the 6th grade.

She was that rare breed of person who, at a very awkward time for most people, was somehow cool yet kind, tough yet approachable.

And for some reason, she wanted to be friends with me.

Even though I was rarely allowed to go to her house.

Even though I didn’t wear clogs (until she gave me her old ones) or fashionable jeans (fourth of 5 kids - I was always in my brother's hand-me-downs).

At a critical time in my life, she was the only person I knew - the only person I trusted - to ask the stupid questions.

Yes, there are stupid questions. Especially in the 6th grade. Questions that everyone else seemed born already knowing. Asking would have revealed the tragic truth that I was naive and hopelessly uncool.

Questions like, “What does getting to 3rd base mean?” Or, “Why doesn’t he like me if I like him?” Or “What are all the slang words for pot?”

She’d answer all my questions honestly, kindly, without judgment or superiority.

I suppose if I were a kid now, I'd ask Google - figure it all out online. 

But back then, her friendship made me feel less alone. I knew I was different but felt seen, valued, cared for.

We’ve stayed in touch and I had the chance to tell her what her friendship meant to me as a kid.

I’m not sure she understood what a gift she had been in my life.

Sometimes we don't see our own gifts as gifts because we assume that what we do well, others do too.

That’s not true.

Sometimes, being totally yourself around another person is just what they need - permission to be themselves too. 

My childhood diary