Hello dear readers,
This post is a little personal, though admittedly, I claim this when setting out to write every single post. If I’m being truthful, I don’t quite know where to begin with this post. For as long as I can remember (those that knew me as a child will likely agree), I have been introverted. I laugh loudly and enjoy meeting new people like many typical extroverts. However, I’ve also always been a deep thinker, in need of copious amounts of solitude. Relatability may be all the rage in content creation, but I don’t hold a kind of misguided sense of pride in being quirkily quiet. I acknowledge this because it is important for me to connect with the version of myself that was merely a young child wearing a PowerPuff Girls shirt and ombré Barbie sunglasses in winter. That Jen could be wild, chaotic and energetic. More than that, she felt deeply and forged friendships out of fierce loyalty.
I was eleven-years-old when I referred to a friend who had suddenly stopped speaking to me as ‘fickle’. I was wounded, my heart cleaving in two at this uniquely painful loss when my Mom simply told me that I wasn’t being fair. This friend had been good to me for so many years, Mom explained, and now, I wasn’t what she needed anymore and that fact did not detract from my worthiness in future friendships.
My Mom was right, as she almost always is, though I seethed quietly rather than admit it. After all, loyalty matters to everyone, right? I was very young when my moral code was decided. Moral purity meant I would live a guilt-free life, free of wronging anyone intentionally. I couldn’t lose friends if I was being intentional with their feelings, I argued with myself. Confident that this was the safest way navigate life, my morals became my creed and followed me into secondary school, where I found my niche as the friend in the group anchoring my morals in kindness. This doesn’t sound so terrible until I realise that I also ignored the unfair judgment those very friends must have felt from my direction. This strict code of behaviour caused no shortage of strain on my mind, as I constantly bid to do right by those around me. If I chose a friend, I decided that I would back them flawlessly – so long as my moral code was never compromised.
For years, I have walked on eggshells around my friendships, fearful that if I caused hurt, I would never recover from the regret. I was childish, I know now, to think that I could live a life of maintaining perfect friendships only if I was thoughtful enough. The factors that affect friendships are all but limitless in life. Controlling my variables would never be enough. Friends come and go, adults in my life would cite as though this was a simple fact rather than a grave love loss as powerful as any romantic relationship.
Clumsily, I have been learning that I will never truly fall out of love with those friends I have lost throughout my twenty-five years. Nor will I ever forget to pray that I do not lose the diamonds in my life now. So, I have waved people goodbye with a crushing weight inside of my chest, hoping that even if they chose to leave that they may someday, find bliss.
I have written countless letters to these friends over the years. Letters I have never sent, Lara Jean style. In these letters, I have thanked, forgiven, apologised to and blessed my past friends with my whole being. Perhaps it is because I am a notoriously sensitive soul, but I hold the memories of all of the versions of Us I have been with different people close to my heart.
So, this is for you.
To my playschool kindred spirit whom I will never betray my heart and forget. To my primary school best friend who indulged all of my creative whims with a beautiful, open mind. To my secondary school brother-in-arms who gave me permission to face him as exactly myself throughout a time where I begged to fit in. To my university soul sister, who breathes glitter and electric love to this day. To the friends of old, whose imprints on my memory do not fade.
Thank you for the dreams, the games, the texting, the birthdays, the hands held in quiet, scary moments. Thank you for trusting me with your vulnerable soul at one time or another, I hope you know that I never took the task lightly.
No, we were not perfect. Perhaps we were both too headstrong, different and inflexible. Or perhaps great hurt was caused, forcing me to leave. Whatever the reason, I will never lose the love.
Silly as it may seem, I still have such fierce hopes for you. The simple but powerful kind. I pray that when you laugh, it’s as deep as it gets and when you meet someone with a sensitive heart, you handle it with gentle hands. I hope that life is deserving of you, of your goodness and all that you have to offer this world and what comes after.
On behalf of my aching heart, regardless of any hurt caused, I want to thank you for showing me that love truly can be felt this deeply and uniquely. Maybe there is a version of our reality where we still share chocolate and play monopoly.
There are simpler days ahead for both of us. Days where it will be like it was, both of us with new friends, lying on a blanket in the sun and laughing with all of our lungs. There will be new people, for new phases of life. I only hope we get to experience each of them and nothing is cut short.
There is so much more I could say. I could fill notebooks, thanking you for the tip-the-can moments, hair ribbons, Skype calls and naps where you held my hand. I could write to you, telling you that I know you have felt such pain in your life and I wish it hadn’t been that way. Perhaps some pain is inevitable in our growth, including the kind we inflicted upon each other in our misguided ways of growing up and growing apart.
All that truly needs to be said is that it has been a privilege to know you, to laugh with you and to have loved you. I regret none of it. May life be kind to you.
To my current friends, know that I look forward to all of the days given to us. If we have just one more day or another decade, it is an honour to walk this walk with you.
Goodbye for now,