To All 3 Of My Ex-Best Friends, Thank You For Making Me Who I Am Now

To All 3 Of My Ex-Best Friends, Thank You For Making Me Who I Am Now

I can't say it doesn't still hurt, but I'm thankful for who I've become.
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I'd like to say first that I am not mad. I do forgive you.

I suppose our group was never as connected as I would have hoped, or at least to me, it wasn't. Originally a trio, I came into your open arms looking for new friends and a cushion to escape my other strict, so-called "academic" life, and I was granted the many adventures and obstacles you guys would face everyday. New people. New friends. New faces. New inside jokes. Happiness.

I suppose it was stupid of me to believe that our paradise could forever remain this sunny day, yet I stood ignorant at the first signs of the upcoming downpour.

I remember we stopped talking as much first, our group chat becoming dry, barren, no longer as fun, and the topics we spanned and laughed at dried to a crisp until all that was left was the silence, greeted by the absence of joy that once fueled our midnight conversations. The school hallways and our schedules became oil and water towards our friendship, and I, stuck within the rigorous classes of our high school, while all three of you chose the easier path. In a way, I was alone. I would try to catch your eyes in the hallway, glance and keep up to date so the next time we could hang out, it would be like I missed nothing.

But the glances were never returned. And you guys were always busy.

So I was left with me, myself and time — reflecting about who we used to be, who we were and more importantly, what I wanted us to become. I couldn't shake off the sight of the storm, the big dark clouds rolling in over the hills of what was once our paradise, and I hoped and prayed it would pass. But when the first drops fell upon my fingertips, I knew all the joy and memories we had made together were falling just as quickly and smooth as the rain falling around us.

Memories flooded in on the last weeks of me holding on: the sound of our laughter, all of our inside jokes, the trips we took together, our go-to meet up points, our planned rooming for "our penthouse in the heart of New York," our plans for college together, our encouragement, our happiness and simply our group. Together.

At this point, the depression that I had tried to hide hit me hard. Something that grew from the sight of the thunder clouds festered within me, fed by our detachment. You began to hang out without me, find new friends, see new people, make new inside jokes and find another happiness. I'd try to revive our dying group chat, sharing accomplishments that I was proud of, seeking a response — a sign to say that we were okay.

"Guys I made it on the homecoming ballot!"

"Why would anyone vote for you?"

"Gross."

The crack became a shatter.

The paradise we lived in for five years was finally destroyed. The lightning had struck every palace we had built, and the rain had flooded the streets that connected us. We, or I, finally became alone. The hope within me died when someone else told me of your plans to "drop me" from the group, away from you guys, away from what we had. Someone else. Our group became the trio once again, and I was placed back into my old life, ungracefully, filled with homework, old people, old faces and repeated adventures. And though my life was hell the weeks before I finally said goodbye to your abuse, I want to say thank you.

Thank you for allowing me to experience the feeling of finding a best friend (three!) and loving all of you equally.

Thank you for allowing me to follow you guys on your adventures, through thick or thin, from running through hotel lobbies to making teachers mad from our laughter; I knew at least I'd have you guys.

Thank you for being there for me at my lowest, when I didn't even love myself, to carry me when I needed it the most.

Thank you for trying to fit me into your trio and it working for a time, until we reached this mountain that I couldn't climb. I don't blame you guys for having to leave me behind.

But mostly, thank you for being you for the time that I knew you guys, bringing me up and allowing me to become who I am now — more confident than I was when we first met, stronger and more resilient to hate and proud of who I am no matter what anyone thinks or say. Thank you for being my best friends for the five years we had. I truly love you all no matter where we all end up in the future.

I really hope your penthouse is exactly what we had pictured.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash / Priscilla Du Preez

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Being A Model Doesn't Make You Less Self Conscious When It Comes To Relationships

Size 0 or size 10, we all have our insecurities.

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Frankly, women have it rough, and that is putting it mildly. Both men and women continuously scrutinize our bodies. We are either seen as too thin or too curvy. Is there any in between or perfect weight? Can your skin ever be flawless, and can you ever be the ideal girl? Before critics role in saying I am focusing on external features versus internal matters, let me explain. It is perfectly normal to be both confident and self-conscious.

There are some days where I feel on top of the world, ready to face whatever challenge life throws at me. And then there are days where all I want to do is hide under my covers. If you follow my articles, then you may know I am a signed model which might make this next statement sound ridiculous. However, here it goes. Regardless of someone's size or weight, we all have insecurities.

My self-doubt might be different than the girl sitting next to me, but that doesn't make them any less real or valid. I often find myself haunted by my past, the girl I was before modeling and college. Instead of viewing myself as the hard working woman I am today, someone who is a signed model and activist for those with learning disabilities, I think of myself as the young, awkward, and timid girl I was beforehand. The girl with a speech impediment, the girl with braces, the girl who was bullied continuously throughout middle school.

People might say that your past doesn't define you. Although they would be correct, these individuals are wrong to say your past has no bearing on the person you are today. I have grown from the girl I used to be, using my personal history to influence my future. Past relationships help shape the way you view a new partner or influences the way you approach someone. I mean, let's be serious, if Ariana Grande's song "Thank U, Next" taught us anything, it is that our past does affect our view on life and love and we can learn from it.

Whether we are considering past relationships and how we grew from them or our personal past, we have to admit that our insecurities stem from our own history. Although other people see the woman I am today, I still see that quiet and meek child, even though I have grown out of that stage. My past still plays a role in my life every day.

I am terrified when it comes to relationships. When I see a cute guy, my immediate thought is "I don't have a chance; I am the girl who had a speech impediment." Despite people telling you otherwise, I understand the struggle and challenge to admit to yourself you deserve the sun and the moon.

We can learn from the past. It can be past relationships which taught you what you want and deserve, or it can be your past self. Just remember- do not to let your past define your future.

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