Today I want to talk a little bit (ok, a lot of bit) about my shero.
Let me start by saying making friends has never been my strong suit. Yes, I’ve had many friends throughout my life, but not that many close friends. As a strong, independent, nontraditional woman, or even young girl growing up; finding a girl or a group of girls that encouraged or celebrated such mentality and personality is/was not common…at all.
I’ve experienced this most of my life. I am, and have never been, your average girl that dreams of a knight in shinning armor to save her, fantasizes about the big wedding with the big white dress and the perfect flowers. My life goal has never been to settle down and have babies. That’s not to say I don’t like or wouldn’t enjoy any of those things and completely respect anyone else’s desire to have those things- I simply mean, I have other priorities. For a long time, career was my number one. I wanted success and to make a name for myself. But most importantly, I wanted independence and the satisfaction of knowing I didn’t need anyone to support me.
At sixteen I got my first job, making minimum wage and paid for my entire cheerleading fee (I can’t remember exactly what that was, but I do know it was over $1,000 and I was making $6.75/hr at the time). It gave me soooooo much satisfaction and pride to pay for that myself and be able to say I was doing it on my own. While all my friends were getting cell phones, pagers paid by their parents or even a car, car insurance, etc; I was paying for my own cell phone bill, gas, car insurance, toiletries, and clothes. This wasn’t a popular way of living at my age, and instead of my friends being impressed they seemed to judge me. Like, why would anyone want to do that? As high school went on and then college, many of my girlfriends had one goal in mind; find a boy to marry (think Charlotte from Sex and the City). Many would openly say they were in college and/or getting a degree simply as a means to an end or a pastime while they got married and had children. I judged them for this one. Just like they couldn’t understand why I would want to be self sufficient, I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t want to.
Up until I was 22, every girl I was friends with, or met, seem to feel this way. Until I met Laporsha Baker.
Laporsha was a very close friend to a good friend of mine that was really close to a really close friend of mine (do you follow?). We were at that age where it was all about college and parties. Laporsha was invited to my high school best friend’s parents wedding anniversary party. I briefly met her then, and frankly thought nothing of her. I met her a second time at this friend’s birthday dinner a few months later- again, not much there. Finally, a few weeks after that, my group of friends and I had plans to go dancing to our local spot but as the night progressed one by one started flaking. I was determined to go out, so one of them suggested I call Laporsha and go out with her. Now, I mentioned making friends has never been my strong suit- I was beyond uncomfortable with the idea as I really didn’t know her and frankly don’t think either of us had made much of an impression on each other. But, determined to dance the night away, I called her- and to my surprise, she agreed to come out with me!
We have quite literally been inseparable since. The match is quite unlikely as we are both strong, type A women; but somehow it works.
I’ve known Laporsha now for almost 13 years and she is truly one of the kindest, most genuine, inspiring individuals I know. After our first night out, we started doing lunch, and brunch and dinners- and getting to know her I felt like, “where have you been all my life?! finally someone that understands me!” All of the things I’d been judged for my entire life, she celebrated and encouraged while calling me out on shit she needed to too. If I put on an outfit and asked for her opinion, I was going to get an honest answer- I fucking loved that! She taught me the importance of being me no matter what others say or think. You know when people say “my ride or die”- she’s that person to me, literally (yes, I just said literally, but I literally mean it). Always, without question, is loyal, understanding, [brutally] honest, and encouraging.
On her own, she graduated with a Masters Degree in Nursing, soon after bought herself a condo, and most recently, left her job to travel the world for 8 months and came back to a promotion on her job.
I mean… This girl is inspiring AF!
It’s important to note, she did not come from money, or didn’t come to money that allowed for any of the above mentions to happen easy for her; she worked her ass off. While in school, graduating with a Masters was her priority. While we enjoyed dancing the nights away, we actually didn’t see much of each other during this time. She was either studying, in school or at work.
To buy her condo, the girl worked tirelessly, picking up extra shifts to save for a down payment.
And when she decided she wanted to travel the world for a year, guess what she did: worked harder, picked up extra shifts, put herself on a strict budget and saved so she could pay her mortgage, insurance, and travel for the time she would be taking off work. She traveled solo to France, Spain, London, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Mexico. She even enrolled herself in Spanish school while in Mexico to become conversationally fluent in the language.
She also didn’t plan to come back to a job, and she didn’t plan to be back for another four months. But she is THAT good that her hospital called to make her a job offer in management (a big promotion) while accommodating some of the rest of her travel and other requests she made like telecommunicating and additional vacation time.
If this bad ass bitch isn’t your shero, then who is?
This girl not only inspires me but challenges me on the daily. I am so thankful and blessed to have her in my life. Seems silly to say “my best friend” in my mid thirties now, but there’s no other way to say it. She is the bestest friend anyone could ever ask for. And she is mine.
So now you know the girl that is my shero ❤