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Paying tribute to the friendships we form: To Marie

It is perhaps a bizarre occurrence that the first article that I am ever writing while studying abroad in the U.S. is about friendship. I am not someone who can firmly describe myself as a good friend, at least not in the modern sense of the word. I am, however, an observer and a friend of actions, and I like to give credit where it is due. 

By this, I mean that I owe my transformative Miami journey to some of the great people I met here — people with whom I had dinner on Wednesdays after class last semester and who still never fail to bring about a smile on my face whenever I see them.

One of them is my dear Marie Spruance, a promising historian and my “little authentic gal.” She is almost always tiptoeing around campus, yet ultimately discernible — not so much because of her appearance, but of her aura. (Yes, I am that person. I will talk to you about auras and take you to a tarot reading.) 

You look at Marie and you just know she is good. Bewitchingly kind. Yet, me and my Spruance more often than not connect over two things: either our commonalities or the shenanigans we think of day to day in the endeavor to survive college. 

Now, think about it: if you tried to think of one thing that each individual has in common with all of the other people in the world, you would come to a conclusion that the only thing that unites and separates us from each other is the fact that we inhabit the world. Not only do we populate the planet, but we also construct concepts, meanings and objects that are instantaneously dependent on our creation and that place us in an environment where it is impossible to exist without one another. 

Therefore, we might persuade ourselves that we have an advantage in a world where we could always begin anew, but I have heard the phrase “I will always carry a piece of you with me” too many times to believe that the former is true. 

From an economic perspective, it would be specialization that makes us hyper-dependent on each other for goods and services so that we would actively run around attempting to sell and consume. From a psychological point of view, dependence is usually defined as a negative phenomena, taking roots in our insatisfaction with ourselves — or sometimes even with the world around us where we can find no tranquility — so we are often given the advice to grow our beings by becoming emotionally stronger or becoming experts and entrepreneurs so that we can successfully sell our intellect.

Being caught up in this chaotic thought process, one may realize that the former is quite paradoxical in its execution. That is, by trying to break free from our dependency on others, we eventually become even more dependent; putatively, the individual that specializes in something so that they would be able to sell themselves and the person that tries to grow out of dependency at last end up at the same destination. That is, they have not at all escaped dependency, but have transformed themselves into a more socially acceptable or healthier model that, when startled with the approving feedback from others, forms an obsessional relationship with this flattering criticism.

Essentially, they once again develop dependency on the affirmation and validation of others. 

On the other side, politically speaking, there is one form of dependency that is distinguished by the preceding one and this is depending on others for words and deeds. 

It is no surprise that, in politics, we continue listening to politicians' promises although we have no intention of hearing them and we eagerly yearn for conversations that will shape, calm and give us an understanding of our concern for the world. In my opinion, it is not dependency that we should be looking at and/or examining, its negative or positive effects on our place in the world because dependency is characterized by natality. 

Just as a newborn has to be guided through the beginning stages of life no matter its species, so do we naturally exist in a dependent correlation with our world. This is not supposed to scare us, to drift us apart from the shore of handshakes and romance into an abyss of self-definition like philosophical antiquity would desire.

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We are free among others and the world which we inhabit together, not in introspection, to use Arendtian words. However, I am interested in dependency, and what really astonishes me in our world is our ability to be friends with each other. 

Friendships are not a state of dependency, they indicate a much stronger alliance — codependency. To be in a relationship of codependency with one another is to respect and acknowledge the vibrant input of those involved into the maintenance of the friendship. You are saluting this input every time you acknowledge your friends and yourself as the different sides of the same coin — that is, you are paying tribute to their existence without you which you must accept as beautiful and valid. 

I think that our capacity to build friendships is truly astonishing and should have a reserved spot on a resume or at least it should constitute an integral part of our identification, not simply because we are able to form them, but because we are able to either form or destroy ourselves through this coalition. 

In the end, we probably do end up carrying pieces of different people around with us, but we hardly ever notice because we have either internalized these parts as our own or confiscated them as “objects of the past” that help us appreciate the world in its current setting. 

As for me, I hope that one day I will end up with pieces of my college friends in my pockets and my life, and I know that these pieces are going to make me feel lighter because they are going to be a tribute to my identity and my exhausting, yet beautifully rewarding, college experience.