When you grow up in a place that prides itself in being a ‘ghetto’, when you are your parents’ lone daughter and when you are considered the black sheep of the family, BFF’s don’t come easy.
Growing up, I didn’t have any BFFs. Of course, I had ‘friends’ or people I’d see every day in school but none of them could be classed as ‘best friends’. Hell, some of them even went out of their way to prove they had no love for me and I say that knowing many of them read my blog. I just hope they’re grown enough to admit, by now, how vindictive they were as teenagers.
So yes, I had friends. Like the friend who used to get about and always expressed how she thought I was going to steal her boyfriend(s). There was also the friend who’d rob my clothes with the pretext of borrowing them. Then there was the friend who wanted to move in with me because her parents trusted me to keep her on the right track, she then revealed how she wanted to bake space cakes and force-feed me against my will (I refused to move in with her and we haven’t spoken since). There were the girls who would walk past me on the street and mutter swear words under their breath and the girls who would play down my hard work, trilling with derision, ‘Alright for some, eh? Some people are so lucky.’
Ever heard the sentence, ‘It’s difficult to soar like an eagle when you’re surrounded by turkeys’? That pretty much sums up my life.
Until I met her.
The first time we met, I was only 19. I was simply popping into my old high school for some observations to figure out if secondary teaching was for me. I remember sitting in to watch her lesson and thinking: what an amazing teacher. Her positivity was infectious and the kids loved her yet when I spoke to her after the lesson there was nothing but humility in her demeanour.
I know it is God who brought us together because when I qualified as a teacher, I got my first job at the same school where I’d first met her. My best memories of teaching in the UK are with her – we worked at two schools together and of all the things I experienced, the things I remember most are the moments spent with her.
I miss the mischievous twinkle in her eye. I miss how she’d talk at 100mph: there was never a moment of silence. Tinie Tempah wasn’t messing when he penned the lyric, ‘She like to talk a lot that’s why I call her Tricia.’ I miss hearing her call me Kubs, and all of her attempts to force-feed me doughnuts during Y11 revision sessions. I miss seeing her amazing resources in my inbox and the funny one-liners she’d pop out with.
A BFF, in my opinion, transcends above all the labels and expectations that come with being just a ‘friend’. My BFF is much more than a best friend forever. She is a compassionate woman, an outstanding teacher, a witty best friend, and a perfect mentor. In fact, she has been my family in my hardest moments and often, has been the only helping hand pulling me out of countless ditches of despair.
It’s very rare to find people who will place their own problems on hold and go out of their way to help you, without expecting any in return. I don’t regret the countless ‘friends’ I had to make do with to finally reach the diamond I have now. In seeking out constant perfection from herself and her work, she is a never-ending source of inspiration for others.