I’ve tried to write and edit this post so many times. For some reason, every draft I’ve written has sounded like a typical seventh grade Instagram birthday shoutout, and Shakti (also known as the person who proofreads all my posts) deserves much more than that on her 17th birthday. The truth is that I could go on and on about all the memories we’ve made such as singing along to music at the top of our lungs every car and bus ride we’ve been on together, Facetiming for hours every night, making music videos in my basement, spending every middle and high school formal together, and so many more. I could go on and on about how excited I am to room with her in Disney next year, graduate side by side, and go on our road trip next summer. I could go on and on about all our inside jokes from “Guess the body part!” to “GO OFF SHAKTI”. However, no one will understand a post like that because 99% of our memories, future plans, and inside jokes are SO weird. So let’s stray from the “seventh-grade-birthday-shoutout” theme and get to the part that I want the world to read.
It’s hard to articulate how much I love her. From the first day I met her in first grade, she was someone I always wanted to be around. First of all, there truly is something so intrinsically welcoming about her. This quality is why I was able to become best friends with her when I barely knew English. This quality is why everyone is immediately drawn to her. This quality is why I can tell her the weirdest, darkest, or saddest thing without worrying that she’ll shut me out for it.
Another reason people love her is because she’s legitimately the funniest person. To gain some inspiration for this post, I asked some of her close friends what their favorite thing about her is. One friend said, “Every time I see her I feel a sense of elation because she never fails to make me laugh,” and another said she loves “her unique sense of humor and her way of making people feel better when they’re sad.” If you’ve ever met her, you know Shakti’s sense of humor is very one of a kind. She can rattle off puns at a rate of a million miles a minute. You can be in the worst mood, but the second she lays a series of puns on you, you can’t help but smile. She can turn any situation into a positive one, turning your sad tears into happy ones. There have been too many times when I have called her while bawling my eyes out, and each time she is able to distract me from my struggles and bring so much joy into my day.
Her smile also has magic powers. I swear. It is almost as powerful as her pun capabilities. With her sparkly, wide grin, she cheers people up just by smiling at them. Her smile radiates so much happiness and light, and it’s impossible to not smile back when she smiles at you. With teenage hormones swirling around us like tornadoes, it’s often hard for people my age to stay consistently happy; somehow Shakti manages to do that. She knows how good she has it and practices gratefulness without even knowing she does it. She doesn’t dwell on her problems or overreact like I do, and I really admire that. It’s this happy energy that draws people to her, and it’s this happy energy that makes being her friend so easy.
Sometimes, though, people don’t need jokes; they need the brutal truth. No worries, Shakti is the most honest person I’ve ever met. She will tell you if you look ugly in the picture you want to post, and she will tell you when you’re overreacting about something dumb. She will tell you when she’s tired of talking to you and wants to watch Netflix instead. This quality of hers used to catch me off guard, but over time I realized it’s one of my favorite things about her. I know that in a world full of people who sugarcoat everything, she will always be there to tell me the truth, even if it stings a little.
With that said, she is also one of the kindest and most loyal people I’ve ever met. She doesn’t pretend to love everyone, but she cares so strongly for the people she loves. She is loyal to a fault. Whenever people turn on me, she is ready to stick up for me. Whenever someone she loves is hurt, she is ready to be there and offer unconditional support. You can see her loyalty and her kind heart in how obsessed she is with her cat, how respectful she is toward her family, and how devoted she is to helping people by participating in countless volunteer programs. Besides her humor, her other friends also value her loyalty and kindness. When I asked them to name their favorite things about her, one friend said “her constant support and unwavering loyalty,” and another said “how much she loves and cares about her friends.” It makes me so happy to know that everyone around her constantly benefits from her good heart. She truly makes people’s lives better.
Shakti is also a genius. She will never brag about it, but she’s won first place in the Science Fair so many times, she has second chair in orchestra, she gets A’s on tests she barely studies for, she got accepted to a really selective summer program at the University of Pittsburgh, and she got an amazing score on her SAT. I don’t know how such a large brain can fit into that head of hers, but nonetheless I am so proud of all she’s accomplished.
Our friendship has gotten me through more than I can explain. Honestly, this has been one of the hardest years of my life. She has stuck by me and supported me through every single hurdle. Whether I was sad about a boy, test score, injury, or even if I just had a bad day, she was there. Even if I was crying about the same thing for the millionth time, she would be there to listen and offer advice. She says she’s bad at consoling people, but I think quite the opposite. No one makes me feel like everything’s going to be okay quite as well as she does.
Our friendship is also insanely weird. From smacking each other’s butts every time Flo Rida says “turn around and give that big booty a smack” whenever the song “Low” plays, to eating a bowl of beans together over Facetime pretty much every day lately, to making memes out of every art piece we saw in the Philadelphia Museum of Art today, we are anything but normal. Our conversations are a completely judgment free zone, and I love that with all my heart.
To put it simply, she’s my person. She’s the closest thing to a soulmate I know. I have no doubt that no matter where we each go for college, we’ll stay friends. I know a lot of high school friendships don’t make it past the first year of college, but with her, it’s different. We both have our own big dreams that don’t necessarily coincide, but our one common dream is to stay friends forever. I can’t wait for our husbands to watch football together and for our kids to run around together. She’s a lifelong friend, and I can’t express how much confidence I have in us.
This has been the absolute cheesiest post ever, but I couldn’t help it. Shakti, if I could dream up a perfectly imperfect friend, it would be you. I don’t know how I got lucky enough to have a best friend who is literally my other half. I don’t know how I got lucky enough to have a best friend who tells me how much I mean to her every day. I don’t know how I got lucky enough to have a best friend who brings out the absolute best in me. I don’t know how I got lucky enough to have a best friend who sticks with me through everything, no matter how tough the situation. I don’t know how I got lucky enough to have a best friend who I have never even had a real fight with. I consider myself a good person, but I don’t know what angelic thing I could have possibly done to deserve such a wonderful best friend. I am thankful for you every single day, but especially today. I hope you have the happiest birthday imaginable. Enjoy 17 and all that it brings you. I can’t wait for all the adventures ahead!