By Damaris Zayas

My best friend and I could not be any more different. She is the Orange to my Spinach, which is how opposite we are in terms of everything. Nevertheless, our chemistry works. When we met in high school our shy 14-year-old selves drifted to one another and we stuck together like glue. Ever since, we have weathered the good, the bad, and the plain boring together. Over the last ten years as life has invaded our proverbial bubble, I have come to realize the many things that I have learned from my best friend. See, I am more realistic, at times cynical and physically I am chubbier and more outspoken (a trait developed in college). My best friend is still shy, physically beautiful, and extremely hopeful. More importantly, she is more of an optimist when it comes to love while I am a down right cynic.

As we grew up, we both dated (at separate times) and I came to realize a couple of things. First, I suck at dating because I am so guarded. Second, she wears her heart on her sleeve allowing for her to get hurt. Her stance was more proactive while I was more reticent when it came to men. Nevertheless, in all her hurt she continued to champion on while I stewed in the corner miserably. Quickly, I came to see that in her vulnerability there is true strength. Watching her fall in and out of love has been a learning experience for me. Has it been easy for me to watch as my best friend cries of a broken heart? No. On the other hand, I know that she has not regretted a single time she has given her heart willingly to another human being.

Ten years into our friendship and one serious relationship later, I finally understand where she is coming from. While it did not work out with the person I was dating, I can say that because of my best friend I learned a valuable lesson about love. Love is not always obsessive or manipulative, as I have seen it. Love can be selfless, inspiring, and powerful. Through her love for me I learned to love myself. As a result, when I was dating I decided to open myself up to all the wonderful possibilities of love, keeping in mind the downfalls. Her bravery to keep love in high regards, despite her pitfalls in the world of dating, made me realize that being vulnerable is okay. Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but pure strength.

Two months after my brief relationship, I developed an even deeper relationship with myself. I learned what I like and do not like about myself in a relationship. Additionally, my friendship with my best friend became even stronger. We bonded over horrible break ups, something that had never happened to me before. Through it all she remained optimistic, an optimism that has become infectious. I have come to accept that love is strength and that being dubbed a “hopeless romantic” is not so hopeless after all. In fact, being a romantic makes you hopeful in love and life. Without knowing it, by being herself she taught me about love, love for others and more importantly the love one has for oneself.

About the Author:

Damaris Zayas is a 24-year-old who loves fashion, shopping, and writing. This is an open letter to her best friend entitled, “An Open Letter to A Hopeless Romantic.” Over their ten years of friendship,​​ she learned many lessons from her, however love has been the most transformative one to date. She wanted to immortalize and share that lesson with others in this piece. Love can help people come together as well as make us realize our worth as individuals. This letter is a realization of that lesson and its consequences.


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