Tag Archives: friends

Leaning

I wanted to lean over to put my head upon your sure shoulder because it was the perfect moment and if I wasn’t so conscious about my emotions I would have naturally. But instead I resisted and let the moment pass because the reading you’d claim would not be reality and I can’t hurt you again. Not like that.

Your feelings so genuine, mine friendly and just that. There are times when I wished you were more for me than the great company I surround myself with often. You’re a routine I don’t want to break, and the last person I’d want to wreck… again. Yes, we have chemistry and we can banter at a store to make the cashier gawk and assume we’re happily together. Sometimes we’re as convincing as a soon-to-be married couple, just without the ring. But really I’m sparing you from the high expectations of the bling I’d need one day.

You put up with my insane moods, my loud rants, and my innocent obsession with my imaginary and very real celebrity friend group. Who else would watch Taylor Swift’s RED tour concert for 2 hours and 21 minutes on YouTube with me? I mean, you’re screaming winner at the top of your silent lungs. Yet, I know there’s a piece missing, the most important piece of the puzzle that mimics the shape of my indecisive and damaged heart. And I don’t have the answers or the perfect words, for once, to say to ease the pain your hopes hold so tightly. I just know that if you’re not “the one” for me, you hold another place in my life and if you don’t want to be called a “good friend” because really we’ve always been past that, then pick the title and I’ll humor you with a laugh and accept.

Sometimes I’ll want to lean on you because you love me in a way only you can love. It is important to me, don’t get me wrong, but some day the right people will enter from stage right… or left… or be a stray in the audience finally making their move into our hearts. So tonight you might have said to ignore the emotions and lean on over, and really, I probably should have because I do love you in a very indescribable way. Hurting you isn’t on the agenda so I take control and resist, even though my neck has been growing tired of holding itself up for so long.

One day the shoulder will feel right and according to people who have the diamonds on their important left finger, my head will fall without a second thought. Until then your reassuring hugs and sarcasm will suffice as good company; I mean that is if you’ll have me.

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My Best Friend’s Due Date

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Today is Sunday, July 8, 2012. Today is your due date. Today is the day when our childhood escapes our grasps and floats into the true adulthood we’ve dreaded, craved, and envisioned for years. I texted you yesterday and all there was were cramps and a last minute grocery trip to stock the cabinets and fridge. Your little newborn clothes have been washed, dried, and folded neatly into drawers for weeks. The bottles are cleaned. Diapers stacked. Her name delicately displayed on her nursery wall, waiting to be revealed. I got your mom’s cell number for hospital updates through the hours of labor and, of course, when your sweet baby girl enters the world for her first breath and your first motherly-adoring tears. 

I’ve prepared all I can as your best friend, so have you and Scott, your supportive husband of thirteen months and confidant for years. Your mom is probably on pins and needles, jumping up at every phone call that rings any phone line. Your dad’s on call too. It’s their baby’s due date. “Any day now,” we have said all week and now it’s “any minute now”. You say, “I’m ready to meet this little girl!” with that soft voice that I’ve known since middle school. That little girl already adores you just as much as Scott does. I can’t wait to enter that hospital room and look at my best friend, a mommy, holding her daughter. 

Best friend status has always made me a part of your family and I can’t control my excitement and anticipation all at once. I feel as if my sister is having my niece “any minute now”. We texted yesterday like I mentioned above, but today I text and ring you and there’s no answer. My immediate thought is: “It’s time!” but then I remember you said you’d call me. I keep texting silly things to you like how I’m playing old CDs I found from our high school years like Michelle Branch and Eminem and Vanessa Carlton and Creed and… and… and… ARE YOU OKAY!?! That’s all I can think about. I’m about to text Scott, but I’m picturing you two having a final couple’s day, relaxing on the couch, thinking about how you’ve imagined this milestone for so long. Or something’s a stirring and you just want to know for sure before all excitement breaks loose. 

I’m sure you’re just fine. So I’ll continue…  I’m so distracted! <— Crazy.

So I’ve been telling you about all the dreams I’ve been having. I had one where Little Miss came out walking, which I interpreted as evidence she’ll be an overachiever and brilliant. Then there was one where I looked at her and she was dressed in boy clothes, where then I freaked out and rushed to Target to buy boy things because SURPRISE, she’s a boy! AH! I just interpret that as a typical baby dream. Or I’m clearly insane. In another dream you named her a name I hadn’t planned on and so was confused on the letters hanging in her bedroom that read a different name. Ever had a dream panic attack?  

And then last night, more likely early this morning about 6-7 a.m., I had a dream where I was at my mom’s house and you, and Scott came barreling into my driveway. You rang my doorbell and I answered barefoot and in a red summer dress — the sun was shining the brightest — and you said very excited but calm at the same time, “I’m in labor, let’s go!” to which I jumped through the threshold of my childhood house. I left without shoes and joined you in the backseat. You showed me her foot imprint on your tummy and I cooed on cue. And then… I woke up. 

So I think you’re having her. Or my subconscious is having a baby. Or my subconscious has told me you’re having her. Or you could be sitting at home chilling out eating a snack. 

I’m a jumping bean. I’m crying at every little memory that spits from my brain. I’m writing Little Miss her arrival letter soon and I can’t even start it without tissuing my eyes. Hello. My name is Jennifer Dryden and my best friend’s nine months pregnant today and I’m so excited I might as well be on top of the world screaming it. (Wait, I sort of am.)

I hope at the end of the day or the next few days I can hold Little Miss and whisper, “Hello. I’m your Auntie Jennifer and I’m going to love you forever.”

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Don’t forget your heart

Note: I am in love with my internship. It’s my dream job. It’s the best career boost yet.  But this needs to be said for me and for you.

Everything in college is either one path or another: love or career. There’s no happy medium unless you’ve figured out the key to life’s purpose: the assumed purpose of having it all, perfectly juggling it all, ultimate happiness. The continuous smile spread across your flawless face that shimmers like the stars in the always-clear sky.

So when you’re stuck at the fork in the road, where you can talk yourself into success on either one, remember there’s compromise. There’s always compromise… maybe not now, but later into the future. That future you cannot predict. Planning can smooth wrinkles on your puzzled face and impressive notches on your resume can substitute tar in cracks to the road. It all can be lined up with one-inch margins, size 10 Times font, and a crisp water-marked ivory paper you slide into glossy folders and align behind a cover letter explaining your love for children, passion for the industry, and clear goal of being big someday. It’s all there in black and white and you’re confident. You worked for this future, you chose the career path, you had your chance to choose. You chose.

But when you choose it, don’t forget your heart. The heart you’ve probably ignored for the past two years and figured the aches inside were just from stress. The stress that came from sleepless nights of studying, the events that have to be perfect, the forms that needed to be completed yesterday, the people who count on you, your talent, your passion for the industry, and finally, the stress from your mother calling to make sure you’ve eaten lunch today. Even then you lie to save time and say, “Of course I’ve eaten,” when you haven’t stepped away from your computer since seven this morning. You get by from the vending machine down the hall and even though the Cheese-Its aren’t satisfying your hunger, you count the calories and carbs and call it good enough.

Then when your phone rings halfway through your copy-editing shift, you silence it and figure he’ll understand… and anyway, he’s not as busy as you are. You have expectations, deadlines, and a paper to put out. You’ll talk to him later, maybe tomorrow’s best. Silently you question your chosen path: the career path. A shrug of your shoulders is what soothes your nerves and puts you back on the fast track to your future and the newsprint in front of your dry eyes. This is a choice.

This was my choice.

It’s been a good choice. I mean I’m living in New York City, the capital of the publishing world, the Big Apple, and have my dream job (granted it’s an internship), but it’s exactly what I’ve worked for. You don’t get into publishing unless you are willing to live in New York City. Plain and simple, it’s like a silent law of the land. I always wanted the top job, the top responsibility, to be on the top of the world. “Rely on no one but yourself” was my college philosophy. It still was my philosophy up to two weeks ago when I was sitting in my cubicle, editing my first manuscript as a professional in the industry I only dreamed about for years. It was my top moment yet in my life. I was on top of the world. My smile reached out to my dimples; the dimples that only peek when I’m truly happy. I swiveled around in my tall-back chair and no one was there. No one to hug in celebration, no one to fist pump like a fan of the Jets, not even someone to meet for a drink after work. That one person I call after something big happens was miles and miles and states and states away. And that person, my person, isn’t male because I chose long ago. I chose men create drama, heartbreak, and bumps in the road, my road. I chose the career path, ignoring my one true passion in life, my one thing I’ve been completely confident about my entire 23 years of life: having a family. Then, I realized I forgot my heart.

And honestly, I can assume it’s back in Iowa, packed away in the tubs that sit in my mother’s basement, under my pictures from sophomore year, and resume folders. It’s probably in the one I packed up the summer before my junior year and sent home with mom to be stored along with party beads, pictures of my ex, and Uno Attack. It’s probably around the time I lost all faith in finding someone to share my life with, the time when I stood hands drooped at my sides with a limp white flag in my hand at that fork in the road, choosing.

So choose. Just remember: both roads will give you success… but don’t forget your heart.

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Roommate Friends, Just Four Years Late

I entered college four years ago with the intent to find my best friends from my random roommate placements at Iowa State. I began college with the stereotypical view of many nights sharing a futon and laughing with a Cosmopolitan spread over our laps, pointing at all the sex tips that we’d secretly never try but daring each other to do. We’d go on walks together around campus and stick by each others’ sides while hanging at a party. We’d hold each others’ hair while we puked from the party we went to and my roomie would climb into my bed in the morning only for me to recall her crazy night she now doesn’t remember and laugh about all the dumb boys we encountered. We’d wipe each others’ tears when a boy broke our heart and we’d plot a revenge we’d more than likely get arrested for.

Well to be blunt, I never found that roommate. Sure, I had a best friend and we shared so many drunken nights we didn’t remember, laughs over sex tips, and tears over stupid boys, but it never lasted long enough. We never shared a poptart hangover breakfast together or borrowed each other’s clothes or talked until we fell asleep in our gross dorm bunks. So after two years of failed attempts at random roommates at Iowa State, I rented a one-bedroom apartment in West Ames secluded from the hustle and bustle, noise, and bitchy roommates. I tucked myself into a corner by myself and shielded myself with a wall. I pretty much blocked out everyone who I wasn’t friends with already. It just seemed like the only way to go.

I lived alone for the past nine months prior to moving to New York City and before that had only lived with roommates I’d rather stab than talk to on a daily basis. After such bad luck with the co-habitants, I gave up on illusion that those ideal roommates were even out there and the feeling of wanting to live with someone else. I thought I’d rather be alone than put up with someone else in my living space… basically I made up excuses as to why I wanted to live alone. Some were valid and some were just me protecting myself.

New York has changed my perspective. I no longer want to be secluded. I no longer feel as if no one can put up with me. I no longer feel as if I’m “too much” for some people. Sure, I can be a lot to handle sometimes, well, most of the time. But my roommates in New York can handle it. Des is almost an equal to my craziness and volume. It’s nice to feel at home with random roommates. No, we don’t climb into bed with each other in the morning to talk about dumb boys, partially because our beds are an extra-long twin and partially because we don’t have time for boys… especially dumb ones. Living with these roommates are not all those stereotypical things I listed in the first paragraph, but we click.

We click for different reasons one can only assume such as, 1) We have the same career interests (publishing), 2) We are all living in NYC for the first time and want to experience it all, and 3) We are all enduring the same intense, slightly long days of class. I’m sure I drive them nuts sometimes… in fact, I know I do. I’m loud. But when I think I’ve been too loud, Des tops my volume from the other room. It’s OK now. I haven’t changed who I am, and I don’t think they expect me to.

I’ve never been happier in my life than on those days of moving out of college apartments, away from the bitchy roommates. Here, I know once July 17 comes and we are forced out of our NYC apartment, I’ll be crying and hoping this isn’t goodbye. I’ve lived here for 10 days and already I know I’ve found three life-long friends. Those same friends I was looking for four years ago.

The Roommates: Laura, Tricia, Desire'e and me

Des and I in Times Square

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Walking Miles In Flip Flops

Lesson learned: Don’t wear flip flops while exploring around the Times Square/Central Park area. I made the four mile trek up to Central Park from East 14th Street just fine, once I entered the park, my feet became my enemy. Not only did I stumble up the rocky masses by the lake, I had to stop repeatedly to reposition my flip flop after it fell off six times (I counted). I could ignore the pain enough to enjoy every part of the many athletic beings sweating through the park, sounds the street entertainers brought, and the always-comforting company of one of my favorite people — my cousin, Bryan. (I actually don’t know what to call him… he plays a lot of different roles in my life — cousin-in-law, dad, friend, counselor, joker…)

Bryan flew into New York early Sunday to spend the day with me before his busy week of meetings at Ernst & Young, which was the best idea ever. We grabbed coffee from Starbucks (I, of course, ordered a frap) and headed north toward Times Square, keeping our eyes out for a subway entrance. We never found that subway entrance partially because we were on the wrong streets, but mainly because we were engrossed in conversation and enjoying the New York personality. We ended up walking four miles and had reached our destination of Central Park. First time for both of us.

Central Park was delightful with amateur soccer and baseball games going on, various characters gliding, riding, and strolling around the park, and horse drawn carriages. The temporary and drawn out “neh” of a horse made me wish I had a recorder and wonder if the horse was in pain or pissed off at the driver. I couldn’t quite tell, but if I were the horse, I’d be letting out the stress of pulling such a heavy thing and taking crap from a snippy driver. I’ll let the pictures tell you more about our venture through one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

As the day progressed, we went to the Toys R Us store, M&M store, swung by the David Letterman building, and hit up other Times Square key features. I made Bryan ride the Toys R Us Ferris Wheel, which was awesome. He will never admit that he was excited but once we were on, he buckled up and the sparkle in his eye twinkled. haha… no, no, no, but he was game for riding and we did get his Ferris Wheel car pick — the fire truck. I wanted the My Little Pony car but nooooooo. Overall, it was great and so fun. The M&M store was stocked full of all things M&M — pillows, cups, green M&M Statue of Libertys, pens, and of course, rows and rows of colored M&Ms, mixed M&Ms (even a princess mix with pink, purple, and yellow ones).

We met Des for dinner at Rogue, a grill and bar on 25th and the Avenue of the Americas, to watch the Celtics and Lakers game and to eat dinner, drink, and be merry. We talked about toilet paper rolls and how many songs related to toilet paper rolls (inside joke, sorry readers who aren’t Des or Bryan). We looked on as a die-hard Celtics fan who looked Chinese but wasn’t would clap like a heavy cheerleader and pump his fist at the screen, nearly punching the bartender each time. He was the most entertaining person we’ve encountered in NYC yet. Well, maybe not… that guy who wanted to “lick ya ass” is a close tie. Long story short: it was a great company, heartfelt laughing, and memorable day in NYC with one of the best.

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Goodbye Ames, Goodbye Iowa, Goodbye Normalcy

The only time my Ames senior year apartment was completely bare and empty was the first five hours of my first day in it: August 1, 2009. I bought, framed, and hung posters, picture collages, bulletin boards, and paintings on the walls that same day. True life Jenn Dryden: I get things done all at once, I don’t space them out with breathing room. So sleeping in a white-walled and bare, echoing apartment last night was overwhelming to say the least. As I was turning my back, grasping the apartment door, and taking one last glance into my empty apartment today, I had one thought rush through my crowded head: “Well, there goes normalcy.”

That is an understatement to the next week of my life. Not only have I not lived at home longer than a weekend in three years, I haven’t lived in any other state than Iowa. My entire Ames life is stuffed tightly into my mom’s basement and piled in more piles than I can count, my mattress and box spring are zipped in plastic covers, and those frames that once hung upon my walls are tilted against the couch. There are three large suitcases in my bedroom upstairs that are stuffed with clothes and essentials for New York, even my clothes for today through Thursday. (Yeah, didn’t plan that quite right.) I’ll be living near Soho in Union Square in Manhattan starting Friday. That’s definitely not Iowa! As much as I’m ready to finally be in one spot for a little while, I’m still trying to swallow leaving everything and everyone I’ve ever known.

Some would cringe at change and curl into a ball with their knees under their chin and pray someone will come to their rescue. I’ve done that at least once, so if you’ve gone over one time, suck it up and embrace it. I’ve never been good with change. I mean, I’ll make the appropriate changes when necessary but I’m notorious for loving routine. Routine and me get along pretty well. We accommodate each other well. (Rambling, I’m good at that.)

But as I shut that door and thought away normalcy, I opened a new door to my dreams. My dream has always been (for the past three years) living in New York City, working in the publishing industry, and being in the middle of it all. This summer’s institute will hand me opportunities with all of the editors and publishers in companies like HarperCollins, Random House, Inc, Conde Nast, Meredith Corporation, and beyond. I’ll be working close with an executive editor of O The Oprah Magazine mid-June and meeting editors from every branch of the magazine industry. (Read more on my “NYC Summer” page.) This is my chance.

So today as I drove away from a city that holds my college experience, best friend, and first taste of independence, I cried. I cried until I reached the city’s limits, then I wiped my eyes, stiffed one last sniff, and began to sing along to “Soul Sister” by Train on the radio. I also allowed myself to grow up then I turned the page to the next chapter called, “The Rest of My Life”.

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Love you, B

“Love you, B.”

This statement comes out of my mouth more often than affection to my family, not because I don’t love my family but because I see B more often. B doesn’t stand for bitch or the name of this person, it stands for Blair on Gossip Girl. Serena Vanderwoodsen and Blair Waldorf go together like “lamb and tuna fish… maybe you like spaghetti and meatball? Are you comfortable with that analogy?”–(Big Daddy, 1999 Gotta love it).

Now I’m not best friends with Blair or her real identity of Leighton Meester, but I am best friends with Andrea Fier and we do watch Gossip Girl every Monday night together. This isn’t going to be a post about how we finish each other’s sentences or how we are “just like twins” or how we kick ass in a game of volleyball because even though we are and do some of those things, I’m not about to sap through an entire post that has no message.

Let’s get one thing straight, her name’s Drea, and that’s not for you to call her ever (she said, shouting with her pointer finger straight and shaking like a mother disciplining her deviant son). I call her Drea because it’s only right. A bestie should have rights to calling her bestie whatever she damn well pleases. She hated it at first and would give me a rumbling sigh and say, “Jenn, stop calling me that!” and I’d lull my head and say, “OK.” Then I called her that again a year into our friendship and while she attempted to tell me to stop, I told her to “shut up”. I christened her Drea because I could.

Drea has recently written a post on her newly birthed blog that told me how much I have inspired her and so I decided to let the world and her know how much she’s truly inspired me. Now if I could only find a starting point I could continue this extra long, very important task. Oh… here’s one.

I met Drea my first weekend as an Iowa State Cyclone at Destination Iowa State, a orientation event for incoming students. My group leader, Alexis, was Drea’s roommate who was also a team leader for DIS. We all met up at Lied Recreation Center on campus for the Sunday night final event, which was sort of like a fair with booths, pizza, and cotton candy. Our groups sort of combined then everyone split up to do what they wanted. The three roommates stayed (adding the third roommate Jamie) and so did I. I admired them for their friendship and blah blah blah. They talked about going to a fraternity that night for some drinks and so I spoke up and they ended up inviting me along… only if I drove because leaders couldn’t transport their members anywhere. We hung out and talked and it was great. I do remember some Dr. Pepper and Captain Morgan being poured and the next morning being the worst day of my life up to that point. The next weekend, we did it again. Eventually I grew closer to Andrea than the other two and we confided to each other our pasts, goals, and secrets.

I was an elementary education major at the time and she was a journalism major. I was a creative writer who hadn’t really recognized how much talent I really had until I sat down and started hammering at the keyboard one night. I went to Andrea for her advice and experience in journalism. She told me to apply at the Iowa State Daily. This is the first career-inspiring thing Drea did for me. Soon after the spring semester in 2008 started, I changed majors to journalism. (I figured I could have my own kids someday, no need to swarm myself with others’.)

Through journalism I found myself, my true friends, and my voice. No… I didn’t find myself, I created myself. I got hired as a beat reporter at the Daily and was news editor by summer 2008. I wouldn’t have applied if Drea had not pushed me. I advanced to assistant news editor, business feature writer, and copy editor because of my drive and passion but also because Andrea got me where I belonged. Drea and I copy edited the same nights. I’d go on to write for Ethos Magazine, a student magazine at ISU, and submit Concentrated Breathing to Sketch, ISU’s literary magazine.

I was in a long, two year, turbulent, and exhausting relationship when I transferred to Iowa State and Andrea saw my pain, wiped my tears, and told me I was too good for him. I was in limbo, feeling the growth of love in my heart for this man and feeling the pain and weight on my shoulders that told me I needed out. She gave him an honest chance and he blew it as predicted but not hoped, and Andrea looked at me and said, “Dump him, Jenn. You’re better than him.” She was right, and now that I look back on it, this was the first indication that she would always have my back. If I didn’t transfer to Iowa State and meet the people like Drea who opened my eyes to reality, I can confidently say I’d be married to him and probably teaching three-year-olds their ABCs or eight-year-olds cursive. I dodged a bullet and a life of repetition and vulnerability. (God bless the teachers out there though, including my mom. They are strong people with more patience than I think I possess in my entire body.)

Drea helped me create myself in all the major areas of life: career, personal life, and branching out. Branching out ranges from me being restricted to drink because of an over-bearing boyfriend to finally taking that first UV Blue shot with her, Alexis, and Jamie to applying at the Daily to declaring my journalism major to finding my true passion in creative writing to declaring a lifetime career in book publishing to finally applying and getting accepted into one of the most prestigious institutes in the world: New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute. Yes, I carried out these amazing opportunities, wrote the pages upon pages on my pain and happiness, and made all of the final decisions; but it was Drea who absorbed all my tears, held my hand as I stepped into a rocky situation, spoke her mind truthfully in the best interest of her bestie, and has led me to better understand myself.

Having a best friend like Drea means you’ll always have someone to lean on, you’ll always know the truth because she won’t sugarcoat reality, and you’ll always know that when everything crumbles around you, you’ll have someone who loves you. So… I love you, B! You are anything but ordinary, boring, and unsuccessful. You are the best thing that has happened to me in college and probably one of the top 3 things that will ever happen to me.

Everything I’ve described above only covers the surface of Andrea Elizabeth Fier and our friendship. This is getting too long and I’m crying so I better stop and let Drea and I have all of the other hilarious memories to ourselves. See, Drea, I told you I could write a book about you. You know why? Because you’re the best bestie a bestie could have. 😛

Halloween 2009 ❤

Iowa State Football Game – We didn’t mean to look like we were licking that rando guy in the background but it worked out nicely. ha!
Besties for Life! (there’s Sophie behind us = priceless)

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