I Was The “Toxic” Best Friend

I Was The “Toxic” Best Friend

To the best friend I took for granted.
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I recently wrote To the Bestfriend I Decided I Couldn’t Be Friends With Anymore. While I stand by everything I said in that article, I realized that I needed to check myself a little bit because I, once was the toxic friend. I was once guilty of all of those things that lead me to ending my friendship.

I need to hold myself accountable, and so should you.

The fact of that matter is, most of us will experience toxic relationships at some point. Most of us will, although many won't admit it, be a toxic friend to another. We will all make mistakes. Friendships are hard and we learn as we go.

In my case, I was the toxic friend first. I recognized how damaging my friendship was with the person I walked away from because I was that friend to someone else a few years prior.

Dear old friend,

I’m sorry I took you for granted.

I don’t even remember how we became best friends, to be honest. I think it probably started with basketball in elementary school. All I know is, most of my memories from fifth grade to junior year involve you.

Your childhood home was, and is still, one of my favorite places. It was perfect to me with the hammock and the big picture windows looking out into the woods filled with white birch trees. We spent so many days outside with your dog and your sisters. Or inside during the winter months, drinking hot cocoa and watching movies. Your big, beautiful family became my second family. They included me in every special occasion and even brought me to church every Sunday.

I am moved to tears thinking about everything you, they, did for me over the years. I have so many fond memories of that time in my life, and I owe a big part of that to you.

Thank you for loving me when I still hadn’t learned to love myself. Adolescence was a hard time for me. I know I was not an easy person to be friends with. My negative body image, anxiety and depression were a constant issue. I let them hold me back, but you were always there reminding me that they shouldn’t. I wasn’t grateful for that then. Instead, I focused on how beautiful you were and how ugly I felt. You were the prettiest girl in the world to me. You still are. You were tall, thin and athletic. Academics seemed to come easily for you. So did boys.

To say I was jealous would be an understatement. I let my jealousy overcome our friendship, and I am sorry.

When you succeeded — whether it be athletically, academically or socially — I was bitter. Instead of being happy for you and supporting you, I would feel sorry for myself. When you were hurting, I would “one-up” you. I was self-centered and the only pain I saw was my own. I made it about me when it wasn’t, and I’m sorry.

When I got my first “real” boyfriend, I pushed you aside and became super flakey. You recognized immediately that this relationship was not a good idea. You told me you were concerned he was going to be a bad influence. You reminded me of all of the months he played games with me, all of the times he ignored me, all of the times he said bad things about me. Despite all of that, you still gave me rides to his house before I got my license. You saw that I was happy and you did you your best to keep it that way. I didn’t care. I was livid that you weren’t excited about this relationship and for that, I tried to punish you by shutting you out.

You were right, by the way. About all of it. I am sorry that I didn’t listen, but I am more sorry that I chose a boy over our friendship.

I was a toxic friend and you should have walked away from me, but you didn’t.

Our friendship faded. I bailed on you enough that you stopped trying to hang out with me. If we saw each other, we would talk and make empty plans. After graduation, we messaged on Facebook every now and then. You never truly gave up on me, although you really should have. You stuck by me through the worst and now, 5 years later, I am grateful.

We aren’t “best friends” anymore, but I know that if I needed you now, you would be there. Guess what? I would be there too. I recognize now how great of a friend you were. I learned from my mistakes and I learned from you.

Thank you for being a part of all of my favorite childhood memories.Thank you for showing me what loyalty and acceptance is.Thank you for teaching me how to be a good friend. Most of all, thank you for showing me I was wrong.

Love,

The Best Friend that took you for granted

PS: Listening to T-Swift just isn't the same without you.

Cover Image Credit: Alexandra Collier

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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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Forget The Beach, Do These Things Instead

These 25 thing won't break your bank this summer.

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When you think of summertime you think of the beach. Going to the beach usually involves a lot of driving and necessary spending. These 25 activities are perfect for summer and will not break your bank.

1. Take A Walk.

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As simple as it sounds, take a walk. Walk around your town or neighborhood; you'll be amazed at all of the little things you normally miss whenever you're driving by.

2. Have A Picnic.

Nothing says summer like a picnic. It can be at your local park or even in your backyard; just don't forget the watermelon!

3. Roast s'mores!

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Everyone loves a good s'more, and the nostalgic smell of the campfire.

4. Make your own ice cream.

Ice cream is the perfect sweet treat to cool down on the hot summer day, but it can also break your budget. Homemade ice cream is fun, delicious, and will not hurt your wallet.

Here is a sweet recipe!

5. Blow bubbles.

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I mean come on, who doesn't love blowing bubbles.

6. Watch the clouds

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Whenever you're having a stressful or sad day grab a blanket and head outside and watch the clouds blow by. Make a game out of how many different shapes you can identify.

7. Pick some berries.

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Find a local strawberry or blueberry field that allows customers to pick their own berries, it is a lot more fun than it sounds trust me.

8. Go to a minor league baseball game.

Hot dogs, ice cream, and fun memories are all to be had at a local baseball game.

9. Go to a parade.

Your town or a neighboring town most likely has a holiday parade on Memorial Day, 4th of July, or labor day. Go to these parades, you'll get to see all of the local youth organizations, support your community, and maybe even get some candy thrown your way.

10. Watch the fireworks.

Really watch the fireworks, don't try to take pictures that will come out blurry. Live in the moment.

11. Watch the sunrise

It may involve an earlier bedtime the night before, but it will be worth it.

12. Watch the sunset.

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13. Make a slip & slide

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Tarp+water+soap=endless fun

14. Paint with bubbles.

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This takes blowing bubbles to a whole new level. Add your favorite colors of food coloring to your bubbles grab a piece of paper and blow onto the paper; you'll come away with a masterpiece.

15. Make a bird feeder.

Give back to mother nature by building a bird feeder.

16. Catch lightning bugs.

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AND THEN LET THEM GO!

17. Build a fort.

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Let's be real, everybody loves a good fort.

18. Tye-Dye something.

Shirt, socks, blankets, it doesn't matter what it is as long as you have fun.

19. Read.

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Go to a local bookstore, run your fingers along the spines of all the books and pick the one that calls to you.

20. Color with chalk.

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Unleash your inner artist on your driveway and/or sidewalk.

21. Pick up litter.

Go outside and help clean mother earth, it will not only benefit you but everybody around you as well.

22. Have an absolutely epic water gun battle.

Swim Pool Boy Water Swimming Summer Water Gun

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Grab your friend, enemy, kid, neighbor, parents, whoever you can find and challenge them to a water gun battle.

23. Go camping.

Get back into nature in your backyard, or at a free campsite.

24. Volunteer.

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Many of us have extra time in the summer so volunteer your time in your community!

(Dog walking at the local animal shelter is always a great choice)

25. Find joy.

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Find what makes you happy, and never stop doing it.

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