My dear friend. You didn’t know this at the time, but you can into my life during a really dark time. I was unwell, I didn’t leave the house much, and I spent so much of my time alone. I’d started to feel isolated, and useless. My life didn’t feel like it had much meaning. I felt like I lacked a purpose. I was broken. Even revisiting those memories is difficult for me.
And then, one day, I found you.
I stumbled across your YouTube videos, and instantly, I was in love. And without you even knowing it, you became my friend. You kept me company on the most difficult of days.
You fuelled my stationary addiction beyond what it had ever been before. And, most people will think that odd, but I know you get it. Whereas before I’d furtively snuck into stationery shops, and bought myself the odd pink ruler (obviously one that folds and fits in even the tiniest of pencil cases), now I had someone to share my addiction. And, beyond that, teach me to use all of the supplies I’d been hoarding for years.
I’d wait for your new videos, and every time you uploaded one, I felt happy. It’s hard to explain just what that meant, but those patches of happiness that you created for me, well, they meant everything.
It’s fair to say, that by now, everyone in my life knows who you are. I speak of you now not just as a woman that I watch on YouTube, but as a friend. Because, I’ve been lucky enough to get to know you.
We’ve talked about all of the things. ALL OF THEM. The ones that are really difficult to talk about. You’ve shared your faith with me and, despite us being different in so many ways, you accept me just as I am. You’re never scared to answer my questions. I admire that so much about you, Ali. I truly, truly do.
And then, Ali met When Caitie met Soda, which, at the time wasn’t even so much a dream as a lifeline to me. It was the one thing that I could do from my kitchen table. Between the doctor’s appointments, and the alongside the battle for a diagnosis, it was my thing. I wasn’t even able to do it very much at that stage, because, well, I’ll be perfectly honest here, I spent most days asleep. But, when I had those moments of inspiration, or a small burst of energy, it was all I wanted to do.
And you, you, my dear friend, were my first ever sale.
You were the first person to take a chance on me. To see what I was trying so hard to say with my designs.
And, making things for you now, years on, makes me as happy as it did then. Because you’ll always be the person that, with her unconditional love and kindness, patience and understanding, and, belief in me, helped to mark a turning point in my life.
And now, now I get to do this thing I call magic full-time. Can you believe it, Ali? Because, there are days when I still pinch myself.
I know you’ve had your share of difficulties, as most people eventually do when they put themselves on the World Wide Web. But, you’ve persevered. And, more than that, you’ve taken every difficulty as an opportunity to look inside yourself, and grow not just as a person, but also as a daughter, a mother, a wife, and, to me, a friend.
I don’t think you always know just how much joy you spread in this community, just by being you.
You inspire me. You motivate me. You challenge me. And I cannot begin to thank you for the positivity that you have injected into my life. Despite being one of the busiest people I know, you are also, without doubt, the kindest.
I told you these rings had a story, didn’t I? Well, this is it. It’s the story of you and me. The three Little Comets (I love them! The magpie in me cannot stop staring at them!) represent the years of friendship we have shared, so far. And, the Journey of You ring, well, that says it all, doesn’t it? I cannot think of anyone who has weathered as many storms as you have, and with such grace. You’ve collected battle scars along the way, but, Ali, I promise you, you are only more beautiful for them.
I hope these little guys make you smile when you receive them. And, I hope they remind you of the beauty you are putting into the world.
Thank you, for being exactly who you are. And for letting me be exactly who I am, too.
With all of our love,
Caitie, and, of course, Soda xxx