I'm sorry. I tried to keep you, I really did, but it's not an effort I have the energy to sustain in the coming year. You took a lot out of me, all of you, and I never got any of it back. So here's a few words to close out the relationships; toxic, unwise, and unhealthy, that I'm choosing to leave in 2016.
To my ex-best-friend,
I've never clicked with someone so fast. When we met, I remember thinking, "Wow, I really like this girl. She gets it." Fast-forward past many lunchtime conversations, dinners at our favorite restaurants, too many movie dates to count, and more drunken nights at our favorite bar than there ever should have been; I'm genuinely sorry our friendship ended. I'm sorry that we had different expectations and interpretations of our friendship. I do still love and miss you, but we became a source of tension, frustration, and toxicity for one another. I mean it when I say there is no animosity on my end, and I'm sorry that there is on yours. I wish you (and your family and friends) the best this year. This year I hope you let go of the things that hurt you: relationships that didn't pan out, the job you can't stand, and the friends that have hurt you (myself included), and I hope you find something that fills those voids and makes you happy. Thank you for teaching me that very same thing; a lesson I couldn't have learned without experiencing you.
To my ex-always-something,
Well, this is it. You were the last kiss of 2016, and I'm okay with that. In a way that's strangely beautiful, because I'm leaving the person you used to be there as well. I know who you are now, and while I don't love that man, I realize now the version I knew is gone. I believe deep down you felt those things you said you did, even if they’re buried under layers of dulled senses. I think you feel you don't deserve them, and while I disagree, I can't give you value you don't think you have. I'll always have feelings for the guy I fell for, and it's okay that you're not him anymore. Maybe someday someone will inspire you to be better. I'm sorry it couldn't be me. When you need me, I'll be here, but I don't anticipate that anymore. I think you've made it clear you won't lean on the people who say they care. You won't lean on me. I hope you find something to live for this year, even if it's just yourself. I know I will.
To my ex- sister and fake nephew,
I know we've come to the inevitable conclusion that our bond cannot be repaired, and that your trust cannot be re-earned, and that's on me. I'll be forever sorry for that. I miss both of you, but I realize your lives are no longer part of my own, and I'm going to move on from that. This was the first year I missed wishing you a happy birthday, and it'll be the first year I don't get to celebrate my nephew's. We weren't really sisters, and it's been a long time since we were close enough to call each other best friends, but I think I took for granted that you were a friend I knew I'd always have. We both failed each other, and we both didn't communicate our needs in time to prevent that from happening. I know he won't remember me, and you'll probably never tell him about me, but I still wish him the best life. I still will love you two and wish you all the happiness in the world this year and every year after that. I hope it's everything you've ever wanted it to be. Good luck, baby girl.
To (most of) my high school friends,
Don't get me wrong, I'm not necessarily leaving you in 2016 to the point that I'll never see you again. I love spending time with you at our annual holiday get-togethers. I just don't love the version of myself I become when I'm with you. It's hard not to regress, when we're all together, into a person I'm not proud of. I left her behind a long time ago. I'm better than her now, and spending time with you all puts me back in the weak mindset of an 18 year old girl who cared too much about others and too little of herself. So while there are few of you who are good for me, and who I will still spend time with regularly in the next year, I'm leaving the rest of you behind. I hope this year inspires you to grow, to change, and that when we come back together we've all matured into people we are proud of.
To the man I will always love,
This is a goodbye I don't want to write. I don't want to say goodbye to someone I still want in my life. As I rang in the New Year with all of my closest friends, I couldn't help sneaking away and making time to write you another letter. I know I wrote you several already (An Open Letter To My Second Love), one I'm sure you never read, and many you'll never read, so this'll be short. I just want to say that every time I see your face pop up on my timeline, I'm smiling. It figures, the first thing I'd think about after my goodbye with my ex-always-something, is how much I wish I could have crawled into your arms. How much I wish you'd been in bed beside me that night. How much I wished you were there with my friends as we counted down to 2017. I'm so unsure about everything, so unsure of myself, my career, and my life. But you, you I'm sure about. Always have been. I miss you a lot, but you know that. And even if that's not the case for you, I'm not ashamed to say it. I'm shameless now. That being said, I will be leaving the idea of a future with you in 2016, for now. If it’s meant to be it’ll find its way, and I need to trust that, because this year I have to focus on me.
To 2016 me,
It's cliché, I know. "New year, new me" is eye roll inducing, but that's not what I mean. Last year I grew into myself a bit: focused more intently on my career, tried to give a relationship a shot (and even though I realized he wasn't right for me, I'm proud of myself for letting him in farther than any guy in a long time), took a semester break and then began graduate school in a field I hope I can make a difference in, started to write again about things that matter to me; learned a lesson in living with friend(s), a couple, and losing people I genuinely cared about, and above all I stayed true to making myself happier (even when my actions appeared selfish to others). While I am still me, I'm not where I need to be yet. I’m shedding another layer this year, getting closer to who I’m meant to be.
Thank you all for teaching me such valuable lessons: about relationships, friendships, my personal values, and myself. 2017 is going to be better, because I’m going to make it better. I hope it is for all of you as well.