Brittany Graham


Sharing My Best Friend

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Last weekend I went down to Houston to see my best friend since 7th grade. After years of feeling like a terrible friend I'm so happy I was finally able to visit her. Bethany came to visit me in Colorado once I moved from Washington, watched my AAU games in Portland, and came to my senior day at Georgia State. So as you can see, I was long overdue for a visit to see her! When you're a kid growing up you want to keep your best friend to yourself by any means necessary, yours and nobody else's. You get defensive, overprotective, and can't stand to share your best friend with anyone else. Needless to say, after being best friend's with THEBethany Bradley for over 15 years,  things couldn't be more of the opposite. Ever so often people come into your life and you just want everyone in the world to experience their love and the impact they had on your life.

Bethany has probably seen me play in over 100 basketball games throughout my life. She never missed a game, was always there supporting me taking my stats, with a blue Gatorade waiting for me on the sidelines. So last Friday when she asked if I wanted to come to school with her and see what a day is like for Miss Bradley, I jumped at the opportunity with so much excitement. As I sat in the back of her 7th grade language arts class watching her do what she loves, I got goosebumps and started to tear up. It was one of the most amazing feelings to watch someone you love, who has worked so hard, do what they love to do. It was crazy to think that 15 years ago we were sitting in the exact same 7th grade classroom reading the same books that Bethany is now teaching to her students.

Watching the way she interacts with her students and how much each and everyone one of them not only love "Miss Bradley," but her class and what she's teaching them was amazing to see and finally be a part of. It's not easy being a teacher, a middle school teacher at that. I watch my best friend spend countless extra hours before and after school prepping, preparing, and doing everything she can to make sure her kids are succeeding in the classroom. Bethany was even selected as the Teacher of the Year last school year. I couldn't be prouder to have a best friend that is doing so many amazing things with her life and building future leaders each and everyday in her classroom.

I used to think that I was "cool friend," but that theory of mine was completely blown out of the water seeing how much the all of the students at Bethany's school love her. After school Friday evening we headed to the mall to get Bethany's shattered phone replaced at The Apple Store. Less than two minutes of walking into the mall, here comes a little middle school girl running up to "Miss Bradley" greeting her with a huge hug. How cool is that? Usually when you see your teachers outside the premises of a classroom, you run, duck, and hide at all costs to avoid them. Nope, not Bethany's students. So with that being said, Bethany is officially the cool more popular friend.

Bethany is also manic (a good way lol) and is currently training for a half-marathon at the end of the month running anywhere between 5-9 miles 6 days a week. I don't see myself running that much anytime soon, or ever. But because of Bethany I have been a lot more active lately and even joined team Fitbit to track my steps with her as she trains.  Beth: 19,000 steps, Britt: 8,000 steps.

Bethany has inspired me in so many ways to be a better person, the true quality any best friend should have. Because of that, I have to brag on her and share with you just how amazing she is. I feel so blessed to have someone like her in my life and for so long now. Through all of the awkward nerdy stages, through college, and now into adulthood. But more than anything she accepts me for who I am, even way back in the day when I had bad hair, braces, glasses, and faithfully wore butterfly clips, we were still the best of friends. Even today there isn't a person on this earth that understands the real Brittany, my crazy antics of dancing, sining, and being awkwardly weird that way Bethany does (LOL, sorry for putting you through so much of that). Even though may not see each other much, every 2-4 years to be exact, but all the miles in the world could not break our friendship.

The days of wanting to have and keep a best friend to yourself are over. I can only hope that rest of you have a best friend as loyal as Bethany. I wish that all of you can experience the love and support of Bethany Joy Bradley that I have been able to have in my life for over 15 years now. Why be selfish about having a best friend? I want to share her with you and rest of the world so that so many other people can be impacted by BJB the way that she has changed my life.

I love you so much "Beth." Thank you for being the best friend a girl could ask for :)

A few more pictures from the trip to Houston:


Would your 8 year old self be proud of you right now?

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Do you ever look at an old picture of yourself from your childhood and instantly get taken back to the moments when life was so simple? When playing outside in the neighborhood with your friends climbing trees and playing tag was the highlight of your day? Whenever I need a little inspiration or a small pick me up, all I have to do is look at picture of 8-year-old Brittany and I can't help but to smile. I love that girl. Younger Brittany was full of energy, so optimistic about the future, happy, creative with a big imagination.

I came across this image the other day and it really hit home and made me think. Would your 8-year-old self be proud of you right now? I set there and thought to myself, would she? or have I let her down?  I just remember a kid who was always a little awkward(and she still is...), with big glasses, braces, bad hair, long skinny legs and lanky arms, but had an imagination that was out of this world. I asked my mom what I was like at 8 years old and without any hesitation she replied. "You were so outgoing, creative, happy, and helpful. You always wanted to help me, and your teachers."  She said I wanted to do it all, every sport, every activity it didn't matter what it was, I wanted to try it. She I was passionateabout everything I did and always put my heart into everything I did. I was actually stunned when she told me all of this. Wow, I thought to myself. Who is this 8-year-old girl? I need to meet her, she sounds so cool.

A few hours later, I came back to what my mom had told me about my 8-year-old self, and then it hit me. I'm still that same little girl. That creative, outgoing, and passionate helpful little 8-year-old girl my mom was describing to me is still very much so deep inside of me. Take away the glasses, braces, and hopefully I don't have bad hair anymore and there sits the same girl. The girl who is now 29-years-old who still has dreams out of this world and a creative imagination like no other. When I really think about it, not much as changed, I really am still her. 

I keep this picture of me and my dog Magic (RIP :() on my nightstand in a picture frame. It's the last thing I see before I go the bed, and the first thing I see when my eyes open the morning. Sometimes late at night I catch myself smiling and staring at this picture reflecting on my 8-year-old self when I would come home from school and go straight to the backyard with Magic and just play for hours until my mom called us in for dinner. This little 8-year-old- girl, my 8-year-old self gives me so much strength, hope, and motivation. Not only do I live to make her proud, but I aim to carry her with me every single day. And thanks to this goofy little girl, I am confident, happy, and care free. Because of her I am able to still have that creative imagination, and dreams out of this world. I don't know where I would be with her.

With that being said, I don't think the question is would your 8 year self be proud of you right now? Because I know without a doubt she is, because I am still her. But instead, I should just thank my 8-year-old-self for giving me a reason to live and inspiring me to better to make those dreams come to life.

A few more pics of 8-year-old Brittany, LOL.