I find myself writing this sitting in first class wearing my sunglasses so no one will see me cry as I travel home. Pretty poetic in the rock-star vibe of it all given that is completely what Jonathan was. And how I told him all the time how I wanted to be like him.. traveling the world, no boss, kicking ass at life, doing whatever I wanted.. complete LTD. You know, what he did. He’d always laugh at me when I said I wanted to be like him. But he knew I meant it. When I finally made it to that kind of LTD, we’d call me Tizzle 2.0. Totally self-appointed nickname. He was bashful saying it most of the time, but I loved it. To me it felt like I had made it. “Tizzle 2.0” meant I was living my dream, because that’s for f*cking sure what Tizzle 1.0 was all about.
How could I ever write anything truly capable of sharing what Jonathan actually is to me? Honestly, I don’t think I can. And I think trying within the scope of 600-900 words in this column will only result in stress and upset for me because the thought of not doing him COMPLETE justice makes me freak the f*ck out. So instead, I’m just going to tell you a story.
Imagine sitting at the airport in Fayetteville, NC. Sweet airport. Lots to do. Not. Imagine the inside members of Elsinore Jedi after their first tunnel training camp as a 4-way VFS team. Meili Modini, Adam Tippie, Jonathan Tagle, and me. At that camp, Jonathan went from not being able to do released transitions to us all doing 4-way together as a team. He went to Paraclete three days early and worked his A** off to get up to speed in the tunnel. I remember him texting me totally frustrated two days in, worried he wouldn’t be ready for our camp. Of course he didn’t let anything stop him and he made that sh*t happen. Like he did with everything. Duh. Boom, there we were eyeball-to-eyeball upside down across from each other, learning, laughing,“talking” the whole time, no sh*t we’re doing this! So awesome. Makes me smile just writing it. There really is little better than doing a team with your best friends.
I remember when the first thought of doing a team together came up at one of our round-table talks.. you know, those talks that cover nothing and everything.
Where you don’t even notice it’s been 4 hours. Where you talk about the stupidest sh*t and come up with the best ideas you’ve ever had. Some you never do, and others that change your life. Talks where you fully uncover yourself knowing you’re completely accepted no matter what comes out of your brain and being. Talks where true friendship and unconditional love is born and built.
So let’s go back to bustling Fayetteville Airport, and let’s imagine the same crew now knowing what we know. Imagine a digital camera and Elsinore Jedi waiting out the couple hours ahead of their flight home. What to do? Well, obviously we had to use the camera and it’s ten megapixels to take pictures up our noses. I’m not kidding, people, I don’t think I have ever laughed that hard for that long in my entire life. Each one of us took a turn exposing the insides of our noses. Holy CRAP. Seriously, if you haven’t done this, you have NO idea how completely revealing it feels to zoom in on the details of your inner nostril. But that’s the kind of sh*t you do with your best friends.
The expanse of a friendship can go everywhere from inside our nose to beyond death. True friendship never dies.
It lives on in us, in how we are changed by those friends, in how we choose differently because of their influence. Knowing Jonathan has been one of the greatest gifts in my entire life, and I know even with the years I have ahead of me that very few will ever be able to compete. But that’s how he was, wasn’t he? The best of the best, and from where I sit, most definitely the best of friends.
I love you, Jonathan. See you on the flip side for more M&P’s and synchronized swimming. Tizzle 2.0, out.