Everyone has friends. They may exist in real life, through social media or blogging sites, video games, or even fictional characters in a book, but they are always there. These people are there for you at many stages in your life and if you’re lucky enough, they stay forever. However, there are friends–or so you thought–who are only there for a season. These people enter in your life unexpectedly, by coincidence, through other friends, or just because you liked *insert something you noticed about them*. Again, sometime they stay but, at least in my experience, they leave. And when they leave, it fucking suuuucccks. This brings me to something I have gone through for what seems like most of my life, both in my hometown and where I live now.
I grew up in a small town in Alabama. I moved there when I was 2-years-old and moved away when I was 16. This kind of town is a place where everybody knows everybody…and their business. It’s a town consisting of families that have been there since the town was started, people who marry their high school sweethearts, and people who don’t take kindly to different ideas–religion included. If you’ve followed me enough to get any idea of who I am, then you will understand that I stuck out like not a sore thumb but rather an infected, puss-dripping, wound.
There isn’t really a chance for much diversity in the public school system either. There’s one elementary school, middle school, and high school, and you go to school with these people for all of those years and some well into the university that’s in my town as well. The mascot for your school never changes either. It remains the same through all of your schooling, except when you attend the university, the school colors change from orange and blue to crimson (red?? I honestly don’t know but it’s in that spectrum) and black.
I honestly don’t remember ever making friends with the crowd I was socially classified into. They were just there. We added few and lost none. We were the too smart to be allowed kids, the weirdos, the theatre freaks, the ones who were bullied by the popular kids for fun. Looking back, I realize that even though they were my peers and we all took the same classes and were in the same school clubs, I was never really included in things outside of the academic world. I was, at most, an afterthought. Yes, occasionally I was invited to get togethers and slumber parties, but for the most part, I was basically a guest in my own crowd. Even when I moved away, my so-called friends were more upset that my mother, their teacher, was leaving than me. They all began to act cold towards me when they found out I was leaving that summer and began to stop talking to me weeks before the school year ended (I understand that sounds whiny but for someone who spent a lot of time alone, despite having friends, it was hurtful). They had started the Realm of Lost Friends.
This happened again when I moved to the city I live in now. I was 16-years-old now, a junior in high school, and at a brand new high school that had more students in my junior class than my old high school had in total from 9th-12th grade. I was very nervous but I thought for sure that someone would want to talk to me, seeing as how I was the new kid. That was not the case at all. I did eventually make friends during my 4th class of the day: Drama. The downside of this was that they were all seniors. I did meet my best friend, but she was going to leave me too–more on that later. I ended up dating a boy a grade below me, my self-esteem dropped to a dismal low, and he (and myself included) convinced me that there was no point in breaking up with him because nobody would be my friend anyway. Needless to say, my last two years of high school were not the “best years of my life”.
Fast forward a little while later, I have dumped the asshole from high school and started college. My best friend from high school and I have reconnected and thicker than thieves. There are TOO many memories to include, but a good 65-75% of them were amazing. Cut to the last few years of our friendship and suddenly more and more things are suddenly my fault, she’s drinking WAY more than usual, getting mad at me for not asking her permission to date a boy she actually talked shit about years before when they were “dating”, and a fuck load of other stupid things. All while this happening, yes, she and I were both doing fucked up things–to other people and ourselves–but we were in our early 20s. EVERYONE does stupid, hurtful shit when they’re in their early 20s. I finally couldn’t take it anymore and just walked away one day: from her and the entire crowd I had now joined. When I saw her last, she looked and smelled like the gutter, was rude and refused to hear what I had to say, preferring to tell me that I am a bad person who was not to be trusted. Mind you, when she said this, it had been 2 years since I had seen her and I was on my way to fixing my bipolar disorder. She still refused to hear anything I had to say; that I realized that the past was kind of bad, but she wasn’t exactly a saint either, and that I was taking steps to better myself. So, there she went into the Realm.
I just recently–before Christmas, if you need a better timeline–had yet another friend breakup. My two best friends, who were bridesmaids at my wedding, decided it was time to tell me that, again, I am a bad person, I don’t deserve happiness, that I’m selfish, etc. I will spare all the details with that situation because it is just so much bullshit that I can’t even begin to get into it. These “friends” however do not even earn place in the Realm. In fact, these people earned themselves a one-way ticket to GO FUCK YOURSELF.
What matters though is that I now have actual friends, whose main objective isn’t to be drunk all the time and who actually want to do things together. They also are all married couples, which makes it easier on James and I, because they all understand that we have to work and shit and cannot go to the bar every day—even though we may want to!! These friends, I am hoping, will be the ones who stick around.