Julia and Sophie have known each other since they were wee little humans. Now 19, they are basically a living, breathing advertisement for the very idea of having friends, and a lesson on how to do friendship right. See for yourself:
TO: [email protected]
SUBJECT: Friend Crush
Hi! My name is Julia and I’m from a little beach town in Southern California that’s stuck in the ’70s. I’m so happy I grew up here, though, because if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have met the coolest girl in the world.
It would take a lot of typing to try to describe why Sophie, aka Tinnith Grace Patrón, is my best friend, but I’ll try to sum it up. Our story started about 12 years ago back in elementary school, when we were just little tots on the playground. We have been inseparable ever since. We’re both 19 now (our birthdays are a week apart), and she knows me like no one else in the world. We have been through a lot of huge changes together, went through puberty together, high school, first everythings, heartbreak, and years of wonderful memories. She and I have also been through similar struggles in life—we both deal with depression and mental illness. It’s really comforting to have someone in your life who can understand what you’re going through. Tinnith always been by my side no matter what. She knows things about me, from little mannerisms to dark secrets, that no one else knows. She’s my soulmate. Cheesy as that sounds, it’s true.
I love Tin for so many reasons. She is without question the most beautiful person I’ve ever met, inside and out. She’s the most loyal friend anyone could ever have. She’s genuine, kind, and open to every person she meets. She is hilarious like no other, and we get so weird together sometimes it’s frightening. When we get especially weird, we like to think of it as our very colorful alter ego Puddy Johnson coming out. We have the same views on just about everything: politics, philosophy, movies, whatever. Yet there are ways in which we’re kind of opposites. We think of our friendship like the sun and the moon. Sophie is more like the sun and I’m more like the moon. They are energetically connected to each other—the same yet opposite. We plan to get our first tattoos together soon; I want to get a crescent moon on my wrist and she is getting the sun.
Basically, Tinnith Grace Patrón is a fiery, bohemian, sparkly mermaid who is the funniest person in the world, and I’m a nature-lovin’ hippie moonchild who will always have her back. I don’t know what I’d do without her. We are Spongebob and Patrick in real life.
ROOKIE: Why do you call Sophie “Tinnith Grace Patrón”?
JULIA [crusher]: It’s kind of a funny story. Back in middle school, we had this friend, and all three of us were really close. Sophie has really porcelain skin and—this is kinda mean—this girl started calling her “Tofu,” like, ’cause she’s so white. It turned into “Tintof,” and then it turned into “Tin” and then it turned into “Tinnith.”
In middle school we called Sophie “Tinnith Paltrow,” because she looks like Gwyneth Paltrow. Also known as “Tin” or “Tinny.” Since she’s “Tin” and name starts with a J, I’m “Jinnith.” That became “Jinnith ’n’ Juice,” because you know there’s that Snoop Dogg song…[singing] “Sippin’ on gin and juice…”
I don’t really like drinking alcohol, but it just has a good ring to it, I guess. And then this one time we were just really hyper and I decided that Sophie needed to have some alcohol-related name as well, to match. “Patrón” came about because it sounds like “Paltrow.” Grace is just her middle name.
Do you remember when you went from good friends to best friends?
It happened slowly. We met in third grade when we were eight or nine years old, and we were both friends with this one group of girls. We all ended up at the same middle school, and we were like a clique. But eventually we just stopped being friends with some of them, and next thing you know it was just me, this other girl, and Sophie, and then the other girl was like…we stopped being friends with her freshman year. But me and Sophie have been best friends ever since.
Why did you stop being friends with the other girl?
I think having sometimes with a group of three friends, there can be tension. She was kinda like a mean girl…I don’t mean to be talking shit on her, but she was the token mean girl of the group. Like she was the ruler and we were her little minions. Like in Mean Girls.
But you stuck with Sophie. What makes her more amazing than other people?
Hmm. That’s a hard question to answer. She’s just an amazing person in general. I love her personality. Me and her just laugh—we have the same exact sense of humor, we get so silly together. And she accepts me for who I am—she knows every horrible part of me, and every good part. She’s always there for me at my lowest points and she is just a badass bitch and I fucking love her. She’s hilarious, she has great taste in music, we love the same kind of things. She’s kind to anyone. She’s an overall wonderful person.
She sounds really rad. Can you describe a moment when she was really there for you?
Well, I’ve been through a hard couple of years. I have bipolar disorder and I have been struggling with depression, and I’ve been hospitalized and stuff. I’m trying to stay up, you know—I’m being really, really good right now, I’m killin’ it.
Hell yeah, glad to hear it.
But a couple years ago I was in the hospital, and she was the only friend who visited me. That’s probably when I realized, like, Holy fuck, this girl is with me no matter what. Last year the hospital actually discharged me to her—she was the one who came and picked me up. She had to sign the waiver and all that stuff, like she’s my family, you know? She’s like my sister.
Why weren’t your parents there—did you want her to come and not them?
I just wanted it to be her, you know? Just ’cause her energy is healing, and when you’re really in a hard spot you want the people you care about most with you. When I’m down, or if I’m feeling insecure or doubting myself or feeling weak, Sophie knows exactly what to say to make me feel better, ’cause she’s just straight-up a part of me.
That’s really beautiful. What is it like to be around her?
She is so funny. She cracks the most hilarious jokes—she’s always been the class clown. Just hanging around her, I think about how her aura and her energy are white and just like the sun, you know? It’s like our personalities. I mesh a lot with the phases of the moon, and Sophie, she’s like the sun in that [what you see is] what you get—she’s always been completely herself. She’s someone I can always depend on. I know that no matter what, I’ll always have her in my life.
What would you say have been the biggest changes in your relationship over the years?
Well, there’ve been times when she was living in San Francisco and I was living here in Orange County and I didn’t see her a lot. Also, halfway through high school she transferred to Laguna Beach High, while I stayed at San Clemente. Looking back now, it’s not a big deal, but having your best friend leave..it really was a huge deal for me then. Luckily we always stayed in contact with each other.
What’s great about our friendship is that even though we’ve grown as people, our friendship and how we act around each other and how I feel about her haven’t changed, you know? When I’m with her, it feels like I’m a third-grader again because we just laugh and giggle and come home late at night and eat all the food in my kitchen. We do the same things we used to do in third grade.
Can you tell me about Puddy Johnson?
Oh my god! It’s so funny to hear someone talk to me about Puddy Johnson! This sounds really weird, but basically Puddy Johnson is that really strange, super-silly part of you that comes out when you get really hyper with your best friend. When you’re feeling weird and making funny faces and being silly, you know?
One time in like fifth grade we were really hyper at her house and we pulled our gym shorts way up and pulled the strings around our heads so we looked like we had wedgies, and we put our hair all crazy. We were SO hyper and running around and she just put a name to what we were doing: “That’s Puddy Johnson.” Ever since then, whenever we’re being really weird, we say, “Oh, there’s Puddy Johnson.” It’s the most random name in the world—I don’t even know where it came from, but it describes that feeling perfectly.
Is there some inside joke I can ask Sophie about that will get that reaction from her, like when I said “Puddy Johnson” and you said “Oh my god”?
Cheryl. You should ask her about a woman named Cheryl. It’s nothing bad at all—it’s not like she’ll say, “Oh, I hate that bitch Cheryl.” It’s a little like Puddy Johnson.
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ROOKIE: I talked to Julia earlier today, and she wants you to tell me about Cheryl.
SOPHIE [crushee]: Oh god! [Laughs] Well, Cheryl is a word for, uh, I guess you could say…feeling, like, on the prowl [for boys]?
Like you channel Cheryl when you’re flirting with people?
Yeah. Julia and I started it when we were freshmen, I think, and then it just kind of spread. We told other girls, and now girls will put up a Facebook status that says “Cheryl,” and all these other girls will be like, “Yeah!”
I know you and Julia were separated for a little while in high school. Was that hard?
I decided to switch high schools when I was a junior because the only friend I had at San Clemente High was pretty much Julia. I did not like it there. So I saw Julia mostly on the weekends, and then I went away to college and she visited me at the University of San Francisco. Now that I’m home I see her all the time, almost every day.
How did you guys keep your friendship strong when you were separated?
We would text all the time. I made friends at Laguna, but they were jealous of our friendship, like, “We’re not your real friends, you have another best friend.” I’m like, “We’ve been friends for like 12 years—there’s no competition at all here.”
How are you and Julia are most like each other, and how are you most opposite?
We’re most like each other because we’re both kind of old souls. We’re really into old music and nature. It’s like we were born in the wrong generation. We have gnarly heart-to-hearts about the world and how vast it is. I don’t feel like I can have those kinds of conversations with anybody else, and Julia just levels with me about that kind of stuff. I guess the biggest difference is that Julia is really outgoing and always wants to do stuff, like meeting and talking to people, and I’m such a homebody. I’m content sitting on the couch watching TV and eating food. That’s a solid day for me.
So does she drag you out a lot? Do you guys go to parties together?
Yeah, she’s always the one who’s texting everybody and figuring out what’s going on. I don’t have anybody that I really have a desire to hang out with, but she’ll take me out of my shell and introduce me to people. I don’t know, I get really cynical, and Julia is always so positive about everybody. She really sees the good in everybody. I think everyone’s horrible until I get to know them.
Do you two ever fight?
We’ve never gotten in a fight where we don’t talk to each other for a while or anything. I’m not one to hold a grudge or be quiet once I’m mad at someone. When Julia and I are mad at each other, we’ll fight it out, and then we’re quiet for five minutes, and then we’ll just start laughing about something again. We’ve made a pact: No matter what, we’re gonna be friends forever. Nothing is gonna come between us. We care about each other too much to ever do anything to hurt each other.
She told me about the time you picked her up from the hospital. What was that like?
That was intense. [Another time] her mom sent her to this stupid-ass rehab. Julia, like, smoked weed sometimes and drank with us, but her mom had this gnarly AA mindset, and she thought that made Julia an addict. So her parents sent her to this rehab, and the first night her mom called me and said, “If Julia calls you and tells you to pick her up, don’t do it. She needs to stay there.” I was like, “Of course, yeah, I’m not gonna pick her up.” Then Julia calls me at midnight like, “Come pick me up!” And of course I was like, “I’m on my way.” She was hiding in a bush when I got there.
She still had to go back there for a few weeks after that, and I could only see her once a week. Finally a therapist told her family, “This is stupid, she should not be here, this is a place for drug addicts,” and I had to pick her up again. It was just so stupid. Her parents did not understand, but now they do.
Can you explain the sun-and-moon thing to me?
I read something one time that said: “She’s like the moon, there’s always part of her hidden away.” And Julia’s like that. She’s such an open person, but I feel like only me, and maybe her family, know the true Julia. Everyone who describes her is like, “She’s the nicest person I’ve ever met,” but I know that Julia can be pretty ridiculous sometimes. There’s stuff about Julia that only I know, and that makes me feel special.
I’m the sun because with me, you get what you get. I’m there every day, just constant—you can always rely on me. I don’t have anything to hide. I will always be the same person. Julia always tells me that I have not grown up or changed at all, and do I feel like I’m still a little fourth grade girl. I still eat, like, chicken nuggets and pudding. I feel like I’m always gonna be that person. Julia goes through phases, like the moon. She went through a punk phase, and now she’s in a hip-hop phase with me. But I’ve loved hip-hop all my life, and I’ve [always] loved the same people. I’m loyal.
Is there anything else that the world should know about Julia?
She’s that crazy person that can’t be tied down. She always has to be doing stuff, has to have something new going on. But that doesn’t make her unreliable. That doesn’t make her not a good friend. It actually makes her a better friend—she makes me come out of my shell. She makes everyone come out of their shell! I feel like I’m more outgoing than I would be without her. I’m funnier when she’s around.
How do you think your life would be different without her in it?
It would be completely different. Every time I look back at my life, Julia’s been there through everything, or she knows about it. She knows every single thing. If I tell someone a story, she can finish it for me, stories that she wasn’t even there for. I can tell her anything, and she can tell me anything, and we do not judge each other at all. Anything that weighs on our consciences, we tell each other. We can say things that seem so odd, and we’re like, “Whatever, it doesn’t make you a bad person.” I’m so grateful to have her, because I would explode if I had to keep secrets inside. Without her I wouldn’t be the same person at all. She’s the best. I couldn’t even imagine my life without her. ♦
Interviews conducted by Amy Rose.
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