Meet Gina, my college friend, turned soul sister.
She found Monica and I, my longest friend to date, on orientation day outside Chemistry Lab at SJCJC. I picture her now. Green top, jeans, white K Swiss. Remember when that was a thing? She chatted us up.
Gina has the gift of gab.
I have always admired her ability to fill the void of awkward silence with wholesome conversation, effortlessly.
It was all our first time going to school in Belize City. The band of us who became college friends were not city girls. We had moved/ commuted to and from the city from rural parts of the country. We made that the common ground of our alliance, instant friendship established.
It wasn’t until a few months into our friendship that we figured out my grandmother who we both call, Mama, and her aunt, our late Aunt Alicia, had been best friends for as long as we had been alive.
I do not believe in coincidences.
I wish I knew how to explain it so I don’t sound like I’m making cotton candy in the clouds, but there’s something about our friendship that was fated… and I like cotton candy.
We have this weird thing where we’d ‘vibe’ each other. We’d get strong tugs at our hearts, willing the other to reach out. Every random phone call we’ve made to each other always starts off the same, ‘I was just thinking about you and I need to talk!’
We’ve shared countless memories together. Rejoiced in career advancements, partied hard every Carnival season with youtube videos for proof and to this day we belly laugh at our terrible ideas that lead to our college suspension.
We were young girls. Big dreams. We were going to change the world, unconventionally.
Gina is changing the world. She’s making phenomenal strides as a woman in her position at the Pesticides Control Board. She’s chair of the Public Service Union and not just for show either. She’s front and center supporting the cause in the streets. She does this while also developing a brand for herself, Bee Light. Now, she’s embracing the adventures of cane farming that was heavily placed in her lap.
A rebel. A pioneer. Fierce woman power.
She does it all in Gina fashion. Inimitable. She’s not a well-kept horse in a stable. She’s a wild thing, yet refined.
I look to her now as I watch her living in her purpose. I am captivated when I listen to her speak about her pursuits.
I have just stumbled back (face planted more like it) across my purpose.
You see, after college I set off on a martyrdom. I found a career that I thought would bring me closer to my mom who had died during the time I needed to make a career choice. After that I settled into a life that looked pretty. The wild horse in me was saddled up.
I was happy she was wild and free. I wanted to be happy in the stables. The universe knew better.
I remember the night I told her I was getting a divorce. The relief that washed over her was palpable. Freeing. Wild. She welcomed me back to the world.
I grin thinking of it. I’m a lucky girl to have such amazing friends. I have a tribe of women that I am truly grateful for.
The plot twist in our friendship lies in our shared tragedies of life. We solved the mystery of why this was fated.
We have travelled similar traumatic roads, just at different times. This has been the advantage in our friendship and a way forward from the depths of despair.
As the script goes, a wave of tragedy has struck Gina and as per usual our souls searched for each other.
I had lived her nightmare already. My heart shattered for her when she told me her dad had passed. I knew the climb ahead would be her hardest yet.
How do you look at your best friend and will her forward?
Well, we planned a trip to see each other and a concert for starters.
At my first stadium concert where I knew no more than two songs, she made me feel like I belonged, involved. The vibe was so good. I loved watching people dance. The love language of dancing to Spanish songs is magic. I grew up watching it my whole life, but I never learned. Gina, and her grandmother Willow self, even suggested I learn and immerse myself a little further into the Miami culture. But mostly to learn in hopes of releasing control. Learning to rely on ‘my partner’. To flow. She knows me well, she’s my best friend after all.
And even when I scanned the crowds, basked in the music and let my eyes settle in on the dancers, the only thing that held my attention for very long was her.
In that moment she let me bear witness to her happiness. A wild horse running free.
Watching her big beautiful smile that closes her eyes and turns into giggles hugged my heart more than she would ever know.
Laughter, it’s medicine for the soul and she was laughing her soul back together again (and mine).
Grief is a journey, not a destination.
What we do after the death of a loved one has everything to do with soothing ourselves and not of them. They are gone. You, however, are still here.
Don’t turn the lost into a sacrifice, you’ve already lost so much.
I know she’s in the valley right now, but if one thing I know in my core to be true, is that she’ll rise after this into the next version of herself. A phoenix rising from the ashes.
That Gina, is one badass woman.
Signed: Gina’s Soul Sister