A letter to my childhood best friend

“In your entire life, you can probably count your true friends on one hand.” ― Sarah Ockler, 

I looked at my dad and ask him how can this be true? I had a group of friends and who all seemed so amazing. But, when things got tough the truth was revealed. He was right, and I was so confused.

No matter how many times my dad reminded me not to wear my heart on my sleeve I never could hide that part of me. I couldn’t be untrue to myself and put on a facade. To me, friend, isn’t just another word. The word friend has meaning to me, because once you call me your friend I put my whole heart into the friendship. Instead of protecting my heart, I would expose it to anyone that called me a friend. But in return, I got hurt, used, and abused. So this post is going out to those who I held dear to my heart, and called friend or best friend.

Getting off the bus and walking home, I turned around to say hi to the girl walking behind me. We took the bus everyday together, and got off at the same spot, so why not just say hi? I had noticed this girl before, she had a lot of people picking on her and being mean to her. I didn’t know why, but all I knew is that I felt a tug in my heart to say hi.

We were total opposites, I listened to rock and metal, while she listened to hip hop and rap. She was comfortable showing her body, while I covered myself from wrist too ankles. She was extremely girl and dressed in stuff with care bears on it, and I dressed in all black. She was happy, outgoing, preppy, and I was shy and sad. Despite our differences, we quickly became friends, and almost did everything together.

Everyday early in the morning we would get up extremely early just to go to 711 and get our daily special. Hot Cheetos, french vanilla coffee mixed with hot chocolate, and a slurpy mixed with almost every flavor. Everyday we would sit on the playground at the park a cross the street from our middle school and just talk about life. I’m guessing being in seventh grade, our conversation was mostly about boys. Everyday we would meet in the morning before school and at the bus stop right after school. Sometimes we walked, while other times we would take the bus. Soon we were always together and had all these inside jokes, like on the radio, thump, and pudding for some odd reason. Eventually, we knew everything about each other.

When I got my period, she was the first friend who knew. When she got hit and was drowning in tears I was the first to know and be there. When people at school would start fights with her because she was the type of girl every guy wanted, but every girl hated I was there to be overprotective. When a guy or someone hurt her, I would go tell them off and threaten them when she wasn’t around. I saw her as a younger sister I had to protect from the world, so she would never experience how harsh the world could really be, which I already knew and experienced.

Soon, I trusted her enough to tell her the thirteen years of secrets I held inside. I told her everything from me cutting, being sexually abuse, and all the neglect and abused I experienced growing up at my moms. These secrets I held inside I never told a soul until her. When I couldn’t express what I was feeling in words, I would let her read my diary.

I was sharing all my broken pieces with her that I hid inside, and when I felt worthless, well she reminded me that I wasn’t. When a friend wronged me, I watched her from a distance go yell at that friend with her long hair flying every where. Our friendship meant a lot to me because not only did I tell her everything about me, she taught me to stick up for myself instead of letting everyone walk all over me. However, I never thought she would be the friend to betray me. I knew she wasn’t the nicest person, but I understood how much bullying she went through and used it to justify her actions.

I remember I told her about this guy I liked in 8th grade and he started to like her. I was of course hurt, and expressed my pain through the razor. blade I remember telling them, and while I was in the bathroom cleaning up the cut (which they told me to do) they were making out right in front of the window. She told me and of course it became a he said she said situation, but the fact was the girl I called best friend went behind my back to kiss the guy I liked. At this point, I kind of started shutting down and became a little distant. But I still thought of her as my best friend, and my little sister. I shared everything, and couldn’t just throw a friendship away over a guy. (even though, that happened later)

I tried to keep a close friendship with her once we both entered high school, but a lot had changed in a year, we changed. She started to hangout with girls who had a similar personality as her. Outgoing, fun, and just carefree, while my depression intensified. I was getting out of a toxic relationship with a guy who sexually abused me and mentally destroyed me. He was manipulative and abusive, and when I opened up to her about the stuff he put me through. She just responded well he did that to you, but never did anything wrong to me. So I’m going to stay his friend. It broke me because my best friend chose a relationship with my abuser over someone who has been there for her, since I met her.

I think that was the biggest turning point in our friendship. I lost myself even more after that. I couldn’t escape the pain I was feeling or the person who caused it, because all my friends stayed close to him. Every day, I would see him I was traumatized all over again and experiencing the abuse all over again. My friends were suppose to be my safe space, but that was destroyed. He never had any intention of being their friends, all he wanted was an easy hookup, and he told me that. I can’t say he ruined our friendship, because he just exposed the truth about “my friends”. The group we hung out with, never checked on me after that. I don’t know if she told them, but in my mind I wouldn’t be surprised if the story was twisted. I knew all her friends personal business, so looking back at it I’m sure they new mine. Well, her version of my truth.

I tried to tell her how much it impacted me that she was friends with my abuser. She knew how severe my depression was and how much I was cutting at that point. To be honest, they both knew, but neither of them cared. I was cutting 13 to 23 times in one setting, and when I told her she just said I was too much drama to deal with. I had cuts all up and down my arm, but no one seem to care or understand the severity of the situation.

She only came to me after that when she got tired of her other friends, and needed to talk shit or vent. I don’t know why I kept ignoring the red flags, maybe it was because I felt she was my first real friend, and the first person I opened up too. But I just kept letting her walk all over me.

Eventually, I got so bad that I was sent away to a treatment facility. None of my friends reached out while I was there. I felt so little in those moments, knowing no one seemed to care what had happened to me. When I got out, my ex told me all the shit she was talking about me. Go figure, my abuser told me the truth. Apparently when I was gone, she was saying I was crazy, annoying and had a lesbian crush on her.

I wanted to stop being her friend so much, but I promised that I wouldn’t leave. I try to keep my promises no matter what, so by walking out I would have made myself look like a liar. I was use to her screaming at me in front of her friends and embarrassing me. I just sat there and took it. I kept quiet and never said anything bad about her. My friends would get mad at me for allowing her to treat me so badly. A good majority of the people I spoke to didn’t like her and questioned why I wouldn’t break my promise. I patiently waited for her to say she didn’t want to be friends with me anymore.

I remember the conversation as if it was yesterday, even though it was probably nine years ago. I just said, finally took you long enough, I haven’t wanted to be your friend for awhile. Never did I tell her how much of a bad friend she really was to me. I knew she wouldn’t care because she only cared about herself at that point. She didn’t care about our friendship and she made that clear. It hurt, but what hurt more was believing that I deserved to be treated so poorly. But, I thought obviously I deserve this. Now, I see clearly, but I will go into that after I finish my story.

Years later I approached her and said hi, and we spoke like nothing ever happened. Again, we became close and best friends. She actually stopped being friends with my ex and apologized for not being there for me. She explained she didn’t know how to deal with my depression, so she just pushed me away. I could tell that she grew up and really matured over the years. I saw the change for awhile, but like a guy who constantly cheats they always betray you again. I enjoyed her company and we hung out almost everyday, going to the gym, hiking, and staying the night over at each others houses. She took me out for my birthday, drove me to Santa Barbara when I missed my bus for work. We both were going through a heart break and trying to build each other up again, while encourage each other to leave our guy.

Like turning a switch off, she became calloused and cold. She was talking to this toxic guy, and while we were in the club he picked her up carrying her outside forcing her to talk to him. He later took off with her keys, phone, and wallet refusing to give them back until she talked to him. We had to call the police and leave him there. Arriving back to my house, she was a hysterical mess. I had to put her in pajamas while comforting her. When she calmed down, she asked me to go pick up the guy she just spent an hour crying over (who was 40 minutes away). Despite my better judgement, I drove her to go pick him up. We get back to my house and they automatically started fighting because he wanted her to sleep on the couch, but she didn’t want to. For hours, I tried to mediate the situation and help them better communicate so they were no longer arguing. Their situation escalated, and they just couldn’t and wouldn’t see eye to eye. Finally, I had to kick him out of my apartment, because It was six in the morning and I just couldn’t deal with the drama anymore. I had enough of the arguing, shouting, and crying. The next day she proceeded to tell me how annoying I was but once again I just brushed it off like any normal friend would do.

A couple weeks later, I went to Vegas with her, and she made it clear the whole trip that she didn’t want me there. Left me alone and lost in club by myself, while I was drunk. Actually, to be more accurate she threatened to leave me at the club, knowing I didn’t know the address to the hotel and my phone was about to die. I was pissed, but just wanted to sleep. However, she locked me out of the bedroom and I had no where to sleep. I decided to leave and was walking down the street at 2am in Vegas. I was crying, and almost every two seconds a car would pull over and ask me if I wanted a ride. A car started following me, and I hid in a 24 hour clinic. The receptionists told me I could only stay for 30 minutes, but I think they changed their mind when they saw how upset I was and allowed me to stay there till 6am. Of course when I went back there was no apology, and I had to once again brush off the lousy treatment. If that wasn’t the topping on the cake, this is after I took care of her the first night in Vegas were she got sloppy drunk and was crying in the bath tub wanting to go home. This actually happened consistently when we became friends again. She would drink, and I would get her home safely and take care of her, except one day she told our friends she didn’t want me there and to have me leave.

She became very verbally abusive in our friendship. I was sitting on her couch watching law and order, she looks over and says “ugh, you are so annoying”.

“I’m literally not even talking. I’m watching t.v”.

“Ya, but everything about you is annoying, just your being and existence is annoying.”

“okay, Lucy” ignoring her.

Finally, I moved away to go to school. Where she ghosted me for months, even though I was just trying to ask her if my books were delivered to her house. Just another one of her moods, I had to deal with. I was use to her moodiness by now, so most of the time I just ignored it and still came down to visit her. Until, she left me to sleep in my car. I was suppose to go out with her that night and stay at her house, since I lived four hours away. Well, when I told her I wasn’t feeling like going out, she told me to not come and to drive home.

I always ignored all her behavior, and never really stood up for myself. Finally, she decided to ghost me again and I called her out on it. Asking her why have you always been such a lousy friend, when I have ever only been a good friend to you. Well her response was to block me. This really opened up my eyes and showed me who she really was. I finally realized that I wasn’t the problem and I don’t need to keep someone toxic like that in my life. Even if I have been friends with her for over 15 years. The years and the history no longer mattered because she wasn’t a good friend to me and I finally saw that. It’s not okay to treat people like that, especially when you express that you genuinely care for people and want to make a difference in their lives. If you can’t be decent to people, how are you ever going to make a difference in someones life?

Looking back now I finally understand the quote my dad once told me. Growing up I thought I had this amazing group of friends. But, over time I slowly noticed who was a true friend. The people I thought that would be there for me at my lowest, weren’t. The friends I thought would stand by my side to encourage me, didn’t. The friends I expected to include me, left me out. The friends I thought would never leave me, left. The friends I expected to make me feel special on my birthday, forgot. And the friends I thought would forgive, held grudges.

I think growing up I put so much of my heart into my friendships. I was so invested that each time a friend would hurt me, I felt a piece of me being chipped away. I became exhausted by constantly being let down, that I lost the passion to be a true friend. I couldn’t give anymore because I had already given everything I had inside of me, that there was nothing left to give. I was an empty vessel filled with despair and hurt and that takes time to rebuild.

But….

I’ve learned over time, everyones definition of a true friend is different. What i consider a true friend, may be different to what my friend considers a true friend. But to me, a friend is someone who will be there to support, encourage, and love you during your lowest times. A friend takes the time to understand and doesn’t make you feel judged but accepted. A friend should never make you feel insignificant or invisible. You shouldn’t have to question their motives or where their loyalty lies. I shouldn’t have to question what they are saying behind my back and when I’m not around. A real friend doesn’t just hangout with you when they are bored and as soon as they find someone else they leave. In many of my friendships I felt like the time waster, meaning I felt like I was there just to pass by the time, until someone else came along.

But most importantly, a true friend puts in the work to keep the friendship alive. I’ve had many one sided relationships where “my friend” never took the time to invest in me. A friendship isn’t a one sided a relationship. It takes two people to invest, forgive, and walk in love/understanding to keep a friendship alive.

So, i can’t say I’ve had many true friends, but I can say during different seasons of my life, I had that friend to get me through.

“In your entire life, you can probably count your true friends on one hand. Maybe even on one finger. Those are the friends you need to cherish, and I wouldn’t trade one of them for a hundred of the other kind. I’d rather be completely alone than with a bunch of people who aren’t real. People who are just passing time.”  Sarah Ockler

13 thoughts on “A letter to my childhood best friend

  1. I’ve recently had to cut out toxic friendships. It’s amazing even as adults we keep learning the lesson about true friendships over and over again.

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  2. I am the same as you – I wear my heart on my sleeve all too often! It stinks getting hurt, but I’d rather be the person hurt than the person hurting someone else! ❤

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  3. Wow, what a moving story! I am sorry that you had to go through all that. You’re abused at an early age which made you vulnerable, and people take that advantage over you.

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  4. I am so sorry you have gone through all of this. I think of a quote I knew in business “sometimes the best business you do, is the business you don’t do” and I think this holds true with friendships “Sometimes the best friend you can be is to yourself, by leaving a toxic friendship” It’s a two way street and being left in Vegas on your own is not ok…

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  5. I had to cut some toxic relationships out of my life, from friends to family (especially ones from childhood). I just think people change over time and sometimes we aren’t the same.

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  6. I have found this to be very true, sometimes it seems like you might have a lot of “friends” especially during the school year but most of them aren’t actually “Friends” in the way we think of them as. True friends stick with you and grow with you, I am very blessed to have a best friend who is like a sister that I’ve known since the second grade! It was a bummer to get rid of some of the people I used to call friends but a lot of them were just toxic and not good people to be around for various reasons.

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  7. Thanks for sharing this. Toxic friendships are the worst. I’ve had a few but not to that extent. Lately i’ve been introduced to some beautiful friendships that I didn’t know were possible. Very few people are brave enough to be as vivid as you have been. You have the utmost respect from me.

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