Chapter Twenty-Two: Changes
Good evening. I realize it's been a week since I've posted anything, and I'm truly sorry. I'm kind of angry at myself that I haven't been able to keep my promise to myself of writing something every day. I've been sick and couldn't focus on anything, I don't know where my head's been at lately. So tonight what I'm going to do is sit here and just write exactly what is on my mind. Something I've been noticing most recently is the way things change over time. It's not always a big chance, not always something significant that is obvious to the eye. Just a shift in mood, a shift in seasons, weather, vibes, whatever you want to call it. Have you ever moved away or gone on a vacation and come back and everything is different somehow? The atmosphere is different; a house has been painted a different color, someone has moved away, a sign has been taken down, a new store has been opened.
Lately I've been driving around places I haven't been in a while just so I can force myself to see the changes. I want to see how things go on even when I'm not there to see them. It's like when you stop talking to a person for a while, and then you get reacquainted and all of a sudden, they're someone else. It's like someone has taken the kind soul you once knew, and taken them to a factory for souls to get them fitted for a new one. This has happened to me countless times, for countless reasons. I had a friend that I met in sixth grade. She and I hated each other at first; she thought I was an obnoxious, rambunctious girl (she was right) and I thought she was kind of a bitch (also right). We had one class together, and we avoided each other at all costs. But then sixth grade was over, and we came back in seventh grade and found out we had a lot of classes together, and I don't know, I guess something changed over the summer because from then on, we kind of just clicked. We were inseparable. We lived at each other's houses, called each other's parents mom and dad, went shopping, watched movies, caused A LOT of trouble, made mix CD's, danced around together, and most importantly did a ton of laughing together. She was my best friend through middle school and high school. Our relationship got kind of rocky in high school because of a few dumb boys, but in the end we were both always there for each other no matter what. We did a lot of stuff together that made our bond extremely tight, but we also lost a lot together and at some points it was an unhealthy relationship. We spent too much time together and got too sick of each other too easily. There was a lot of jealousy and lies all the time, and I'm not saying I'm proud of it. I was a teenaged girl. Obviously now I realize how dumb we acted all the time.
Somewhere after the end of high school, after we had stopped being friends and then made up about three separate times, things started to change. We started to drift apart, made new friends, dated people that the other didn't like, got jobs that took away our time together, and we were both taking college classes. We were just busy. We hung out sometimes on weekends, but when we did we often ended up fighting or just not enjoying ourselves. My other friends and I made plans to do things and we'd invite her and she just wouldn't show up. It started to feel like it was forced. Towards the end I could see her pulling away. She had a boyfriend who seemed to be her only interest and priority. Then she just stopped talking to us altogether. I tried multiple times to reach out to her and she would ignore me. All of a sudden she answered and basically said if she had wanted to be in touch with me she would have made it happen. She told me she had "grown up and away" from me. It was kind of a blow to my heart, and I struggled with it for a really long time, wondering what I had done to make her feel that way, or if it was even my fault at all. At first I was shocked, hurt, confused, and frankly, kind of pissed off. I was angry at her for throwing away a friendship of almost eight years and I felt like she thought she was better than me somehow, and angry at myself for being so upset over it when she clearly didn't care enough about me in the first place.
After a while of this rollercoaster of emotions, I made my peace with it. I stopped thinking about her, for a little while at least, until I started seeing her everywhere out in public and realizing she was not even the same person anymore. She used to be my best friend, my sister, my partner in crime, my dreaming buddy. Now when I looked at her she just looked like a stranger, like she was looking right through me. It was like I couldn't see her heart anymore. I'm not kidding when I say we were literally two halves of a whole. And anyone who is reading this and knows who this is about can say the same thing. We might as well have grown up together. We were two misfits who didn't categorize themselves as girly-girls but weren't tom boys either, we liked to draw and sing and design things together and just hang out doing absolutely nothing but having the most fun time possible even still. We learned to drive together, went to prom together, graduated together, went on double dates, got grounded at each other's houses together, I mean, the list really goes on and on. It's just amazing to me how time altered things for us.
Today, I'm not angry about it anymore. I'm lucky to be able to say I grew up with a best friend who was basically my twin sister. To say that I had someone to share everything with, confide in, and spend time with. Sometimes I just miss having that. And that's why it sucks that things change so much. Especially after high school. I just realized the other day that it's been FOUR years since I graduated. People always say when you're in high school to enjoy your time there while you have it, because it goes way faster than you think. I didn't believe that when I was in high school. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. But now, I wish I could just have one more day back then, with everything the way it still was, before we lost so many people to so many things. Before the local businesses in town were taken over by chains. Before we were all so old, with children and husbands and college degrees. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy as a clam with how my life is right now. Because everything that has happened to me in the past four years has made me who I am today, and that's someone who believes in herself for the first time in almost ever, who is confident in her beliefs and stands up for herself (FINALLY), and is not willing to take any shit from anyone, ever, anymore. It doesn't matter what anyone thinks of me, because I love myself. And it feels amazing to be able to say that after a long time of not feeling good. It doesn't matter if you love me, because I'm not changing for anyone anymore. Everything around me can change, and I'll keep doing my best to accept it, but I'm still going to be me.