This is Matt.
He single handedly taught me how to laugh at myself. Before Matt, I wandered around in a fog of “taking myself too seriously” and, one could argue, was a mess of neuroses and self-judgment. And while these qualities may always have a slight presence in my life, it was Matt that showed me that I don’t have to focus so hard on them.
We built a quick and strong friendship with a foundation in late night quesadillas and Mac & Cheese and a shared love of all things animal. On the night that I met him, he asked if I wanted to come to his house and feed his snake. In any other situation, I would have blown my rape whistle, but Matt was the most genuine person in the world and that night, I met him and his snake, Princess Sophia.
Our friendship evolved and survived through transitions from college to suburbs to dating to not dating and finally to him moving away. There are a lot of theories on what caused it, but at some point, we lost touch. Every time I thought of him or heard “Don’t Stop Believing” at a bar or thought we might be in the same town at the same time, I would let him know. But things never really worked out, and we went months without talking and no matter what I do, I will always hold anger over those months. Because now that I’ll never have another in-person conversation with Matt again, I can’t help but daydream about all of the talking that could have taken place in those months.
At the end of the day, the truth is that I had a wonderful friend, and he died. And that makes me sad every single day. But what he gave me is so much more important than that sadness. And those are the things that make it even remotely bearable to continue to live in a world that no longer contains him.
He taught me how to laugh at myself, how to be patient with myself, how to drink whiskey, how to ride a dirt bike, how to stay motivated to follow my dreams, and he introduced me to two of my other favorite people in the entire world.
Even though he never let me get a drunken brand or see what it was like to chew tobacco, he never let me think or feel that I meant less to the world than I did to him. And even now that he’s gone, knowing that I was so important to someone so wonderful still gives me the motivation to follow my dreams, and the ability to laugh at myself.