Friend-oirs pt. 1: Joshua

Originally posted on Medium.


Honestly, I don’t remember much of Josh. We were friends as children, two little four year olds brought together by neighboring homes and brothers who hung out. That’s how many of my friendships started as a child—through simply having a big brother.

Josh was built like a football player, even at four. He was burly, maybe a little chubby, and had the classic “wittle kid” voice. He tended to be rough with his brothers around (who were older and equally/more built) but he always treated me appropriately. I was still pretty small and thin, and we played accordingly. It wasn’t because I was a girl, we just weren’t rough-housing friends. It’s amazing how simple friendships can be.

We attended the same preschool. My mother was driving us home, and for some reason, we were bickering. I’ve never liked being told what to do, but apparently four-year-old-me was not having any of it that day.

YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!” we chanted back and forth.

You’re not. The boss. Of me!” and so on. After a while, we were in fits of giggles. Kids love annoying each other.

At the time, it didn’t matter that he was a boy vs a girl telling me what to do, or whatever the context was. I was too young for that social perspective and lived my life as a person, with a lack of labels or expectations according to my gender/socio-economic status. I was just Brynna. I liked drawing and cats. That was all I really needed to ‘define’ me.

You’re not the boss of me!

Nobody told me what to do. Except my mother and father. (Maybe my brother as well, but those demands were typically met with threats.)

Car seats away, we just repeated the phrase at each other.

You’re not the boss of me! You’re not the boss of me! YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!!!”

Though I barely remember this interaction, I like to believe it set a tone. I’d be quiet and reserved throughout elementary school, but I wasn’t to be pushed around.

I’ve let people be the boss of me since. My persistence has been worn down by the world, but I’ve returned to the four-year-old’s mentality. He wasn’t the boss of me then, and nobody is the boss of me now. Not even my boss. I can quit my jobs, but I can’t quit me.

I haven’t spoken to Josh more than once since were tikes. We connected on Facebook when I met one of his buddies at college, but nothing more since then.

If you’re reading this, Josh- you’re still not the boss of me.


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