What She Really Meant
"We've known each other for a long time, since we were about 8, right?" It sounds like a compliment but I think what she really meant was that she knows me well enough to make her own decision about what kind of person I was. She was not influenced by her friend's badmouthing me but chose on her own to cut off contact with me for 8 years until a chance, random meeting at a mutual friend's get together occurred. It sounds like a nice sentiment but I'm not fooled, I know she was getting in one last dig about how she feels about my character. My therapist would say anxiety but he has no clue. I know her.
There is nothing worse than being fake. It took me by surprise when I saw you yesterday after 8 years of unfriending and radio silence. All because you took the word of a classless b*tch without even bothering to get my side of the story. You even had the gall to give me a hug. I was in shock but I tried to play nice, catching up to what my child and your children were up to. Luckily, as you were arriving, we were about to leave to our next destination (because that's how things go during graduation party season). Unfortunately at this party where we were supposed to not know anybody (the fix up prom date of their son to my daughter by good friends of their's who are daughter's teachers), my husband ran into a former co-worker. We had to spend another hour (or at least it felt like it) talking to him and his wife while I was trying to plead through my eyes and facial expressions that I needed to get out of there. Finally, much to my relief, we left. Now I sit and wonder what this former friend of mine is telling her friends about me.
Defeating the Cliche
He was 16 and I was 15. We met at a youth group event and he invited me to a dance at his school It was about 2 months before my 16th birthday and I did not want the stigma of "Sweet 16 and Never Been Kissed." He was a nice enough boy but I felt no real attraction to him. Still, I let him kiss me after he walked me to my door so I wouldn't have that cliche saying over my head. It was over quickly and that was our one and only date.
I endured many obligatory kisses thoughout the years and even had an official boyfriend when I was 18. It wasn't until I met somebody who rocked my world at 21 that I truly enjoyed kissing and wanted to go beyond that and explore my passions and desires further.
You are a piece of sh*t. You ruined my life because I did not fit into your world of black and white. Just so you know, I never technically lied to you about anything. I may have made up names, details, etc. because of my own insecurities but all of my feelings I shared were real.
What you did was unjustified, to turn people against me one by one with your lies and twisting of the truth to fit your narrative. The kicker is I should have known better.
I think you are a vile, classles b*tch for all of your actions against me and I wish I never befriended you. Meeting you and introducing you to my circle of friends was the worst thing that I have ever done. I hate you!
To 20 Year Old Me
1. Don't give into the temptation for a quick fix for losing weight. Slim Fast is junk food. Learn better eating habits, fill your body with vegetables, healthy protiens, and moderate starches. Don't deprive yourself of less nutritious foods, just consume with moderation and portion control. If you take the Slim Fast route, it will eventually stop working, your metabolism will be shot, and you will end up in a viscious cycle and be even heavier than where you started.
2. Don't rush love. I know you are frustrated because everyone seems to be paired up except you. Enjoy the journey and don't look for forever after and focus on the now. About a year from now you are going to meet someone who is going to make you feel things that you never did before. He is not going to be your ever after and as much as you want to be part of a couple, don't mistake what you do have. Enjoy and savor what he has to offer you in it's fullest but accept that he is not your end game and that's okay. Do not force love and don't compare yourself to the timeline of your friends. Things will come for you in their own time.
3. Choose your friends carefully. The woman two doors down from you is not your friend even though she may appear to be. Be friendly but don't pour your heart out to her. Watch how she treats her current roommate and her boyfriend. Don't think that she won't turn on you, too. Please tread cautiously with her.
4. Think carefully when choosing a major. Try to research different careers and figure out how your interest fits into something that translates well in the world outside of the college bubble. It's okay that you do not know exactly what you want to do with your life right now, you will figure it out eventually and things will come together.
5. You will be okay. Sometimes it may not seem like it but eventually you will figure things out and carve out a nice life for yourself. Enjoy the twist and turns where life will take you. You are only this young once and live your life to it's fullest. Take care of yourself and look for the perks of being young, single, and on a big, bustling college campus.
Power of Words
There are words that always stay with you. When I was 21, for the first time in my life, I fell hard for somebody. Unfortunately, though our attraction was powerful, we wanted different things. When he ended things, his last words to me were, "We didn't have a relationship, we only went on a few dates." I eventually moved on, had other, stronger relationships, and have been married 21 years but those words stayed with me through those future meetings. How could I trust myself? How could I mean so little to somebody who meant so much to me?
As a writer, I tried to analyze these feelings years later to gain closure. Unfortunately, I shared my writing with friends who knew me during that time of my life. They were part of the narrative of how I got caught up in these feelings. They took my analysis of their roles during that time period personally and are no longer my friends. My former friends felt that I was visciously attacking them, as one person put it. This person used her words to express every misstep I ever made and to turn my former crowd against me. She hit me where it hurt the most. Now my former crowd, many who were important people in my life, no longer speaks to me. It hurts.
I have started to make new adult friendships through my coworkers, neighbors, etc. In these new relationships, I feel I cannot fully express myself. I do not want to alienate these people with the power of my words. I am trying to move on from how my words wounded others I care about and how in turn, I got hurt by the words of others. But I am treading very cautiously and watching what I say in my interactions.
By all intents and purposes I have moved on from you.
Everyone thinks I have a great life.
Long term marriage with someone who loves me unconditionally,
But in the dark recesses of my mind,
I think of the passion we shared,
The insatiable heat between us.
Every once in a while,
All these years later,
If things were different,
What we could have been.
You diagnosed me with blunt certainty.
Every session we had always came back to it.
Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety.
It was if I weren’t allowed to have feelings outside of that.
To just be sad, angry, or feel invalidated.
Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety.
This word, in fact, made me feel invalidated even more.
I was put in this box by you and nothing was independent of it.
Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety.
I finally had enough of your mental health trap.
So I left to not be imprisoned by,
Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety.
I'm sorry I ghosted you instead of letting you know my feelings in that moment.
I met them in high school and I wanted to be a part of that crowd. My junior year of high school, they finally noticed me, made me a part of their group and I was estatic. No more lonely weekend nights. I was blissfully happy and grateful. As time went on, I wanted more. I developed crushes on those inside the group and vented my frustration when they all seemed to ignore me and fall for the "queen bee." Still, though the friendships continued, into college, though there was a bump in the road when I brought a toxic individual into the group and they seemed to take her side over mine. All of a sudden I was being left out, excluded from a girls' weekend to a family cabin, regular get togethers, etc. But I fought my way back. I met my now husband who gave me a sense of normalcy in my life. They wanted to get to know him, so they started inviting me to places once more. The toxic person, for the most part, except for two individuals, one who married a good friend of hers and another who was friends with her before and then introduced her to me, faded from our lives. Then I decided to write a fictionalized memoir. The intention was to gain closure on a romantic liasion that ended as suddenly as it begun and caused tumult in my early 20s. My friends had been a presence in that part of my life and influenced a lot of decisions that were made. They became part of the fictionalized background but in reading my work, they did not like my perceptions. The toxic person came back and wrote hateful, back stabbing reviews, ostensibly about my book, but really about me and my character. Like before, others followed her and took her side over mine. I was blocked, unfriended, and cut out of their lives. To be fair, there were ones who tried to stay my friend. Due to my own anxieties, however, I cut them out. One was still close to the toxic one, the one who introduced me to her in the first place, and I was afraid of what she might be saying about me to her, intentionally or not. I was also afraid of the questions she may ask about all that happened. So, and I'm not proud of this, I ghosted her. Stopped answering her calls without explanation. This caused more anger with my former friend's family and with the toxic one, causing her to spread more lies about me. Another person, one of the few who saw through the toxic one's true nature from the beginning, has made overatures to me. Expressing her desire to meet for a coffee. But I am scared to rehash the past. So, thanks to a ill guided fictionalized memoir, that has since been unpublished and the introduction of a toxic person into my friend group, friendships that have spanned 25 years ended just like that. I regret my part in this everyday, from the words I wrote without thinking about their consequences and allowing a toxic person into my inner circle, thus leading to the end of a spectacular era.