What is it about growing up? No one ever gets into the details and tells us what being an adult really entails. I assume it’s because grown-ups are knee-deep in the perplexing experience themselves. Becoming an adult sometimes involves grieving who you used to be. You lose childhood/college friends and somehow end up becoming more of yourself through it all. Something similar happened to me. And I’d like to reconcile this within myself and ‘close the ticket’ by writing a letter to the friendships I’ve outgrown.
Here goes nothing:
I hope you’re okay (more than okay in fact), and I wish I could ask how everyone at home is doing but I think we both know it’d be a redundant question. Because I think we both want each other’s loved ones to be okay, and we’d prefer not to have to ask each other to be able to talk about what’s going on at home.
I guess we have a lot to discuss when it comes to how things ended between us. I kind of phased out your life, towards the end didn’t I? Or maybe it was an abrupt goodbye. I’m not too sure. All I remember is knowing that our friendship had come to an end, but not knowing how to say it. You see for the past few years, I began noticing how much I was abandoning my own self for the sake of our connection and your feelings. I would keep quiet in moments I knew I should be honest and speak up. I would travel in the metro for an hour or more to meet you on a day I had tiring work events to attend, I would accept your lack of concern and empathy when I needed you during moments of panic and anxiety. It seemed as if I couldn’t be my whole and actual self with you. Any of you, really.
I somehow felt like I had to conceal parts of myself while I was with you so that we wouldn’t turn into those horrible secretly-competitive kinds of friends. This isn’t because I thought I was better than you, but because there were moments where I caught a glimpse of how you responded to my happiness, or moments where I was excited about my personal growth. I would reluctantly find myself catching that look on your face when you’d try to hide that you were comparing yourself to me. And it killed me a little to know you were doing that to yourself. Not because I am some selfless saint, but because I knew that someday this would lead to the demise of our relationship or worse, to you resenting me.
Some days I even thought that I should just strike up a conversation about these things, and I probably tried to at a certain point, but I am sure it ended with me being told I was ‘over-thinking.’ You and I both know that I wasn’t. To be honest, I realised a little too late that my pep talks couldn’t possibly save you from your own insecurities and demons. No matter how much I’d have dimmed my own light, pledged ultimate loyalty to you, or played the role of your cheerleader, you would’ve still compared yourself to me and in turn, behaved more like a bully than a friend.
It wasn’t just this, I slowly realised I didn’t want to talk only about boys, relationships, sex, or superficial things. I wanted to be able to talk about the things I daydream about without you demeaning my intelligence and character; It felt like my love for Pinterest was somehow beneath your love for a childhood hobby. It felt as if my personal interests were ditzy, and yours were serious, practical and intelligent. Sadly, the people who I was hoping to receive mutual respect from frequently made me feel like my softness or lack of experience in some things was a reason to tease, disrespect and mock me. The truth is that you took my loyalty for granted and treated me like I was a joke. When all I ever wanted to do was to love and support you.
It’s strange because even through all of this, you somehow expected me to share my entire self with you. There was this tiresome expectation that I needed to tell you everything about my life, it was as if I couldn’t keep any part of myself or my life just for me. It was clearly never meant to be.
I know now how you treated me was more of a reflection of how you saw yourself and less about me being annoying or silly. And I wish you nothing but the best. Unfortunately, though, that doesn’t mean I’d ever like to be friends again. I am sure we’ve both grown a lot since we last spoke, but not every relationship has to be revived. I don’t think everything needs to be (or can be) fixed. And I am at peace with that.
I am so grateful I saw you in your most beautiful moments, I am so glad we supported each other through the things we did. Thank you for being the women you are, because lord knows you were all an absolute inspiration to me. But just like chapters in a book, and the seasons of a year, friendships end too. And that’s perfectly fine.
Lots of love,