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Worth Fighting For

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I have a friend; singular. I suppose you could say that I have plenty of friends, but none like the girl I would like to praise. Her name is Amanda, and she has been there. I mean been there for me in ways to numerous to mention. She’s been there on the questionably nights, always willing to give me a ride home, on the nights that I was afraid to be alone. She’s been there with a shoulder, even when I was too proud to admit I needed one. She has been here, there, and everywhere for me. That fact itself warrants praise and acknowledgment. That fact however is not what I find particularly interesting. What is bemusing is that Amanda, ever present, ever a capable force in my life, is nothing but absent in her own.

Amanda like most teenagers is struggling to grow up, and to do so with grace. This is due to a recipe of things, her recipe of influences that is. These ingredients include her parent’s rocky marriage, leading inevitably to an even rockier divorce. There was also the matter of her alleged drug “addiction” that lead to an eye-opening three month stay in a rehabilitation center. Other factors included her aggressive nature, her utter frustration with her peers, and the high school environment itself. Regarding that, who’s to judge? High school; what’s to like?

When it comes right down to the hard truth, Amanda is not a real fighter, despite her aggressive tendencies. Instead of taking control of her life, for quite some time she let circumstances reign over her being. She let herself get wrapped up, and caught in the web of her circumstance. She let reality run away with her. For a while there these circumstances of hers were unfortunate to say the very least. Due to her incapability or unwillingness to put up a fight, she continued to fall deeper within her circumstance and herself.

Emotionally; she shut out everyone. She stopped speaking to us, letting us know that things were wrong. Those who understand these things know that it’s when a person is silent about their pain that you should worry. Physically; Amanda found a hiding place. She began to sit within the closet in her room at her mother’s house. The closet in the house that her mother had built with her dad’s money after the divorce. For days, weeks really at a time she stopped participating in her world completely.

Her thoughts were clouded with resentment. Resentment at her parents because of the divorce, because they sent her away, and because they too were human, and though they were her parents, adults, they so often made mistakes. So many things kept her in that closet. She stopped coming to school for a while there, stopped even leaving the house. Her stalker, rehab, the suicide attempt after the rape last spring at that party… These things hung her up. They slowed her down, until they finally just about immobilized her. But not quite.

It was all of these things that molded Amanda into yet another angry teen. She had us all pretty worried. While Amanda was struggling with her demons I waited in the wings, watching and hoping for a change of heart. What could I do? What could anyone do for her? Eventually the change came, and when it came, shamefully I was more surprised than anyone. Surprised and relieved. Even now I worry about her. Is she happy? Is she going to be okay?

What astounds me, what about knocks me to the floor, is that when I began to experience life at a very low place, who has been there for me? Amanda. Who has been there for me despite their inability to go to bat for themselves? Amanda. Who will be there for me till our end? Amanda. I stand in awe of this occurrence. In awe of the girl who would fight to the death for me, but would not, or could not fight for herself. It’s an original quality. Anyone can selfishly fight to stay above water, but few take the time to enable others to do the same. To be able to selflessly fight for someone else, when you have been deemed incapable of fighting at all; truly amazing. I very well would not have made it today if it weren’t for Amanda who we’d all assumed wouldn’t make it too yesterday.

The human spirit; a curious thing. Maybe the fact of the matter is that the strongest of us all are the people who conserve their energy for a cause they see as worth fighting for. Did Amanda not see herself worthy enough to fight for? I suppose we all have those times. Regardless, the fighting this girl has done for me, the fighting I couldn’t do for myself, has made it possible to survive. Which I guess is what I have learned from Amanda. We all need something, and if we can’t provide it for ourselves, we can hope that a dear friend can. Like Amanda; the fighting she doesn’t do for herself, I’ll be more than happy to make up for, in the way she has done for me.





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