to all the friends i’ve loved before…

It was an overwhelmingly sad day a few months ago that when my heart was broken yet again, the feeling was all too familiar. It was an even more gut wrenching moment when it failed to shock me, and just how quickly I turned my mind to getting over it. I remember thinking… this is something I’m used too. I know this feeling and situation well. I know how the coming weeks and months will go. Until something, or someone, else comes along and breaks my heart all over again. All that’s been running through my head these past few months is that this is just another chink in the armour. But how many chinks do I have left before the armour is gone? Leaving me just flesh and bone, exposed to the harsh realities of the world and the people that love to reel you in, rinse you of every bit of love that you have to give and leave you hanging out to dry. How long is it until I’m so broken and hurt, I can’t get back up and fight again? How many more times?

This week, I am besides myself. Very much caught in the between. Between the me that wants to give in; scream, cry, not leave my room for hours at a time, hurt – in one very short word, spiral. And the me that just want’s to move on, build herself up and become stronger than whatever this is now. But it’s not that simple. This is everything I was/am (am always) afraid of. One of the worst things that can happen to me is when I fully and completely open up to someone, let down every wall and reveal my everything to them – tell them my deepest darkest secrets (even if it is drunkenly slurred at 3am in the middle of south london over a cigarette), put my fullest trust in them – and they then decide to rip that apart like the last years of friendship, coffee dates, gin nights, museum trips, buying them groceries when they couldn’t afford their own and everything in between, meant zilch. Don’t get me wrong – I am a self-proclaimed believer in doing whatever you need to do to make yourself happy. Look after yourself first. But when doing that rips other people’s lives apart, undoes the six months of therapy they’ve just done like it was nothing, and leaves them in a place that will unjustifiably make them relentlessly miserable? When you replace someone without a second thought? Is that acceptable?

So here I am yet again; at what feels like the start of being at the lowest of my lows (it’s not – that’s me being dramatic because i know the lowest of low and this is nowhere near). The honest truth is that I think I’ve tried to move on too quickly and I haven’t truly processed any of what actually happened. I’m avoiding it. I’m blocking it out and pretending it didn’t happen. I’m pretending to be living my best life on instagram to show them I’m the stronger person (heck I am living my best life and i’m stronger, but I can also be sad too, right?). But I can feel myself slipping again. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not having epic panic attacks that are making me feel like I’m going to die, and there’s not a constant stream of tears rolling down my cheeks. It’s not that kind of bad. But i can still feel it. I feel the exhaustion. I see the sneaky 3pm naps that are creeping back into my life. I see the lack of energy or motivation I have to do anything right now. Struggling to keep up with friends and family (when one missed facetime call rolls into an entire weeks worth). I’m so tired I could sleep for three weeks straight. I see myself not eating anything hot for weeks and my brain thinking that a tesco meal deal is something of sustenance. But also don’t get me wrong – all of this “exhaustion” isn’t directly associated to the direct situation. It’s a whole life effect. Work is busier than ever. (Working 18 shifts in a month instead of 13 should totally be illegal). Barely having a day off or a moment to myself. A multitude of medical appointments. The constant construction outside my bedroom window at 7am. Getting the COVID booster that’s made the tiredness even worse. There’s logical reasons behind it too.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not the first time I’ve been through something like this. It’s not something I like to admit, but there are plenty of people I have said goodbye to along the way. I’m no longer friends with anyone I went to school with; whilst everyone went to university, I went to work 12-14 hour shifts 6 days a week. My school friends could not get along with the fact that I was 18 and didn’t want to party every weekend, especially when they’d come home for the holidays and I couldn’t just show up for them or would show up and be wrecked after 2 hours. Eventually, we just lost touch and it was all fair game. Everyone moved to different ends of the country, got new friends, discovered new loves. And when they came home from three years at uni, I went in the exact opposite direction. As they unpacked, and moved back into their parents houses for the summer, I did the exact opposite. I’m actually not bitter about any of it – I’m happy for them, and want them to be happy. I’m no longer friends with either one of my best friends from secondary school; another bizarre situation in which one just stopped talking to me out of the blue (we’d been friends for 8 years at that point) with STILL, no explanation. I’ve seen them several times in my hometown since; and they blank me (but also, what would we really have to talk about 10 years down the line?). The other stopped talking to me after we met up on a rare trip back to the coast line I call home, they pushed me into a conversation I wasn’t ready/didn’t want to have and I told them the truth about how it made me feel. I lost a friend after they declared some kind of feelings for me, pulled me in for eight months, and then one day, never talked to me again after saying goodbye to them at the train station. Burned to bright, too fast and instead of bursting into rainbows, we burst into flames.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not, and will never be innocent. I’ve lost friends due to my own undoing. There have been moments in life where my words have been too harsh, my actions too little, I’ve been too selfish and demanding of people. I know that. I live with those losses being my fault everyday. And even to the losses I’ve just described, it’s not completely one sided, and never will be. I take equal blame for it all. But I’m kind of at the end of my tether with it all right now. At this point, it almost feels like a constant domino effect. And I’m pretty sick of it. I’m sick of being hurt. Of being abandoned. Of being heartbroken all over again. Of having yet another person who has become a perfect stranger.

But then again, I don’t know whether it’s just me. Do I expect too much? Are people sick of me because they can’t live up to it, and I just don’t realise it? Do I rely too much on other’s for my own happiness? Am I the one who is responsible for my own heartbreak? The answer is that I just don’t know. How do I even know the answer to that? Is there just something wrong with me?

The only things that I do have to challenge that are the people who are still here.

To L – To the long blonde haired girl I moved into halls with 6 years ago, who is now the short red haired girl who I watched get married a month ago. I love you. We’ve had so many ups and downs. You are the friendship and the person I’ve learnt the most from. You have brought out the best in me. You have held my hand through so much. To use a famous quote – “If I murdered someone, she’s the person I’d call to help me drag the corpse across the living room floor”. We have laughed. We have cried. We’ve crawled into each others beds at 3am just because we missed each other (even if we only lived a floor away in the same house). You’ve pretended to be my girlfriend in the clubs to get the creepy guys away from me (because you’re the only one who really knows). You knew about my sexuality way before I even told you. You held my hand in a hospital bed hours after my attempt. There have been so many good times and bad times for us both. We have fought the most furious of fights. We’ve stormed out on each other. We’ve not messaged for weeks at a time (which has killed me FYI). At times we’ve hated each other. But we have got through it. And now, we are in one of the happiest places we’ve ever been. Coffee shop dates and vegan chocolate cakes are our standard dates. I’m so happy you’ve got your happy ending because I know how tough life has been for you.

To C – The girl who I met waiting for certain curly haired celebrity to come out of a hotel 9 years ago. I love you. You are amazing. You are someone I really look up too. And I love how similar we are. We have all of the same interests and outlooks on life. We haven’t spent more than 4 months apart for the past 9 years (and that’s only because of the panini). We spend every possible weekend off together. We have the same love for the same foods and drink. We’ve spent many a holiday today. We grew from friends that spent shows together to friends that text everyday and go to brunch together and just live our lives as if neither one of us has never been there. We just… are. You are fabulous and I love you so much. We have never argued, and I don’t think we ever will (did I just speak that into existance?). I’m so looking forward to whatever adventures we have in the future – there’s so much planned and I can’t wait to spend it all with you.

To N – To the girl who I showed around on her first day at work 8 years ago. I love you so much. You taught me what it was like to be strong willed and stand up for myself and what I deserve and you still bloody do! Even though I moved away 6 years ago and we don’t see each other at all compared to how often we used to be together (When you work 13 hour shifts together, you either sink or swim together right?), I still love you to the ends of the earth. I’m so proud of you for following your own dreams and knowing exactly what you want from life. I can’t wait to ever get home and see you because of how happy you make me, how much laughter (and gin?) we share. I can’t believe there was ever a time where we used to go out clubbing with each other every weekend, share chicken nuggets in a taxi on the way home and still turn up to work a mere three hours later (if you used to work with us, no we didn’t). From doing some very embarrasing dance moves in a sticky floored club, to now, I will always love you. Even if there is still bits of me that you don’t know about. I’m not ready to share yet, and I’m not too sure how you’ll take it. And it’s heartbreaking thinking that. Because I know you’d be fine with it (maybe?), but I think we’ll have our fights about it. But I also know that there are things that you don’t tell me and over the past 6 years, when I haven’t been there, you have also had some of the worst times of your life. Or at least I have a feeling. But I know that we’ll continue to have fun every time I come back home (or you come to london). We’ll drink, we’ll moan about the latest things in our lives and we’ll always be there for each other, no matter how tough life gets.

To all the friends I’ve loved before, to all the friends who’ve left. If you read this (which I don’t think you will), I wish you well. I wish you every happiness. There is no bad blood between any of us. This is life. It’s a messy world and I believe we end up with people in our lives whom we are meant too. And if we don’t, there must be some kind of logic or reason behind it. I hope you’re happy. I hope you succeed in life. I hope you’re surrounded by people who love you, the way I once did. I hope you have people that stay. You’ve all taught me the biggest lessons. And hey, it’s a big world. We were never all made to get along with each other. And I hope you can forgive me too; for whatever I may have done and said (even if I don’t know or realise it), I’m sorry. I’m sorry that we couldn’t make it work – because at one point, we probably had it really bloody good. Don’t let the end of our friendship haze over those good memories. Because we all have to admit, they were good right? The bad thing was, was that those good times ended. Something so big happened that it wasn’t worth fighting for, for either of us. Whatever happened (or didn’t happen), I hope life gives you the best.

Holly.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: