EDITORIAL: The best friendships form when you least expect them

“I can’t stand her…she’s friends with Lea and you know I don’t like her because of something happened when we were in high school.”

Or what about…

“She is so miserable. I heard that her boyfriend don’t even like her like that. And did I tell you he’s trying to holla at my cousin’s sister?”

Sounds petty, right? But let’s keep it real. How many times did you have this conversation between the ages of 14 and 30? Yes, 30! We were only grown in age but many of us were still perpetuating immature antics and cultivating rumours that we know didn’t really exist (the power of “I heard” will ruin reputations in a hot Bermuda second).

At what point does that grow old?

Through the years, my life has evolved. I have gained new friends and lost old ones. I have always kept a tight circle of friends. Admittedly, my circle has changed shape and composition, but that is actually a part of life that just…happens.

There’s nothing better than being able to be you—the good, the bad and the ugly—without judgement. That shit is rare to come by.

Imagine having a ‘friend’ whose connection to you is conditional. Or the one who turns their back on you instantaneously because of something they heard instead of delving for the truth.

You know how the saying goes…so who needs enemies, right?

In 2014, I hosted my first international show featuring motivational speaker and renown life coach Tony Gaskins Jr. I needed to ensure that I was flawless.

Enter Angel Burgess.

From the moment I walked into her store, I knew she was–different. Trendy; always standing out. While I am someone who could wear grey or black every day for the rest of my life, she is bright and bold personified.

When I told her what I was doing, without hesitation she said she would sponsor my outfit.

Enter the side eye before it had a name.

Why would she do this? She didn’t know me. And she wanted to support me.

The rest is history.

We both ended up living in the UK and although we talked nearly daily, we did not see each other unless our paths crossed when we were visiting Bermuda. She has invited me to her annual birthday party and never made one because I always play in a softball tournament on the same date, and I probably won’t make next year’s either. And that changes nothing between us.

Earlier this month I won an award in London. I didn’t tell many that I was nominated because I didn’t think that I would win. I didn’t even tell Angel at first. I was planning on going alone and use it as an opportunity to meet new people and professionally network.

“Ahhh no ya not!”

She made that clear.

She arrived in London before me. Despite being exhausted after a long flight from Jamaica and the inability to check in early, she didn’t complain and instead was all about making sure that I was in the space to prepare for my impending win.

That night we had dinner and bared our souls to each. There was no “This is between us, please don’t say anything”, we just flowed. We laughed, we fought tears.

Our friendship took an inevitable turn in that sushi restaurant in Fulham that night.

Saturday night…

Moments before the prize presentation I started to get a bit nervous. I accepted and was happy that I was a finalist, and when they called my name as the winner, Angel was making more noise than all of the attendees combined!

She was not afraid to be front and centre and record my acceptance speech. She was unafraid to start cheering again, with everyone following suit.

It felt good.

To be honoured by my sister friend, unabashed, in front of strangers hit different. That almost made me break down more than winning the award itself.

It made me see how blessed and valued I am.

She went out of her way to ensure that I did not spend, what ended up being one of the most memorable nights of my life, alone.

Sis I salute you.

We all need an Angel Burgess; and more importantly, we should all endeavour to be one to our friends.

“Friendship isn’t about who’ve you’ve known the longest. It’s about who walked into your life, said, ‘I’m here for you’ and proved it.” ~Lessons Learned In Life

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