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The 20-year-old Youtuber and social media influencer who focuses on lifestyle and fashion vlogs isn’t actually my best friend. In fact, I’m probably not her number one fan, even though I do consistently watch her videos and listen to her podcast. And, in all honesty, I thought I was the type of person to think celebrity fandoms are really weird. I mean, what are the chances you’ll even run into a celebrity? And yet, people still act like the famous will somehow magically be your friend.
While I hold the opinion that obsessing over the Kardashians is a little too intense, Emma is the exception. I know, I feel a little silly admitting it. I wasn’t even a fan of hers before she became social media famous. I kind of went with the popularity flow and fell in love with her videos the same time everyone else did. So what’s the big deal, then? Why do I have the right to say Emma Chamberlain is my best friend? Well, even though she’ll never know me, and we’ll never be actual friends (sadly), she has recently become a really close person in my life.
The same time it felt like my life was falling apart this past summer is the same time I found a love for podcasts and audiobooks. I’m not a very social person (shocking, I know). I don’t have many friends, partly because I’m too nervous to seek new ones and partly because I don’t feel the need to have a large pool of people in my social circle. So, when I found myself extra lonely this summer, I decided to listen to a podcast.
Podcasts had been more of a miss than a hit for me in the past. I tried story time podcasts, but never caught on, and I didn’t appreciate the vibe of self-help ones either. In an attempt to limit screen time, I clicked on Emma Chamberlain’s podcast Anything Goes instead of one of her YouTube videos. Surprisingly, what I found was a really vulnerable and honest person behind the microphone, rather than someone obviously attempting to gain popularity.
Maybe it’s because Emma is already so popular, or maybe it’s because I already knew I liked her videos, but either way Anything Goes felt like a truthful space, with no strings attached. While I worked this summer, I would listen to this podcast and find an overwhelming amount of relatability. Sometimes the episodes were funny, sometimes they were a bit teary-eyed, but they were always sincere. Above all, I felt less lonely during one of my loneliest times.
And I think it took my experience of loneliness to realize how important some people are to you, even if they have no idea you exist. Somehow, Emma kept me going each day, despite never having met her. I felt a connection to another person and their art, even though we were apart. And now it’s safe to say I don’t find these sorts of celebrity interactions silly anymore. I shouldn’t have judged someone in the past just because they felt like they were best friends with someone famous. Sometimes, all you need is to feel like someone is there for you. And sometimes, that person is a close friend. Sometimes, they’re a social media influencer, movie star or pop singer. Any type of relationship is valid.
Not only did Anything Goes deepen my appreciation for podcasts and Emma Chamberlain, but it made me even more thankful for the close friends in my life. There are few, but they are mighty. And they are here, which is sometimes not always the case in life. Some days you will be alone, and some days you will be surrounded by people who feel like sunshine. Both scenarios are bound to happen.
I’ve learned that on those lonely days it’s okay to reach far out into the universe and latch onto anyone you have a connection with, even if they’re a Youtuber. On the days filled with true friends, be grateful you don’t need to reach so far.
If you’re feeling lonely, just know this is only momentary discomfort. If you can’t find friends to fill your life with right now, surround yourself with whatever makes you less lonely, even if you think it’s silly.
I am lucky enough to say that while I still love listening to Anything Goes, I don’t need to rely on it as much anymore. I’ve found my Emma(s), right where I am. I hope one day you do, too.