How did I become such good friends with a fictional character? How can I feel like I know this person? How can I feel like she knows me? She doesn’t even exist in real life. She’s just a character.
But here’s the thing: she’s not. She’s so much more than that. I consider her family. I consider her one of my best friends. I consider her one of my people. And here’s why:
Image courtesy of ABC
I didn’t want to become attached to a TV character. Even now, I’ll be sitting in class and think about how utterly strange it is for me to consider a character from a TV show to be one of my friends. It sounds weird. I don’t tell people this, so the fact that I’m writing about it right now is definitely not something I ever thought would happen. Hopefully one of you reading this right now will be able to relate to this. Or maybe feel like you’re not alone. Maybe it’s not so weird after all.
The first time I caught myself thinking about Cristina Yang as a friend actually wasn’t all that long ago. It was my senior year of high school, which was three years ago now. (WHAT?!?) I was sitting in the back of my Psychology class and watching old episodes on Netflix from my cell phone. Don’t worry, I had headphones in so I wasn’t distracting the class. (Hi, Coach T!) Anyway, I was watching episode 4.15 when all of a sudden, Cristina Yang became more than a character to me.
“Have some fire. Be unstoppable. Be a force of nature. Be better than anyone here and don’t give a damn what anyone thinks. There are no teams here, no buddies. You’re on your own. Be on your own.”
Her and I were friends now. From that moment on, she was one of my ride or dies. She will be for the rest of my life. That quote is written down and taped up above my desk. I read it everyday. It reminds me to believe in myself. To push myself. To be the best. And to do it because I deserve it, not because it’s expected of me.
But the question is still there: is it weird to call a TV character my friend?
Well, when that character has taught you so much about yourself and how to be the best version of yourself, I don’t think it’s all that strange.
I thought about making this post one of those lists of all the things Cristina Yang has taught me but that seemed too shallow. I though about writing an “open letter” but that didn’t feel right either. Instead, I’m going to talk to her. As if she were sitting right beside me. As if Cristina Yang, in real life flesh and blood, was sitting next to me, on my bed, sharing my leftover pasta. And here is what I would say:
You’re the person I know will be there. You’re the one I know will push me when I need it and you’re the person who will piss me off so much because you know me so well. You may know me better than I know myself.
You told me to stop accepting crappy things and to demand something more. Now, I’m living a life I didn’t know I ever could and it’s just the beginning.
You kicked my ass when I needed it. You taught me that it’s ok to want what other people don’t. I don’t have to conform to anybody’s ideals or expectations of me. If I don’t want it, I don’t want it. End of discussion.
I watched you stand your ground when so many people pushed so many things in your face, things you didn’t want. I watched you stand up for yourself and your decisions. You showed me how to do the same.
You love so deeply, so fiercely. You may put up a rough exterior, but you have a heart of gold. And that is not a weakness, even though sometimes it may feel like it. It’s possible to be vulnerable and still be a badass. You proved all of these things every time you shed a tear and then stood right back up.
You told me to be the sun. Nobody else can stand in my way if I don’t let them. You showed me that chasing my dreams, that actually running after them and grabbing them by the lapels, is possible. Getting on a plane and leaving is ok if it is what you need to do. It’s ok to leave. To move on.
You taught me how to fly. And I’m not sure I’ll ever land.
You are the definition of a ride or die. Keep on soaring.
So, that’s what I think I would say to her. Not because I want to bow at the feet of Cristina Yang and offer my life for her, but because she really helped me become the person I am today. She taught me things I’m not sure anyone else every could. Lessons I needed to learn. Truths I needed to hear. The only difference is, she told me through a TV screen.
Maybe it is weird… having a TV character as a friend. But, all I know is, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Sometimes, being able to hit rewind and have your friend tell you to be the sun is exactly what you need.
*This is an adapted version of a blog post written by the author.