(Photo Credit: Uploaded by Haiinee)
No, I’m not talking about my husband.
I’m talking about my best friend from high school,
the one I stayed up into the wee hours of the night talking to, across states, while she was in medical school and I was a young college student and mother of two little ones;
the one whose wedding I read at, and whose wedding she was matron of honor at;
the one whose eldest child I filmed being born as I hid behind the curtain by the doorway of her delivery room, and whose second child’s delivery, I had to leave because of an emergency cesarean;
the one with whom I commiserated on my heartbreak over my brother who was drawn to toxic relationships, and a mother who was a broken woman after her favorite child’s death many, many years ago;
the one who commiserated with me on things she went through, and did, that I can never repeat.
It was the kind of friendship that inspired me to always introduce her as, “my best friend from high school.” I always wanted to honor her, our friendship, by this somewhat childish, romanticized way.
It was the kind that had me teach my children that she was their aunt, and that her family was our family.
It was the kind that inspired me to give her the Precious Moments figurine of one girl comforting another as a symbol of our friendship; I had little money back then, and this was expensive to me, and it meant a lot for me to give it to her.
It was the kind that had me dropping everything on my end of the world to be there for her whenever she needed me, even when I had kids and she didn’t, even when I didn’t have any support of family or a mate and she did.
We could not be more different, my once-bestie and I. We both made mistakes in life that the other wouldn’t dream of. We both had skills and strengths that the other hadn’t developed. These differences, we marveled and laughed about often over the years. Yet we always said that inside, we were the same.
But time started ticking our differences more loudly. We always had the thread of our shared adolescence and life trials before, but the thread wore too thin to hold anything together anymore. There is no escaping the curling tendrils of one’s values; like a creeping vine, it eventually takes over the person.
She followed all societal expectations, from mannerisms to presentation, career-choice to family life, dress to social engagements; she sought “perfection,” praise, approval, status quo, and proudly accomplished all these things. I sought authenticity, transparency, simplicity, a less constricted, less socially fabricated lifestyle, and a more intuitive way of thinking, with which her only-science-allowed mindset disagreed. We both grew up and grew firmer in what we stood for, and therefore could no longer occupy the same space in the same way.
It did not happen overnight, the dissolution of our relationship. It was not over one thing, or event, or issue. Our needs and core values were just not the same, and neither of us could bend towards the other to move alongside her anymore. And trust was lost in the process.
I know, a lot of people may say, “Twenty five years! What a waste to throw it all away!” But I don’t see it that way. Like a marriage or job that you’ve given so much of your life to, when you’ve squeezed out your efforts and intentions and yet do not feel true to your best self, walking away is honoring the world through honoring your code.
Yesterday was what it was: beautiful or not beautiful, and it is done.
Today, you still need to be nourished, to feel alive, to spend your time in work and company that is aligned with your values and vision to bring you true peace, joy, and harmony.
I still love her very much, and if she called me and needed me for anything, I would be there. But just as in a marriage that has burned out, from its ashes can be born a life of greater wisdom and truth, and thus can begin a path of authenticity, from where light blooms.