Here’s My Barbie – Wanna Be Friends?


Just so you all know, I put A LOT of pressure on myself when starting these blogs… do I jump in with a sweet ‘hey guys!’ or bust the door open without knocking, like the Kool Aid man? I suppose I prefer the latter.

I was talking to some friends last weekend during Friendsgiving about how bloggers often recycle material, which makes sense (if you have a favorite lipstick, how many different ways can you tell your readers?!), but the recycling / originality has started to creep in as a fear of mine. I can’t start going back to old topics… not yet at least. Not to worry! I’m not writing about trauma or health this time, I’m talking about FRIENDSHIPS! Nice and cozy for everyone as we start to accept the fact that it’ll be cold for the next three months (I’m going to NY on Thursday and my bones are already shivering – are five jackets at once too many?) Let me go back to our Friendsgiving for a moment though – it was perfect – everyone made a non-dairy version of whatever because half of us have a dairy intolerance, or at least think we do (the bloat doesn’t lie). My best friends (hi Leah & Jer) set up a Pinterest-esque row of tables, with the little twinkling lights both in front of our plates and above our heads. Everyone was immersed in conversation, casually sipping on whatever cocktail they’d made; side note, I just recently learned the origin of the word cocktail which has to do with a horse – look it up when you’re done reading. *back to the vibe* After dinner, we sat around the fire pit and made s’mores / kept dropping marshmallows, and we danced to Shania Twain and 90’s hip hop until we couldn’t breathe. Like I said, the perfect evening.

Hooray – a non-stock photo of my model friends!

But let’s rewind… it’s not as if all of us were born with a plan that we’d get together for a fun dinner the first weekend in November, 2019. We typically come into the world and start out by making friends with our mom first, then the rest of our family… I understand people go through the foster system or don’t live with their parents and may not have the stereotypical upbringing, but it’s the scenario I’m diving into now, as it’s my story.

If you read one of my previous posts, you’ll know my mom is my best friend – she always encouraged me to dream (still does), she allowed me to be creative, to explore my interests, and helped me form necessary communication skills that I would soon use to build friendships.

I remember after school, when I didn’t have dance, she would often let me choose my ‘adventure’ which meant I would direct her exactly how she should maneuver the steering wheel, rather than heading home. If I said ‘straight’ instead of forward, she would keep her wheel in that direction as if she were going to run into the wall directly in front of us until I screamed to turn it right or left, laughing hysterically, because the thought of crashing was funny? Exhilarating, perhaps? I don’t know why that memory popped into my head, but I always loved jumping into the minivan, knowing we would go exploring, and can’t wait to do the same with my children someday… minus the minivan, maybe.

As I said, fortunately, I was raised in an environment that promoted constant communication, which made it easy for me to make friends at dance and school. As it goes, you’re suddenly placed in a situation, surrounded by other kids your age, and your parents hope for the best. Mostly, all it takes is sharing a toy or standing next to someone in line, and they’re your friend. But then as the years progress, and you get to know yourself a little more, true relationships form. Some of those relationships can last a lifetime, some fade away, and you pick up more as you go on in your life. Kind of like clothes – you find something you like and give it a go – maybe you’ll wear it once (hi, skull shirts), maybe it’ll stay with you for a few years before it’s time to part ways, and some things, you’ll keep forever. How’s that for an analogy? Or is it a metaphor? I’ve always struggled with that one… you get my point though.

At a certain juncture, your birthday party invitations aren’t sent to your entire class, you get to choose who joins you for the limbo on skates at Roller Rave or who you’ll play skee-ball against at Peter Piper Pizza. Then, you’ll get to high school and date someone from a rival school, and their group of guys will get in a fight with your school’s group of guys at your birthday party, and things will turn ugly… oh, wait, sorry, is that not relatable? We’ll jump to high school though, since we’re here anyway, plus, who wants to hear about my middle school days, rocking white eyeliner and Osiris skater shoes?

High school – where we really start to discover who the hell we are as human beings – what we’re drawn to and who we’re drawn to. Although I most often found myself craving attention from boys, I formed some really solid friendships with both sexes. I got along with everyone on the pom and cheer squad, and will always hold fond memories of our summer camp experiences, krumping against someone from another school while my teammates shouted things like “yeessssss girl!” or “get ‘em!” or just sitting in one of the dorm rooms (camp was always at a college), braiding each other’s hair while sharing stories about anything and everything. You really have to get along with each other if you’re going to put together a cohesive performance for games every week, and over-the-top pep assemblies, and boy, did we… I’m still looking to hunt down some of those videos so if any of you girls have them (how presumptive of me to assume you’re reading), send them over! I almost feel like a 50 year old male, reminiscing about his days as Varsity quarterback, but hey, my best years are NOT behind me.

I know I have photos of the whole squad, and some of me with my white braces, but who has time to thumb through Facebook, to potentially not even find them?

So, rather than continue into friendships I had in high school, many of which have actually further blossomed since graduating (thanks, Instagram), I’ll venture into real adult life. I’d known my now best friend, Leah, since middle school but she didn’t want to be friends then because of the whole white eyeliner thing… kidding – maybe. I was closer with her sister as we danced together, but then the universe shoved us together, forcing us to cohabitate – we even dated someone with the same name, for roughly the same amount of time. We shared over-sequined Charlotte Russe dresses, as well as a living room that we would split into two “rooms” with a curtain. We’d also quickly meet the girlfriends that would become our best friends.

What started out as partying in Old Town Scottsdale and stopping at McDonald’s on the way home, turned into trips together, being by each others’ sides through breakups, family illnesses, horrible fashion choices, bachelorette parties, weddings… the list goes on.

I realize maintaining these relationships may prove more challenging as we get older and start having children of our own, but many of us are going on 10 + years at this point, so I think it’s safe to say we’ll have more Friendsgivings in our future.

I’ll end this friend love letter with a thank you, to my girls, for providing unrelenting support, for sending relatable memes, for letting me vent when I need to vent, for being the most fun at a party, and for pushing me to follow my dreams. Now, let’s all convince our significant others to move onto the same street so we can meet for weekly brunch, watch Pilot Pete in his journey for love, and start our own kombucha line.

Devon Herrera

Committed To Curiosity

Instagram: @Coffee_With_A_Question