This is my dear friend Nijole, and I need to tell you about her, because she is a treasure.
Last spring, I bought my first professional camera with money donated by wonderful people who believe in me and my art. So there I was, walking down to Glazer's Camera, and I should have been thrilled, because what I wanted most in the world was to get a real, honest-to-goodness camera so I could be a real, honest-to-goodness photographer, and there I was, about to go and do it, and I wanted to be happy, but all I felt was scared: I was so scared my knees were shaking and my stomach hurt.
What if I got the camera and couldn't figure out how to use it? What if I turned out to be a lousy photographer? What if I disappointed everyone?
Well, luckily, I'd brought Nija along, and she was excited enough for both of us—she literally hopped and skipped down the sidewalk, pulling me along on my wobbly legs. When we got there, she followed me around taking pictures with her iPhone, ("Ladies and gentlemen, she's walking into the store. She's looking at camera bags. She's looking at lens-cleaning kits. Ah! She's at the counter! She's pointing at the one! The sales guy is going to get it!") And when we walked out, camera in hand, she jumped up and down and hugged me yelling, "You got it! You got it! You got it!" And then she filmed me opening the box for the first time, complete with dramatic commentary.
She made me laugh. She helped me forget my fear and find my courage. She helped me celebrate an important, wonderful moment. This is what she does: she celebrates people. She cheers you on and believes in you one thousand percent, even when (especially when!) you have trouble believing in yourself. Nija, thank you.