I met her at the beginning of a new period in my life. She was unique and very creative in her own way. I had never met anyone else before whose emotions were so on display. To me, she seemed fearless and yet somehow, also intensely human. She could be very trying at times, but than so could I.
We became fast friends and whenever we needed someone the other was there. It was a friendship without depth. It was comforting however and that was something both of us needed at the time. We had little in common, but that’s what made everyday life more fun.
Then things started to change. Cracks began to appear in the façade. We started speaking at each other rather than to each other. Times were still fun, but they now became strained as well. Days would go by and things were constantly put aside, not discussed, but instead left to fester in the dark. Occasionally, one would snap at the other and tensions would mount. However, neither of us wished to face losing our constant, if often reluctant companion and so we would back off. Sometimes it took days to cool down, but then we’d make the call and pretend nothing was wrong.
Her life was filled with drama. My life was quiet. The two mixed like oil and water; we were never on the same plane. Secrets became crucial to the survival of the pact. She hid things from me for fear of harsh judgment. I hid things from her for fear of betrayal. It was no longer a friendship so much as a survival tactic. A raft with a potential leak was still better than no raft at all.
I often wondered how she could ignore so much. At first, she created problems while trying to fix problems. Then she started to avoid problems completely. She covered her ears and closed her eyes and hoped that everything would fix itself. I wanted to help, but every time I tried to save her, I would sink further myself. She was racing for the bottom and worst still she was dragging me with her.
I started to hate the person I had become. I felt preachy when I stood up to her and tried to assert my own morals and beliefs. I felt cruel when I avoided her for the sake of a quiet moment of my own. I felt trapped and indescribably alone. My world crumbled and I couldn’t bring myself to care enough to stop it from happening. I had avoided all my problems by focusing on hers.
Finally, I was forced to face what I had become. It hurt and it was hard. I struggled. Once I thought I had made it only to have it implode all over again. I picked myself up a second time. I finally let others in and they helped hold me up. I had hurt them with my lies and in return they forgave and aided me. I remembered what it felt like to be able to trust myself again.
I had distanced myself from her and my life became better for it. I rediscovered who I was and I restarted my life. She was still there though. She lurked at the edges. She tried to break back into my life. This time I knew her tricks and I stood firm against them. So she learned a new one. She tried to become me.
In the time I had been away, she had altered further. Like me she started hating herself. However, I faced my hate and beat it whereas she ran from hers. She decided that if she couldn’t be herself than she would be someone else. Her personality took on the traits of others. Her sense of style disappeared and she started dressing like the rest. Her appearance changed, her mannerisms changed, she changed. All these alterations did not save her though; she was worse off than she started. This was when she looked at me. I had been hurting too, but now I was putting myself back together. I now had what she so desperately craved: hope.
I look at her now and I miss the girl she once was. I find it so had to believe that the person I met all those years ago is the same person now standing in front of me. I don’t like what she has become. I have the choice to walk away. I faced my demons and I am still fighting them, but that doesn’t mean I have to fight hers too. The more she tries to be me, the less I want to be around her.
I want her to know: You will never be me. You simply aren’t strong enough.
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