“Friends are the family we choose for ourselves” – Edna Buchanan
I have wonderful friends. Truly, I am blessed. It occurred to me that I would like to do a series that celebrates friendship, so I asked a few friends if they would be willing to write about me and I, in turn, would write about them. I thought it would be an interesting way for you to get to know me as some of my friends do and a wonderful way for me to pay tribute to friendship.
The following was written by my friend, Greg Rosas:
I first met Unknown Amiga (she wasn’t a Mami yet) at College. We were both auditioning for an acting workshop, and I was very nervous, as I usually was in those days before hitting the stage. When it was her turn, I remember looking at her and thinking how strangely beautiful she was, with her long raven hair and interesting face. She did a classical monologue, some Greek tragedy piece I think, and appeared so confident and mature beyond her years. Like most people, whenever I see or meet someone new, I usually have pre-conceived notions about them, and I had some very strong ones about her already: privileged, snobbish, and of Greek origin-like the character in her audition-which to me didn’t seem like much of a stretch for an actor. None of my initial impressions turned out to be true, of course. I was soon to learn what a unique and transformative person she was. She was not bound by any environmental or cultural barriers, she gave no hint that she ever had to struggle or want for anything basic, or that she had any significant pain from emotional wounds. It wasn’t immediate that we became friends, not until we were paired to do a scene together sometime later. There are only a few people you meet in your lifetime who you connect with on a very deep and spiritual level, and I felt it very quickly. That we shared a heritage and were similarly affected by the emotional scars from our childhoods may have influenced that bond, but I knew instinctively that we were destined to be soul mates.
As with most relationships, we have had our rocky moments, and there was a time when we were out of touch. I was absorbed in my own world trying to sort some things out, but I always knew that our bond was strong enough to endure this period of detachment and that we would reconnect someday…and of course, we did. She was never judgmental about it, she has always given me love unconditionally…like a good mom would. In many ways, having lost my mother at an early age, I guess she has played that role, and like a loving parent, forgiven me when I stumbled and fell and caused her pain. As a fellow artist, she is the one person I know I can go to who will truly understand a disappointing audition, or on that rare occasion, the elation I feel when I “book a gig.” She has also inspired me with her deep devotion and passion to her trade, and I often feel I owe her a commission when I land work.
For me, humor has always been a very, very cherished characteristic in people I am drawn to, and I have never met anyone who possesses her wit, or her uncanny ability to find the funny side in just about anything. Her humor is so primal, so instinctive, to imagine her without it would be almost as if she were missing a limb. She doesn’t have to work at funny, she just is, and she knows it. It’s a gift from God or Goddess. Whatever. It’s wild, it’s unique, it’s sometimes silly, and it’s oftentimes brilliant , but it’s always hers. She loves a good prank as much as I do, and will dare to go to extremes to pull it off. One of my fondest memories of our college days was a harmless joke (or so we thought) involving a fellow student and our acting professor. The details aren’t important, but I will say the joke backfired in the worst possible way, causing unexpected friction between our target victims. Yet, I still remember it as one of the funniest and most uncomfortable moments of my life, and I owe it all to her. I can’t wait until we are conspire to do the next one.
I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without her. I’ve always been drawn to unusual, funny and honest people, people who aren’t afraid to laugh at their own foibles, or afraid to proudly reveal the real person behind the everyday facade. When I’m in her company, I feel like my entire being exhales and I can truly be myself and not hide my flaws, because I know she accepts the whole package. I’ve known her nearly 20 years, but my friendship with her still feels as fresh and exciting as it was in the beginning. She still fascinates me and surprises me with her amazing spirit and wit. She’s like your favorite flower: you never grow tired of it’s beauty, and nothing can describe the deep love you feel knowing it is a natural part of the universe. I know she has many people who love her and feel she is their closest friend, but she’s really mine!
If someone were to ask me how to describe her, or “what’s she really like, ” I’d honestly say, once you know her, she’s yours for life and be prepared for an amazing ride.
Didn’t I tell you I have great friends? Come back tomorrow to read what I have to say about Greg and don’t forget to nurture the friendships in your life.