Friends: we all have them. Well, I hope you have at least one really good friend. One really good ‘Ride or Die.’ One friend who you call when those random thoughts pop into your head that you think are brilliant or hilarious, and you just have to share with someone. The friend you call when you’re wandering through Target because…you’re wandering through Target. The friend you call when you get good news or something exciting happens. The friend you call when you’ve just had the crappiest day and damnit, you just need to vent. The friend who doesn’t drink coffee but will always go out of her way to go with you to get coffee, even though she knows you have a problem. The friend who sends GIFs from The Office at just the right time.

The friend you call when that stupid boy, for the 897th time, made you cry OR made you want to punch a wall. The friend who says “I’m coming over right now” after that phone call about that stupid boy. The friend you call when you’re at Trader Joe’s because you’ve just seen that guy you went on one awkward date with a few months prior, and obviously you have to be on the phone so you can pretend you don’t notice him.

The friend that you can have the most deep, emotionally vulnerable conversations with, but 10 minutes later be giggling so much your sides hurt about…who even knows what. Everything is funny. The friend who always, no matter what you do or say, will always always always be there.

Maybe my criteria of a Ride or Die are very specific to one person. But that person is pretty amazing. Elizabeth AKA Lizzie AKA Penelope. I’ll stick with Lizzie for the rest of this post because that’s actually what normal people who aren’t me call her.

I met Lizzie when I had the most glamorous job of all time, selling Rainbow flip-flips at a kiosk in the middle of Northlake mall. Lizzie got a job at Summer Breeze (yes, that was the name of the kiosk) and simultaneously moved into the house I lived in with the one other girl who worked at the kiosk. So, 3 girls all lived in the same house working at the same place. (And yes, it was a recipe for disaster.)

Lizzie and I quickly connected and were inseparable within a month. Our friendship was defined by 11pm trips to Cookout, living room dance parties to “We Found Love,” Target runs, and occasionally hammocking on campus at UNC Charlotte. And it was perfect.

Just weeks before I met Lizzie, she’d started dating this boy named Skyler. He was tall, sarcastic, and the perfect match for Lizzie. As my friendship with Lizzie grew stronger, so did her relationship with Skyler. But, as it tends to do, life got a little messy, and both our friendship and their relationship went through some rockiness, and both went on hiatus.

But, as it tends to do, life got better. Lizzie and Skyler found their way back to each other, and my Ride or Die was back in my life. We were once again inseparable. Since then there’ve been arguments, tears, even a move to Ohio for one of us. (Guess who?) But mostly there’s been laughter, love, and joy in its most pure form. And no matter what the circumstances were, Lizzie was always there for me. The past 5 years have been a roller coaster, and there is no one I would’ve rather had by my side than Ride or Die Lizzie Gibson.

Penelope 2

And now, at this very moment, I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Folly Beach, SC, just 32 hours before Lizzie and Skyler tie the knot. And at this very moment, Lizzie just sent me an image of their marriage license. And at this very moment, I’m sitting in a coffee shop, crying.

Lizzie and Skyler start a brand new chapter tomorrow. And there are truly no two people who deserve this more than they.

Elizabeth Kathryn Penelope Gibson, I love you more than you’ll ever know. Thank you for always being exactly what I need. Thank you for being my Ride or Die. Congratulations. And to the next 5, 10, 50 years I say: “bring it on.”

Oh, and if you all are wondering why I call her Penelope….if you have to ask, you’ll never know. 😉