Star Spotlight 12: Carrie

We’ve been talking uncles for the past few days, so today I’m going to switch gears to soul sisters.

Carrie’s like this bright shiny beam of light that floods my life with joy. If you’d asked me during college who I thought I’d stay in touch with for years following, Carrie’s name wouldn’t have been the first that came up. But I can say with resounding enthusiasm and delight that, not only is Carrie the person from Rice that I feel closest with, but our friendship has actually grown and blossomed since then — to a magnitude I never would’ve imagined while we were inhabiting the halls of the Shepherd School, and later sharing living spaces in an apartment several easy blocks from campus.

As our relationship has grown, Carrie has too. She is a dedicated grower, that’s for darn sure. I have always admired her ability to “zoom out” from her life, and evaluate from an impressively objective vantage point. Her rhythms, her work ethic, her moral values, her boundaries, her balance, her relationships with others and her relationship with self-care — all undergo a discerning, scrutinizing, and no-nonsense perspective. She listens to #allthepodcasts, keeps up on the news, always has something(s) she’s reading and dozens of things she’s learning about. She’s curious about the world, about the choices people make, about why she does the things she does. She’s devoted to everyday being a version of herself who’s attuned and in alignment.

Carrie’s got an amazing voice. Yeah, she has a PhD in clinical psychology and a “big kid” job at Google, but the song in her heart and soul is palpable and compelling. It’s not just a metaphorical song, but also a literal one — when she sings, those beautiful reverberations resonate deeply with all lucky enough to bear witness. Her background as a musician (at Rice, and throughout childhood) informs her life with a unique and valuable perspective, and as I imagine how her relationship with making music will inevitably ebb and flow over the years, I can’t wait to support her in whatever form her journey of playing and performing takes.

Carrie is a fabulous communicator. She is insightful and frank, compassionate and kind and empathic. The woman can talk (talk talk talk talk!), and it delights me to no end to listen to one of her winding, humorous, explorative stories of life or love, friendship or heartbreak, work or play. She laughs at her own jokes in a way that’s utterly infectious; reflects on her process with honesty but without self-deprecation; takes full ownership of her experiences and her shortcomings without ever playing victim. But amidst all that talking she does, she listens, too. There’s not many people I know who can both talk and listen with such willingness, openness, and grace. Her ability to honestly and comprehensively examine a situation also comes into play here, as she often sheds perspectives that I never would’ve considered, allowing me a much richer and more comprehensive view of situations. Even when I think I’ve evaluated a scenario from every angle, with finesse and nuance, Carrie is able to lithely expand my view. This involves truly listening, truly feeling, and truly seeing — and then digesting, assimilating, incorporating, and understanding. The fact that Carrie can carry out this entire process in a matter of second, with seeming effortlessness, is breathtaking.

Carrie is a caring and loyal friend, available equally for hilarity and quiet reflection. She’s one of the only people who I truly enjoy having long phone conversations with; I find myself lingering after long past an hour mark, savoring whatever she has to share, enjoying simply being with her energy and bearing witness to her wisdom. She fills me up even when she’s in pain and needing support. She teaches me by example, and by sharing her truth, and by reflecting mine. She thinks like a champ, but also experiences life and her full range of emotions like a champ: she throws herself in deeply to her thoughts or feelings, immersing completely, allowing herself to explore their crevasses and emerging wiser, humbler, more connected.

In many ways, Carrie is able to achieve a perspective that I’m tempted to characterize as “omniscient” — but does that imply that Carrie is a god(dess)?! Okay, I’m going there: Carrie certainly has some traits that I’d attribute to a deity worth worshipping. An unbridled love for people and learning. A deep advocate for women’s rights, and creating safe and supportive communities for all. A fierce protector, a deep and loyal lover, a playful and enthusiastic partner in crime. She can poke fun or (and?) bring startling illumination to the most serious and dense of matters. She can brighten a day with a single goofy or lovingly sincere phrase. She exhibits incredible prowess in matters of work, in matters of music, and in matters of the heart. I might not “worship you,” per se, but I do looooooove you, sweet Carrie! Where or where may I donate to on your behalf? ❤

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