Losing a best friend

There will come a time in your life where you'll need to encounter your most brutal breakup yet. It will be something you never could have pictured happening in a million lifetimes.

This breakup isn't going to be with the boy who took you to Chipotle on Friday nights. It's not going to be with your prom date, your first love—it won't even be with the person you saw yourself marrying one day.

No, this one is different. Because this breakup, the one that trumps all the others by miles and miles, is when you break up with your best friend. This is the best friend that you spent nights making dumb music videos with and had four sleepovers in a row with that one Christmas break. This is the girl with a bright smile and a summertime-tan on the screensaver of your laptop, the one hanging up in half the pictures in your dorm room. This is the girl whose family vacations you went on, whose siblings and parents you love like your own.

It's going to hurt like hell.

This girl knows everything about you, and she's seen you fail miserably: through every uneven haircut, every dumb choice, every stupid boy who left your Snapchats on open, and every other little problem the two of you vented about.

She was there in your childhood room, curling your hair before your very first high school dance. When you were fourteen, she watched you have your first kiss on a park bench while hiding behind the slide. Your parents scolded both of you when you stole Mike's Hards from their cooler. She was on spring break with you when you used baby oil instead of tanning lotion, and helped you put aloe on when you couldn't move your arms. You worked together in the summer and irritated everyone so much that your bosses made a point not to schedule both of you at the same time. You went to the library together and turned in your college applications at the same time.

This girl has also watched you grow immensely: through every good grade, every new journey, and every happy summer day.

If your friendship was anything like the one I had, you probably did everything together. We used to look at each other and immediately burst out laughing because we were thinking the exact same thing. There were moments when it almost felt telepathic. We saw our favorite artists in concert together, we went on crazy adventures and almost died on multiple occasions, and we fell asleep watching our favorite movies on the couch together.

At the time, it's almost like the thought itself is out of the question. Because for a blissful moment, you never can fathom a day when the two of you grow apart. We planned to be the maid of honor at each other's weddings. We planned to travel together once we finally had the money. We planned to force our children to either date or be best friends when we became parents.

You learn with time how complicated these things are because best friends can break up for a multitude of reasons. Maybe it happens suddenly, and trust can never be repaired. Maybe you drift apart over time and slowly grow to have nothing in common anymore. Maybe it's a new job, a new boyfriend, another close friend that enters the picture. Each case is different, and none end up being more bearable or less hurtful than the other. It all hurts the same.

Here's the thing. As much as this realization will pain you, as much it will make you want to rip your hair out or bite your nails or completely break down to start all over again, there is something to be gained at the end of all this. The truth is, those we hold close to us never truly leave our lives.

There's an ancient Eastern Asian belief that those who have impacted our lives are connected to us through an invisible, red, string. They call it the string of fate.

Throughout your lifetime, you'll create an intricate web of these strings. And though you and the others entangled in your web are bound to evolve in unpredictable ways, the strings you share with others can never be broken. Life gets yucky sometimes. The strength of our strings are tested: they waver, they tangle, they stretch out. But they can never truly break. The most meaningful ones will always be there for you, to smile and look back on with happiness.

Some of the relationships we think will last forever are truly only reserved for a few years of our lives because our characters are constantly shifting. I believe these people are given to us as a blessing to help us develop into the people we need to eventually become.

Growth is not possible without outgrowth.

Meaning we outgrow objects, places, and (unfortunately) people over time. So, at the end of the day, when a relationship or a friendship has been broken past repair, there is something we need to keep in mind. That is, when we begin to outgrow relationships that no longer suit us, we must gracefully accept this as a sign of personal growth and keep moving forward.

So, to my ex-best friend, thank you for helping me become the young lady I am today. You taught me so much that I will never be able to unlearn. Your influence on the most formative years of my life is unshakeable and will remain to be. It's unfortunate that things unfolded the way they did, but you will always be a part of me and one of the most important people I've encountered in my lifetime. I will always be here for you, silently cheering you on from the sidelines.

I hope the best for you. I hope you get to travel to all the places we wanted to. I hope you learn to better love yourself, and others. I hope you find someone that treats you right. I hope you find happiness and peace in your surroundings. I hope you get the job of your dreams one day and have a beautiful family.

Know that in hindsight, I wouldn't change a thing.

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