I was driving home from work today, when Justin Timberlake’s song “Mirrors” came on, and I started to think about what I was doing with my life when that song came out. It came out in 2013, when the old Camila started to fade out while I didn’t know what the new Camila would be like. When I learned that I could be doing so much more with my life and taking better care of myself. When I learned what true friendship is like. When I learned that staying in the toxic, immature, “you cheated first” relationship-turned-engagement for more than the 5 years that had already gone by would not do me (and him, I guess) any good. So, we split. With my parents and sister out of the country when the relationship finally ended, I had nowhere to go for a little while. Or so I thought.
I had been working at the Nashville International Airport for 3 years by then, on-and-off working for a vendor, under contract with United Airlines. There, I met some of my best friends, and I even got a couple amazing college friends to come work with me. One of them, Gabrielle, took me in and housed me for a few days even before the split. We hung out, watched TV, played video games, cooked, made cocktails, took her dog to the dog park, went to classes and work together.
And I stupidly thought I’d be alone and on my own for a while.
After word got out to my coworkers about me not having a place to stay, a couple of my supervisors and coworkers sprung to the action, without me even approaching them. My then-supervisors and work bffs Liz and Ray took me in for a few days each, my friend Stacy let me stay at her ranch with (and without) her. Almost all my coworkers threw me a surprise birthday party (I was even blindfolded on the drive there) and took me out bowling for my birthday, which was right around the time this all happened, and Liz even made a Hello Kitty cake for me.
I was in need for a little while, and you all made sure I had what I needed when I needed it. You made sure I wasn’t alone. You made sure I was ok.
So, here I am, almost five years later, trying to express how thankful I am to you.
Thank you, Gabby, for the never-ending talks, laughs, comfort, love, food, drinks, and company. Thank you for standing next to me at my wedding. Thank you for coming to visit the girls when they came home, and spending much needed time with me. Thank you for talking to me on a regular basis, even if I don’t get to reply right away. Thank you for the funny notes we left each other at work and for being the inseparable duo in our Aviation and Criminal Justice classes in college.
Thank you, Ray, for letting me crash at your place for a couple of nights. I remember we had a movie night and watched Oblivion, had some yummy spaghetti, and then burgers for lunch the next day. Thank you for randomly taking me to the zoo just to cheer me up, keeping me from freaking out when those birds decided to park themselves on my arms, trying to eat seeds from my cup. Thank you for showing me kindness (and really good music) when I needed it the most, and for the adorable and warm blankets you sent us for the girls. They’ll be all wrapped up in them this coming winter.
Thank you, Liz, for taking me on an ice cream date at the park immediately after I told you it was over. Thank you for making fun of music with me while sitting there, making me laugh. Thank you for the countless nights you and Josh let me crash with you (sorry for making you sleep on the couch, dude), swim in your pool, partake in your food, paint each other’s nails. Thank you for getting my overweight ass off the couch and introducing me to pole fitness, and making sure I went twice a week with you, encouraging me every time. Thank you for all the Wendy’s dates while at work, funny Christmas time pictures and selfies in the bathrooms and kids’ play areas at the airport.
Thank you, Stacy, for not only allowing me to stay at your ranch even when you weren’t there, but for trusting me with feeding your horses (and I didn’t even get bit) and dogs. When my trusty car finally died, you didn’t even hesitate or wait for me to ask what I should do – you gave me the keys to your Chevy Tahoe and told me to just return it with a tank full of gas when I was done with it. Thank you for teaching me that I was overly sensitive (still working on that), and that a “rub some dirty on it” attitude is the best way to look at any situation. Thank you for teaching me to selflessly care and give, even when the person you’re helping can’t do anything for you other than thank you excessively. (I don’t have any pictures with you because you were so good at evading my camera!!)
I know I’m the worst long-distance friend ever, and I’m really bad at communicating. But, this is just to let you and everyone that has been involved in my life, especially during that time, know that I haven’t forgotten your kindness, unconditional love, selfless giving, and how big of a part you all had in making me who I am today. I miss you all so much. I may not be able to see you very much at all, or be too involved in my life to reach out, but I haven’t forgotten about you.
And I never will.