Of Best Friends and Heart Breaks…
My best friend moved to Florida in March, right before my birthday. When I met her, we were just the late night, procrastinating freshmen in college, being the only ones left in the dorm study hall at 2am. We made an easy conversation, joking around and putting off more homework as we realized we were delirious with little to no sleep. I was talking about a boy down the hall that I thought was cute, who might have been sitting in the other study lounge a few doors away. She tried to convince me to go to him, sit with him, talk with him, and face him like the confident person that I wasn’t. I argued that I didn’t even know if it was him and that I only got a glimpse out of my peripherals. She debated, laughing with me until I agreed to walk past and at least see if it was him, telling me that she would act like a crazy person so that I had an excuse to go and sit with him if I needed to. So, I did what any normal person would do. I started walking down the hallway, nervous and excited, moving quickly towards him until I heard this shrill and gutteral noise come from behind me. My new friend was howling. Howling like a wolf at the moon at what was now 3am, as people were asleep in their dorms and this stranger was doing homework in the other lobby. I couldn’t help it; I lost it. As she was making her high pitched screams down the hall, I ran down the hallway dying of laughter, only to realize it wasn’t him. Tears sprung to my eyes as I couldn’t catch my breath. He probably thought I was insane as well, as I took one look at him and turned back around. My lungs constricted from laughing so hard at her feigned insanity. A girl that would do something like that for me? She was worth keeping around. So, I sprinted back to her, like the young girl I was who needed her best friend in a world that was too much to handle alone.
She was my friend through so much of my life changes in college. Through all that happened, she never judged me, never pushed me, never hurt me. She was always the one who was there to help me, just as much as I’ve tried to help her. I leaned on her when I needed to without having to ask, as she offered a shoulder for me to cry on and words that would help me move on. I helped her through relationships and stood by her side, while she watched my heart jump from boy to boy, never staying for long and being broken every time. We would mend all our problems with Reese’s while sitting in the wawa parking lot in West Chester, just eating and talking for hours. When everyone left me, she stayed. When all else failed, she helped me find another path. When her life seemed to spiral out of control, she let me help her steady it. She did everything without ever complaining or batting an eye at me. She took me in as her friend, accepting my baggage, my faults, my emotionality, and my strength.
There are no words to express the loss I feel when I think of her and all of our memories together. It’s hard when people move away, you know? After our freshman year of college, we moved and could never see each other as much as we wanted to. We’ve both pushed each other away and come back when we could. We’ve tried to keep our friendship going through all of the separation, and quite honestly, it’s hard. It’s hard to face the fact that we will never be able to live like we did in our freshman year again and that what is left of our friendship is a few phone calls, a few texts, maybe even some visits and plane rides to see each other. It’s hard to face the truth that growing up and moving on means leaving a lot of your past and your friends behind.
Life doesn’t always give you a friend to hang on to through all of the harsh times in your life. There have been times where I have felt completely and utterly alone. No friends to help me and no one to pick me up but myself. But I did it, and it only made me realize that friends are supposed to separate as we get older. We have to. We go our separate ways, we find our own inner strength and paths and take off after them, leaving others behind. We all have to find our own inner happiness, only hoping that the friends we’ve made will stick with us on our journey in one way or another.
I’ve never had the luxury of having a best friend since I was little. My neighbors moved away and my best childhood friend moved away, so right off the bat I must have been doomed. I’ve been terrified of physical change ever since. The funny thing is that because of my childhood, I’ve never been terrified of losing people in my life. My friends and family have watched me end relationships like they’re nothing but a bump in the road. I can argue with a friend and have a falling out, turn around, walk away, and move on with my life without so much as a tear. I’ve always been that way in some shape or form. Cold, heartless, unyielding Kelly, when on the inside I’m anything but that… It seems I’ve become so accustomed to people leaving me that I barely bat an eyelash when they do. In the last few years though, that’s changed.
Another of my best friends and I had a falling out a year ago. We were inseparable since high school. We were always together, being the yin and yang that was needed to support the other. She was the ball of energy and fire that fueled me when I needed it, and I was the calm water that helped her slow down and stay on the right path. Our friendship worked well until something changed in me and I realized that I was tired of always being taken for granted. never being appreciated for the things that I do, even if she was struggling too. I had been her friend for so many years, and I had to let her go. I still, to this day, see her reach out to me, as if trying to rekindle something, but I sit and look at the way she reaches out, wondering if it will ever be a “hey, I miss you and I’m sorry. How are you?”, instead of a “I can’t believe you trust her over me.” or a “how could you just let our friendship go like that? You’re a horrible friend.” Or even the most recent one, when I was looking for a workout/healthy eating buddy and she commented, telling me that she had already lost 10 pounds and that I could be her guest pass to the gym. Why can’t it just be, “Hey, I’d be happy to help you. I’m doing pretty well already and would like for you to join.” Why does it always have to be a celebration about her and all the ways in which she is better than me? So I don’t reach back. I let her go…
These two loses hurt worse than any relationship I’ve ever had. I lose one to distance and another one to arrogance. I mourn not having a best friend every day and I sit here and wonder if there was anything I could have done to not lose them or to still have them both and be amazing friendships like the ones on TV or the ones I know other people have somewhere. I sit here and wonder what it would be like to give up my pride and settle and just try again, but I know it’s not an option. I know I don’t have the money or the will power to move out to Florida or fly there to see my best friend right now, and I know I don’t have the embarrassment tolerance to come crawling back to the other one and tell her I was wrong, even though I know I wasn’t.
Both of them are happy now. My college best friend texted me today and when I asked if she was happy, her response made me cry because I couldn’t bear the thought of her suffering any more than she did while I have known her. She deserves this happiness and though she is far from me and I don’t know the next time I will talk to her, she will always be my best friend for the sheer reason that I cried while she shared her happiness with me. For someone cold and unyielding, that’s an accomplishment. If there’s anyone who deserves to be happy, it’s her, and I would gladly give up my happiness just so that she can stay in her own slice of heaven for the rest of her life. I miss her every single day, but if she’s happy, it makes it all worth it.
My old high school best friend seems happy. Though I had to block her from my phone for constantly texting me hurtful things trying mend our break rather than just being a friend, I see her on facebook now and then. A boyfriend, her dog, a new best friend, she seems to be doing well. It still hurts having to let her go every day though. I hate the fact that I can’t just let it all go and move on with my life. I hate the fact that I can’t just turn her into someone she is not. I miss her and I want her back, but not at the expense of my pride and the pain.
I think my question for a long time no has always been how do you deal with the pain of losing your best friends? How do you manage it? The answer that came to me today is that you honestly don’t. You go on and you mourn their loses and try to find someone new to fill the hole that they’ve left in your heart. It’s like a death of some sort. You try to move on with your life and continue to think of them everyday, wishing you could tell them something funny or ridiculous that happened, but knowing you just can’t pick up the phone and maintain your friendship that easily keeps you from doing it. Coming to accept that I will never have the relationships with them that I used to is one of the hardest things I will ever do. I’m still not sure I’m ready…
I try to end my posts with happy thoughts and things that will always inspire you, so I will leave you all with this: Don’t be like me. Don’t push people away. Reach out, open up, and let yourself be fragile and embarrassed and imperfect. As girls, we always seem to compete with each other. We find all of these flaws in each other that make us feel better about ourselves and we find reasons to distance each other. Don’t be that girl.
If there is one thing I can say that I am proud of, it’s that I now try my hardest to wear my heart on my sleeve and that I own up to my emotions the best I can. I’d rather have my heart broken a thousand times over than give up my hope for love and friendship to have a place in my life. Don’t let your friends go just because you’re afraid. Be proud and strong and support each other. Wear your heart on your sleeve because if there is anyone that you should be able to do that with, it’s your best friend. If they move away, chase after them and fight for what you had. If they go to leave, don’t let them walk out that door. Make sure they know that you will always be here when they need you and hold on to them until they can’t hold on for themselves anymore. Most importantly, be the friend that you always wished you had in your life because in the end, your spouse can leave you, your children will grow up and find their own lives, your family will find their own happiness, and you and your best friend will be the ones sitting together in the rocking chairs at the nursing home, forgetting each others names but knowing in your heart that you love each other. Don’t ever let that dream go. Have faith that your best friend, whomever they may be, will find you in time, and once they do, promise yourself that you will never let leave them. Nothing is ever worth the agony of loss that follows you around when you know you’ve lost the few things that matter to you in your life. Nothing. You are a strong and amazing human being, but achieving your goals means nothing if you don’t have an amazing person to celebrate them with.
Until next time,