“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow” Alice Walker
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. In kindergarten that phrase meant having to choose between snacks that were almost always equally appealing. In middle school it meant beginning to figure out who I was and struggling with what that meant for my relationships. In college it meant having to clean up after one of the many parties we had up on Hillyard/Agate Streets. At 26 it means finally feeling like I have a strong pulse and a full heart but my life before was the price. As if I’ve traded in my old life for my new one. This hurts. A lot.
There are many times when it is difficult to say ‘I love you’, but when you’re a friend, you can’t pick and choose when you mean it. Life rarely brings calm to the storm. When shit hits the fan, we prepare for another round, but we don’t question whether or not our friends will help us clean up the mess. (apologies for the gross metaphorical mental image). You see when you look across the table at your best friend, all you can see is why they’re sitting there. The time spent doing nothing and everything. The beers at the shows and waiting in the fridge after finals. The boys who tried to break your hearts as you took turns mending each others back together. The realization that they would be the one to serve as Maid of Honor at your wedding once you found the one who would never break your heart.
But how quickly that can go away. It takes two. When you are left with one…there is nothing you can do. I think that is the hardest part. Despite however much you loved, there is nothing you can do to change someones heart. Some loneliness is acceptable And some’s just outright mean. It gets even.
Nowadays it is as easy as pressing ‘delete’ on a keyboard. Years of friendship reduced to the tap of a button, no explantation necessary. Twenty years ago this wouldn’t have made any sense, but here we are. On our own to piece together how we’ve managed to reach the level of social skill or lack there-of where something like that is even fathomable to an acquaintance.
A wise man told me that sometimes you have to let people in your life leave to make room for the ones who choose to stay. You can’t make everyone happy. You can’t be everyones best friend. Since I was little this has always frustrated me as I struggle with the idea that there would be times when no matter how hard I tried, the result would mean having to let go. He was right.
Aristotle said, “A friend to all is a friend to none.” That quote used to piss me off, but now it is oddly comforting. If you say I love you, mean it. Mean it when its good, and mean it even more so when it’s bad.
That same person told me anyone can be kind when they’re happy, it takes a special person to remain so when they’re the furthest thing from. Love each other. Even after all of this, I always will.