Four years ago I was in a pretty classic rock and a hard place situation. Three of my friends had passed away within a year of each other and I was living in Chicago, hating every minute of it. Needing to make a change in my life I decided to move to Prague, and by move…I mean run away with my head down and my tail tucked between my legs. Needless to say I was in a rough spot. I ended my lease a month early to come to Chattanooga to spend time with my family before I moved. I didn’t tell any one I was coming back and I certainly didn’t tell anyone I was moving to Prague. When I got back I realized I needed a place to hunker down. Something that would get me out of my fathers house, but yet still hidden from the public eye. It was that month that the stars aligned and the universe put in my path a human being that I honestly have no clue how I ever survived without.
I met Jaime while I was working at the Starbucks on Lookout Mountain. I liked her because she had cool hair and an inexplicable energy about her that made me feel like I had known her forever. Any time I saw her car pull into the parking lot I started making her triple tall americano so that it would be ready by the time she walked in. I always gave it to her for free and let her skip the line because I knew she was always running late to class. I have triple tall americanos to thank for the greatest friend i’ve ever had the pleasure of loving. We went to the occasional party together during that time period, but weren’t really on the fast track for BFF status. It wasn’t until I came home for that month that everything truly began. We were both hurting and both needing to escape and were both temporarily trapped. So we went to the thrift store and bought every silk boxy tee and every panel of lace, trapped ourselves in the craft room at her house (which I would later take over as my bedroom) with a sewing machine and a bottle of Andre and made the fucking best we could out of a shitty situation. We spent almost every day together, and when we weren’t together I missed her terribly. We were young girls going trying to make it through situations way beyond our skill set, but we had each other and that was all that mattered. Had I not had Jaime by my side during that time period I can’t tell you what kind of woman I would be today, but I know it wouldn’t be pretty. I moved to Prague for 5 months and we skyped pretty much every day. I would be coming home from bars giving her all the details about this weird boy Kyle I had been falling for as her and Heidi were having lunch in the winnebago Jaime had recently moved in to. She was the person to pick me up from the airport in Atlanta the day I moved back, that threw an American themed welcome home party for me the next day, and would put up with the insufferable task of living with me for the next year.
I’m sitting here trying to think of the Jaime and Katelynd highlights that I can share with you to give you a little peak into the pleasure i’ve had of being Jaime’s close friend and confidant, but honestly I can’t pick one fantastical event over any other mundane evening sitting on the couch watching netflix together, because when you find a friend like Jaime every day is a blessing. I will pay anyone one million dollars to find a human being that is as joyful/terrifying/honest/goofy/strong/loving/confident/bossy as Jaime Leah Smialek. It just doesn’t exist. Jaime is the type of person that will scoop your heart out of the trash, polish it off, put a pretty coat of glitter on it, tell it how no one has ever looked better in that dress than in the history of people wearing dresses, and guard it with her life. It brings me to tears to think about how thankful I am that she not only is a human being that exists on this planet, but also that the universe dumped out a serious helping of blessings on me and tied us together in a knot that will never break or stretch or tatter.
So Jaime, happy birthday. Know that no gift will ever be better than the endless love and support you have given me over the years and that nothing I ever do for you will come close to being able to show my appreciation for everything you’ve done for me.
SWIA team, today is the day we support our fearless leader, leave your presents at the door, and let’s get this party started.
P.S Here are some pictures of our shenanigans throughout the years
This young mans name is Dwayne. He picked us up as we were hitch hiking home from Bonnaroo because we didn’t want to see Dave Mathews Band. The infamous winnebago This is from my surprise 22nd birthday Jaime threw together
Come on ya’ll, if this isn’t true love I don’t wanna know what is!
I don’t know what this is, but we look damn cute.
One day PB (post beyonce) note my newly purchased Bey schwag
This picture always cracks me up for the sheer fact that we were going 80 on a highway and jaime has two hands clasped around that diet Dr. Pepper.
PCB is kinda our thing. We drove there in the dead of night on a whim and had the most magical time possible.
Premiere night for Build Me a World. We look like adults dont we?
I mean, duh.
Trying to figure out how we were going to pose during a dinner party.
PCB second go around. I was more sunburnt than any human being on the planet on this day. One of our many skype dates while I was living in Prague. This evening was the night I drunkenly decided I needed fringe bangs. Jaime was very proud of me, as you can see.
How we survived Bonnaroo, I will never know.
The day we got married. I mean..the day Julie and Michael got married.