I don't think I've ever been shocked by a lost friendship. In fact, I am pretty sure that every single one of my friendships that has ever ended was followed by a moment of solitude during which my inner self whispered "Hey, I know you're sad. This is sad. Losing things can be hard, but losing people is harder. But, dude, you knew this was coming. You knew it was only a matter of time." I will take this a step further and say, I haven't lost a friend that I could not live without. I will end this paragraph by saying, that every friendship I've lost has been a blessing. A really big, colossal rich blessing (absolutely no shade).
So, here's the thing. If you're breathing, walking and been through (or are in) your teen years, you have lost a friend. In fact, you've probably lost many. I actually think our culture is in this really interesting phase where we think it's the cool, strong, bad bitch thing to do to cut people off who don't serve us anymore. K-Camp literally made a song about it, and while he meant something a bit different, I am pretty sure many of us have quoted his lyrics with a scissor emoji in reference to whichever one of our friends spilled a secret, didn't text back or did something we didn't like. I am sure of it because, while I have not done it, I have seen it and come dangerously close.
I'm no mind-reader, and I won't pretend to know your life; that's not my place.
However, I will tell you a story.
I am a strong person. I have a loud voice, a sharp tongue and adamant opinions. I do. However, I am a people person through-and-through. I want to make you laugh, and I want you to connect with me and share your stories and feel like you can call me when it's all falling apart so we can talk about it over queso and margs. I want that. Conversation is my love language; I thrive on connection.
That sucks sometimes, though. It really does. It sucks because sometimes, when someone breathes better with a certain thing, they will do things they aren't too proud of to hold on to that thing.
So, here it is.
Recently, I spent a whole lot of months trying, with everything I had, to be good friends with a few girls. They are beautiful and smart and ambitious and talented. They are going places, man. They really are. I wanted to fit in the group and be invited to the wine nights and just mesh and go...not because I needed friends, or thought I was beneath them or because I didn't think I was beautiful, smart, ambitious and talented. It was none of that. You see, I have a deep love for Sex & The City...for a number of reasons, but mostly because my heart melts over the friendships. The idea of having a tribe of gorgeous, successful girlfriends who get both the hustle, and the struggle has always been really important to me.
So, I wanted to mesh. And boy, did I try. Even when meshing meant listening to conversations and participating in situations and talks that made my stomach hurt, I tried. Gossiping, bashing, laughing, joking and pointing out the flaws at others' expense when I knew, right at my center, that it wasn't right, they didn't deserve it, and that I wasn't too different from the people who were the butt of the joke.
And as life tends to do, it all came full circle. It flipped, I flopped and then I was the butt of the jokes and the topic of conversation. In fact, I learned that I had actually been featured in the "shade" even before coming to the group.
I wasn't shocked or even a little surprised, but it did hurt. It hurt a lot. It hurt because it sucked, but it also hurt because during all of those months, I knew it wasn't right.
At first, I really just wanted to exhale real big, throw up my hands and just declare that I was finally free from the bad friends that had been plaguing my life. I wanted to because, well, that would have been easier. That is easier. Blaming other people is super easy; that's why we do it so much.
But, I'm not here to keep doing the same dumb things and sidestepping issues and drowning in my own ignorance. I'm not, and neither are you.
Those ladies weren't "bad friends"; they just weren't "the friends" for me. And let me tell you a thing, it has never been anyone's place (especially mine) to designate the way someone should act or be simply because that's what would serve our hearts better. Like, nah.
Even more pressing is the understanding that none of the previously mentioned women had ever threatened my life or locked me in a closet to forcibly draw out gossip and negativity from me. Not a single time. That came from me. Whether it came from my own weakness, my desire to fit in or just wanting to be a part of the group- that came from me.
I was not, and am not, proud of it. I don't like it. I don't even think that junk correlates with this heart of mine, BUT it came from me. And I own it. I own it, I have forgiven myself for it and, also, I have forgiven them. If I thought it would matter, I may tell them that.
After looking and praying and writing things down, I realized that I had always struggled with feeling "black enough" for black female friends. My accent was never right. I was never involved in the right organizations. I could never seem to find the "black" thing in me, which hurt because my favorite thing about my identity is that I am a black woman. I love it.
So, when I finally joined the "right" organization (that is absolutely fabulous, by the way) and started making the black female friends I always wanted, I wanted to make sure I was doing it "right"...that I was "fitting in".
...and I became someone I really couldn't stand.
Babe, there is nothing more frustrating than going home and feeling rotten over the person you've been that day. There are no tears more bitter than the ones you shed over disappointment in yourself.
You can outgrow people. You will try to vibe with people who just weren't made to vibe with you back. You will lose friends. Not everything lasts forever. Not everyone will end up being the Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte to your Carrie. That's okay, but what's not okay is blaming anyone else for the things you've done to try to make a home out of people who just weren't meant to be that. It's also not okay to build hate and try to take down reputations over failed friendships. You don't deserve to be labeled as "weak" and "stupid" over trying to fit in, and they don't deserve to be labeled as "bad friends" because it didn't work out.
And in case you're wondering, those ended friendships put me in the perfect place to fall even more in love with the ladies in my life who had been my best friends through tears, snot, heartbreak and drunken Mexican food feasts. The ones who dream big and draw pictures and take outfit photos and giggle over nothing. The ones who get uncomfortable over mean girl antics and gossip. The ones I call "my people". I've also come to realize that there is no "right" way to do your identity/race/gender. There isn't. People like to make us feel like there is so that we can try to be close to how they want us to be, but it's never been a real thing. I feel like I fall more in love with being a black woman every day. I fall more in love with being a woman every second. And I do it my way. and my way is fine. And I have the most stunning women I call friends- some are as fair as the milk I pour into my cereal, and others are as richly brown as the dark chocolate chips I eat when I am trying to convince myself that chocolate isn't bad for you if it's in tiny chip form (HA).
I am reading a book right now (that I plan to share with you babies later) about shame and the role it plays in our lives and relationships. I haven't finished it yet, but hoooooly moly, it's a big deal. It's a big, fat massive deal, and it's completely changing the way I look at people. And, ladies, we have got to do better. We have got to treat each other better...even after the texts stop, the Instagram photos are deleted and we decide to not share our secrets anymore.
So, let's beware of labeling someone as a "bad friend" and just be okay with learning what and who we need/want in our tribes. This life is so full of developing, growing and gathering your people, and it's okay if not everyone makes the cut. You won't make everyone's cut. That doesn't mean you, she or anyone else is less awesome.
It's okay, and you're okay. It's fine to just let it be, even if she won't. It's fine to take a minute and just mourn the loss of a friendship (some will feel worse than a break-up).
Do your best to be graceful, even when it's hard. Be graceful with others and with yourself.
With Love & Glitter,