Everyone freaked out at the end of the last season of Grey’s Anatomy when Derek Shepard, aka “McDreamy,” aka the husband of lead character Meredith Grey died. So many fans watched their love affair unfold and finally find its feet in season 11, only to feel betrayed by the death of Meredith’s husband. And I’ll admit that I cried as hard as the next Grey’s fan for those couple of episodes. Like, ugly cried. Like, made my boyfriend hold me while I sobbed, cried. However, even as the tears streamed down my cheeks, I couldn’t help but feel that the true love story of Grey’s Anatomy isn’t Meredith and Derek. It’s Meredith and her best friend, Cristina Yang.
We’re good at recognizing romantic sexual love, right? We spot it in the look on Mere’s face the first time she sees Derek in the sober light of day. It’s there again in the heartbreak she goes through when he leaves her, over and over again, and in the steely determination as she grows to realize that she can live without him but she doesn’t want to. Finally, we see it in the numb pain on her face as she pulls the plug on Derek’s brain dead body. Romantic sexual love is easy to identify because it’s the love that we put up on the highest pedestal; it’s the love we’re all supposed to strive for.
But romantic love for a friend isn’t something we really recognize in our culture. I’m not talking about “Oh hey, I think I just realized I’m bisexual because I secretly want to do you, female friend,” love. I’m talking about the deep, non-sexual, romantic feelings that women feel for our female friends. I’m talking about the heartbreak you feel when your best friend moves away or she finds a romantic partner and suddenly has less time for you. I’m talking about the way it feels when the person you want to tell everything to — “my person,” in Christina and Meredith talk — isn’t your boyfriend or girlfriend but your best friend.
For me, those loves feel even bigger than most of the romantic loves I’ve had. There’s no “McDreamy” in my life (although my current partner does come pretty damn close) but I have plenty of Cristinas. The first was Emily, the blonde, blue-eyed, preppy photo-negative to my teenage punk. (Our twosome only got better, though, when Dzeneta joined us.) Then there’s Alanna, my little freckled, blue eyed, ethical sprite who didn’t even blink when I crawled into her bed after a bad hookup during our senior year of college. Rheanna came next — she was the one I called to come bandage my head after I got dumped, drunk, and fell off my skateboard in the middle of the night. And, finally, Allie, the beautiful California girl who stole my heart so thoroughly in Buenos Aires that I literally wrote her love poems.
Those women are the Cristinas to my Meredith. I love them so much that it hurts my heart to think about the fact that I rarely see them, but I also know that any one of them would be there for me the second I called, for anything. And I also know that they love me too, deeply, truly, and permanently.
So here’s to the Cristinas, the Emilys and Alannas and Allies. These are the nine reasons you’ll always be “my person.”
1. They Know When We Just Need To Dance It Out
One of the most classic images of Meredith and Cristina’s friendship is them “dancing it out.” It’s their way of working through the toughest spots and also reaffirming their connection to each other. While you might not actually dance it out with your best friend, we all have that thing that we do that brings us back together, whether it's a look, a catch phrase, or a really stupid inside joke.
2. There’s No Such Thing As “Too Late” To Call
It's 4 a.m. and you’re heartbroken and bleeding from a cut on your head? No problem! If you need your person, it doesn’t matter how late it is. She’ll be there with disinfectant and BandAids to patch you back up again. (Thanks again for that one, Rhe.)
3. Their Bed Is Your Bed
Cristina straight up kicked Derek out of Meredith’s bed multiple times. It was understood that if she needed to talk something out and it needed it to happen in bed, then Derek was out. I’ve climbed into the beds of all of my Cristinas at one point or another, either to cry or to talk or just to snuggle up and take a nap. When it comes to your person, there’s no such thing as “my bed” or “your bed.” You're always welcome in both.
4. You Never Have To Pretend
Part of being an adult is playing different roles with different people. You have your work face, your family face, your casual friends face. But with your person, you never have to perform or be anyone but who you really are. Can you think of a greater gift?
5. They Always Tell Us The Truth
Some of the hardest moments in Grey’s Anatomy are when Cristina and Meredith are face-to-face and furious with each other. They spit hard truths at each other, the kind that no one else would ever dare say out loud. While those moments are harsh, we all need someone who will tell us the truth, even when it’s hard to hear. Hopefully your person knows how to tell you the rough stuff even when they’re not angry but you know what? Sometimes angry truth is the most necessary truth.
6. Except When We Need A Lie
Sometimes you’re too fragile for the truth, and that’s when your person will lie to you. You’ll know they’re lying, of course, (“No hon, you can barely see that black eye from when you drunkenly fell off your skateboard!”) but you’ll still feel better anyway. And, bonus? You know you can trust them to know the difference between when you need a lie and when you really do need that harsh truth.
7. They Don’t Let Us Take Crap From Romantic Partners
Cristina called out McDreamy’s sh*tty behavior all the time and Meredith did the same for a couple of Cristina’s doomed love affairs. While you might not take great care of yourself when it comes to your interactions with your romantic sexual loves, your person will always take care of you. She’ll let you know if your significant other is being an asshole and won't let you put up with it anymore.
8. They See The Best In Us
Even if you’re really good at getting down on yourself (like I am), your person will always remind you of what makes you awesome. Remember, this is the person that loves you most. They see the things in you that shine through — that’s what makes them love you, after all.
9. And Still Push Us To Be Better
Because your person sees how great you are, they know that you can be even better. Meredith told Cristina to go to Zurich because she knew it was what Cristina needed, even though it meant that they wouldn’t see each other much anymore. Your person not only wants what’s best for you, but will give you permission to go and get it, no matter what. Your person is your rock, your home base, your rocket launcher. She'll make sure you get on that plane, even if it breaks her heart.
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