Friends start out as a lesson in socializing from a very young age. A way to teach you to share. To be fair. Or quite frankly, to not. As we get older, we feel this automatic need to love and bond with our friends and we slowly learn the shelf life of each one.
When I was in middle school, I remember having this insane fight within my inner circle. We were all so angry with each other and as a passionate youngster, it took a serious toll on my 10 year old heart. We went to a mediation session with a faculty member and we were all crying and yelling at each other. It was then that the teacher said something that resonated with me:
“Can I be honest with you girls? Look around the table. There’s a very good chance that by the time you get to my age and even younger, you won’t even be speaking to one another. I have one friend from middle school that I’m still in contact with.”
It might sound a bit harsh to say that to middle school girls, but let me tell you: Every time a new “OHMYGODSHE’SMYABSOLUTEBESTFRIENDFOREVER” girl blew away with the wind, I always went back to that conversation. And it always eased my soul.
Because my heart was always bigger than my mind growing up, I had friends who used me, mentally abused me, and walked all over me.
My very first boyfriend in high school cheated on me with my absolute best friend at the time. I was devastated. And I stayed friends with her for two full years before finally cutting ties. Maybe that’s why I waited 7 years to have another relationship. And to this very day, I get anxiety when introducing someone I’m dating to a girlfriend.
I’ve had friends who used to yell at me for no reason. It was always their way or the highway. I used to appease them by molding myself into whoever they were or whoever they wanted me to be. They would tell me to “shut up.” They would ditch me to hang out with boys. They would use me for rides, for food, for comfort, yet I never got an ounce of that in return.
And for most of my life, I was never myself. And never happy.
When I left for college, I left a lot of that behind. The first day in the dorms felt like the first day of the rest of my life. I honestly sighed with relief.
A new start. Nobody who knows me. Nobody to tell me how to live.
I still had a few of those awful friends, but by my sophomore year, I let them go. And as I progressed through college, it became easier and easier to cut ties with anyone who was awful towards me.
One of the questions I asked my Liebster Award nominees was regarding when they felt that they finally became the person they are today. My answer is college. I started to become the Lara I am today, and I stopped molding myself into the people I hung out with. And that’s when I started creating meaningful friendships with like-minded people. Sure, I’ve had to let go of others along the way to the present time, but it got easier. I’ve stopped holding on to others who want to hold me down.
Friends are supposed to be the wind beneath your wings, not the rocks sitting on your fallen feathers.
They are there for support. To fly with you. Not against you. To laugh with you. To cry with you. And everything in between. They are honest and kind. Helpful, but not too much. And no matter how much time has passed, your bond will remain the same.
I’ve found those people. Finally. After years of sifting through dozens of people who wanted to claim my mind for their own superior gain, I have finally found friendship with meaning and love.
My Taco. One of my absolute best friends has shown me what true friendship feels like. The first time my ex and I broke up, he stayed with me every night for almost a month. Sleeping next to me, even though he loves being in his own bed, just so I wouldn’t cry alone. And every night he stayed with me was a night I did not cry and I actually got sleep. He has no idea what his 7 years of friendship means to me.
So today, I am happy for my friends. I have a good handful of them that I could write about for days, and wouldn’t trade them for anything. Not 100 more friends. Not a million dollars. Their existence keeps me going and I know I do the same for them. And I know that as we grow older, our physical time together will weaken, but not our friendship. We will soar together through blue skies and lock arms through dark times.
What I want you to take away from this is the fact that nobody can ever tell you how to live. A friendship is everything and more than what I’ve talked about today and it should be no less.
It doesn’t matter if you are 10 or 30. There are full grown adults who still have rotten friends because they don’t know how to just let them go. We all know this.
But can I tell you what it feels like to live a life free of drama with no one but internally beautiful and honest people? It feels amazing. Uplifting. It eases the difficult journey through life. You don’t need more bumps on an already rocky road.
It’s your right to be happy. And today, I am.