Sunday, July 12, 2015

Crayons to Perfume

How do you thank someone who has taken you from Crayons to Perfume?

It isn't easy, but I'll try ;)

I met my best friend, Sarah, when we were 5 years old. 

From the second we met, soul-mates. 
Our mutual friend, Lauren, made the introduction and I still remember that fateful day like it was yesterday. We were playing "school" and like any good teacher, Lauren tried to control her class. Sarah and I were a force to be reckoned with. We busted up laughing every time we looked at each other. The more we tried not to laugh, the harder we'd laugh.

The only thing that separated us that day was a call from my mom asking me to come home. I was sad because I wasn't sure I'd ever see Sarah again.

As "luck" would have it, one year later Sarah and her family moved in NEXT DOOR.

In case you ever doubted, the Universe IS good.

We raised each other
I was an only child and to say I was a brat is an understatement. I threw temper tantrums. I was clumsy and I broke everything (including Sarah's Barbie dolls). I even broke Sarah's door one day after slamming it so hard in one of my infamous tantrums. And yet, Sarah still loved me. She still invited me over everyday to play.

Sarah created worlds for us - circuses, plays, dance routines, musicals, a full-on confidence course in her garage. Out of all the neighborhood kids, she was definitely the coolest. She listened to the best music and wore the hippest clothes. She had a Doughboy swimming pool, a gigantic trampoline, and a backyard that looked like a jungle. I wanted to be just like her. And even though it took me a LONG time to mellow out, it was Sarah's friendship that I wanted more than I wanted to have my way. She taught me how to put my juvenile needs aside and to start considering others. She taught me at a very early age how to love selflessly.

We had season Passes to Great America . The theme park was our perfect bridge between childhood and adulthood. It was June, summer of 5th grade, and we had just spent a full day at G.A. We came home and I went directly to the bathroom.

I started crying. I knew what it was, I just didn't think it would come so soon. Sarah and our other friend Michelle came rushing in "what's wrong?!"

Me: I started my period

Michelle: Oh, it's Hell! Helllllll! Cramps, those bulky pads, and you won't be able to go on roller coasters for a week!

Sarah: Oh Heather! This is so beautiful! You are a woman now! Now, you're a woman!

A month later, Sarah, her beautiful Aunt Shawn and cousin Audrey gave me my very own menses celebration ceremony on the beach. The White Wolf Ceremony we called it. We lit candles, threw trinkets in the ocean, and talked about how fortunate we were to be wild women. All this to celebrate the women we were, the women we'd become.

Love and Los Angeles
In my early 20's I met the love of my life and moved far far away from friends and family to be with him. Our relationship was deeply loving and yet, due to a variety of circumstances, it was also very challenging for me. I dove head first into our love and made the mistake of losing myself in the process. Two years into our relationship, I fell apart.

I called Sarah one day (as I often did) and told her about the dark state I was in. I'll never forget the tone in her voice, the seriousness. "I'm flying out to get you, we'll drive back to L.A. and you'll stay with me until you feel better." She knew the difference between a call and a cry for help. And she saved my life.

She did fly out and we did drive my car 3,000 miles back to L.A. I had $500 to my name which was just enough to pay for cross-country gas. Sarah didn't know what she was signing up for at the time, but what she got was a roomie for 2 years. That beautiful woman opened her home to me for two years.

We lived in her tiny Bachelor apartment, complete with a hotplate and not much else. We put up sheets to divide the room so we'd both have privacy. The sheets were hung by adhesive-backed plastic hooks we bought at CVS. The hooks would frequently lose their stick and all of our "walls" would come down.

Still, we felt like queens because we each only had to pay $400 for our rent and we had each other. We started a band together (the FIRST rendition of the Happy Hollows). We did avant garde performances around Los Angeles, wearing costumes and pirate patches on our eyes (a story for another post). Sarah was FAR MORE committed to our band than I was. She was ready to make it big and she had the talent and the discipline to back it up. I backed out of our band and Sarah brought on new members, Charlie and Chris and then eventually Dan and Matt too. The rest is history. Sarah will continue to make history...anyone can see.

Coffee Talks 
Sarah taught herself guitar. And then, in 2013, when she was asked to fill in for bassist Nikki Monninger on the SilverSun Pickups tour, Sarah taught herself to play bass. In one month. And here she is, on stage, touring the world with SSPUs.

That's Sarah. She never shies away from greatness. She never shies away from hard work. She ALWAYS shows up for greatness. And if you've ever met Sarah, you know that she not only radiates greatness, but she also reflects back YOUR greatness. It's her gift and her service to humanity.

But back to coffee...While on tour, Sarah would go on the road for 3+ weeks at a time. It was hard not seeing her for those 3 weeks. But I always knew at the end of the tour, we'd have coffee. And for us, "coffee" means hours and hours and hours at Urth Cafe, sipping lattes and storytelling.

And Sarah can tell a story -- let me tell you! No one tells a story like Sarah. She brings her life experience to life through her re-telling of it. I can listen to her for hours. Her ability to tell stories ushers in an even stronger sense of kinship with her because you really feel like you are experiencing what she experienced. I'll be the first to admit it -- I often live vicariously through her wild stories ;)

The time we spend together is so precious to me. I am always amazed that we can go weeks (or months sometimes!) apart and come together over one coffee talk and I can walk away from that talk feeling like not a day has passed. This, to me, is evidence that an invisible bond exists between us, and that no distance, no time, and no external circumstance can ever part two true best friends.

Sisters to eternity
Sarah is half Persian/half Irish. She has beautiful thick dark hair, olive skin, and oblong facial features. I am mostly Irish and can claim a tiny bit of Italian. I have wispy hair, glowing white skin (in the winter!) and very round facial features. We look nothing alike, okay?

And yet! I cannot tell you how many times we get asked the question "Ooooh! Are you sisters?"

It's weird! It's puzzling! And it's wonderful. I think those weirdos are seeing what we've seen all along... We are most definitely soul sisters.

Sarah, you are the best sister I could ever have and I love you to eternity. Thank you for being the most wonderful human being alive.