Wednesday, July 20, 2011


My friend, Lauren--the only child in a family of 3--makes it no secret that she suffers from a chronic disease she has affectionately self-diagnosed as: Sibbling Envy.

This, to me, is hilarious. Mostly because my childhood--as the oldest of ten kids--was jam packed with more than a fair share of this:

[SMACK]... "That's MY jump rope! And I WANT IT BACK!!!!"... [Tries to take jump rope back by force]....[SCREECH]...."NOOOOOOO!!!!!".... [Throws jump rope down and proceeds to pull hair and claw eyes out]

Mmmmm. Yeah. Gimme some o' dat!

But I can't fault Lauren for her envy-ing. Because, I'll be honest, I suffer from a little envy myself. Not the I'm envious-because-I-want-to-be-an-only-child-syndrome (although, there were times growing up when I most certainly DID suffer from that!) No, the disease to which I owe my fondest suffering to is a bad case of: Best Friend Envy.

I have no best friend.

Oh, I've had PLENTY of friends, don't get me wrong. And during the different times and seasons in my life, I've always had one friend that I hung out with the most.

But I don't have THAT best friend... the ONE best friend you've had since you were 5 year old kindergarten students drinking the nasty chocolate milk from the school lunch line. The same girl who holds your hand when your crappy boyfriend dumps you in high school. The loyal friend who enrolls in the same college as you, just because you both can't bear the thought of 4 years on separate campuses. And the same girl who is later the maid of honor at your wedding and the godmother to your first baby.

Seriously people, I've got Best Friend Envy. Bad. 

The cruel irony of this, is that my parent's response to my epic I-will-NOT-share-a-room-with-my-little-sister-Lisa-while-in-high-school temper tantrum, was:  

"You know what Julie? Someday, Lisa will be your best friend."

[Boo! Hiss! Moan!]

Just so you know... this is me and my little sister today:

Okay, so maybe they were right.

But that doesn't stop me from being envious.

And because, of course, I'm a nice all-knowing creator of my writing universe, I made CERTAIN that my main character, Essie, had a best friend: Charlize Braxton. 

However, now that I think about it, its so ironic, because after a while [**SPOILER ALERT**] Charlize and Essie eventually lose touch and go their separate ways. And who become Essie's replacement best friend?? The same person who was REALLY her best friend the whole time: her brother Ethan.

So weird how our lives bleed over into our writing. Whether we're writing the exact opposite--giving our characters what we always wanted (a best friend). Or writing a metaphor of our own lives--giving them exactly what we love so that they don't lack (like great siblings), its impossible not to intertwine our lives with our work.

What kinds of life-and-character intertwining have YOU done in your writing?


Brianna said...

I'm the oldest of five kids and my sister Brittany and I fought the entire time we were growing up, like I would want to smack her every time I looked at her and the feeling was mutual, but today we are best friends ;) Shhh! Don't tell our mother!

Julie said...

Brianna: sounds EXACTLY like my sister and I! Haha ( : So funny how things change...

P.s. I won't tell if you don't!

Jeff King said...

Everything I write from every character comes from deep within… the sad part is: I can’t actually pinpoint anything specific.

Barbara Kloss said...

Gosh, what a great post! And funny, I never had a BFF growing up - we moved too much. I'd be so jealous of those friends that grew up together and knew everything about the other.

And as I look back on my story, I totally see my own life experiences "bleeding" (as you so perfectly put it!) into my story. There were only 3 of us (I was also the oldest :D ), but we're so far apart in age that I FEEL like an only child. Funny my MC is an only child.

Anyway, great thoughts!

Julie said...

Jeff: No worries. I think we all know what you mean ( : its hard to pin point where it comes from sometimes, even when you could swear it the most familiar thing in the world.

Barb: I know, right?! I blame my lack of bestie on all my moving too. Seems I haven't grown out of it with age, though. Hubs and I still live the life of nomads. It makes me happy to have such a plethora of online friends who are so kind and gracious to move with me wherever I go! Haha ( :

Sylvi said...

Yup Julie I know what you mean. I have had good friends but the ones I thought were my best friends are all gone now. But in those moments you just have to love family because they always come thru.(:

S. L. Hennessy said...

I get the envy - seriously! Best friends are great. But I would still give anything to have had 9 siblings! That's the coolest thing I've EVER heard. Every time you talk about them I feel little seeds of envy rising up! I'm thinking of stealing a few...

Julie said...

Sylvi: I'm still here for ya, sissy!! There's no gettin' away from me ( :

Lauren: Hahahahaha! You make laugh, girlie! I'll have to bring you to a family reunion sometime... then you can meet all 100+ of my cousins (my mom is number 6 in 13!)

ali said...

Ah, I love that picture of you and Lisa! And I totally get your BFF envy. Makes perfect sense to me. And you betcha, life imitates art and art imitates life and all that!

Julie said...

Ali: Thanks! I love my sissy... well ALL 5 of 'em, not JUST Lisa. But Lisa and I have a lot of fun together since we always seem to live in the same city. Gott love sisters!

Terry Lee-Rosing said...

Jules, my relationship with my best friend started in 10th grade. We were roommates in college for a year. Then life (ie boyfriends) branched off our close friendship. As the years passed, we stayed in touch but many other "best" (well, sort of, at the time) came and went. One of the biggest obstacle between me and "best friend" was (ha ha at the "was") I married a guy who disliked her (and every other friend I the way, the feeling was mutual on her end) and she chose a smarter
Now that I am married to a decent (and I mean really decent) man, we've closed the gap on our road to being best friends again. After 40 yrs. we are closer than ever. Having said that, we are different as night and day. We don't always see eye to eye, agree to disagree and respect each other. She has a PhD in Political Science and teaches at Midland College (8 hr. drive from Houston).

Guess my point is that some "best friends" come and go, I've had my share. Some disappear forever, some I stay in contact with. I wouldn't have thought Terry (yes, we have the same name) and I would be BFs after all these years but we are. So, don't give up Jules. An old best friend could turn out to be a true best friend.
Love you girlie. You're one of my two oh-so-sweet adopted daughters (smaller family for you this time?)

Julie said...

Terry: Thanks for the vote of confidence and the inspiration. I have my fingers crossed for old friends, but regardless--as Lauren so adequatly stated--I'm done "losing" friends! I'm clingin' to you and Lauren like it a'int nobody's business! So you better get used to having me around ( :

Anonymous said...

I have best friend envy, too. Yet all my characters have a bff.

Julie said...

Medeia: that's the way to go! BFF it up ( :

P.s. I'm glad I'm not the only one suffering from this!

m christine weber said...

Oh man. I totally just had this talk with my youngest daughter. It nearly broke my heart! And yet, speaking as one of six kids, I can fully agree that, yes, one day your siblings will be your bestest besties. And that is exactly what I told her :-).

Julie said...

M Christine: Oh that's sad! I totally "get" where your daughter is coming from... lucky for her, she has a very sweet, wise mother to remind her how much she will truly love and appreciate her siblings one day.